Ancestors Tree Ancestors

-Global Menu-

Beginning Your Research

Records at Risk
Family
Compiled
Technology
Vital
Religious
Cemetery
Census
Military
Newspapers
Probate
Immigration
Writing A
Family History

Key Web Links
Glossary

Helpful
Resources

Products
Online Courses

Online Tools
Online Search
Helpful Tips
Resource Guide
Teacher's Guide
Free Charts

About
ANCESTORS

The First Series
FAQ
Links Seen
On TV

Media Kit
Survey
Components
Behind the
Scenes

Experts in
Episodes


Compiled Records <<

Compiled Records

Compiled records —comprised of information gathered, assembled, and with a bit of luck, indexed from other sources— are usually an enormous time saver in genealogical research. They allow us to benefit and build from the work already done by others and save us countless hours pouring through original records. Typical examples include family genealogies, county histories, tombstone transcriptions, the SSDI, and immigration records. The clues provided by compiled records can range from a single date we've been seeking to several generations of a family's history.

 Video Clip:
34kbps(56k modem) | 220kbps(DSL/Cable)

Ancestors experts Jonny Czerni and Tony Burroughs discuss how to get the most out of compiled records.

chinese man Because of their accessibility and ease of use, many people start out in genealogy with compiled records. This is a smart strategy, as there's nothing more frustrating than doing weeks, months or even years of original research, only to learn that you've duplicated the effort made by someone else, who already sifted through and compiled many of the same records as you. As with any form of research, it's best to explore secondary sources before moving on to original or primary sources.

As finding aids, compiled records help focus our research and provide leads to other sources, but it's important to remember that they are not the final word. While it's often tempting to take the new information found in a compiled record and enter it into our own family records or databases, such information should always be verified first by comparing it against primary sources. In fact, a good test of a compiled record is whether it includes source citations, and if so, how accurate a sampling of these citations is revealed to be after examining the original sources. In some cases, the compiler may have had a motive (such as "proving" a link to royalty) for slightly distorting the data, but even with the best of intentions, simple human error could result in some misleading information and, ultimately, false conclusions. For more on using compiled records effectively, look at the Smart Strategies extra.

 Video Clip:
34kbps(56k modem) | 220kbps(DSL/Cable)

Ancestors experts Cyndi Howells, Irene Johnson, and Kip Sperry discuss the importance of looking for original records.

Increasingly, people are sharing compiled records via the Internet, in printed form, or both. Individuals and groups are going beyond their own families and sharing information pertaining to a particular place, ethnic group, surname, military event, or other specialized area of interest. These generous people save the rest of us from starting from scratch. The best way to thank such avid compilers is to mimic them and do the same for another group of records.

 
 
Text-Only | Site Map | Feedback


-Context Menu-

Compiled Records

Tools:
Glossary
Video Clips
- 1 2 3 4 5 -

Episode Browser:
Sheila's story
5-Step Research
Process

Compiled Records
Types of Compiled
Records

Printed
Records Guide

Online
Records Guide

Episode Extras:
Finding Genealogies
and Local Histories

Smart Strategies
Ancestral File
& IGI

Links:
Recommended
Links

Experts in
this Episode

 

     
Search HomeEmail