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A few words about the accuracy of the information on this website.

Every so often, the quality of the information contained on this site has been called into question. I can state that, in all fairness, my information is only as accurate as my sources, and is related impartially. Some ancestors may have been involved in activities that we today would find reprehensible. But history is what it is, and I have included some of it on the site, warts and all. We cannot change events in the past, but we can certainly learn from them. If you believe I have portrayed one of your ancestors unfairly or inaccurately, please let me know. He or she may be my ancestor as well.
There are a few other things I wanted to mention regarding the information contained here.


Facts cannot be copyrighted.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.
I have been accused on more than one occasion of "stealing" information from other genealogy researchers and websites. The names, places, dates, and events listed in the public records of local governments and churches are FACTS. Legally, facts cannot be copyrighted, and no one can own them. Because of open records provisions granted to us by our government, we have the right to access facts from public records, wherever they are. Just because I have some of the same facts as another researcher, it doesn't prove he was the source of my information. If the information in question was not provided voluntarily by a fellow researcher, then I found it in the same place as everyone else – public records. And as long as the information is in the public domain, no one can legally prevent anyone else from posting it here on the internet. Ethical considerations should be accounted for, though. Information about living persons should never be posted on the internet, with or without their permission.
When you see the copyright symbol "©" anywhere on this site, it is protecting the website design and original content.
For more information regarding public domain and copyright laws, refer to the following website:
Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, Cornell University
http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm


Information is only as accurate as the person recording it.

We are all human, and tend to make mistakes from time to time. This includes church officials, municipal clerks, census enumerators, headstone engravers, and, believe it or not – professional genealogists. Just because it says so in the "official" records, doesn't necessarily mean it is true. All to often we blindly accept these records as completely accurate. My advice is: be a little bit skeptical. I learned this lesson many times, most recently in the 1930 Census, which listed my mother as a "male child."
If you notice an error on this site, please point it out to me. You won't hurt my feelings. In the words of Mark Twain (or Will Rogers), "Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see."
I do not post my genealogy research on sites such as WorldConnect for many reasons, the most important of which is control of accuracy. I have visited many databases on WorldConnect and seen information that was lifted from my site years ago, word for word, with no citations. That really doesn't bother me. But a lot of this information is old, incorrect or incomplete, and it certainly confuses other researchers when they can't figure out whose information is most current and accurate. Some researchers on WorldConnect have posted multiple databases with conflicting information.
I have only one database, and strive to update/correct the data in my online 'family tree' about once a month.


Don't rely on secondary sources?

This is what we are told by professional genealogists. Secondary sources are, by definition, "records or statements of an event or circumstance made by a non-eyewitness or by someone not closely connected with the event or circumstances, recorded or stated verbally either at or sometime after the event, or by an eye-witness at a time after the event when the fallibility of memory is an important factor." This also refers to what we call "second-hand" information. Sometimes, secondary sources are all we have for gathering our family history. So, don't discredit Great-Grandma's stories about the family until you can prove her wrong. For more information, please refer to the definition of primary and secondary sources on Wikipedia.


Protect the rights of the living.

Identity theft is a legitimate concern for most people. Accordingly, I will not knowingly post personal information about any living individuals. Should you find sensitive personal information anywhere on the site about yourself or any of your living relatives, please notify me and it will be removed.
For more information on preventing identity theft or what to do if you suspect you are a victim, check the following sites:

Federal Trade Commission:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft

Better Business Bureau:
http://www.bbb.org/us/Dispute-Resolution-Services/Identity-Theft-Resources


Give credit where credit is due.

When I post information gathered from primary and secondary sources, the source is cited accordingly. I urge other genealogy researchers to do the same. Why? Read this article by Mark Howells on the reasons for and benefits of citing genealogical sources.


A debt of gratitude owed.

Many people have freely shared their family history with me, and given permission to post it on this web site. Without their help, it might not be available to others interested in genealogy research. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.


Updated 18 June 2013 by Joe Defazio  

Uncle Joe's Genealogy