Stokes Genealogy: A site for all Stokes-related families
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How is data integrity ensured?

I've noticed on family tree websites that some people have a tendency to go overboard, adding anyone and everyone they think might be related to them, with no care toward whether that data is actually accurate. I've seen people with birthdates before their parents, men with six simultaneous wives in towns and years where it is clearly illegal (maybe they were playing the field... who knows!), people (who are not famous boxers!) with five children bearing the same name, etc. I've also noticed that the auto-fill feature on some of these sites has resulted in people born in the 1400s having birthplaces listed in the mid-west of the United States. Here's a hint: If someone was born in 1430 and the birthplace lists only "Plymouth," it probably wasn't in Plymouth, Iowa! ;)

So all data that is submitted must pass a sanity check. All children must be born after their parents are 12 years old, families with several children of the same name must have a justification, etc. All data must have a source, even if it's just "XYZ Family Tree from ABCGeneaologyWebsite.com". That way, if there is weird data, we can track down where it came from. Extensive notes will be made. For example, "This information came from so-and-so's tree, but the tree also shows a wife who died before he husband was born and six kids named William, so data is questionable." If the online source where the data came from has its own source, that source must also be listed. For example, "Source: John Smith's Family Tree which cites the American Genealogical Society Publication blahblahblah."

In some really old cases, birth dates are confusing—a difference of ten years could be an error, or it could refer to a completely different person, perhaps a cousin. More often than today, people re-used the same names. I've seen family histories with, for example, John son of Robert son of John son of Robert son of John son of Robert going back ten-plus generations. In those cases it is absolutely possible that a family might have five Johns in the same generation, all cousins with close birth years.