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Does everyone find ancestry.com a reliable source?

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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-24-09 08:32 AM
Original message
Does everyone find ancestry.com a reliable source?
The reason that I ask is because I have been able to trace back different lines to pretty famous folks--one line back to Pocahontas, one line back to Andrew Jackson, one line is now back to all of the Kings and Queens of England, which lead back to France, which seem to be leading back to Germany and all points European.
It is sooo cool and there is plenty of evidence to link it all together, but before I start worrying about my royal lineage (lol), was just curious about the validity of all of this.
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madinmaryland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-24-09 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. I would classify it more as a source with a lot of information.
Always insist on documentation to back up the claims.
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Rosie1223 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-26-09 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. An old school genealogist once asked me,
"do you believe everything you read on the internet?"

Same way with trees on Ancestry. I use them as a starting point but try to independently verify the connections.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-29-09 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Me too. I've even found errors in the census
I try to corroborate everything I can with at least one primary source.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-26-09 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. Like anything else, it has mistakes.
Edited on Mon Oct-26-09 07:38 PM by CBHagman
Case in point: At both www.ellisisland.org and and www.ancestry.com I have found transcription errors. The same goes for Census records transcribed for the Soundex system. If someone misreads an A or an R or a J, an ancestor's name is recorded incorrectly. Kate becomes Ruth, John R. becomes John A., and Juliska becomes Fuliska.

Hell's bells, there are errors enough in official documents, so approach everything online with a healthy skepticism.
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madinmaryland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-28-09 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. There are transcription errors and just plain omissions.
I just review the actual census's and have better luck that way. Using their searches is a start for getting information, but I like to actually review the scanned census sheet. I am upset that the 1890 census was almost completely destroyed.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-08-09 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. There are more reliable sources
I try for primary sources first, like Bible records, legal records, and then census and military pension records. Then there's secondary sources, such as newspaper articles and published genealogies and county histories, and research done by old and esteemed organizations like the New England Historical and Genealogical Society as well as new county genealogical socieites. However, Ancestry, like WorldConnect, is only as good as the records they display. ALWAYS check sources and source citations.


(I've been at this for 31 years)
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-24-09 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. If you're tracing lines via someone else's posted tree, ancestry is an unreliable source.
The primary records transcribed there are much more reliable, although as others have noted transcription/interpretation errors do occur.
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-01-09 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
8. original records
Edited on Tue Dec-01-09 07:25 PM by katkat
I look at its actual census, city directory, etc. records and those often have errors, so you have to cross check. As to posted family trees, my experience has been mixed. One was incredibly inaccurate with no documentation and the other turned up a third cousin.
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