Tag: Sources


It’s the bane of any genealogy research. Finding out you have incorrect information long after you’ve added it to your family tree. In the worst cases, this could have ended up with you researching the wrong line for years. Fortunately, I’ve never (at least not yet) had that issue.

While I love Ancestry.com with their user-submitted family trees and I have used it constantly in my research, it’s a double-edged sword, especially for newer researchers. I sigh and roll my eyes every time I see their television commercial that shows a woman who notices the “shaky leaf” on some of the names in her family tree. When she clicks on them, she is able to add whole new families to her tree. Unfortunately, it seems most people think it’s that easy. Just click and boom, all your work is done.

I admit that in the beginning of my research over ten years ago, I usually just went for quantity over quality. It was so exciting to find new people and information that you just added it. I’ve paid the price for that now, but fortunately not in any major way. I’ve just had to go back, change a few pieces, and re-find all of the sources. That has actually indirectly helped me find new information, since now I look closer at every source I find.

I can use my great-great-grandfather’s profile to prove my point.

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Today I was browsing some of the professional genealogy society-type websites. I hope to one day become certified in some sort of genealogy-related area. I know that I’ll enjoy doing genealogy for the rest of my life and hopefully I’ll be able to help others.

The first one I came to was Board for Certification of Genealogists. I was curious as to what it took to become certified. It actually seems in reach since applicants are sent a photocopy of an historical document that relates to the geographic areas and time periods in which they normally work. I read over one of their example that dealt with an area I’m familiar with, an 1870 Wisconsin Deed. Everything that they went over would be something that I would normally ask myself or make notes on. I don’t have much experience with deeds, but I can figure out the basics of what I’m looking for. Have any of you readers become, or tried to become, certified?

I know that one of my weak points right now is probably sourcing. Don’t get me wrong, I add every possible source to everything I enter into my family tree, but I’m not hip on the lingo. Does anyone know of any good references of how to write out your sources, preferably free? BCG has a book, but they want me to spend $45 on it.

I also looked at the National Genealogical Society’s website. This is not really a certification, but it is a central location that a lot of genealogists go to. Is anyone here a member of NGS? Are the online courses worth the money? I’d like to become a member, but I want to make sure I get my money’s worth. I hope to one day be able to go to one of their genealogical conferences. I’d love to meet other genealogists.

I do plan on becoming a member of a local genealogical society, the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society. A lot of my family lived and died in the Milwaukee County area. Plus, it’s pretty decent deal at $12/year and you get some access to helpful local information, etc. Plus, it’ll make me go out and meet other people doing research in the same area. Maybe I can help them get their website into the 21st century, too. What are your experiences with local genealogical societies?

Photo: amyc500@flickr