Christmas Movies and Your Genealogy

Several Cable television channels in our market area have featured 24/7 Christmas Movies.  Some with commercial interruptions and some without. After watching a few days of these shows, I could contrast changes from last year’s movies:

  1. More channels involved and more movies than last year.
  2. The emphasis is on relationships with commitment, sacrifice of time and effort (and sometimes money or other resources) between the characters. Even Santa Clause has kinfolk and descendants. This is a very interesting shift.

In 2012, there was a problem over the transfer of responsibility to the next generation–a son or daughter taking over Santa’s work so he and Mrs. Clause could retire.  Usually with accompanying updates in technology–but keeping the elves, the sleigh and the reindeer.

In 2013, blended families, first-time marriages, single mothers supporting 1-3 children alone, engaged couples trying to make their differences compatible, parents (especially mothers) seeking suitable spouses for a son or daughter, runaway brides or brides seeking an out from a relationship that seems impossible, children rescuing a dad from himself or working to re-unite mom and dad who have parted.  You name the relationship, there is a Christmas movie that deals with it–some better than others.

Genealogy is relationship!

When too much emphasis is placed on matching vital records dates, names, and places, your genealogy risks being incomplete and inaccurate. For example, the Social Security Death Index includes some 10 Thomas Haslams and three Thomas E. Haslams in the state of Utah.  Someone has appropriated my Dad as her own, using his death date–giving my Dad another wife and a list of children that never belonged to him.

There are 23 Glen Haslams in the United States of America in the SSII–if you don’t know where my brother lived and died, it would be easy to mess his record up as well.  Birth and death dates alone cannot identify nor prove which is my brother!

These kinds of errors are common in compiled genealogies.

Even in The Family Tree sponsored by, where the lineage is oriented to the whole family unit with father, mother, and all the kids.  The whole family is used to build the pedigree and errors abound because pre-Family Tree, the data came from matching vital records dates.

It is true that vital records dates, names, and places provide evidence for pedigrees.  Its time for all good genealogists to focus on those sources and records which supply relationships: stated, implied, and proven.

Until you search the property records (and there are a legion of records in this one category) you risk an inaccurate lineage.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Stay tuned to postings in 2014, where you can learn, in this blog, of the many evidences present in property documents that prove relationship.


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