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  • Introduction to Genealogy

  • What Is Open Source Genealogy

  • The Importance of Open Source Genealogy

  • Family Tree Organizing Tips

  • 12 Essential Genealogy Supplies

  • Genealogy Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

  • How Far Back Can I Trace My Genealogy?

  • Using Cemetery Records in Genealogy Research

  • Genealogy Research Through Living Family Members

  • Tips for Managing Your Genealogy Archive

  • Resolving Conflicting Genealogy Records

  • DNA Testing and Genealogy Research
  • Genealogy Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

    As you start studying your family tree, as a genealogist you’ll be anxious to fill in the spaces on your pedigree chart or discover hidden secrets in your family’s closet.  This can lead, however, to all sorts of mistakes and ultimately a poor or inaccurate history of your family’s past.

    There are lots of common mistakes the budding genealogist can make.  The first one is haphazard research.  Just because you read something in print or see it on the internet does not make it true or even applicable to your family.  The best material is material that can be verified through other resources.

    At the same time don’t get hung up on the spelling of certain surnames.  Just because a possible family line in another country doesn’t spell a surname the same way does not mean it is not a part of your extended family.  Many times local phonetics alter the spelling of names out of convenience.  Do your research.  If multiple sources tell you they are related, they probably are.

    Don’t forget to gather as much information from living family members as you can.  There are multiple benefits to this.  Firstly, you’ll gather information which can point you in directions you might not have thought of on your own.  Secondly, you might run across someone in your family who is at the same time doing research on the family tree.  You’ll then be able to collaborate and share data.

    Finally, do not get hung up on the notion that somewhere in the past you are related to a famous historical figure.  To be perfectly honest it’s not likely and you’ll only be more likely to succumb to skewing your research in that direction with flimsy supporting details. 

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