Sunday, November 04, 2007

Some moans ...

Don't you hate it when...

-- you come across a lengthy and detailed family tree online and it has absolutely no documentation? Or the author's email address is invalid? Or the author promises to send you more and you never hear from him/her again?

-- you see your own early efforts, naively offered to some other genealogist years ago, showing up online (without your knowledge or consent) as if they are gospel?

These have all happened to me and I must admit I sometimes grind my teeth in frustration.

There is actually a book which acknowledges me as one of the informants and yet is filled with information based on hearsay and guesswork. The result of a well-intentioned effort, but little in it seems to have been verified with credible evidence.

I once came across an Internet posting of great interest, and when I wrote the individual he said he had "a boatload of information." But it never was forthcoming, despite my gentle requests and friendly offers to compensate for any costs involved.

When email addresses are out of date it is even more aggravating. Oh, how I would like to get in touch with someone who posted a comment in 2004 about a known relative of mine. But her emails bounce back, and she never bothered to update her address.

Then there are the wildly enthusiastic family historians who, for a few giddy months, flood you with letters, charts, pictures and all sorts of family lore, then drop out of sight. They don't answer repeated inquiries. Dead? Or have they just lost interest?

Well, we just have to plug along, finding what we can and working to verify every scrap of information we find. If unsupported data seems likely and can provide clues for additional research, I like to include it in my database, but wish I could mark it in some way as "not yet confirmed" or "hearsay only".

Do you have any suggestions?

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