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History Is Not Static...

I have had this information posted on the web for quite a few years. In that time I have had people write to me for source information. For the information that I have actually compiled this is easy. For the information that others have submitted, this has been something of an issue. I feel strongly that information should be accurate. I also know that in any research of events past history is not static and this may affect accuracy.

I had posted some general information, which I linked back to its source, thinking that because the source was something the family respected it was good information. I linked to that source five years ago, being that that segment of the family was the best defined. As I checked through the links to make sure none had broken I noticed that the specific information I had linked to, was gone from that site. I did not remove the link right away, because it still went to the same site - a good site for the family.

A few days later I contacted a cousin to get permission to post an essay he had given me years ago. In the course of our emails, and after he had looked at my site, he informed me that my "commentary" was "just plain wrong" (the information link mentioned above). I know this cousin is a very serious and well respected researcher and I am afraid he was offended to no end that I had information on my site about his 4th great grandfather that was "just plain wrong". He was very generous, whatever his level of irritation with me, and sent me more of his tenaciously researched essays to correct my information.

The information had been correct at one time. It was correct until family researchers stepped back and took a long hard look at what the facts were, what had been previously published and how things just didn't seem to line up. This can happen with any published information. Uncle Joe will inevitably stumble over an old box of papers in the attic next week, which may change something that has been accepted as fact for 100 years.

So this is why I say history is not static. It morphs and gyrates and hides itself from us, especially if we aren't looking in the right places.

Genealogical Hoarding

and money making...

For a year or so, while doing research on one of my lines, I found myself visiting libraries, courthouses, websites, and churches right behind another researcher. His name gave me a good clue as to what he was doing. Over that year I sent emails, left messages, sent notes trying to see if we could get together to share information. Not once did he acknowledge me in any way. About a year after my last email, I got an email from his family telling me he had published a book and asking if I wanted to put in an order.

There are others who don't want to share their work because they don't see the need to "help" people because they are afraid of people who "collect" genealogies rather than being serious researchers. Don't we all start as collectors?

I do not consider myself a serious researcher, more like a novice who knows the ins and outs of courthouse and library microfilm rooms. This site is not a serious publication. It is an attempt to make information on my family available - it is what it is and it is here, free of charge, free from pop-ups and banner ads. I will not try to sell you anything on this site.

Plagiarism or Free information?

I have had discussions with people who are excited that I have information up on my site and think, like me, it is great to have it available. I have also had discussions with people who think genealogical information posted to the web will just be plagiarized and stolen. I don't think it's so much that they don't want people to have their information available, I think it's more that they don't want people to steal the time and energy and money they have spent researching the information. I don't know how you separate the information, from the research work to generate the information.

Once the information has been compiled it takes a lot of work just to post the information. To give you an idea, it took me three weeks just to go through and check references and sources for some data recently submitted. It took two days - 10 hours each - to convert the footnotes for one essay into html (hyper text markup language). I could bore you with more but I think you get the idea.

Am I upset when I find my data and web postings being sold on CD on the web (I have never actually purchased any of those CD's but I doubt seriously they cite me or anyone else as a reference)? Not at this writing. I just shake my head and move on. I post with the knowledge that this is information and I feel it should be available to everyone. We should all be able to find our history and read it and have it. It would, however, be nice to have the source information carried with the information when it is taken. It would also be ethical.

Hearsay and Legend...

Hearsay: Unverified information heard or received from another; rumor.
Law Evidence based on the reports of others rather than the personal knowledge of a witness and therefore generally not admissible as testimony.

Legend: An unverified story handed down from earlier times, especially one popularly believed to be historical.
A body or collection of such stories.
A romanticized or popularized myth of modern times.

Definitions from The American Heritage Dictionary

When I decided I wanted to make it easier for my relatives to find their history, I talked to other family researchers. Most of them were polite, and patted my head in a way, and said, "that's nice". One family researcher was adamant that Genealogical information on the web was rife with hearsay and legend (if I remember the conversation correctly she said it was all hearsay). I asked her if she thought there was any good use for hearsay and legend she said no.

I have to say that during my trials and tribulations of research and compilation I have found legends and hearsay helpful in pointing me in a new direction in research. Sometimes these legends and hearsay lead to the right direction, sometimes to the wrong. Unfortunately not many people who have information online know enough to identify hearsay and legend. So when we stumble on to it we may spend more time on it than we should. I consider Hearsay and legend as markers in the road. If one chooses to follow one of these markers one may end up in an unexpected place and that should be expected.

I am currently working to make sure source information is included in all posts and anything I deem Hearsay will be flagged as such within this site.

A Note on Ethics in Genealogical Research
This site contains information which has been compiled from many sources. Some of the information is my own, however, other researchers have submitted information to me for posting. Information within this site is contextually posted - if you copy this information please verify the context, source, and permissions prior to republishing at any location.

Some serious articles on the subject:
A Note About Sources Restoring Ethics to Genealogy Roots Web's Guide to Tracing Family Trees
Why Bother? The Value of Documentation in Family History Research
INTERNET GENEALOGY - WHAT'S GOOD! WHAT'S NOT! Are You a Genealogist, or Just a Collector of Genealogy?" PILGRIMS, PIONEERS & ALIENS Skillbuilding Articles from the Board for Certification of Genealogists

All directions - MGaulden

All information is posted as is with the knowledge that this is a work in progress. Please email any corrections or additions to the address below. Additions and revisions underway.
A Note on Ethics in Genealogical Research

This site contains information which has been compiled from many sources. Some of the information is my own, however, other researchers have submitted information to me for posting. Information within this site is contextually posted - if you copy this information please verify the context, source, and permissions prior to republishing at any location. Further reading...



Cyndi's List   Family Search LDS   Social Security Search  
Genweb   US National Archives  


Bytown or Bust !   Library and Archives Canada - Genealogy Centre Database List  
Carlton County GENWEB   Social Security Search  
Canadian National Archives   Ottawa Branch Ontario Genealogical Society  
Granny's Genalogy Garden   The Shipslists  

If you have information to share or have an inquiry please contact me at

M G a u l d e n