Now What: Verifying Research

Now What: Verifying Research

What's the best way to verify someone else's research?

Q. What’s the best way to assemble and verify family history research conducted by another family member?

A. If your family researcher recorded her finds in genealogy software, start by getting an exported GEDCOM file of those pedigrees; you can then import the GEDCOM into your own program and begin verifying data and recording sources. Initially, you’ll want to create a new source just for this imported research, such as: “Louise Harrison Smith, Research Paper, 1-14-1998, Harrison Family and Related Families.” That way, you can easily identify information for which you have only your relative’s say-so.

If your relative cites sources, you should start with those. If not, begin with the most recent unverified data and work backward from there, one family line at a time. Use your relative’s data as clues, but be prepared for surprises and errors. Make sure to record your own sources as you prove or disprove these pedigrees. You may also want to start a series of files to organize your research; these can start out as simply as one manila folder for each surname, though later you may need to subdivide by family groups and/or geography (“Harrison: Vermont”).


From the December 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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