Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In the former post we have seen that the genealogy fraud was unceasingly repeated along all the History. Today is still between us. Last name's coat of arms are constantly offered in the web, even selling copyrights on them, what is to say like being pretty close to the illegal, as well as "Family X Books", which resembles more a phone's directory than another thing. And a lot of similar stuff is offered to the people every day.
Before the appearance of Internet, the fraud was covered behind the lack of available sources, at the hand, where to verify the information. At that time we were forged by the forgers. Today, with all this abundance of information, we are defrauded by the innocents. We can see, today, amateur genealogists proud of having in their family trees more than 1,500 related surnames. Do they really think that they have more than 1,500 relatives? Let's assume that they are reasonable people and they don't pretend such a thing. What's the point, then, for that enormous compilation, competing with the white pages? What they are really doing, actually, is to upload extremely heavy family trees to the databases, with a high percentage of non verified data. Many of them find out related surnames, and, immediately, they are uploading whole family trees -without even checking the source- to their owns. The Mormons had filed in their genealogical library a giant database, trying to give salvation to the souls of the deceased, and to baptize them into the Mormon religion, if it's possible going back up to Noah's family and his Ark's descendants. This is very useful as a base of consultation, no doubt. But, here comes the first warning: all this data is received with no previous verification (it's impossible to do it in every case, of course; they only ask for real names and a complete description of whole birth, marriage and decease dates) and it's important to be aware that all of this is only a base of consultation, not a trustworthy information by itself. All data obtained from third parties must be properly verified, crossing the information with another documents, enforcing to sustain the veracity of those reports. All serious genealogists know very well that genealogy is a travel, not a final destination. And, as good researchers, they ought to be skeptics as the investigators in the best thriller movies. Precisely there is where lies the emotion of genealogy. I have several examples of wrong information in my own familiar genealogy: five histories about my Briand family published in the web with the same wrong concepts (they perhaps copied and pasted each other): my ancestor Alain Briand is recorded as the father of Michel Briand. Alain was born in 1550, and Michel in 1558. Nobody complained about this inconsistency. Some of them "fixed the problem" saying that Alain was born "near to 1530"... It was very hard for me to find out that this Alain, married with Guillemette Guyheneuc, was Michel's brother. In other of my family trees, written by others, some of my Acadian ancestors are recorded as being baptized few days after they born "into the LDS church", in 1770. Sixty years before the Mormon church was founded by Joseph Smith. Moreover, taking account that Mormons does not perform baptisms for infants. And I might follow up showing more and more examples of similar situations.
So that, if we were before defrauded by the bad ones, now we are also defrauded by the good ones (enthusiastic and careless compilers of genealogical data).
In my own genealogy I've published all the original civil acts, trying to give a proper back up to everything I'm exposing on there. They can be verified in the correspondent parishes or municipal registers. I don't, sincerely, have found many genealogists doing the same. Should be an obligation -if not legal, at least from the ethic point of view- to do it. If we don't take the family history seriously, and we don't participate actively in the emotion of the research, about verifying what we are receiving, and if we are not conscious that all what is published, microfilmed, or filed in some way, must be verified before being taken for granted, we are going to loose the adventure of the research. And maybe, we also loose, between all that confusion, of knowing who our real relatives are, and which our real family history was. Sometimes, our true stories are more interesting than all those myths inherited from ...who knows who.


  1. Yes! Hear! Hear! Certificates of: Birth, Marriage, Military, Death. Obituaries & early US censuses cannot be considered as accurate.
    A stranger visited each house to write the names as heard from sometimes illiterate citizens who wanted the USA's freedom to avoid federal laws & being counted like property.
    The USA was about freedom.

  2. Yes, I agree with you that they cannot be considered utterly as accurates. But at least, is something more than simply be posting names and names in family trees not knowing where they come from. And I can assure, it happens frequently.


Creative Commons License
Blog Gen Briand by Pablo Briand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.genbriand.com.ar.