Week 29: Challenging

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A previously published book about your ancestors is a double-edged sword. I’m blessed with three such books: the descendants of a 10th great-grandfather, the descendants of a 3rd great-grandfather, and the descendants of my husband’s 4th great-grandfather.

They’re definitely mixed blessings.

On the one hand, I’m happy to have a wealth of information about the Jewetts, the Ingwersens, and the Southers. Names, dates, places, stories, photographs, the works. People I might never know existed otherwise.

I was introduced to genealogy through “The Ingwersen Book” and I’ll always be thankful for that.

However, the issue I face now — now that I’ve learned about things such as sources, the Genealogical Proof Standard, and so forth — is going back and “proving” the facts listed.

How do I do this? Where do I start? With hundreds of pages of data to sift through, it feels terribly overwhelming and could be my life’s work to update these books!

And what will happen when I find records that disprove the claims made by one of the books? Will I be lauded for bringing the truth to light, or tarred and feathered for exposing a fraud? (The latter, while a bit drastic, is likely closer to the truth!)

“All we can do is the best we can do” or so the saying goes. So here’s what I plan to do and some tips for those of you experiencing the same blessings.

  • Enter all information from the books into unique databases. This can be an Ancestry tree, a Legacy file, a RootsMagic file, whatever you prefer.
  • Ensure that the book is entered as a source in your tree and that all data from that source is cited correctly.
  • Tag the person in some way to indicate that you haven’t yet researched them to prove the facts
  • Slowly start verifying all information. Add new sources, update facts, etc. Remove the tag once you believe the evidence you’ve analyzed gives reasonable proof.
  • Add the “proved” names into your family database.

With this method, you won’t add potential issues to your “real” family tree and you’ll be able to run reports on your tags to see who you’ve left to research.

Now, off to do some more data entry! 🙂


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