Stupidest Genealogy Moves

The other day I read an article on entitled, “Your Stupidest Money Moves.” This article offers tips for how to avoid major financial flubs and includes some confessions from readers admitting their own critical mistakes. After reading this piece, I thought how this could possibly be applied to genealogical research.

Have you ever spent months (years???) researching a specific surname, only to find you were chasing down the wrong family line? Did you ever order the wrong microfilms from the Family History Library? Or perhaps you overlooked a key detail in a vital or census record that may have saved you hours of research time?

Now it may be that you’re such a meticulous researcher that you don’t make mistakes. If so, congratulations. And, can you tell me, “What’s your secret?”

I am ready to confess some of my own “genealogical missteps,” and in the 16 years I’ve been an avid researcher, I’ve made plenty of them. For example, I was once so convinced an ancestor came to America via Ellis Island that I spent a year searching the online database, only to finally discover she actually arrived through the port of Baltimore. Another mistake I made more recently was searching for a paternal ancestor’s burial plot in one cemetery (based on family and obituary information) but then discovering he was buried in another (after eventually tracking down his death certificate).

If you feel like fessing up to some of your own genealogical research mistakes, dumb moves, regrets, etc., I would like to hear from you. Feel free to post comments on this blog (if you’re not shy) or click here to share them with me via e-mail. I may use some of them in a future post or article.

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