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    Is Ancestry.com for real, or just a scam?

    Are ALL of the ancestors you find at Ancestry.com for real, or are the REALLY old ones (say, over 600 years or so) just a scam?

    I started subscribing to Ancestry.com a month ago, and I've already traced several branches of my family back A THOUSAND YEARS - and I haven't even reached the earliest traceable family members in many of those branches! Could this possibly be for real - or is Ancestry.com just scamming people with false ancestors to keep them subscribing?

    And are there any professional genealogists out there that would like to chime in on this?

    #2
    if you are using the Public Family Trees on ancestry ............... then you MUST be very careful!

    Ancestry is a well regarded site, although most of us use ancestry.co.uk, BUT many tree makers are only too glad to add any and all information that they can find without checking it out. Ancestry does not have any control over what people put on their trees, except to make sure that the names of living people are automatically changed to Private

    They take information from each other, or from the submitted genealogy on Family Search (the Mormon site)

    I would say it is not Ancestry scamming you ...... but you are not using the records, you are using other people's trees, and they are not to be trusted unless they provide the documentation. Even if they do provide the documentations, you MUST not add the information to your tree without tracing everything yourself, and getting all the proof yourself.


    Nobody has ever said that genealogy is easy, nor is it cheap.

    If you have got back 1000 years in only a month ............. you've been had by the people who have put up their Family Trees, not by ancestry
    Last edited by Sylvia C; 28-05-15, 03:42.
    My parents at my brother's wedding, March 1952

    Researching Cadd, Schofield, Cottrell in Lancashire, Buckinghamshire; Taylor, Park in Westmorland; Hayhurst in Yorkshire, Westmorland, Lancashire; Hughes, Roberts in Wales.

    Comment


      #3
      Adding to SC's comments I could give you a public tree of mine, and you could go back a thousand years in under a day, with nearly 60 thousand names on the tree.

      Go figure. As far as I am concerned most of the public trees are not worth the ink they were printed on, but the real stuff on Ancestry can be found in things

      like parish registers, war records etc etc.
      Whoever said Seek and Ye shall find was not a genealogist.

      David

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        #4
        Websites like Ancestry and others, which have the real records from the past have transformed family history research in recent years. If you are lucky you can do much of your research online but that depends on whether the records are available. For example if your ancestors come from West Yorkshire there are thousands of real parish record images to use.

        However, I think it is fair to say that the large majority of families cannot be traced back before 1600 if you are lucky and many cannot go back before 1800. Any tree you see on Ancestry which goes further back than that needs to be approached with extreme scepiscism and doubt.

        Anne

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          #5
          You haven't traced your family members, you have copied other people's trees and that is not research. All tree hosting sites have a wide selection of rubbish trees on them and that is because it is impossible for the host to verify every tree submitted to them.

          No professional genealogist would ever copy someone else's tree.

          OC

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Olde Crone Holden View Post
            You haven't traced your family members, you have copied other people's trees and that is not research. All tree hosting sites have a wide selection of rubbish trees on them and that is because it is impossible for the host to verify every tree submitted to them.

            No professional genealogist would ever copy someone else's tree.

            OC
            As a professional researcher - I would agree.

            I will look at on-line trees, and occasionally use them as "hints" for further research, but never accept any fact (without my own verification) or copy anything from them.
            Last edited by AntonyM; 28-05-15, 09:33.
            I am a professional researcher, and ex- deputy registrar, based in Buckinghamshire - please contact me for any help/advice or research via PM or my website www.chalfontresearch.co.uk
            Follow me on Twittter @ChalfontR

            Comment


              #7
              http://www.familytreeforum.com/conte...etting-Started

              Our reference library has an excellent how to Guide for people who are new to Family History research click on the link above in blue to read up on how to get started in researching your own family tree.

              Edna

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, I agree Antony. Online trees which are properly sourced can be a great time saver in finding the approriate records. I did find one recently which sourced an Ancestry collection I didn't even know existed ..... images of Gretna Green marriage records. I then always examine the image and related records and decide for myself if they refer to the correct oerson.
                Anne

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                  #9
                  On one line of my tree I can go back to 897 AD. This is a work in progress which has taken me more than 40 years. I do not claim it is correct but it is something I would LOVE to discuss and collaborate on with other people who may also have got back that far. However, I wouldn't dream of saying "This is my family tree" because there are many queries and imponderables on it. But it IS compiled from my original research, I haven't just scooped up someone else's tree.

                  Something I would say to beginners: If you haven't checked the primary sources, what makes you think that anyone else has? Only last week on another site, a member has queried the birth date of a very famous person. This birth date is all over the internet on some very learned sites (including the National Biography site) but our member has looked at the ORIGINAL record....and the internet date is wrong!

                  OC

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ha! Yes that happened with the only "Famous" person in our One Name Study. His date of birth was manipulated (probably by him) and is stated everywhere. However WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
                    Anne

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You need to do your own research - copying online trees isnt satisfying and often can be incorrect.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Also without the certificates you could go off on a tangent and research the wrong family as I did when I assumed I knew someone's father's name. You also have to start with yourself and get the certificates of your parents, grandparents etc. You never know what these might reveal - family secrets covered up, no marriage, 2nd marriages, adoption, changes of names, ages etc etc. Until you look you don't know for certain.

                        I pounced on the only family with the right surname on the census in a certain town - unfortunately my man had died young and his surname had been mis-spelt as was his family. The children of both families had the same or similar first names lol!!!

                        It was only when I got a marriage certificate that I found I'd wasted a lot of time, effort, money buying incorrect certificates and visiting at great distance records offices and trawling the wrong parish records.

                        If you want as accurate a tree as possible you have to confirm every detail.



                        Researching Irish families: FARMER, McBRIDE McQUADE, McQUAID, KIRK, SANDS/SANAHAN (Cork), BARR,

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Anne in Carlisle View Post
                          WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
                          Anne
                          Sometimes, not even a birth certificate can be trusted.

                          OH's g. father, whose birth in Drummanaught, Donegal was registered by his aunt as having taken place 15 Oct 1875, was, confusingly, baptized in Letterkenny, Donegal 22 July 1875. The same aunt was also responsible for registering the birth of a niece, both registrations being lodged 18th Oct 1875.

                          Grandfather's birthday was celebrated within the family in July. When I queried the discrepancy with Donegal Ancestry, I was told "it was a requirement to register full details of a child's birth within 21 days. Failure to do so invoked a fine and in rural areas particularly, the 21 day deadline for registering births was frequently disregarded. In order to avoid payment of the fine the dates of birth were adjusted to comply with the deadline. Where Church records give the dates of birth these are generally more accurate than those given in civil records, however, variations of up to nine months can occur."

                          I imagine aunty had to make a special journey in from the farm to the local district registration office and decided to make one trip serve two births.

                          Beverley



                          Comment


                            #14
                            My mother's birth surname was Abel (all blonde and blue-eyed, no hint of any gene pool other than Anglo-Saxon.) I found a couple of online trees which started with one of her cousins and took me back through Plantagenet monarchs, biblical times and eventually to the very first Abel, son of Adam and Eve. It even went from Adam to dust, to God.
                            Absolute rubbish, but I kept on having uncontrollable laughing fits for several days. :D:D

                            Jay
                            Janet in Yorkshire



                            Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Macbev View Post
                              Sometimes, not even a birth certificate can be trusted.

                              OH's g. father, whose birth in Drummanaught, Donegal was registered by his aunt as having taken place 15 Oct 1875, was, confusingly, baptized in Letterkenny, Donegal 22 July 1875. The same aunt was also responsible for registering the birth of a niece, both registrations being lodged 18th Oct 1875.

                              Grandfather's birthday was celebrated within the family in July. When I queried the discrepancy with Donegal Ancestry, I was told "it was a requirement to register full details of a child's birth within 21 days. Failure to do so invoked a fine and in rural areas particularly, the 21 day deadline for registering births was frequently disregarded. In order to avoid payment of the fine the dates of birth were adjusted to comply with the deadline. Where Church records give the dates of birth these are generally more accurate than those given in civil records, however, variations of up to nine months can occur."

                              I imagine aunty had to make a special journey in from the farm to the local district registration office and decided to make one trip serve two births.
                              My grandfather's birth was registered by his mother and the certificate issued on 24 December 1867. (Christmas Eve)
                              The registrar recorded the date of birth as 25 December 1867 (the day following the registration of the event.) As we all know, registrations cannot be done in advance, LOL. The copy cert I have is a photocopy of the hand-written entry, held by the GRO.
                              Perhaps I should write to the local office and ask the superintendent registrar if there is also an error on their record, or whether it occurred during a copying out process.

                              Jay
                              Last edited by Janet in Yorkshire; 28-05-15, 15:21.
                              Janet in Yorkshire



                              Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Janet in Yorkshire View Post
                                My grandfather's birth was registered by his mother and the certificate issued on 24 December 1867. (Christmas Eve)
                                The registrar recorded the date of birth as 25 December 1867 (the day following the registration of the event.) As we all know, registrations cannot be done in advance, LOL. The copy cert I have is a photocopy of the hand-written entry, held by the GRO.
                                Perhaps I should write to the local office and ask the superintendent registrar if there is also an error on their record, or whether it occurred during a copying out process.

                                Jay
                                As you say, the GRO certificate is a copy of a copy - as they always are.

                                The only primary source is the original register entry held by the local registrar - a certificate issued from there may well be different.
                                I am a professional researcher, and ex- deputy registrar, based in Buckinghamshire - please contact me for any help/advice or research via PM or my website www.chalfontresearch.co.uk
                                Follow me on Twittter @ChalfontR

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Nothing is absolutely certain in family history. There are only degrees of probability. Even if you have DNA tests against your parents which match this still leaves the possibility that you are in fact the child of an undisclosed identical twin of one of them. The further back you go the more likely that the "facts" you discover are actually false. The skeleton thought to be of Richard III does not match the DNA of a living descendant, indicating that they have either got the wrong body, or, more likely, there has been a NPE in the ancestry of that descendant. Research using mass DNA screening has suggested that a large number of people, maybe a million or so in the UK, are not related to the man they thought was their father. A smaller number, but still thousands, are not related to the person they thought was their mother. And this is without all the possibilities of documentation error.
                                  It is nevertheless an adictive and fascinating hobby, but nobody should be under the illusion that their research is 100% reliable.
                                  Last edited by webwiz; 28-05-15, 17:10.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Helping a friend whose grandmother had had to send away for her birth cert in order to get a widow's pension but had been surprised to find she appeared to be four years OLDER than she had always thought AND had a middle name she didn't know she had.........long story short, but the GRO had looked for a birth with the parents' names she had given and come up with one in 1899. Unfortunately, that child had died as an infant and my friend's gran was born four years after that and named afted the dead sister! The gran never knew because both her parents died when she was very young and the subject never came up I suppose.

                                    So....4 years extra pension lol and a beautiful headstone that was four years out!

                                    Three pieces of evidence, say SoG. Not always possible of course, but the more evidence you have, the stronger the "facts" become.

                                    OC

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Webwiz

                                      You posted as I posted.

                                      I wouldn't ever rely on DNA testing and certainly not as you have laid it out. One VERY famous case where the mother was "proved" not to be who everyone thought she was, was that of Prince Philip who appeared not to be his mother's natural child. OK, anyone fancy telling him that? So they did more work and discovered (eventually) that a rare, but not unknown, change had taken place in the mtDNA and that is why it LOOKED as if he wasn't his mother's child.

                                      DNA is still in its infancy and I would not want to go around ruining people's lives by telling them they weren't biologically who they thought they were, just by using a crude and ill-understood tool. The "one million" with the wrong fathers is, to my mind, that old atavistic male fear that they are being palmed off with another man's child - all women being sl*ts of course. Also - many men are quite aware they are not the father of a child but are very happy to take on that child as their own. It doesn't mean they are being fooled or misled. It MIGHT mean - oh, heaven forfend! - that the science is wrong!

                                      OC

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Anne in Carlisle View Post
                                        Ha! Yes that happened with the only "Famous" person in our One Name Study. His date of birth was manipulated (probably by him) and is stated everywhere. However WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
                                        Anne


                                        Not really a comment related to the original post, but a neighbour I went to school with and was in the same year, is now in showbiz and is suddenly 14 years younger than me!

                                        As for distant ancestry, I am stuck around the 1750's, I could speculate but most of the fun in family history research is the Inspector Morse type of clue gathering and the occasional reward from these.

                                        You can pick an awful lot of data regarding dates etc, but really the most satisfying part of this hobby building a picture of their life. One of my recent precious finds, is a photo of some graffiti that an ancestors left in a chapel which is now in private ownership and was kindly shared with me by them. This would date to the early 1800's.
                                        Bubblebelle x

                                        FAMILY INTERESTS: Pitts of Sherborne Gloucs. Deaney (Bucks). Pye of Kent. Randolph of Lydd, Kent. Youell of Norfolk and Suffolk. Howe of Lampton. Carden of Bucks.

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