It’s exciting to find information about your family, especially when it appears you’re related to a famous person or event. Unfortunately, any one piece of information can be incorrect, possibly inserting the wrong leaves into your family tree. To prove that relationships, events or dates are correct, you’ll need to find the same information repeated across multiple, independent documents.
In the genealogical profession, five criteria must be met for genealogy findings to be proved:
- Reasonably exhaustive research (more than one source!)
- Reliable sources with complete and accurate citations
- Analysis/correlation of ALL sources, information, evidence
- Resolving ALL conflicts across evidence
- A soundly written, logical conclusion
BCG Standards: http://www.bcgcertification.org/resources/standard.html
You can find a lot of great information online about your ancestors, but is it all true? Professional genealogy standards and ethics increase confidence that your family tree evidence is based on modern, sound research principles, including identifying sources you may not have considered, correlating multiple data sources, and analyzing DNA to identify relationships when needed.
Professional genealogists do more than create family trees; for example, they locate missing heirs for probate cases, investigate house histories, write family history books for reunions, compile family health histories, and other research tracing people and artifacts across time.
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