There are a number of reasons researchers might want
to check out compiled genealogies CDs:
The information found may not have been published
The information may lead to related researchers.
The information may provide leads to other resources
and starting places to research.
Sources of the data might be included, indicating
a dedicated researcher who has left a road map for you to follow,
and making it easier for you to locate primary sources and original
Just as important to consider, there are a number
of faults to keep in mind when viewing a compiled genealogies CD:
Not all research is equal -- what one researcher
might consider to be good research practices may fall short of another
researcher's expectations, and people have varying levels of skills
Genealogies compiled in the 19th century and before
are often less than accurate due to weak research and researchers'
Data submitters may no longer be alive, or they
may not be reached at the contact address given, thus negating a valuable
Most important of all -- the data may not have
been thoroughly verified and sourced.
The key to using a compiled genealogies CD successfully
is to tackle it with a reasonable research strategy:
Treat the CD as you would any other resource by
following the basic precepts underlying good genealogy research --
in other words, the data should be treated as unverified until you
have sourced it thoroughly.
Use the information as a guideline to locating
other information. Even if the data is incorrect, make note of the
locations and sources listed (if any) and use that to make a research
plan of your own. For instance, if I had a World Family Tree that
had my Abington, MA Benner birth information incorrect, I could make
note of the locations listed for the family and check into town records
to see if I couldn't locate the correct data myself.