When I first became interested in genealogy, I signed up to a website family tree group and started building mine. This new adventure was so exciting – all new and so interesting as I traced branches back and back and back.
At that time, as a beginner in genealogy, I trusted every hint; I trusted that everyone on the site was accurate and that what I was building was a perfect tree. In no time at all I had traced one line back to some guy listed as James V… turns out he was James the fifth, king of Scotland! I was dong this in about 2005, and I must say that for about six months I walked around secure in the knowledge that I was, in fact, a Scottish princess.
Then, as my adventure continued and I learned more, I realized that there are many mistakes and misleading hints when so many people are contributing. The Arbuckle tree, which led me back to my royal ancestor, was misdirected with the wrong parents for my great grandmother. All of my royal identity was stripped away with a closer look.
Now, I’m sure nobody on that that genealogy site sets out to direct beginners to false princess identities. Like me they also were not experienced enough to check documents and sources, to double-check dates and locations. I guess that is how it is almost all of the time – we need to check the sources, seek the truth for us, double back on what does not seem right, start again – before donning the tiara.
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