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 OneGreatFamily Update - March 26, 2004

In This Issue:
OneGreatFamily Can Improve your Data Over Time

New at OneGreatFamily: Growing Alternate Spellings Database
  OneGreatFamily's Alternate Spellings Database is Growing!
Q&A: Avoiding Genealogy Fraud
  How can I identify and avoid fraud while doing genealogy online?
Technical Support: Using the Surname Indexes and Search
  How do I find my ancestors at OneGreatFamily?
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Last Week at OneGreatFamily . . .

Site Activity Summary

  • 284,049 new individual merges!
  • 104,001 new individual hints!
  • 99,932 new family merges!
  • 29,182 new family hints!
  • 164 average individual merges per group
  • 43 average individual hints per group
  • 53 average family merges per group
  • 6 average family hints per group

    If you didn't receive a GenMail telling you about new merges in your family tree, your tree wasn't affected by this activity. You may want to add new individuals or information to your family tree to improve the likelihood of matches and merges taking place.

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  •  New at OneGreatFamily: Growing Alternate Spellings Database

    OneGreatFamily's Alternate Spellings Database is Growing!

    If you receive no search results or if your search results do not contain the ancestor you desire, don't stop there! Use our alternate spellings option to find the names you need! Our alternate spellings tool is more accurate than other "matching" search tools, such as the well-known Soundex Indexing System and Metaphone Algorithm. Each search conducted at OneGreatFamily includes a link to view available alternate spellings for the surname being searched. If nobody using OneGreatFamily has submitted alternate spellings for a specific name, no alternate spellings will be found for that name.

    The alternate spellings tool allows you to lookup differently spelled (but equivalent) first names or last names. If your ancestors were known by more than one name, you can also use our tool to request additional alternate spellings that are not already listed.

    Our database is incredibly accurate, but its continued growth depends on the interest and efforts you make to ensure your ancestors can be found by their name variants.

    We encourage all of our users to make use of this feature and to submit any alternate spellings we do not currently have. We manually review and approve each alternate spelling that is submitted to insure its accuracy and validity.

    OneGreatFamily is excited to announce that we have more than 1,800 alternate spellings of surnames in our database, and several hundred alternate spellings for first names. We will be launching a new advanced search feature in the near future that will automatically include names with alternate spellings in the search results. These alternate spellings are also considered as part of the algorithm OneGreatFamily uses to find matches in its databases through its automated processes. We hope the continued growth of our alternate names database will improve everyone's ability to find their ancestors at OneGreatFamily.

    Try our Alternate Spelling Tool today!
    Go to our home page to start searching for your ancestors
    Subscribe to OneGreatFamily to gain unlimited access to this remarkable service

     Q&A: Avoiding Genealogy Fraud

    How can I identify and avoid fraud while doing genealogy online?

    by Jim Ericson - Marketing VP

    You should be aware of at least three forms of fraud while you research your family tree online. This article will help you avoid falling prey to phony websites, malicious scams, and fraudulent genealogical information.

    Phony Websites

    Greed has motivated some people to "capitalize" on the desire of genealogists who possess the drive and passion to find their ancestors. Just last year genealogy and technology expert Dick Eastman helped expose Elias Abodeely of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as one such scam artist. Through a number of "genealogy websites," most notably GenSeekers, Abodeely allegedly bilked genealogists by getting them to subscribe to a site that simply linked to other websites. Read Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter to learn more about this case of fraud.

    Beware of websites that charge fees to access links or pieces of information that are freely available elsewhere on the Internet. These sites often make people pay twice to access the record they are looking for. A fooled consumer may pay the fraudulent website and then pay separate subscription fees to the legitimate websites that provide the real value.

    The best way to avoid such frauds is to make sure you know what you are paying for and can try the website before you are billed for the service. Another way to protect yourself is to ask fellow researchers if they have used the site and what their experience has been. You may also want to look for a means of contacting the site's owner or administrator. Fraudulent websites seldom provide any means of contact.

    The rise of fraudulent websites is one reason OneGreatFamily allows new guests to take advantage of a 7-day free trial. Registered guests who have taken time to become familiar with OneGreatFamily understand what they are paying for when they decide to subscribe to the service.

    Malicious Scams

    While phony websites are one form of genealogy scam, some scams are even more malicious. Ebay and other online services have recently warned customers against submitting personal information, such as account logins, billing information, and social security numbers, though email forms. Some crooks can get people to provide all the information they need for financial gain through an official-looking email message.

    Always make sure you are on a company's official website before making a transaction or providing login information. Never provide information, such as billing information or a social security number, without a clear understanding of why the information is required and how the information will be used. Also, take the time to read and understand the terms and conditions of any offer you receive.

    Other malicious scams are designed to get access to your bank account. The perpetrator of such a scam will often say they have money they want to deposit into your account. The reason for the deposit may be an inheritance check or a transfer from a foreign account where the person claims to be in distress or a "political prisoner." They will ask for your bank account information to make their deposits; however, instead of depositing funds, they empty the account.

    Fraudulent Genealogy Information

    The first two forms of fraud are malicious and motivated by greed. The perpetuation of fraudulent genealogy information, on the other hand, is typically more benign. The root of this fraud, however, typically stems from the same greed.

    Much of the false genealogical information that has been published is also the result of greed. Several incidents of this sort of fraud have been documented as being done by hired researchers who wanted to embellish the research they were providing. Other false information has been perpetuated by researchers who have tried to "prove" relationships with little supporting evidence. In many cases, when a well-meaning researcher is given a choice between two possible alternatives, the more convenient or glamorous alternative is chosen without first looking for more evidence.

    Several of these genealogies were "created" by Gustave Anjou, who repeatedly ensured his clients had genealogies that included several high-profile ancestors.

    Unfortunately, much of this "research" has found its way into the databases of sincere researchers who were happy to quickly claim these high-profile (albeit false) ancestors as their own.

    This information has also made its way online. In most cases, this information has been shared and promulgated unknowingly. The only way to identify and correct the result of this fraud is by carefully examining and documenting each piece of evidence.

    Even in cases where sources are given, you may need to consult with the original source to verify that information is correct.

    OneGreatFamily can help. OneGreatFamily lets you see alternatives for information in your family tree and collaborate with people who can help identify false information that may have crept into your tree. You can also share your discoveries and documentation with others to correct false information they may have unwittingly accepted from another source.

    Subscribe to OneGreatFamily, a trusted genealogy service
    Visit OneGreatFamily and verify information in your family tree

     Technical Support: Using the Surname Indexes and Search

    How do I find my ancestors at OneGreatFamily?

    The best way to find your ancestors at OneGreatFamily is to create or upload your family tree at This ensures that OneGreatFamily will always search its entire database for possible matches to all of the individuals and families in your family tree. It also means others will be able to find your research and possibly connect it with their own.

    If you're not ready to submit your family tree, you can use OneGreatFamily's search or Surname Index to find your ancestors. Searching for information on your ancestors can become difficult at times. That is why OneGreatFamily provides easy-to-use tools to help you find your ancestors.

    The homepage search allows you to search for specific ancestors by entering their names and the names of other family members. Simply enter all known information in the search form located on the OneGreatFamily Homepage and click "Search." You will then see a results page that includes available information to help you identify your ancestors. You can display the results using Genealogy Browser to see all connected information.

    Sometimes just knowing a name is not enough information to find who you are looking for. The Surname Index is a great tool that displays all individuals in OneGreatFamily by last name. This can be particularly helpful if you are researching a specific line in your family tree. The Surname Index is a complete list of all of the records in OneGreatFamily. Each result contains available birth and death information for the individual and his or her parents. You can view any attached biographies, multimedia, notes, or citations by launching Genealogy BrowserTM.

    Following are some tips that you may find useful when you are using the tools:
    • Name Variations: Sometimes there are discrepancies in the spelling on given and surnames. You may be able to find what you are looking for by checking alternate spellings.
    • Date Discrepancies: Although there have been many efforts to perfect genealogical data, not all of it can be proven correct or incorrect. Remember to look for dates similar to what you are looking for.
    • Use all of your available information: The more information that you have to start off with, the better you can do. Remember to use immediate and extended family relationships to aid in your research. You may be able to find additional listed relatives and poll additional information from them.
    • Use Collaboration: Members submit all information in OneGreatFamily. When you find information, be sure to check out the submitter and send them an email. These are researchers just like you and may be able to give you additional information.
    Send your technical support question to our team
    Visit OneGreatFamily and expand your family tree today!

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