Using this site

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Sources of information

Sources tell you where information has come from. From this you can judge how reliable the information might be.

  1. Some sources come from documents, like a will or a birth certificate, and can be considered reliable. Though even here, some caution might be needed because there may have been a later will or the father on older birth certificates may not have been the actual father. When sources are transcribed from hand-written records there may be errors in names, places, dates, etc.
  2. Family members are a great source of family facts - parents usually know when their children were born! But family sources can be very wrong because of a desire to hide uncomfortable facts, or for enhancing a story when told and re-told. Nevertheless, knowing where the source comes from is important.
  3. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence in family trees that has its own interpretation of the facts - read the item in Genealogy Humour called How will you be remembered?
  4. Some information is found on web sites and it is not always possible to ascertain how reliable the information is if the site does not in turn provide us with its source.
  5. Much of the data in this family tree comes from other family tree researchers who do not always identify their source. Data from my brother is a case in point, but it runs in the family - I have often forgotten to say where my information has come from!

When you are contributing information please tell us the source.

Quality of sources

There is a provision for indicating the quality of a source in the GEDCOM standard:

  • 0 = Unreliable evidence or estimated DATA (such as year of birth from stated age at death or in a census - notoriously unreliable!)
  • 1 = Questionable reliability of evidence (interviews, census, oral genealogies, or potential for bias for example as in an autobiography)
  • 2 = Secondary evidence, DATA officially recorded sometime after event
  • 3 = Direct and primary evidence used, or by dominance of the evidence

This means that you can tell how reliable a source is - the higher the number, the more reliable.

The TNG software used on this site makes provision for this convention, but I am only beginning the process of using this convention - it will take me some time.