Entering information about your ancestors – Don’t lie!

Remember, we are family historians, not politicians.  Always be truthful.  Let me explain.

True story.  I had a great aunt that did not want me researching the family.  Why?  Well, she didn’t want people knowing that she had a very short pregnancy with her first child.   Should I lie and change the birthdate of the first child.? NO!  The data you enter, especially if you have entered into an on-line database such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch will be there in perpetuity and future research by others will be based on false information.

Same-sex marriages.  This has been a very contentious situation in genealogical research.  A very large number of individuals doing family research are opposed to same-sex marriage for religious reasons.  In fact, most genealogy programs available for the computer would not permit entry of same-sex marriages.  The program edits would see this as an error and reject the entry.   The only way to get the marriage entered,  was to change the sex field for the spouse and then explain in the notes field.  Programmers have now changed programs to allow the entry, sometimes by using an edit override.

My thought on this?  As a family historian, I deal in facts.  Data has no morality itself.  It is simply facts.  Same-sex marriages exist.  Laws have been changed to allow this.  The question of right or wrong has no place in data-entry.  The job of the genealogist is to enter truthful information.  It is far better to enter nothing, then to enter a lie!  “Thou shalt not bear false witness” Exodus 20:16

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