Most of us come into genealogy with some preconceived notions about research. Those who are interested in improving their skills and being a responsible researcher soon learn there are fallacies we must discard. Below are five of those fallacies I have encountered.
1. Having high cheek bones indicates you are probably Native American. Wrong! Having Native American ancestry may be fashionable, but this belief is about as accurate as stating that having ten fingers means we can type.
2. Sharing a surname means we are related. Wrong! Some people really do believe this and gather names the same way we gather leaves in the fall. It doesn’t seem to matter that names may have been changed through the years. Sound research is the only way to know if we are or are not related.
3. Our southern ancestors all favored the Confederacy. Yep. Just like everyone who lived in the south lived on plantations and owned slaves. What about all those men who traveled north to enlist in a Union regiment? That’s what my coal miner/preacher Joyce ancestor from Tennessee did.
4. Our northern ancestors all favored the Union. You betcha! See No. 3. Many men living in southern Indiana and southern Illinois crossed the Ohio River to enlist in a CSA regiment in Kentucky. Living north of the Ohio River didn’t mean your heart wasn’t on the other side of the river.
5. Citing your sources really isn’t necessary. Wrong! Go on believing that and you will guarantee yourself a seat at the bottom of the genealogical researcher’s totem pole. Not citing your sources ranks up there with taking credit for material not your own. If the material did not originate with you, you can not take credit for it. Be a responsible researcher and give credit where it belongs.
Can you think of others?