Pay Attention When You Work on Your Family Tree

Have you ever come across a family tree in one of your hints and say “Yippie look at all the records and names and people” and …

Oh, wait what is this? Who created this tree?

This is one of the many reasons I never accept another tree when it is presented to me in a hint.

The last thing I want to do, is bring in bad information.

I am sure you already noticed that the dates on this persons profile page do not make sense.

When you are working on your tree, pay attention to the details.

Do the dates make sense?

Do the locations make sense?

I once came across a tree that had the man born in the USA, but at age three he came over from Germany with his parents and settled in Virginia but five years later the profile page had him in the military… He would have been 8 years old and he enlisted from Maine. The names were all the same but common sense should have told the tree owner that the records he/she put on the tree were wrong.

Pay attention to your work because you are doing this work for hundreds of other people who will look at you tree and accept what you put down as the true information. What you put on your tree reflects back on you.

Try not to create a tree with no sources. Yes, you have a lot of names and dates and your aunt told you such and such but please don’t just put the info on the tree without some source. Something to back up your information.

Yes, you can trace your family all the way back to Noah because that is what your family lore tells you, but can you prove it?

Having a huge 34,862 people tree is no good if the information on the tree is wrong or missing; names of people means nothing if there is no data behind the name.

Where did you get that birth date for great great great aunt Millicent? Do you have a record to prove it?

It is no good if all you can point to is another person’s tree, or two or three other trees, who have the same information.

Oh, you got the information off of the FindAGrave site and so it must be correct.

NO! Someone created that FindAGrave page and who knows where they got the information.

Pay attention, check and recheck your work and if in doubt don’t include it on the tree.

You can keep a folder for the tree or the branch or the family, where you store all the “maybe” files.

I keep a folder for my possible people and put anyone there that might fit into the tree but not yet.

And finally don’t put UNK in place of a name or date or place… yes it is a good way to keep track of what you’ve looked for but it makes for a messy tree. Find some other way to keep track of your work.

Yes, it is your tree to do with what you want, but someone will come along after you are long gone and they will have to work with the tree you created and left for them. Think about them when you are putting stuff on your tree.

and this is the real finally… just pay attention and use some common sense.


I hope these thoughts have given you something to think about, as you work on your tree.

Thank You

Stay Safe.

Jose A Munoz from Clarkston, Michigan, USA

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