The contents of this web site are by no means guaranteed to be free of error. On the contrary,
it undoubtedly contains a number of errors. Other researchers have tried to be helpful by
pointing me in specific directions, and I have attempted to acknowledge their contributions,
but it is entirely up to me to verify the accuracy of contributed information. In many cases
this has not yet been done. Genealogical information requires independent confirmation,
preferably by reference to at least 2 or 3 "official" documents, before it can realistically be
accepted as fact.
The Internet has proven to be an invaluable tool in pointing to actual records needed for confirmation; the Internet references themselves do not provide the required confirmation, but they are still listed as "sources" in this document. Unconfirmed information provided by other people is noted where applicable. Records in the Ontario Archives in Toronto and the National Archives and National Library in Ottawa, and cemetery records have been consulted and referenced in these pages. I have found some conflicts and inaccuracies in these "official" records too. Every known error has been noted in this document so as not to perpetuate the myths of others, never mind those of my own making.
Needless to say, I alone am responsible for any errors in this document. I would ask that anyone who has new or conflicting information please notify me of any additions or corrections they believe should be made to this version of "clues" to the family tree.
This entire document should be considered a work in progress. New links, references and other clues will continue to be investigated in parallel with the overall verification effort for contributions from other researchers. In addition, the format of this document is under continual evolution, hopefully getting better with each new version.
Charlie Gardes describes the problem of inaccurate genealogical information very well in the following LETTERS TO THE EDITORS, sent to RWR-Editors@rootsweb.com:
Hi Laird, I just read the latest RootsWeb Review (Vol. 2, No. 13, dated 31 March 1999) and saw your response about Myra's article on privacy and your statement that so many of today's genealogists DO NOT DOCUMENT their work. Thank you for submitting these thoughts -- Hooray!I can well appreciate the sentiment expressed in Gardes' letter and yet, at the same time, value my collection of genealogical "clues" as prerequisites for establishing the actual facts.
I have been on several mailing lists on RootsWeb for more than a year now, and I am absolutely astounded by the apparently absolute lack of using sound genealogical methods and practices by these "computer genealogists" of today. I shudder to think what genealogies our descendants will have to work with in 50 or 100 years when they start using the erroneous pedigrees that people are now compiling.
I wonder how many of these new researchers will even some day realize that they must PROVE their lineage for it to be accurate? Simply amassing thousands of names from databases and from other researchers is NOT proof in even the most liberal definition of the word. You should have seen the number of astounded people on one mailing list when I posted a response stating that they had to have proof for every event/ancestor that they downloaded from a database or received from another researcher.
Ancestral File, World Family Tree CDs, and the attempts to "make a connection" through the never-ending posting of Internet surname queries (e.g.: "My great-grandfather was born on the moon, do you know which crater?") have harmed, rather than helped, genealogy because of the error-filled pedigrees people are creating. Some of these new researchers do not want to be bothered with research if they cannot sit in front of their computer monitor, and others will not make the time to educate themselves about what is acceptable proof and what is not, much less what is proper methodology. One person even responded to me that she has been "doing genealogy" for eight months now and claims she has one of her family lines back to 1609. Hardly. Unless she was given substantiating data with all the names and dates and she has verified that data, she only has 300 years of clues, not 300 years of ancestors.
On the other hand, thankfully, there are a few folks on each mailing list who realize that there is more to chasing ancestors than sitting in front of the computer. They are eager to learn the correct ways to conduct their research. They realize that information from secondary sources, databases, and from other researchers are only CLUES, and not proof of relation. These people will advance more slowly in the acquisition of ancestors, but they will have their ancestors and not someone else's. The following was posted recently on a mailing list and illustrates this point very well:
. . . when I started I was excited because within the first week someone sent me a 14-generation chart on *supposedly* one of my lines. For more than a year I took this as gospel, because this guy had quite an impressive database. Then as I was starting to get proof I discovered that somewhere between the 3rd and 4th generation he went off into the wild blue yonder, and that's where I would still be if I had not started to investigate myself. I would be chasing someone else's dreams. That's the best way I could put it, so think about it folks. Do you want to chase yours or someone else's? My database is not large, but it is MINE . . .
In closing, Laird, I wish to again thank you for publishing your thoughts. If enough of us do so on enough mailing lists, maybe we can convert at least a few computer genealogists into bona fide "family researchers."
Previously published by RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative,
RootsWeb Review, Vol. 2, No. 14, 7 April 1999.
Please visit RootsWeb's main Web page at http://www.rootsweb.com/.