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Common Genealogy Mistakes

At GenealogyInTime Magazine, we notice people keep making the same mistakes when building their family tree. So we decided to put together an article that pokes fun at how not to build a family tree. Take our test and see if you can recognize all the subtle and not-so-subtle mistakes.

Want to discover your family roots, but don’t have enough time or resources to spend months or even years tracking down your ancestors? Who does? Use our concise 15-point plan listed below and we guarantee that you will have a great family tree built in no time. Honest.

Warning: do not use this advice. The completed family tree may not be your own. It may contain errors. The contents may not suitable for presentation to small children or anyone with a bit of common sense. When in doubt, please consult a qualified genealogist.

Here is how to go about building a family tree:

1. Forget Your Family - Don’t bother talking to your relatives. It takes too much time to track them all down. Besides, most of them won’t be helpful. It’s not like your relatives knew your ancestors.

2. Jump On the Internet - Isn’t it obvious? The internet is the future. Everything is on the internet, including information about your ancestors. You just have to know where to look. Let the internet do the hard work for you. Why waste your valuable time poking around dusty old archives. It will just make you sneeze anyways.

“The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.” – William Gibson

3. Trust the Internet - If it is on the internet, it must be true. Take Wikipedia. Everything on Wikipedia is true. Well, the same can be said of genealogy records. Why would anyone make up a genealogy record?

4. You are Related to People Who Have the Same Family Name - People with the same last name are related to you. Did you know that? Everyone in your family has the same last name right? Therefore, everyone with the same last name must be in your family. You just have to take your family tree back far enough to realize it.

“My mother loved children – she would have given anything if I had been one.” – Groucho Marx

5. You Have Royalty in Your Family - Most people can trace their family back to Europe. Everyone knows that Europe was once ruled by kings and queens. Royal families always produced lots of offspring. Your family must have also produced lots of offspring or else you wouldn’t be here today. Therefore, you must be descended from royalty.

6. Everyone Does Genealogy - Need we say it? Even Santa Clause does genealogy, as you can see from the short video below.

7. Family Trees Can Go Back 1,000 Years - Coming from royalty, you can trace your family tree back at least 1,000 years. How? Everyone knows that royal families kept good records and constructed elaborate family trees. Once you establish your royal connection, you can use the royal family tree to go back several hundred more years.

“Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.” – Pancho Villa


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