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.