Sunday, July 15, 2012

When Genealogy Becomes Like A Game of Telephone

Today, I decided to sit and go through a search of family trees just to see what new information may be out there, and hopefully find some new family connections as well. Instead I found a horror story of the passing around of bad information.

Remember the game of telephone we played as children? You know, when you sit in a circle and whisper something in a person's ear and then they have to repeat it to the next, and so on, until it gets to the last person. Then that person has to tell what was said out loud and then everyone laughs and giggles because it does not resemble anything near what they were told.

Well, I have encountered the same thing today except this time, it is in print online on many family trees.

What is so frustrating is that they could simply clarify this themselves with a little fact checking. Yet, somehow they just took what was there as fact and continued to pass it around. Then before you knew it it got worse and worse.

For starters, several years back my father who also does genealogy, had a public family tree. Well, someone out there copied his tree and called it, the ***** Saucier's branch of the Broome clan. FIRST OF ALL, most of the names copied, as well as the photos, had NOTHING to do with the Broome family, which is my father's side. They copied the Ladner, and Nicaise information as well, which is my mother's side. So therefore, in later years the person who did this will have grandchildren that will have a very difficult time trying to figure out why there are Nicaise names in their tree.

Secondly, they put in wrong information about the Nicaise family. For instance they had my 3rd great grandfather Edouard Nicaise as being born in Mayo, Ireland and dying in Mississippi. When in fact he was BORN and died in Mississippi. The Nicaise family is from FRANCE. They came to the Louisiana Colony in the early 1700's. There is no chance anyone after 1725 being born in Ireland. Just this little mistake has now skyrocketed and other people researching the Nicaise family name have come across this and took it as fact and used it in their trees.

Then it went from Edouard being born in Ireland, to his father Jean Baptiste Nicaise being born in St. Benoist, Paris, France and dying in Kiln, Mississippi. Yet they have Jean Baptiste Nicaise's father, Joseph Nicaise being born in Mobile, Alabama, which is accurate. So, then do they think that Joseph Nicaise was born in Alabama, and went back to France and had a son? Or are they really not paying close attention to what they are putting in their tree?

I seriously have had to make comments on 20 different trees today, to try and correct the whole Mayo, Ireland thing. I doubt they will go back and change things, but I hope perhaps if they do they may learn an important lesson in genealogical research. Always, always check the source! Never, ever, make an assumption that whomever put information on a tree is 100 percent correct. As, I have said before, genealogy is way more fun if you do the work yourself. Sure you can find hints from other trees, but never take this as fact until you find something to back it up!

Please don't contribute to the game of Genealogy Telephone!

No comments:

Post a Comment