What a rookie mistake I made with last week’s post about Gerald George! It’s tempting to delete it but just in case someone who is learning how to “do genealogy” is reading this blog – I want to use my mistake as an example of why you can never be too careful when following those “shaking leaf hints” on Ancestry.com. (And for all my George relatives who haven’t responded to my question about which person in the photo looks like “Gerald George” because none of them do – right you are!)
It can be frustrating when your search for a relative doesn’t generate anything beyond an indexed birth record and a few newspaper articles that indicate a family relationship. It can be tempting to grasp for whatever “hint” appears without following the most important rule of analyzing all sources.
So even though Ancestry.com generates a “hint” that a picture of Gerald George is in the Lincoln High School Yearbook in 1951, and even though the relative you’re searching for was in high school in 1951, and even though Ancestry.com identifies a yearbook as being from Lincoln High School in Midland PA – don’t accept that information as true until you’ve carefully analyzed your sources.
You’d be surprised at the number of indexing mistakes I’ve found on Ancestry.com so I should have examined things more closely before making my post last week. There are indexing mistakes in the way newspapers are referenced (the New Castle News is off by a month), indexing mistakes that put the wrong header at the top of record and indexing mistakes that result in a yearbook from Vincennes, Indiana being identified as a yearbook from Midland, Pennsylvania.So imagine my surprise today when I decided to examine the yearbook more closely to see if I could find another picture of Gerald George. I started scrolling from page 1 of the document and look what I found at page 4.
OH GOOD GRIEF !!!
So it’s back to the drawing board of methodically sifting through what we know and don’t know about Frank George and his son Gerald George. But first I need to delete this information from the George family tree on Ancestry.com so that others don’t repeat the same mistake I made. And then I need to “report” the mistake to Ancestry so they can index the record properly. Just think how happy all the people searching for relatives from Vincennes, Indiana will be when they get a shaking leaf hint on Ancestry.com!
So be sure to check your sources and don’t get taken in by the “shaking leaf.” Of course, if you do have relative named Gerald George who lived in Vincennes Indiana in 1951 – you might want to take a look at my earlier post because I may have found a picture of your relative!