2018-04-17 10:47:15 UTC
I was checking online trees for clues to an uncommon surname. I found a distant cousin’s tree and realized that she had skipped a generation. She had a 67 year old woman giving birth AND the woman had died at the age of 65. I emailed her to let her know I would gladly share copies of the source documents I had for the missing generation. She replied that she had wondered about that woman and her child and had asked the <family historian> about them and he had told her it was correct. I asked if she would like the documents and she said she would leave her tree like it was. She was relying on an “authority” instead of thinking for herself.
When I search online trees I’m looking for clues, not an answer. If there are no sources, I move on. If there are sources listed, I check the sources myself. Do I agree with the conclusions of the authority? Does the source include all the information listed on the person’s profile? And several other questions are addressed.
You want a <family historian> or several to do the work for you, to put together a universal tree you can just copy. Otherwise, what’s the point?
When I have a question about medieval genealogy I come to the newsgroup and the archives. The posters provide links to primary or secondary sources, questionable dating is discussed, how have surnames developed and changed, what source names a father as Richard while another may say William, which calendar was used when. These and many others are all things I can check and decide for myself if I want to add information to my database.
The best possiblity for a universal tree would be the information right here on the newsgroup. But would everyone agree on the spelling of names, how dates are recorded, place names from the time of the event or now, was Richard or William the father, etc?