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A weblog about my family search and genealogical journey. My ancestors and relatives, findings and wild goose chases, dead ends and brick walls, climbing trees and seeking dead people, sources and resources, and more...


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Does your tree make sense?

Keep in mind that not every bit of information you find on your relative or ancestor is going to be true. Some people copy others without checking their facts and some people will copy you too. For this reason alone, due diligence is a must have in any tree. If you are not a thousand percent certain that a relationship is right say so.
If your fifth great grandfather was born in 1776 and his mother was born in 1770 you may have gotten some bad intel. And if his father died two years before he was born, he may not be the father, Luke.
If his father was born in another state and never moved or if he was in a different county his whole life, he may not be the father. And if he is not the father, was his wife really the mother. Circumstantial evidence is not admissible in court and should not be writ in stone on your tree either.
Just because five of your cousins on Ancestry listed Ben as the father of Luke or Luke as the father of Rey does not mean it is so. Do your detective work and confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that the tree is accurate or at least note any facts that are not confirmed. Keep in mind that others will not do the leg work and will copy you and your sixth great grandson may want to do the family tree for his grandchildren and may not be able to find the proof as easily as you can now.
Be the late night family detective your future generations need and leave no stones unturned. Think I have covered all the bases on this subject but let me finish with one more example.
Everyone on ancestry had assumed that my elder John Nichols was the son of Isaac and Rhoda Bond Nichols because they were in the same county he was born in, but it turned out with a lot of homework that Isaac and Rhoda had a son the same year that John was born and also, they did not have any sons named John at all.
Also DNA evidence proved that John and Isaac were two different bloodlines as they had different Y DNA haplogroups and so could not be related at all. John was actually a member of another line of Nichols who lived in Bedford County and was related to John Nichols who moved to Bedford from Maryland. He and John had the same Y DNA and so were related as sons inherit their Y DNA from their fathers so therefore Isaac was not related to John but John was.
Turns out that John's son, Arch had a son named John, of course his brother John did too, but not in the same time frame or location. But that is another story. While one researcher had taken an educated guess and gotten the bloodline wrong, others had copied their info and gotten their lines wrong too. And after having spent months and months researching Isaac's family, DNA proved that Isaac was NOT the father, as Maury would say.
On a side note, Isaac is actually related to me through a relatives marriage to my Hatcher line, so the research I ended up doing was not in vain at all, and I found some pretty cool relatives of Rhoda Bond in the process.
Rhoda had a relative who was scalped in a battle with Native Americans during Black Hawk's War, and was one of the bodies found the next day by Abraham Lincoln's unit. His name was James Bond, and I found him while researching Rhoda's tree. Just having a James Bond in the tree makes it worth the work.
Back to topic. Do your homework. Don't copy. And if you can use DNA to confirm where possible. 
By the way, if you read my earlier posts about Isaac and Rhoda's families and them being ancestors, I was wrong about them. #update.
Keep climbing trees and breaking through walls. The fruit is worth the labor.

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