5 Ways To Tell If Your Genealogy Research Is Accurate
There is a lot of guesswork and uncertainty in genealogy. People in the past may have put the wrong information on old records, either from genuinely not knowing, or from having something they wanted to hide. Mistakes can be made in transcriptions of documents from one location to another; even tombstones are known to sometimes have mistakes on them from the stone cutter. Census takers make mistakes in the spellings of names (and even dates and places of birth of the householders they enumerate). Those who published family genealogies back in the 19th century, when this was a popular thing to do, often relied on legend, gossip, and the erroneous family stories other people gave them.
There is a lot of room for human error in genealogy research, and you are undoubtedly going to come across it, either in the work of others or through mistakes you make in your own work. Even the best genealogists will once in a while discover they got an entire line wrong based on one incorrect assumption, misinterpretation of a record, or by obtaining a faulty record. With so much room for making mistakes, how do you know you’ve gotten it right? How do you know if your genealogy research is successful?
The fact is, except for mother/child relationships (and even these might be non-biological without you knowing it if there was a secret adoption), genealogy is never a 100 percent sure thing. Even the best, most carefully carried out research can still potentially be proven wrong by a future researcher who discovers a clue no one ever noticed or that has just come to light.
However, there are a few ways to be as sure as you can ever possibly be that your research reveals the correct family relationships and information. Here are five ways you can tell if your genealogy research is most likely correct.