Truth and Fiction

Not all sources are equal.  When my third grader started researching a project for school this year, she hadn’t learned much at school about getting information from trusted sources, like encyclopedias.  She was apt to blindly trust anything on the web.

In genealogy, often first we learn to cite our sources and then we learn to consider how trustworthy that information is likely to be.  Information from reliable witnesses is best.  Sometimes people lied on records, for a variety of reasons.  For example, some men during war time claimed they were older and eligible to serve, or a man or woman may have lied that they were unmarried and eligible to marry, or a man may have claimed he was younger to avoid the poll tax.  Some of my female ancestors aged in records slower than they should have.  Or maybe a child didn’t know where a parent was born and put a best guess on the death certificate.  We need to be skeptical, and not simply trust everything written.

April Fools Day is a great time to display our skills of being good genealogists.  If we generally approach information skeptically, we are less likely to fall for those trying to trick us.

In the spirit of knowing to check our sources and not trusting everything on the internet, my daughter had fun writing this paragraph here on the internet:


Bobcats can fly.  They can magically turn bright colors.  Their teeth are ten inches long.  They can breathe underwater.  They can see though walls.  They like to eat chicken nuggets and jello.  Bobcats are truly amazing.

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