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Your Family Tree - What Should You Avoid?

It is only natural that, as we get older, we come to grips with our mortality. We're going to die. Will people remember me? My ancestors died before me. What can I do to become acquainted with them before I "join them?"

We check our records, our photos, our documents. Yes, we pull them out of that old trunk and pore over them. Then we start contacting other, even older relatives.

Finally, we may either subscribe to one or more genealogy services or travel to locations researching documents at public institutions. But if we want the genuine "skinny," there is something we must not do.

We must not accept all the information we are offered without consideration. A case in point...

Someone recently told me they'd discovered a part of our family tree we hold in common has been traced back much farther than anticipated. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve and God and is just chock full of kings and queens.

I smell a skunk somewhere. Do you? Everyone wants their tree to go way, way back. They also want to be related to one of two groups, and preferably both:

  1. Royalty
  2. Native Americans, all of whom are always Chiefs.

Most of us have no royalty in our family tree, or just a smidgen. Maybe five percent of those who claim to have Native American ancestors actually do. Do not be suckered in. Do not pay money for such information.

Image Credit » Pixabay

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MegL wrote on July 11, 2017, 10:19 AM

Good advice. There are some genealogy sites where it is worth paying for information but I suppose there are as many scams in genealogy as in any other niche.

lookatdesktop wrote on July 11, 2017, 4:19 PM

I don't know and at this point I really don't want to know. Frankly, there may be some ancestors on my mother's side of the family tree or even my father's side who are of some historic importance, but it only makes me feel like I can't compete. I am hoping that, in spite of the possibility there could be good or bad people who came before me that I can make up for some of the bad and hold out even if I die one of the most obscure and humble of the others. I think there may be a chance I can achieve more humility. That is a goal.

lookatdesktop wrote on July 11, 2017, 4:25 PM

I heard so many stories that can not be substantiated by me that I either am a descendant of the Brown Brothers or my great grandfather on my mother's side was a Magistrate and a Judge. In fact, I have been told that an actor named John Anderson was married to one of my aunts and another aunt had married into the Hershey chocolate dynasty. These are all interesting but may all be just tall tales. One more to add to the list is the story of one of the presidents, may have been an ancestor to us. Well, since I am unable to be certain of any of these I don't bother attempting to verify these but at one time I believed everything my mom and dad told me. Shouldn't I believe what my own parents tell me? I have no reason to doubt them but then they might have been told stories by their parents and so on.

Last Edited: July 11, 2017, 4:26 PM

VinceSummers wrote on July 11, 2017, 4:55 PM

To -- we all have some "important" or historical people in our family tree, one way or the other. What we don't have is a gadzillion royals and roots that can be traced to the first human couple. I have a few important people in my family tree, historically. A few. Not supermen. One, for instance, helped lay out the boundaries of the state of Minnesota.

LisaSteinmetz wrote on July 11, 2017, 10:22 PM

I would love to be related to the British royalty or even Princess Diana. I am parts German, French, Swiss on my dads side. I'm not sure about my mum's because she was adopted and my grandmother butchered her adoption papers so she couldn't find out who her birth parents were. My cousin did our family tree and unfortunately we are related to no one famous.

Last Edited: July 11, 2017, 10:23 PM

VinceSummers wrote on July 11, 2017, 10:26 PM

That's kind of sad. Occasionally -rarely- you can still learn from examining public documents. I once reunited to full sisters. In the U.S., getting pregnant before marriage was a no-no. Of course some girls got pregnant, just the same. Well this one girl got pregnant, then took a trip out of town for a bit - excuse made - and then returned. The baby was put up for adoption. She later married that man and had the girl's sister. A combination of document comparison, newspapers, and total "luck" gave me the success, just the same.

MegL wrote on July 12, 2017, 2:55 AM

That was great. Reuniting people doesn't always work out well.