This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Doing your genealogy online

Doing your family tree, or genealogy, online can be a lot of fun. In the past ten years a lot of new sources have sprung up, some of which are free, and some at a nominal fee. And there are thousands of people who have posted their information, too. But if you are actually interested in getting accurate information, it will take more work than just finding something, copying it, and believing it. Unfortunately, like most of the information on the web, most of it is wrong.

No, I'm not saying that you shouldn't use the web as a resource. But bad information gets passed around so fast there it's almost impossible to avoid it. Here are some suggestions:

Do your history homework. World War I wasn't just "back in the day". Your family history is built on the structure of real history. This will help you avoid information like "Uncle Phil served in World War I from 1978 to 1981." This is the kind of stuff that gets passed along, copied and pasted, and repeated.

Look for original documents. If you want to know about someone who lived in 1911, read a book that was published at that time. Your local LDS (Mormon) Family History Library has this stuff, it's free, and you are welcome to use it, even if you're not LDS. And there are many original documents online as pdf documents.

If you're doing your family history just for fun, at least just leave it on your computer, don't post it to the web. There is no need for you to share more bad information. Besides, if you don't know what you're doing, you will just end up exposing personal information that some bad guy might use.

If you want to do a family tree that goes back to Adam and Eve, by all means do so. It's a lot of fun. I am admittedly a little bit crazy about accuracy, research, and history, so if you want to do it for real, it looks like this.
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