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Fact v. Family Stories

Fact v. Family Stories

We have been drilled to stick to the facts in genealogy. Family stories are just that, stories. “Three brothers came to America” and “my ancestor was an Indian princess” probably are without more than a grain of truth, if that. Find the record. Get the facts. And, of course, document the facts.

Now we are told to “flesh out” the family. Ask the old folks for stories. Ask those who remember the prior generations what they can tell you. Genealogists are told to record these stories, write about them, add them to their records.

Ancestry is pushing this big time. It’s very annoying. You have to push those promotions aside to get to the records. I assume the other sellers of genealogy related items aren’t far behind.

Does anyone else see a contradiction here? First we are to ignore the stories and get the facts. Now we are to record the stories and perpetuate the myths. Is that to make it more interesting to the masses so more people get involved in genealogy (and buy subscriptions to, say, Ancestry)?

ANCESTRY FAMILY TREES

ANCESTRY FAMILY TREES

I have now been introduced to Ancestry family trees. They are extremely creative. I am pretty sure it is inappropriate to use “genealogy” and “Ancestry family trees” in the same sentence.

I am amused by all the “hints” which lead to other family trees. Those trees have misinformation, creative information and no sources. They obviously copy from one another because the same errors are repeated over and over again.

I am not so amused to find they have stolen and used as their own my personal family pictures. In a couple lines the number of descendants is extremely limited. I don’t know the authors of those trees. They are clearly not descendants of the people in the photos. There is no way they would be the owners of the photos. Some still have my date stamp or other identifying marks on them. They have been stolen from places such as these blog posts, my web sites, ILGenWeb and FindAGrave.

I think the thing that upsets me most is having my family photos attached to the junk family trees.

Someone suggested I complain to Ancestry. Have you seen the process? Do you really think Ancestry cares?

Is this the price we pay for sharing information?