Documentation and Standards of Quality

The policy of The Reeves Project Tiki is that only information citing reliable sources may be posted and that claims of relationships between generations must be supported by sound evidence.

Documentation of Sources

Genealogical information comes from a wide variety of sources ranging from original documents to personal records to interviews with family members. Regardless of the type of record, however, the source must be documented by providing a description or citation of the origin of the information. Unreferenced posting may be removed from the Tiki.

Members are also encouraged to post their analysis of family lines or individuals. This may involve assumptions and tentative conclusions that are not yet proved. In such instances the information should be clearly labeled as "speculative", "probable" or with some similar qualifier.

Determining Reliable Sources

Everyone is aware that not all publications, books or websites are equally accurate. A problem increasingly encountered today is that information found on the Internet is often just assumed to be true. Computers and the Internet are wonderful tools, but at the same time they make it easy to publish and re-publish inaccurate information. The Internet has no regulators, so it is our responsibility to employ a high, but balanced standard for the data that we post. Information gleaned from the Internet should only be used when accompanied by a documented and reliable source.

Even before the Internet, people used early publications such as "proofs" for joining membership societies that were not always well documented, and sometimes based only upon family legends. As computers gained in popularity so did GEDCOM and CD-ROMs that contain family trees or extracts from the International Genealogy Index or similarly compiled information, often without any source data or checks for accuracy. Information only from sources such as these should not be posted.

Another source of suspect information is family histories, county histories and similar publications that can be gloried accounts of an ancestor or a particular locale. Often these works were published when information was not as accessible as it is today, and many contain errors stemming from a variety of reasons, including insufficient research or reliance upon unsubstantiated information provided by others. These publications may be a useful starting point for one's personal research, but they should be used carefully and not as a source of proof. In some cases they should not be used at all.

Even our own research can be error prone. Most of us do our research a little bit at a time over the course of many years. Our notes, particularly when we first started out as researchers, may be cryptic, written on scraps of paper, and we frequently have no idea where the information was found. Perhaps we drew conclusions about our family line based upon all the information that could be found at a particular point in time, but that information may not be complete.

Most importantly, we ask our members to use discretion in determining what to post. One of the joys of doing family research is that you meet some of the nicest and most interesting people on earth who are unselfish with their time, and they freely share their information with fellow researchers. But, despite best intentions, inaccurate information tends to slip into our databases. That is why it is important to carefully select sources and in all instances document the source.

Contributors to this page: @TRP and @TRP-GC .
Page last modified on Friday 15 of August, 2014 05:04:33 CDT by @TRP.