Show Some Restraint

I can’t remember if I have written about this before, but it is something that comes up all the time – propagation of genealogy errors. In just the past few days, I have seen first-hand just how shoddy research can cause some real problems to people. Here’s a hint to anybody starting out doing family research: just because you read it online and it looked “right” doesn’t make it so.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen incorrect information that has just multiplied on the web. I am convinced that this is due to people just doing the old cut-and-paste with genealogy. When I first started out, I was more prone to doing that, but that was before I posted my data on the internet for people to see and/or use.

With all the resources out there, people need to show some restraint and use discretion when making claims that they cannot back up one bit. Not only are they short-changing themselves by doing this, but they are causing other people to run down dead-ends that they otherwise would not have gone down in the first place.

When I’m looking for some new information, I use the stuff on the web as a starting point and do my best to verify it or, at least, point me in a direction. I can’t remember the last time that I just took somebody’s digital word for it – that is why I have been busy trying to source my data over the past year or so. I just don’t have enough time to get it all done! All the more reason why I encourage people to call me on information that is misleading and/or flat out wrong.

So, remember, when tempted to grab all that “great” research and pass it off as fact (RootsWeb jumps to mind here), just recall the words of the late President Reagan – “Trust, buy verify.” Words to live by.

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Steve Rock

I have been doing French-Canadian genealogy for about 14 years. I enjoy doing research for other people who are new to genealogy and want to discover their French-Canadian lineages. Drop me a line at and let me give you a hand!

One thought on “Show Some Restraint”

  1. I am wondering if you recall where you got the information that your Marie Roy, daughter of Joseph Roy and Seraphine (I’ve also seen her listed as Storophine), married Joseph Bourelle in 1855. I can’t find your source. I am desperately hoping she is my Marie Alphonsine Roy, born in Quebec but lived for a long time in Malone, New York with her family, and married to Narcisse Martin in about 1861.

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