Saturday, January 14, 2017

Don't Be a Sloppy Genealogist

I remember the early days of searching for my ancestors. I used Ancestry before there were shaky leaves. About 12 years ago, there were still some really poorly constructed trees. However, most were at least close (the dates and names made sense) even if they were linked without sources. As I researched further, I've been had to correct a number of wrong turns from my early days. Even careful genealogists can make mistakes.

However since the shaky leaves came into existence, I'm seeing more and more obviously incorrect trees. These have links that are laughable because they defy the laws of nature. I understand the impulse to quickly fill out your family lines. I was once one of those overly excited to merge information without doing even a cursory investigation.

This week's "We're Related" app potential relatives provided an example of the sloppiest trees. See if you can catch it.  My famous possible relative is county music singer, Luke Bryan. My line according to the information Ancestry has compiled (not from my own research and tree) is:

Lott Whiddon (1729-1784) - Common connection with Luke Bryan - father of James W. Whiddon
James W. Whiddon (1770-1845) - father of James W. Whiddon
James W. Whiddon, Jr. (1790-1869) - father of Nancy Whiddon
Nancy Whidden (1830-1908) - mother of Robert G. Goff
Robert G. Goff (1853-1924) - father of William Yates
William Yates (1774-1868) - father of Moses Yates
Moses Yates (1805-1890) - father of Gilbert William Yates
Gilbert William Yates (1835-1925) - father of Estes Gilbert Yates
Estes Gilbert Yates (1884-1977) - father of Linona A. Yates
Linona A. Yates - my grandmother - the line from her to William Yates is correct according to my research. Did you catch the obvious error?

I don't think it's physically possible for Robert G. Goff, born in 1853, to be the father of William Yates, born in 1774!  Furthermore, despite the efforts of many researchers, the origins of William Yates are not known. He is possibly from Scotland, possibly from England and he either came to New Hampshire at a young age as an indentured servant or he came with his parents and was then indentured. Although his name is spelled two different ways, Yeats and Yates; it has never been Goff!

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