When many people are working on their genealogy, they wonder how accurate many of the ancestry.com family tree hints are. They wonder if they should trust them or if they should ignore them.
I have found many of the ancestry hints to be accurate, but like any good research, you need to verify any of the hints they have given you. You should confirm the name, location, date, and other relevant information.
Here are some things I have learned when working with the ancestry.com family tree hits.
Verify The Ancestry.com Hint
When you get a hint from the ancestry.com website, it is just that – a hint. It is not meant to be anything more than a hint or something for you to look at.
As technologies have improved, I have found that many of these hints are accurate. But despite that, I will still make sure that I verify all the information I have to ensure the hint is correct.
Depending on your family and where you are working on the genealogy, there could very well be two people with the same area bearing the same name, same town, and even having the same birthdate. That is why you need to verify all the information Ancestry has given you to make sure it is the correct person.
Verify The Name Is Correct
The first thing you want to do is make sure that the hint gives you the correct name.
In some areas, names will have different spellings, so you must also understand the spelling variations. For example, my grandmother’s last name was Bookwalter, but some of the family spelled it as Buchwalter, which is the German spelling of the name.
Sometimes someone may be Johans when they lived in Europe, but in the United States, they Anglicize the name to become John. So it would help if you had a bit of background and understanding of your family and the person you are working with to know whether or not the hint Ancestry is giving you is correct.
Verify The Area and Location
For most of our ancestors, travel was challenging. Especially before the railway came in, it would take a long time to travel anywhere.
So if you see a record of your aunt who was born in one area of Germany, but the Ancestry record is in a completely different part of Germany, the chances are they may not be the same person.
People did not move around as much as we do today. You will find a lot of your ancestors were born married and died in the same town or location. In fact, for many of my ancestors, I discovered that all of the records are in one church in Germany.
Travel during that time was a lot more complicated than today, and people did not move around as much as we do today. Most people marry someone from their village or neighboring village or town.
Verify The Dates Are Correct
The biggest mistakes I see when people attach incorrect records are that they have not checked the dates and the ages. For example, I had seen documents where the husband would’ve been two years old when he got married – that is impossible, and the record is wrong.
It would be best if you were careful when checking the dates and ages. In some cultures, if a woman had money, a man may marry her even though she is ten or even 20 years older; but this is something you should not assume and check out and verify it is correct.
Verify the Other Information
Next, verify the other information that is on the record. Does the name of the spouse match up to the name that she presently has. Do the parents’ names also match up to the parents’ names you have?
Depending upon which country you are researching, some of these records have a wealth of information. You can find the wife’s name, her parents’ names, the groom’s parents’ names, and much other information on the records.
Any other information is given to you on the records; you should also take the time to make sure that you verify all the additional information on the history. This will help you to know whether or not this is the correct record or not.
Check The Original Record
On ancestry.com and other sites such as familysearch.org, the original record is usually attached to the information they have given you. I typically go ahead and check that original record to make sure no errors were made when transcribing the original document.
By checking a christening record, we can often find the exact birth date and verify the parents’ names. If the baby died soon after being born many times, you could also find the death date next to a cross mark.
This is why it is so important that when you have an original record, you also take the time to check that original record and verify it. I have found so much valuable information by taking this extra step of checking the original document.
Of course, how much information there is with the original record will depend upon which country you’re doing your research in. And in many of the nations, they are writing in an ancient type of script or calligraphy, so I can make it quite challenging to be able to read the information.
If you’re unsure, you can go into one of the family history centers that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has throughout the world. And many of these history centers have experts who can look over the record for you and help you to determine if it is the correct record is or not.
As technology gets better, I predict that the records hint that you are given on ancestry.com, and another website will become more accurate. The reason is that these sites are using some great technology that helps to scan millions of databases and to attach them to the correct person.
No matter how correct the technology might be, it is still essential that you go into the record and verify all the information to ensure accuracy. You want to do this because if you attach an incorrect document, it may hurt your finding of other ancestors.
Genealogy is a bit like putting together a puzzle or solving a mystery. The clues, hints, and records are dropped along the way until you solve the mystery. That is kind of what the ancestor.com hints do – they drop a hint for us to solve the mystery of our ancestors and family history.
The Hummel Family is a website all about Family History research. Our Focus is on Swedish, German, English, Scottish, and American Genealogy. We also talk a lot about Asia and China as we had ancestors who spent many years in China.
You are welcome to join us and become part of our community by signing up for our FREE newsletter, The Hummel Family; sign up by clicking here.
Any Good Alternatives To Ancestry.com?
The best alternative to Ancestry.com is FamilySearch. We like the FamilySearch program because it is free, collaborative, and easy to use. FamilySearch also offers many sophisticated functions and features that other programs would charge for.
What Are The Swedish Mantal Tax Records?
The Swedish Mantal tax system was prevalent in Sweden for over 300 years. The Mantal tax was a tax placed upon Swedish households and people. The Mantal tax system was organized and structured.
You can learn more by reading our blog What Are The Swedish Mantal Tax Records? History & Genealogy Research Tips by clicking here.