My latest madness caused by an ancestor is my great-great grandfather named James L. Clawson Jr.
My madness comes from the mass amounts of unsourced and misinformation that is on the web for this line. My main frustration is that I have contributed to this misinformation before and despite my best effots to try and fix my newbie mistakes, I know that I will never be able to fully correct everything.
When I first began my research, this was a line that I commonly researched. I loved how easy it was to copy and paste information from other trees in Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. I was copying and pasting faster than I could keep up with and I never checked for sources. I rarely gave credit to the tree that I gained the information from. I didn’t look at the information to see if it even made sense (a lot of did not). To rub salt into the wound, I began spreading this incorrect information all over the web – in fact, I was posting my family tree anywhere I could put it.
So last year, when I started my family tree from scratch (in order to make sure my research would be fully sourced and as complete as possible), I was forced to become face to face with a lot of my misinformation. While I’ve been posting the correct information that I’ve found thus far (and always including my sources), I still have a long way to go.
Just yesterday, I messaged 7 people through Ancestry.com about James L. Clawson Jr. I asked questions about the sources that people had to support a specific fact or event. I got my first response late last night. That response outlined an old tree that I had submitted to FamilySearch – and oh was it was full of incorrect information.
To be honest (and this is a bit embarrassing to admit), I almost cried in frustration. I know that I spent the first 5 years of my genealogy experience copying and spreading wrong information that was nearly completely unsourced. Yet, despite my best efforts over the last year to correct my wrongs, I haven’t even made a dent.
So I replied to the first response and included the correct information, along with source citations for what I have. I also apologized for the wrong information that I had previously posted. I then offered to send him a .pdf file that includes what I have on the line if he wanted to provide his email.
So in my quest to find more information (that is correct and sourced) about my great-great grandfather, I am also on a quest to correct the misinformation out there. Oh it is going to be a looooooooong quest.
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