Fake genealogy runs the gambit from fake coat of arms, fake family trees, fake documents, fake bible records, and fake inheritances to name a few.
We had a rare last name so back in 1974 when a company advertised to get your family coat-of-arms for the Manfroid name, my mother could not resist. Of course it is a fake (see picture). She realized it was fake soon after she got it, when she found that the company would make a coat of arms for any name. She was kind of interested in genealogy, but never got into it, and this was before I was interested. When I first started I made many mistakes, one was not citing my sources. When I learned the right way to do it, I had to go back and document everything. So one of the first things you should learn is cite your sources, cite your sources, cite your sources. I can’t say it enough after my experience of having to retrace my steps. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s way before the Internet, and before genealogy became a popular hobby. A girl in my class brought her family tree to school for show-and-tell. She was related to someone famous in American History. I remember being so impressed, I wanted to get our family tree done too. I went home and asked my mother if we could get ours done, and she said, “It’s too expensive.” Then later after I was married, a relative of my husbands showed me a family tree she had done on her father’s side (not related to my husband) and it went back to the Mayflower. I was again so impressed. Now it seems a lot of people are into searching for the ancestors and with the Internet it does make it easier, but you need to be careful. If you find your family tree on-line, check out their sources and make sure that they are correct and do belong to your ancestor, not someone else. Do not believe everything that is in print. There is a famous author of fake genealogies, Gustav Anjou. Many of his genealogies are online and in reputable libraries. Some fraudulent genealogists will connect you to royalty, someone famous, or the long-lost inheritance for the right price.
Some teachers in our area give an assignment to do a family tree to their students. I’ve had mothers come into the library to fill in a five generation pedigree chart for their kids, and expecting to find it all on-line. They may have one or two generations filled in and when they can’t find it online, they get all frustrated and say they are just going to make it up. I guess the more generations they fill in the better their grade. This assignment makes me so irate! The teacher has no idea how difficult it is to fill in complete five generation chart. Year after year they give this assignment, and I wish they would stop.
Doing genealogy right requires patience and time. Most of the time you search for hours, days, weeks, months, and years before you find your answer and that usually leads to another question and on and on it goes.That’s what makes it fun! No quick answers like on TV, sorry!
Copyright © 2012 Gail Grunst
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