Is there a list of credible source sites?

+14 votes
I searched the help pages and index (probably not well enough), and so far was unable to find a list of what are considered a credible source for sources.

I did find this previous post:, but its not quite detailed enough.

For example, FamilySearch seems to be quite popular here, but I'm finding it to not be very credible and full of conflicting info.

Find-a-Grave seems to be frowned upon here, and I don't disagree, for the same reasons. Yet I see a number of people still rely on it for information.

The same with Ancestry (which was specifically called out in the previous post), though I find they are making it easier to link to actual, more credible sources (census records, birth and death certificates, marriage records, etc.), rather then just other family trees (which seem to be just all over the map with misinformation)

Is there a definitive list of various sites and sources of sources with a general consensus on their relative credibility and usefulness?
in The Tree House by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (540k points)

6 Answers

+17 votes
Family trees (Ancestry Trees, FamilySearch Family Tree, relationships on find a grave) are not reliable. They can be used as hints to finding sources, but shouldn't be used as a source. But all three of the sites you mentioned have credible sources.

Ancestry has pictures of original documents. Those are credible. It also has indexes of original record collections. Those are also pretty reliable, depending on the indexer. But there are some collections (Family Data Collection, International Marriages) that are compiled from family trees, and those are not reliable.

FamilySearch is similar to Ancestry where it has pictures of original documents and indexes of original record collections. Those are good. The uploaded genealogies and FamilySearch Family tree are not reliable. You also have to watch out for record collections like IGI that are compiled from family trees.

The relationships between people on find a grave are usually unsourced. But find a grave often has pictures of grave markers or obituaries, which are usually good sources for their burial place and death information.
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (489k points)

Beware of Find-A-Grave memorials without any gravestone etc., they are sometimes just a rehash of unsourced genealogies elsewhere on the web.

Dennis, here are some more from WikiTree Help Index . http://beyond the basics how to use WikiTree mentors tips video: introduction to WikiTree & the 3 below " Guides To WikiTree".

Jamie, I agree & up vote you. 

Helmut, I agree but I do use findagrave as a place for "Hints" while I am huting. ( I would also up vote you).

Doug, Our local Astronaut & my Cousin = Up Vote. lol

Rick, = Up Vote. 

Good Morning Ya'll 


Jamie, I have been adding sources and links to FamilySearch's Family Tree.  I agree that many on the Family Tree are useless, and there are lots of duplicates, but, as people start combining the dups and adding the source links, the Family Tree becomes more useful.  Of course, you have to find one where someone has taken the time to make the links and add the sources.  And, it really is a tool to find those links and sources, not a source itself.
+12 votes
This may help:

Also, the book, "Evidence Explained", is excellent.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+9 votes

I don't usual use a web site as a source, but they can be great for leads to more information and better sources.

Here is a list of sources. That page also includes links to bibliographies, so that you can see what other people think are 'credible' sources. 

Much of this information is available for free online, but not all of it.

by Rick Pierpont G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
+9 votes

Dennis, these WikiTree links are all free = List of Lists =  & Kitty's Library page  there are a few more: WikiTree Category Search & even more... but my Brain hurts today lol :) Try search window here in G2G. I'll be back after a nap 


by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (242k points)
+9 votes
The genealogies in the Bible are said to be divinely inspired, but apart from that, there are no authoritative sources.  We can only assess the evidence in the light of its known shortcomings.

Primary sources separate fact from fiction.  Many writers of many books said things like "Our immigrant was baptized at Bogborough on 17th June 1605" without a shred of evidence.  These things are worthless if there's nothing to back them up.

Secondary sources are compiled by genealogists researching in the primary sources.  Ideally we'd use them as they come, because life's too short to spend it repeating research that's been done once.  The flip side is, it's a waste of time doing and publishing research that people can't have confidence in.  Sadly too many people have.

Tertiary sources - biographies, encyclopedias, compilation websites.  We should be aware that the compilers get their info from other published sources and don't go back to the primary records, so they'll propagate errors that are in circulation and shouldn't be taken as independent confirmation.

Ideally we'd do everything to the standard of a TAG article, but we don't have the time, the money or the patience.  So we use whatever we don't have any reasonable prospect of improving on.
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)
+7 votes

For a credible and useful source on a Great Migration era profile, I go first to American Ancestors by New England Historic and Genealogical Society.

At an average cost of $7.49 per month for their annual $89.95 membership fee, they offer the best depth and breadth of scholarly articles and primary records for researching American ancestors. Just my opinion. My birthday comes in December, and every year I ask for just one thing - to make my combined birthday and Christmas present a membership at NEHGS' American Ancestors. It brings me great happiness all year long.

by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (117k points)

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