The very thought of genealogical research often is interpreted as an extensive road trip to great-grandparents’ hometown and probing into all the records stored in the family house, which is also a part of the projects in many cases, but that’s not all that it is about. Some lack time and some lack resources which often results in a quick way out to find out the maximum data in an easy manner- but the problem arises in this fascinating journey when the data accuracy is doubtful and there are various reasons why this happens at all. When creating a family tree, we need to get our information as accurate as possible and ensure that we know the mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree.
There are few mistakes you’re bound to make, more likely if you’re trying your hands at the exciting stories and genealogical research for family history for the first time.
Mistakes to Avoid when Creating a Family Tree
1 – Everything Recorded isn’t Necessarily Accurate
People often mistakenly assume that anything in print is accurate simply because it has to be accurate enough to get there; the wrong idea. A transcription written down about the family history or availability of information in any other form could be a false piece of information too. Published family histories are often prone to few mistakes on publisher’s end (based on some of the assumptions) and for that accuracy of information has to be double checked rather than relying on the print information. Similarly, anything that is available on the internet isn’t entirely true. Just because it is available on the internet doesn’t increase its credibility in any way. Online data is a great source of genealogical research when creating a family tree but it cannot be solely relied upon. For more help, read our article 10 Ways to Trace Your Relatives
2 – I Have the Same Surname as Someone Famous, We’re Related
This is one of the funniest incidents that often happen to people who are setting their feet in genealogical research and eager to find out someone famous in history related to them because for them the idea of genealogy revolves around it- to find a famous, prestigious relative. Sometimes, it could be possible to be traced to someone famous but that is not true always and certainly, it shouldn’t be the sole point in mind when conducting research (or else you might be trying to claim it by mixing records).
If there is some trace linking to someone famous, the published work of that individual could be of great help but it has to be an unbiased research and secondary resources are to be sought for the matter, too. As we dive further into creating a family tree these links will appear with accuracy.
3 – Not Focusing on The Resources at Hand- Relatives
Relatives who are living far off or near to your vicinity are the major resources for your genealogical research but often they are overlooked by jumping straight away to the genealogical databases- This way people don’t get the chance to know the inside stories and much of the personal information that no database could ever know/share. Visiting the relatives living in some other countries/cities could be difficult at times, and for that, a questionnaire could be sent or any family event nearing could be a chance of a meetup; avail that. Often this can be one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree.
4 – Genealogy – It’s More Than Just Dates and Events
Genealogical research is not just about dates, important events, and names because there’s so much more to dig out rather than just filling up your records and constructing the fanciest family tree possible. Some individuals cease to find more information beyond names of ancestors, but genealogy is much more than that; it is about knowing who they were, what they were like, what did they do for a living, where did they live, why they migrated, etc. The project gets interesting with every piece of information joining the chain. Just remember to keep focused on the mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree.
5 – People With the Same Name in the Same Area are Related
No, they’re not necessarily related if they have the similar surnames reside in the same area. If the research gets more extensive you’d get to know much about the surroundings and acquaintances of your ancestors and with that, the ambiguity of information may increase; it’s important to steer clear of that.
6 – Missing Records of Parents Don’t Make a Child An Orphan
When conducting a research on your family’s history, you’d come across missing records that are sure to create confusion in your mind. Commonly, it happens that some names of siblings are found with missing records of their parent(s) and are considered orphans. But it could be the case that they left home for work in a different region or one of the parents remarried after a divorce and that second spouse’s records contain the name. There are often a variety of questions that can remain unanswered when creating a family tree. Just remember in time and with research, this information can be found.
7 – The Legends Aren’t Always Factual
With the deep inclination towards family history and stories, you’d come across a lot of family legends which have been prevalent for generations but that doesn’t mark them as authentic pieces of information. However, this doesn’t mean that all family stories are untrue, there just has to be a deep research to separate facts from fiction and construct the family tree in accordance with it.
8 – There is No Standard Spelling for Proper Nouns
There is no one spelling for a surname or name of a farfetched village; thus, it is better never stick to one spelling for conducting your genealogical research. Switching to different spellings of your surnames which could have been used by your ancestors can give you the desired results from the genealogical database. My own surname can be spelt different ways, in older days, spelling wasn’t so important. Between my father and his siblings, there are 3 different spellings of our surname. This was due to changing of local birth registrars who all spelt our surname differently. Often spelling are overlooked as key mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree, but from experience, we can ensure your its one of the most common reasons brick walls are hit.
Creating a Family Tree
Knowing the mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree is important. Once you tread on your correct path knowing mistakes to avoid when creating a family tree your genealogy research will no doubt benefit from your diligence. Above all, don’t forget to document all your findings. Consider getting started today by creating your family tree free online and share your finding with family members through applications like OneFam’s web and mobile software. These applications enable you to quickly and easily create a family tree and share with family members.