Subscribe Now  
 Start Free Trial  

OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

August 24, 2006

Newsletter Archive Is Now Updated At OneGreatFamily

In This Issue:

Updated Newsletter Archive From 2002-2006!

Hundreds Of Articles To Help With Your Genealogy Research

Each week a team at OneGreatFamily puts together a newsletter to help you learn more about how to use OneGreatFamily to further your genealogy research. The newsletter also contains hundreds of genealogy tips and informative articles written by Lisa South, which is a favorite among OneGreatFamily members. We feel these newsletters provide so much useful information for our guests and members that we took on the huge task of making all past editions of the newsletter available on the website.

Please visit the Newsletter Archive to see what valuable information is there to help you!

Back to Top

Success At OneGreatFamily

Your wonderful service...solved all my problems

We are pleased with the high praise we at OneGreatFamily continue to receive from our members. We enjoy hearing about the success our members have in building their family trees at OneGreatFamily.

...No longer will families remain separated in many error ridden genealogy files that are kept by one family member (like me) on their computer and unavailable from family members. I believe that it is better to give and share with others. Until now I have not had a way to do this...One person can’t possibly do all of the work alone; they need help to speed up the work...The only way to do this is with your wonderful service which I believe will in the near future solve all of my problems.” ~ Jeff Bagley

I just want to say how thrilled I have been with my experience at OneGreatFamily. The best thing is that the search program runs continuously and adds data automatically to your experience has been very positive and I have recommended OneGreatFamily to friends of mine who are also interested in genealogy.” ~ Joe Cercy

Thank you for supporting this monumental effort in genealogy. OneGreatFamily continues to grow in value with each passing day, increasing your chances of finding new ancestors and discovering new information about your family tree.

OneGreatFamily wants to hear Your success story! If you would like to share your story of how OneGreatFamily has helped you in your genealogy quest, please send an email to

Back to Top

Lisa Lights The Way

How To Evaluate Genealogy Documents

by Lisa South, Certified Genealogist

The following article was written in the February 25, 2005 OneGreatFamily newsletter. Since Lisa is no longer writing for us, we are featuring some of our favorite articles written by her.

“I have three different birth dates for my grandfather. He told me when he was born; I have a delayed birth certificate; and a baptismal record for him. Each has a different birth year—now what?”

Conflicting sources are a continual problem when doing genealogical research. How do you know which one is accurate? Sometimes an error is so blatant that you can immediately determine which is the more accurate document. But often it is not that cut and dried. When we do find conflicting information, we should evaluate the sources by using a scientific approach.

Each document should be evaluated on the following criteria:

1. Is the document an original or a copy?

An original is the first copy of any document. A photocopy of the original is usually considered an original. Each time a document is hand copied the chance of error is greater. Be especially aware of compiled indexes. Historically these where hand-created, and often error prone.

2. Is the information primary evidence or secondary evidence?

Primary evidence is the testimony (oral or written) given by an eyewitness or recorded by mechanical device present at the event. Secondary evidence is information that is either not the result of personal observation or is collected significantly after the fact. A vital record, such as a birth certificate, would usually be considered a primary source. The parent giving you information about their children would usually be a primary source. There are always exceptions that you need to consider. Is the parent elderly and is his/her memory questionable? In this case they might need to be considered a secondary source. Other examples of secondary sources are tombstones and census records.

3. Does the document contain direct or circumstantial evidence of the information you are seeking?

Direct evidence is information that directly answers a question. Circumstantial evidence gives a logical inference from which an answer might be derived. For example, if you are looking for the birth date of your ancestor, Ohso Elusive - and you find a church baptismal record that says he was born on January 12, 1876, the document directly answers your question. Ohso was born on Jan. 12, 1876. If, on the other hand, you find a death certificate that says Ohso Elusive died March 15, 1948 at the age of 72, you have a document that gives you direct evidence of his death date but circumstantial evidence of his birth date

Naturally, the ideal document would be an original record from a primary source with direct evidence, but genealogists usually are not that lucky. After evaluating each of the conflicting documents using the scientific approach, the document that comes closest to the ideal is probably your most accurate. Of course we could still have erroneous information, so if and when you locate additional records, you should always compare it to your current information and evaluate the information once more.

Using a scientific approach to our research gives us the greatest chance of accuracy, which should be the goal of every genealogist.

OneGreatFamily makes it easy to find differences between your information and that entered by others. The system marks differences in information as conflicts. You can turn on or off the identification of conflicts in the Genealogy Browser by toggling the appropriate button in the tool bar: The first () shows conflicts in information, like perhaps a difference in a birth place or a death date. The second () shows conflicts in relationships, like perhaps not showing a 2nd wife or listing an additional child. When trying to decide between the alternatives, you can now apply these principals of documentation quality in deciding which you believe to be correct.

Back to Top

One Great Genealogy Site Award

Behind the Name

Names. Everyone has one, most people have a vague idea what their own means, but few give them much more thought. The study of names is called onomastics, a field which touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, sociology, philology and much more.

When people refer to the "meaning of a name," they are most likely referring to the etymology, which is the original literal meaning. looks at the etymology and history or all types of given names. Visit the site to see what your own name means or your ancestor's name.

  • Visit
  • See Past Award Recipients.
  • Recommend A Site Award Recipient.

  • Back to Top

    Get FREE Time On

    Want Some FREE Time?

    Current subscribers can earn additional free time by referring others to OneGreatFamily needs your help in growing the largest single family tree in the world. You can get free subscription time on OneGreatFamily by referring others to this unique service. When anyone you refer to OneGreatFamily subscribes to our service and enters your username, you get an additional free month.

    Back to Top

    This newsletter is provided as a FREE service to the members of
    You can view past editions of this newsletter by visiting our Newsletter Archive.
    To unsubscribe to our newsletter service, you may do so by accessing our newsletter preferences page at

    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Lisa South and Rob Armstrong
    Editor: Brenda Eyring

    Last Week At OneGreatFamily

    368,156 people were added into the OneGreatFamily tree.

    294,042 new connections between family trees were found by our automated search system.

    Having Success?

    OneGreatFamily wants to hear from you. Please send us your success stories and your recommendations for new features.

    Submit Your Story

    Send Us Your Wish List

    Need Help?

    Getting Started at OneGreatFamily

    Matching and Merging

    Export and Import Gedcoms

    Collaborate With Others

    Search For Ancestors at OneGreatFamily

    Forgot Your Password

    Genealogy Quote

    "Heredity: Everyone believes in it until their children act like fools!"