As in anything there is a right and wrong way to complete a task. So for the family researcher of the history of your ancestors, make sure you follow as many of the following ‘musts’ to insure the family tree is as accurate as possible.
1. Use as many different sources to verify the dates, name spelling, hometown, whom they married, the children’s names, occupations, military service, etc. Be careful, there could be cases where 4 to 5 sources all have the same information relating to a date or name but it could still be wrong. What happens, unfortunately, person after person copies from the same source that is wrong and the error is repeated. So each source has to be independent. For example, a surname spelling in a US Federal Census, a land deed or a personal final Will. Each is separate, done at different times and you need to compare each. If one has a difference, especially a census record, seek another resource.
2. Always hold on to the documents, records, information sheets, etc you have collected. Place each into a family surname folder. Also scan each and keep a digital copy. Then once a year or so, go back over each after you have spent time researching and re-exam those papers, you might spot a key word, name or date you didn’t notice before. This ‘must’ has been very successful for countless researchers.
3. Investigate the information available in an ancestors’ hometown. Seek out the local public library, the local genealogical society, the local museum, churches, schools, chamber of commerce, and cemeteries. The smaller a town the more likely you will find new information on your ancestors there.
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