I may (emphasis on “may”) use an online tree to get a clue when I am really (emphasis on “really”) stuck. But I do not use the online tree as a source for a parent-child relationship, date of birth, date of death, etc.
There are entirely too many times when online trees are too full of errors to do otherwise. I completely understand that:
- Online trees are not always wrong.
- Published books also can be wrong.
- Other records (for example–courthouse records) can be wrong.
If the fact has never been seen elsewhere and is “reasonable,” I will reach out to the compiler. Generally there is not an answer. There are times where it is really difficult to determine the “source” of the information in the tree.
Other professionals may have different viewpoints. Readers may have different viewpoints. But as for me, if my only source for a date of birth is an online tree, I’m not including that date of birth for the person in question.