Don’t let your family tree fall victim to diseased records. Our family tree doctor will show you how to recognize sick sources and prevent them from infecting your research.
I’m a family tree doctor. Some might call me an editor or a proofreader of genealogies, but what I’m actually doing is diagnosing diseased family trees. Here are some of the ills I’ve seen: A woman in her 70s having babies. A man getting married at age 9. Twins born in different counties. A baby who came into the world 10 years after his mother died. Siblings who were born only three months apart. And one man married to two (or more) women at the same time. (Well, OK. Sometimes that really does happen.)
As a tree doctor, my job is to ensure that these diseased genealogies get the proper treatment so family historians can learn the truth about their ancestors—and so the infections don’t spread to other researchers’ trees.
But it’s not just genealogical trunks, branches and leaves that harbor diseases. The roots of our research—the records we use as sources—also might contain ailments. Not to worry: The cure isn’t complicated. All it takes to thwart the spread of common maladies into your family tree is an ounce of prevention. By learning how to spot nine sicknesses in genealogical resources, you can avoid contaminating your family tree. Consider this your bulletin from the Genealogical Centers for Disease Control.