Family Tree Review and Validation

Everyone creates a family tree, but really who has their family tree reviewed? Well you would be surprised. Family tree reviews is one of the top services and we are constantly debunking previous finding by provide proof. If you’ve been creating your family tree in your pass-time it is highly recommended that you have a genealogist review your family tree.

Here are some common questions to help you fully understand what a family tree is and how do you go about creating one. We’ve also included important information about going through a family tree review.

What is a family tree?

A family tree is a chart that shows the relationship between persons listed in the tree. It usually begins with 1 person and includes as many generations as are known for this person. The tree often begins with a person of the current generation and goes backward, but it can also begin with a known ancestor and go forward.

How do you start a family tree?

In a typical tree, you would begin with yourself and then add the relatives you personally know – particularly your parents and grandparents. And then great-grandparents, if you know who they are. You will need to decide early if you wish to include siblings. Including siblings in the tree can sometimes cause the tree to become too large to comfortably work with.

Where do people create their family tree?

Many people purchase family history software to create their family tree. Purchasing software allows you to store your tree right on your own computer, along with all of the supporting documents that you find for your tree. Some of the software programs have features that link to online searching which can be helpful, and some programs contain features to help you create books, pedigree charts, and reports. It is also possible to create your tree on family history websites, such as Ancestry (www.ancestry.com).

Using sites such as Ancestry allows you to build and share your tree right on their website. There are also features on Ancestry’s website to mark your tree private, so that no one can view your tree with an invitation from you.

How do you trace your family tree?

If you are creating a tree that begins with you, you enter yourself first, and enter as much information as you know about yourself – date & place of birth, date & place of marriage, and your parents’ names. Then add your dates & places of birth, marriage, and death (if deceased) for both of your parents. After this, you move onto your grandparents, and continue with your great-grandparents, etc.

Enter as much information that you know about each family member until all that you know is entered. The next step is to talk with – interview – any of these family members that are still living. Record all of the information that they provide you from their memories.

Request copies of documents that they have and any photos of ancestors. After completion of this, you will want to fill in the blanks that no one seemed to know the answer to – e.g., no one seemed to know when or where “Grandpa Joe” died. Many vital records are online at many different websites, and you can now begin your internet searching on any of the many genealogy research sites. One of them may have information about “Grandpa Joe”.

When searching online, you are bound to encounter trees created by others that are also online, and some of these online trees may include some of the same people in your tree that you are researching. It is a good idea to make notes of information in other trees, but it is important that you confirm any information to be correct before recording this information in your tree.

Many of the online trees contain incorrect information in them, and for this reason, it is advisable to never accept the information in someone else’s tree as fact until you have proven it to be fact.

Why is it important to have a genealogist review your family tree?

It is so very important to have a professional genealogist review your family tree. When searching the older records, there are many families where two cousins living near each other had the same name, a spouse with the same name, and children with the same names. It is so easy to mix up the families.

It is the same with vital records – There may be 2 men named John Brown who died in the same time period in the same town, and you can’t tell which one is yours. Our ancestors were also not always honest, and sometimes information provided on a vital record is not correct because of dishonesty.

Many people lied about their ages on their marriage application. Some even lied and gave fictitious names on a marriage application. People also just made mistakes, especially during a time a grief. My own grandmother’s death certificate lists her sister’s name as her mother’s name because at the time of my grandmother’s death, my grandfather was so grief-stricken that he couldn’t think clearly and gave the wrong name.

Many people just copy a tree that is found online and assume that everything in it is correct, and they transfer all of the information into their own tree without verifying any of the details in the tree. A good professional genealogist digs into a tree when they are asked to verify a tree, and they won’t verify a tree until they know that every detail listed in the tree is supported by sufficient evidence.

What kind of mistakes should you avoid?

    1. Don’t believe everything you read in print, especially on the internet.
    2. Family History is not just names & dates – Get to know about the lives of your ancestors.
    3. Don’t purchase “generic” family histories.
    4. Don’t accept family legends unless you can validate them.
    5. Don’t believe that a family surname only had one spelling. When researching the Smith family – search Smith, Smithe, Smyth, Smythe, Smit, Smits, etc.
    6. Don’t forget to properly list a source for every piece of information in your tree.
    7. Not everyone with the same last name is a relative.

When is a leaf considered valid?

On Ancestry, a leaf is a hint. When you enter a person’s data into your tree on Ancestry, Ancestry’s software will search their records on Ancestry to see if Ancestry contains any information or records that may be the same person.

The key word here is “MAY”. By clicking on the leaf, Ancestry will bring up all of the “hints” it found that “may” be a match for the person. It is up to you decide if the hint is a valid match for the person in your tree. If you are certain the hint is a match, then you can add the document or information provided by Ancestry’s hint to your tree. If you do not agree it is a match, then you can discard the hint.

How big can a family tree grow?

A family tree can grow indefinitely in many directions. It can grow forward showing one’s children, grandchildren, etc. It can grow backwards adding additional ancestors as new ancestors are uncovered. And it can sideways by adding siblings, nieces and nephews, and cousins.

What are some alternatives to ancestry.com for creating a family tree?

There is personally owned genealogy software, such as Family Treemaker or other software programs. There are also many other internet genealogy research sites, such as FamilySearch.org. You can also create your own private website for your family tree, or create your own personal database for your family history.

Can I hire a genealogist to complete my family tree?

Yes, you can hire a professional genealogy to create your tree, but it should be noted that a tree is never complete. It is best to hire a professional genealogist if

      • you have hit a brick wall and need help in overcoming it;
      • you want a second opinion;
      • you have encountered a family mystery;
      • you lack the time, knowledge, and/or skill to create your tree yourself;
      • you are unable to locate a specific item for a family member, such as an obituary;
      • you are geographically located too far from the area you need to research;
      • you are seeking membership in a lineage society;
      • you need research performed in a foreign country; or
      • your family tree is becoming overwhelming for you.

Many professional genealogy companies, such as Record Click, have researchers throughout the world who are experienced in handling the most challenging of research difficulties. Professional genealogists also offer customized research to meet both the financial and research needs of the individual.

Can I hire a genealogist to just review or validate my tree?

Yes, there are many professional genealogy companies who will review and validate your tree. As you are bouncing around the internet researching your family history, you come across several public websites that contain a lot of information about your family.

The names, dates, and places in some of these trees appear to match the same information you have in your tree, but they seem to have a lot more names and dates than your tree, taking your family pedigree back several more generations.

But is it correct? Now is the time to stop and examine the data in this newly found information about your family. A well-documented tree contains source information for every name, date, place, or detail about every member listed in the tree, and each of these items needs to be examined before entering this information into your tree.

Some key sources which help validate their information would be vital records, legal documents, federal and state censuses, hometown newspapers, city directories, diaries, military records, obituaries, journals, certificates, licenses, wills, and deeds.

An online tree which lists other online trees as its source is a bad sign, and another tree should never be used as a source. A good professional genealogist will properly validate a tree by reviewing the source documents associated with the tree.

Can a genealogist review a previously validated tree?

Yes, they can. There are times when an individual is not in agreement with a genealogist who has reviewed or validated a tree, and they can consult another genealogist for a second opinion. This is not an uncommon practice. Genealogists often use different techniques and different paths to achieve the same result.

Who do I include in my family tree?

You will need to decide early who you wish to include in your tree. Do you want to include siblings? Step-Parents? Half-Siblings? Second Marriages? Adopted children? It is your decision to decide who to include in your tree to create a tree to your satisfaction. In some cases, it is best to create several different trees for your family history.

Get help with your family tree by contacting us and having one of our professional genealogists either start your tree or have them validate it for you.

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