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  • #31
    Originally posted by dwight View Post
    Have you discovered, too, that you could actually spend all of your time on ancestry and do nothing else whatsoever?
    Wait, you mean there are other things to do?

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    • #32
      WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been signed up for a subscription to Ancestry.com for a grand total of one hour and already I have just discovered my Great - Aunt is now dead, , and has been dead for over a year and my Great Grandpa had more kids after he re-married and my dad and uncles have an uncle they didn't even know about !

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      • #33
        It's hard to hide anything these days. I've dug up more "secrets" that people thought no one would ever know.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by nathanm View Post
          Wait, you mean there are other things to do?
          Between Ancestry.com, FTDNA, and Adoptee Rights, it's a wonder I have time to eat.

          I really must be dedicated as I can't tell you how many hours I've spent trying to find census records for my ex-husband's mother's paternal grandparents. Both born around 1850, wife born in New Brunswick NJ ("adopted off the reservation"), husband born in Ireland but immigrated as an infant. I can find HER in 1910 and 1930 and HIM in 1910 (he died in 1918 but I don't know where). That's it. They married in Brooklyn NY in 1893, had a kid together in 1891 - neither event shows up on any NYC database. Where are they in 1900? Should be NYC, right? Sigh. Well, it only took me five years to find the passenger record for my adoptive grandmother's family (paternal side).

          And yes, I do find it amusing when someone's tree shows the child born 50 years before the parents or the husband and wife living in different centuries - and the 16 other trees have the same wrong information.

          Gaye

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          • #35
            Originally posted by GayeSherman View Post
            And yes, I do find it amusing when someone's tree shows the child born 50 years before the parents or the husband and wife living in different centuries - and the 16 other trees have the same wrong information.
            Gaye
            Ugh, yes! Part of my tree was originally researched 15-20 years ago by someone else using primarily in-depth interviews with elderly relatives. While impressive in its scope, there's a fair bit that's turned out to be wrong now that the physical records are available so easily, but the "bad" information is ALL OVER THE PLACE now!

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            • #36
              Originally posted by sjadelson View Post
              Ugh, yes! Part of my tree was originally researched 15-20 years ago by someone else using primarily in-depth interviews with elderly relatives. While impressive in its scope, there's a fair bit that's turned out to be wrong now that the physical records are available so easily, but the "bad" information is ALL OVER THE PLACE now!
              Every bit of the foundation for my entire family tree was started by my Father back in the 1970's when he went to cemeteries and searched for census records and interviewed all our old relatives back then. Who is to say what is "bad" information and what is "good" information. Who knows ? The very best family tree dna can is tell me that I'm white (whoa big suprise) and i have some cousins who could be my cousin from a relative who lived 100 years ago or a relative who lived 1,000 years ago. For modern day researchers to say old time researchers gathered wrong information is simply the pot calling the kettle black. Paper records, eye witness interviews, and DNA all three have something in common. They are ALL guessing.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by 507 View Post
                Every bit of the foundation for my entire family tree was started by my Father back in the 1970's when he went to cemeteries and searched for census records and interviewed all our old relatives back then. Who is to say what is "bad" information and what is "good" information. Who knows ? The very best family tree dna can is tell me that I'm white (whoa big suprise) and i have some cousins who could be my cousin from a relative who lived 100 years ago or a relative who lived 1,000 years ago. For modern day researchers to say old time researchers gathered wrong information is simply the pot calling the kettle black. Paper records, eye witness interviews, and DNA all three have something in common. They are ALL guessing.
                Hardly.... Human memory is the most unreliable source, although sometimes the only source available. I have a relative whose gravestone says he was born 25 Dec 1876. Obviously whomever was responsible believed that to be the correct date, but by the time I discovered that gravestone I already knew he had arrived in America in 1875. Later, I was able to get his birth record from England with a birth date of 25 Jan 1874. I don't fault the other guy for making the best use of the resources available at that time and place, but it's a disservice to call all information equally faulty.

                Yes, people can (and did) lie on census forms, information can be mis-transcribed, and mistakes can potentially occur during DNA testing, but the fact is that some information can be wrong, and it's not hypocritical to say so. I'm decrying the fact that the wrong information has had 10+ years to propagate, and the next person to come along may not bother to check the sourcing. If anything, the modern researcher is less thorough than those of previous generations. If it's on the web, it MUST be true.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by sjadelson View Post
                  Hardly.... Human memory is the most unreliable source, although sometimes the only source available. I have a relative whose gravestone says he was born 25 Dec 1876. Obviously whomever was responsible believed that to be the correct date, but by the time I discovered that gravestone I already knew he had arrived in America in 1875. Later, I was able to get his birth record from England with a birth date of 25 Jan 1874. I don't fault the other guy for making the best use of the resources available at that time and place, but it's a disservice to call all information equally faulty.

                  Yes, people can (and did) lie on census forms, information can be mis-transcribed, and mistakes can potentially occur during DNA testing, but the fact is that some information can be wrong, and it's not hypocritical to say so. I'm decrying the fact that the wrong information has had 10+ years to propagate, and the next person to come along may not bother to check the sourcing. If anything, the modern researcher is less thorough than those of previous generations. If it's on the web, it MUST be true.
                  What if the birth record your looking at from England is not even the same person ? That is one of the biggest problems with ancestry research. There are so many people in this world with exactly the same name. There are many people in the same small city with the same name. Now what about in the entire world ? Now what if you get DNA tested and you match a bunch of people who have no idea how you could be related to them and have never even heard of these ancestors you mention to them ? That is one of the problems I am faceing with the Ydna test I done. WHo is right at that point ? you or them ? Your both DNA tested and according to the DNA test you are cousins, but according to paperwork your not cousins. But then you find out that the DNA test can only tell you that our common ancestor lived sometime between 1900 and 1200 ?

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                  • #39
                    ALso, about human memory. What if you got 3 sisters and 1 brother. They all are old enough to remember their grandparents clearly. They all tell the same story and relay the same information to the researcher about their grandparents. But then this does not match all the family tree records that you keep seeing online . What then ?

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by 507 View Post
                      ALso, about human memory. What if you got 3 sisters and 1 brother. They all are old enough to remember their grandparents clearly. They all tell the same story and relay the same information to the researcher about their grandparents. But then this does not match all the family tree records that you keep seeing online . What then ?
                      I treat each of these as hints. But then I search for the primary records to back the information up. People's memories of things can become distorted over time and can even change collectively among siblings. There is usually enough truth to those memories to warrant checking them out, though. You can often see how the distortions happened when you get the facts. The familiy trees posted online give me new ideas for searching, maybe a location that I wouldn't think of searching for on my own. But if I can't find primary records to back up the stories or trees, I usually will leave people off my own official tree.

                      Susan

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                      • #41
                        Case in point. I was researching a tree last night and found a relative(??), added her to the tree. Records say her maiden name was Moffit and all of the hints agree. A few minutes later Bing I have a message (I know it seems like they never respond when you ask but this was a few min.) and a person is telling me that the Moffit info is wrong and her death certificate at the state records office lists her father as "Wrigth" and not Moffit. The message sender is very convinced the information is correct.
                        Now she married a Wright so was this a bureaucratic clerical error, or did a wright marry a wrigth? I Do have a Brown that married a Brown.

                        It is really the fun of the hunt.

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                        • #42
                          RE Ancestry.com

                          For me, Ancestry.com is a hobby (in my old age). The leaf information can be rejected if you aren't ready to accept it or if the info looks wrong. And you can always change it (your tree). Furthermore, you can create several trees on a temporary basis, in order to keep track of possible lineages. In other words, the system is flexible. And you don't have to make it public. But records tend to disappear prior to the 1790 census. And I've been trying to go back earlier than that on my maternal (U5b2) line. So that's where FTDNA comes in.

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                          • #43
                            1790 sounds about right. I was going to say before the Jefferson administration. If the families have been in the US since the 1700's, they just seem to kind of disappear into the backwoods.

                            Every branch of our family has apparently been here since at least the 1700's, and I can't get them across the water. I was emailing someone who's been doing geneology on our families since the 1960's, and she can't get them off the continent either.

                            So when our Y-67 and mega mit. tests come back this month, I'm hoping for some good info. I've really been enjoying browsing around in ancestry.com, though.

                            It's really a laugh, when a family tree ends up in the 1300's with some lord or other on the way. I do like to see that, but it's got to be because he's the only one with decent records of that surname.

                            Our paternal surname is Ferguson, and it's suspicious how many Ferguson trees contain James Lord Kilkerran Ferguson. All I had to do was make a side trip to the Ferguson DNA project through here and compare our haplogroup to determine it couldn't be our line.

                            After taking a look at the individuals in that tree, I was chagrined to note that the many trees with this certain key individual who could get them off the continent had failed to notice all the fellow's children were born after he died at the age of 22. Something fishy about that, LOL.
                            Last edited by Wilma Wildcat; 30 May 2011, 10:36 PM.

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                            • #44
                              Records for many parts of America pre-1790 are scarce, but some areas are flush with sources. Connecticut town records have pretty good coverage to the mid-17th century. And they're adding more international records too, if you have a World Deluxe Membership.

                              On the other hand, have you searched for records on FamilySearch? It's completely free, and they've been adding indexes and images online like gangbusters. For example, I have roots in Vermont, for which they've added half a million records in just the last two months! They announce new additions every week. Last week, they added 25 million records (a combination of images and indexed text records) That's higher than usual because they'd just completed indexing the 1930 Mexico Census. The week before they added a measly 2 million records. You could even help their indexing efforts, if you're into that sort of thing.

                              Their goal is to eventually have all their resources online, but the biggest problem they've run into isn't technical, it's legal. Back when they were microfilming the originals from all over the world, they didn't think to negotiate for rights to display them on the internet. Darn computers! They make everything so complicated.

                              I still use Ancestry.com as my primary research database, but I find myself checking FamilySearch more and more. Then, when I find records there, I just add them as a source to my family tree on Ancestry.

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                              • #45
                                Interesting that you mentioned Crawford Co. PA, I am going there this summer to do some research on wills and other records. Partly the trip is triggered by conventional genealogy research (lots of Ancestry.com census data and contact with others researching the same lines) and partly triggered by some Family Finder matches in that area that give me new surnames to research.

                                But the trip will cost more than several years of Ancestry.com! And I can look up more records per day online than in paper archives. I hope the Crawford, Mercer, Erie and Chautauqua archives give me some things I do not get online. Crawford seems to have newspaper articles indexed, for example. I found out how my great great grandfather died that way.

                                My big learning after a year of Family Finder - there are lots of surnames of relatives I do not know, both upstream and downstream. If I have a match with someone with a Chinese or Arabic surname, it may be my Irish or German 4th cousin! People marry and more surnames become cousin's surnames.

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