DIY Genealogy Report – Verifying Information for Your DIY Genealogy Report

For your DIY genealogy report to have any real value, the information it contains must be extremely accurate. To ensure this, each bit of information that you enter into it must be absolutely verified with official sources. No matter how much someone insists that what they have told you is completely true or precise, it’s important that you cross-reference the information with other family members and any documentation you can find before placing it into your DIY genealogy report.

How to Verify Data for your DIY Genealogy Report

The information you get from family members during your DIY genealogy project is vital to its success, but be cautious of accepting everything you’re told as fact. Oral histories are especially susceptible to embellishment; a few colourful facts cast in to enhance the story of a relative may seem harmless to the person telling it, but it is detrimental to a DIY genealogy report.

Confirm any information you get this way with as many other family members as you can, especially if coming from older relatives. Memories fade over time, so different individuals may give different accounts of the same events. Of course official documents are the best method of confirmation, so check newspapers from the area where the story originated for corroborating reports.

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Another important point to remember is that the names of ancestors given by living relatives may not be the same as the name they were christened and registered with. For example, an ancestor may have been known casually as Hank, but his real name was Henry. Watch out for such things when compiling DIY genealogy reports, they happen frequently and have stalled many genealogical studies.

Another obstacle you may encounter is that of "false" relationships. A person may be known as aunt this or uncle that, only to have earned the title through close relationships with family members. I remember that I was taught to address older cousins as uncle, which can be confusing if composing a DIY genealogy report. Gather specifics as to how each person is related to you in order to avoid following false trails.

Look for Clues During Your DIY Genealogy Report

Once you have accumulated as many names, dates and places as possible from living ancestors, it’s important to begin looking for physical evidence to verify that data. It can be hidden anywhere, from inside family bibles, in old boxes kept in a cellar or an attic, even family "junk" drawers (you know the kind where you throw in anything that doesn’t have a designated home!) can contain genealogical treasure. You’ll need to search a wide variety of material, so don’t be afraid to ask other relatives to join in and search their own homes for anything that might contribute to your DIY genealogy report. Army medals, wedding albums, family heirlooms and photos can all yield clues which can aid in searching ancestors.

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Use Official Documents to Verify Data in Your DIY Genealogy Report

Using official documentation such as BDM (birth, death or marriage) certificates and Baptismal Reports is critical to confirming the data in a DIY genealogy report. These will absolutely confirm any info imparted to you by relatives or close family friends, and can also save you time and money along the way.

Existing copies of such documents can save you the trouble and expense of obtaining new copies, and don’t overlook such things as title deeds, wills and probate records, and other legal documents.

If you encounter a problem sourcing official records, newspapers can reveal much about your ancestors, especially obituaries. If you are searching ancestors who are deceased during your DIY genealogy report, an obituary can give you an age, and hence lead you to locating a birth certificate or census records. Wedding announcements are also a popular source of genealogical info, and sometimes they have been clipped out and stored in a relative’s scrapbook or photo album.

Leave no stone unturned when compiling a DIY genealogy report. You’d be surprised where vital information may come from. Keep a look out for precious clues which can lead you further in your search, and make sure any data is confirmed before entering it into a DIY genealogy report.

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