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Common genealogy mistakes

We've all been new to family history at some stage, and we'd be lying if we said we hadn't made (and continue to make) a few mistakes here and there. Here are a few of the mistakes we made when we started out that we are sharing in the hope you'll avoid making the same ones.

Ruling out People Based on Dates and Ages in Records-

Found a record of someone with the same name as your ancestor, born in the same town, married to someone with their spouse's name, but the birth date's off by a year or two? That still may well be the record of your ancestor. Standards of record keeping can vary, people lied about their age for all sorts of reasons and, sometimes, mistakes just happen. Don't conclude that someone doesn't belong in your family tree just because their birth date doesn't match what you think it should. 

Trusting the Research of Others-

If there are no sources cited for an individual, it's as useful to your research as a wild guess would be. Don't take people at their word, and don't assume that someone else's public tree or research posted online is reliable.

Getting Disheartened by Brick Walls-

Anything worth doing comes with a level of difficulty. For genealogists, that's the dreaded brick wall. Rather than being dispirited and giving up on that line – or on research entirely – relish the challenge, learn more about research strategies and think of how great it'll feel to overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Neglecting Living Relatives-

The internet has made family history research easier and more accessible than ever before, and it's easy to get carried away exploring the billions of records that are now at your fingertips 24/7. So easy, in fact, that people often overlook the best family history resource available to them; their family. Ask as many questions as you can, call granny and granddad, visit your cousins and start your research that way. 


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