Saturday, April 25, 2009

IGI and Research

My aunt did a lot of genealogy work some 40 to 50 years ago. Now as I build onto the tree I can see some of the mistakes. She connected with cousins in England and Australia. It was through correspondence that she obtained much of her information. Back then there was no internet or computers. The latest England census to be released was 1871 and there were no indexes. Those mistakes which seem so obvious today were not so obvious 50 years ago. One particular mistake that I find is that many people who were not born in Badingham are recorded as being born there. That is where the family had lived a generation prior. One family who lived in London has all the children as being born in Badingham. I’ve even seen a few people created out of thin air.

I can now go through and correct all the mistakes except in a couple places. The IGI is set in stone. Therein lies the comments that I have heard about the IGI being unreliable. A distinction needs to be made between member submissions and the record extractions. Any member submission should be verified with a record. That should be a lesson for us today. We better have a record to substantiate a claim. Our mistakes may outlive us and perhaps many generations to come.

Those of us who research on a regular basis know the differences but the casual researcher may not catch on so easily and repeat those errors over again. If no record can be found it may not be best to publish it where it cannot be so easily changed. The IGI is a place to put your names if you want your names to be known for generations to come. The larger it gets the more value it has to the genealogist.

Prior to 1991 there are IGI submission forms that have been microfilmed. These forms tell you who submitted the information and sometimes even sources of information.

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