Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fool Me Once...

Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of shutting down a lazy genealogist who "claimed" my historical information was theirs. That person does not show up on my cousins list in Ancestry or 23andMe. They also never bothered to identify which of my ancestors was their common relative. When I asked for confirmation, I received a vague response that proved to me that this person does not know what they are doing.

I have some very common surnames in my tree. When I first started doing family research, I made those same amateur genealogist mistakes such as claiming everyone with the same surname as "family" and adding a bunch of those incorrect people in my tree on Ancestry's website that remained public for years. A lot of people shared that information to their trees. My tree is still a "work in progress." I make new discoveries on a regular basis and blog about corrections to those past mistakes. Now that my tree is private, I have spent the last few years sending messages informing everyone that their tree has errors in it. On occasion, I get an email criticizing me for what I have done. A lot of those mistakes are still out there in the public tree area of Ancestry's website. To that end, I am sorry.

One of my major mistakes occurred when I "claimed" the Young/Demery family documented in the freeafricanamericans.com as my own. Several years ago, I tried to jump my brick wall by adding my known ancestors to their tree. Their SC Youngs were not in the same county as mine but I didn't care. I contacted a supposed Young/Demery descendant to find out more about the family. I sent money to this person to get a CD that allegedly contained data that wasn't included on the website. I never received this disk. After a few months, I googled this person and found his criminal record for being a drug addict as well as a hustler. From that moment, I learned my lesson to DO MY OWN RESEARCH and prove it with DNA and documentation. It must have been some very good crack he smoked that day with MY MONEY! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, never again! 

The main reason I write this blog is not just to share my family stories but to help others by giving advice and directions on finding those lost relatives. I have assisted people in breaking down brick walls in their trees that were not related to me. I have no problem doing that but I don't have all the answers. I am no expert and I am still learning something new every day. I just don't want you to make the same mistakes I have made in my research.


  1. Hip Hip Hooray! Well Said Mr. Young

  2. Doing your own research is the only way to go!

  3. Great post! Let the truth be told, so true Wayne. My advice to new historians is not to take information from public trees without researching where the info came from.