An endangered species

Do you check your data sources?

Do you try to verify them against primary sources, or at least against reliable transcriptions?

Do you allow other people to add their own data to your website? If so do you perform any checks, or do you just give them a free run?

One of us recently googled an 18th-century person she was researching, and was gratified to find several references to him, all of them including a piece about the circumstances of his sudden death. What was the origin of this snippet, she wondered? She contacted all the sites that quoted the story, all of them in exactly the same words. None of them knew where it came from. One, whose website looks admirably researched and presented, said ‘The entire branch data came to me electronically… I have no clue as to the source’.

We are left wondering if the snippet was authentic or not. And, more to the point, we’re flabbergasted that people would allow strangers just to add data wholesale to their own websites.

It sounds almost as bad as people pirating data wholesale from other people’s websites – which is where the Genealogy Quality Code started.

Someone stand up for clean, properly-checked data!

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