We check all 'facts' by ensuring there are at least two verified links.  For example a birth is discovered several generations back on a database which seems to have the right age.  Are the father and mother's names correct ?  Are there corroborating facts such as the correct address, profession of father, area, religion, address  ?  Examples of inaccuracy, even of official documents, are given below.


Death Certificates


Marriage Certificates


Birth Certificates


Other documents



Death certificates are notoriously unreliable as to age as they are a long way from being contemporary evidence and in many cases the information is provided by well meaning people who actually 'think' they know but don't.  What if the subject lied or just didn't know the truth ?  In the 19th century many from Ireland didn't actually know as they were illiterate, had no certificates and in some cases were escaping misdemeanours.


Marriage certificates can equally be unreliable as to ages and dates of birth as they can be based on hearsay evidence from the parties - who again may not actually know, or want to admit the truth as has been the case with men marrying younger or pregnant women.

Birth certificates are the most accurate documents as the registration is generally made closely after the time of birth by those who know the facts.  However, even these can be misleading if the parents are not married - or - in the case of 19th century Ireland, if registration is made by illiterate parents well after the birth.

Land titles, wills, shipping lists, immigration records, medical records, colonial records, court and police documents, military and government records and other lists and records can provide direct and ancillary information as can newspapers and journals.  Family letters and bibles, photographs and documents are all extremely valuable as source or corroborative information and all these must be used to verify initial or other source data.

Verification, to eliminate incorrect information about direct relatives - or even the inclusion of unrelated parties is imperative and can be made by checking multiple sources such as church and state records, family documents such as bibles, letters and legend, newspapers, wills and journals - ensuring there are unbroken relationships from one generation to another.

WARNING:  There are organisations, websites and individuals offering relatively inexpensive information, swearing it to be true and relevant, from family names and coats of arms to histories going back hundreds of years.  Without verification that connects YOUR family, IT IS USELESS.