The plethora of online trees available trees makes has been a boon to genealogical research. It also makes pedigree analysis more important than ever. Pedigree analysis involves examining the information on your ancestry to ensure that your information is as accurate as possible. Follow these four steps any time you add new information to your family tree, and it doesn’t hurt to go back and review periodically.
1. Does the Chronology Work?
Are there any obvious problems with the chronology? Are there women giving birth at age 80? Are men fathering children at age 6? Is anyone born 20 years before their grandparents? You would be surprised at the strange information that creeps in if you don’t pay careful enough attention. Check periodically that there are no obvious chronological errors.
2. Do the Dates and Places Make Sense?
Chronology alone isn’t enough. Examine the dates in the context of the places. It is physically impossible for someone to be in two places at once. Prior to the late-nineteenth century, families did not usually travel widely back and forth. Migration usually went west from the east coast. Finding children born every other year in Massachusetts, then Iowa, then New York was not something one would find happening in 1840. Be certain that the information is likely or even possible!
3. Do the Names Agree?
Be very careful that you have the right names. This is especially important with wives/mothers. If the names of mothers of mothers do not agree in the birth records for all of the children, you need to check to make sure there aren’t two men in town with the same name wife wives who have different names. Or one man who had two different wives. You might even have a woman with multiple forenames the she used alternately.
4. Is the Evidence Sufficient?
Have you done a reasonably exhaustive search? A reasonably exhaustive search means that you have examined all of the available resources for the information. This does not mean you have only looked for records on the internet. Have you also looked to see if microfilms of original records are available? Have you also checked with the town or county to see what records might be there that have never been microfilmed, digitized, or transcribed? Don’t limit your search, or you may miss valuable information that will help you solve your research problems.