Think about the reasonableness of any information you find in a compiled database. Are people having children before they are born? Are people getting married after they died? Are there individuals who get married before their parents are born? If you have never seen entries such as these, you’ve not looked at very many online trees.

Personally I use online compilations as CLUES, sometimes very weak clues, to give me ideas. Never incorporate such information into your database and never spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove it. But once in a while, compiled information in the “online trees” is correct.

But make certain when you compile your own information that you are not violating any laws of space, time, biology, or physics.



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  1. I see this all the time too in on line trees. Then it is copied by numerous people into their own trees without checking the info. I too use on line trees for clues. I don't add anything to mine without verifying the facts, even if the data is “reasonable”.

  2. Sometimes when the data appears “reasonable” is when one has to be the most careful. It is easy to see blatant errors as things that should not be incorporated. It can be more tempting to add that with “appears right.” I still don't do it, but it easy to see how some might be more inclined to do it.

    Personally I am more suspect of that which appears “just a little off,” but still reasonable.

  3. I have seen that many times and coming from members of my own “clan”. I have sent them the correct information, with documentation, and they still refuse to make the corrections. I have given up…secure in the knowledge that my descendents will have the correct information.

  4. This is one of my pet peeves.

    People just assume it has to be correct, grab the details for their own tree and then pass on this incorrect information when someone else copies it.

    I sometimes use it as a starting point but never add anything to my tree unless I have proved it as much as I reasonably can.

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