OneGreatFamily Tip: Protect Yourself From Genealogy Fraud On The Internet
7/8/2010 1:52:00 PM
Avoiding Online Genealogy Fraud
You should be aware of at least two forms of fraud while you research your family tree online. This article will help you avoid falling prey to phony websites and fraudulent genealogical information.
Greed has motivated some people to "capitalize" on the desire of genealogists who possess the drive and passion to find their ancestors. 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.
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.
Fraudulent Genealogy Information
The first form of fraud is 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 lets you 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.