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Trying to find ancestor

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Simon Report 11 Nov 2002 10:07

Fot Stephen Pankhurst and Jaqueline PLummer and anyone else who may be interested.... I have nothing against GenesConnected per se, and I have already stated elsewhere that I think FriendsReunited is superb. What FriendsReunited did was to provide people with something that they had been looking for and then implement the idea in a very good way. And that way they achieved their much deserved success. I've used it myself and made contact with people, some of whom I hadn't seen since I was seven years old (I'm now in my forties). The problem that I find with GenesConnected is that it has entered a very competitive area - there are countless websites doing a similar thing. So for GenesConnected to be as successful with this venture as they have been with the other one, they have to be offering something above and beyond the competition - ie, do it better. And at the present time (and, yes, I know its only been going for a few days - but I'm sure the planning and research stage much much longer than that) it doesn't offer anything over and above many of the others. It does have two advantages over some of the rest: 1) Its Free and 2) It has a large ready made audience. Getting people interested in these things is great. But if its to be done, it should be done properly. One of the issues I raised previously, is that the impression is given that it is easy (often it isn't), that all the answers are on the internet (most times they aren't). But foremost in my mind is accuracy. For example, in a previous posting I mentioned my Great Aunt Gladys Gumtree. I don't know exactly when she was born, but the 1901 census that I checked (not the transcription) shows here age as 26 - at least thats what the person giving the information at the time thought. So I will check the GRO Birth records for 1873 to 1878 and see if I find her there. If I do and I get the certificate it will show me her date of birth etc etc. I will consider this as accurate information because it is a contempory source. If, on the other hand, I found Gladys Gumtree on GenesConnected as research by someone else unknown to me, then how accurate should I consider that information ? Where did it come from ? Did it come from a contemporary source or from some other record many years later (perhaps her Death certificate where the informant thought she was 82, or was it 85)? Will that be accurate ? The thing is, there is a lot more to genealogy than just collecting names and dates. You have to be SURE of your information. Gladys Gumtree is easy, there aren't too many of them around. But suppose her name had been Joan Smith - which one? The one born in Septemer 1874, the three that were born in December 1874? the 23 Joan Smiths born in 1875 ?? There is no reason why GenesConnect can not be a terrific success, but I am concerned that as it exists at present, it will just end up creating another database of 'trees' that are inaccurate and therefore not worth a thing. Be accurate, check the sources, record the sources, don't take everything at face value. Best Wishes, Simon.