November 2019 Newsletter - Southern Pioneer's Project

+19 votes

November 2019 - Southern Pioneer's Project Newsletter

If you would like to join us, post an answer to our G2G join post. Why don't you join us today ?

Thank You for participating in Southern Pioneer's

A big "Thank You" to all Southern Pioneer's Project members new and old for all you do to make the life and times of our pioneering ancestors come alive through the preservation of their family history and genealogy. Your excellent work and dedicated efforts to ensure that the profiles of our ancestors are accurate, clear, concise and properly sourced is what sets WikiTree and our Projects apart from many other online genealogy communities, You can be proud of your work.

Meet project member and "Trail Master", Pam Kreutzer

Pam Kreutzer joined WikiTree in October, 2018, hit the ground running and hasn't slowed down for a breath yet. One of our most active project members, Pam became the first Southern Pioneer's Project member to submit a "Pioneers Trail" for review, and the first member to take on the position of "Trail Master". She is now doing a fine job of review and approval of "Pioneers Trail" submissions. Pam is also active in several projects including Data Doctors, England, EuroAristo, and Profiles. among others. She is both Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 qualified.

On her personal profile she writes of her genealogy beginnings. "In 1978, I started working on the Volga German ancestors of my husband's family, and then the Volga German ancestors of my mother." She goes on to add that, "My ancestors are a mixture of England, Irish, Norman (Viking), German, Sweden, Scotland, with a toss in of several other nationalities." The Southern Pioneer's Project is pleased that she decided to share all that experience and knowledge with us. A big thanks to our November member of the month, Pam Kreutzer.

Our Members, New and Old are Awesome

Please help us welcome our newest members! If you are a new member and you haven't already done so be sure to grab the member's sticker for your profile and join us in the Southern Pioneer's discussion group.

Are you listed here ? See our membership roster If you didn't find your name contact Mary Richardson to update our list.

  • Dave Martin told me,"I joined southern pioneers group. Seems the prefect fit for my profiles." Dave's tree is full of notable pioneers from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. We are looking forward to working with him to improve the profiles of his pioneer ancestors.
  • Sandy Patak is a professional genealogist with a focus on Adoptees but she also works extensively on W Virginia profiles. She remarks that, "Personally, and sometimes professionally, my focus on Genealogy is Western Virginia (ex. Bedford, Augusta, Bath, Fort Wilderness, etc) and all of West Virginia. I also have completed extensive Cemetery documentation/surveying/photographing in WV that is a large project to get the photos online. "

Sources - What is considered a reliable source ?

(Part One of a multi-part series)

As I am fond of saying, "Good sources = Good genealogy". Good sources are what gives genealogical information a certainty or reliability. Good sources increase the likelihood that the information and relationships presented are accurate and can be trusted. So, what do we consider to be the characteristics of a good source ?

Sources are of two types, Original and Derivative. An "original source" is created at or about the time that the event occurred. The informant of the source information was either a witness to the recorded event. or participated in the event. In other words, the information recorded was based on "first-hand" information. This information is considered original in that it was not taken from previously recorded information. [1] On the other hand, a "derivative source" is one that is taken from previously recorded or repeated information. A better way to put it might be to say that it is any non-original source. A derivative source is not considered to be as reliable as an original source due to the greater possibility of human error. Derivative sources should not be taken at face value and should be investigated for the "who-why-how-when-where of their creation" [1]

Sources are also characterized as being PrimarySecondary or Tertiary. Primary sources, considered to be the most reliable are defined as follows:

Primary sources are documents, images or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an historical topic under research investigation. Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. Primary sources enable researchers to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. [2]

We answer your Questions

Question ?: Why are web sites such as "" or "" not considered to be usable sources ?

Answer : Sometimes we see citations such as "", "", or even "family records" given to support genealogical facts. We are told that these are not acceptable as sources, but why? After all, isn't that where the information came from ? The short answer is that sites such as "" are not considered sources but rather repositories of digitized records and family trees. These records are many times of unknown quality and origin. To be considered as a usable source one should be able to answer not only the "who-why-how-when-where of their creation" but where the source can be located for review and independent verification. Citing repositories such as "" does not meet this criteria.

Web Links


  1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 Using the Genealogical Proof Standard in Your Research (National Institute)
  2.  What Are Primary Sources?. University of California, Irvine, CA (Publically accessible tutorial)


in The Tree House by David Douglass G2G6 Mach 9 (92.5k points)
retagged by Paula J
Great newsletter David! And congratulations Pam for earning Trail Master. I love to see the info on Sources - they are so vital to every profile.
So we disconnected the ancestry Dodson theory the other day. So not using The wife of jessie as mother.

No source for that. But the Thomas Ball profile had a wife listed as daughter or something. I left the source for it on site.

Great newsletter.
David, although I generally agree with the sourcing tips, I think it is important to always mention the disclaimer that not even original sources are 100% accurate. The greatest tool available to the genealogist is not the data sources, but a logical and discriminating mind. The "original" data sources are the second best genealogical tools.

"Original sources," such as the widely used and cited census records, are far from being 100% accurate, as anybody who has been using these records knows. Many census takers used notes, rather than in-the-field forms, to record data, and then transcribed their own notes at a later time. This makes many census records just as much "derivative data," subject to human errors, as any other "derivative data." I can point out a specific example where the census taker transposed the heads of households on two related families in the same community, a mistake which cost subsequent genealogists in my family decades of confusion.

Anybody familiar with reading census records knows of gross misspellings, wrong birth locations, wrong birth years by more than twelve years, and poor penmanship. Then there are the numerous examples of people giving outright false information to census takers, either as a joke, or as part of a deception. For example, in one census I recently viewed, the head of household passed himself off as his father, even though his father had already died. In another late 1800 census, a woman whose husband had died kept claiming he was alive and continued collecting his pension for another twenty years or more.

As for your loosely worded dismissal of and, both of these sites can be excellent sources for "original data." Quite often, both and provide actual images of the original documents. Linking directly to and documents can be an excellent method for documenting a profile. Wikitree even provides a template for citing and linking records, which I have learned to use extensively. I believe what you were trying to convey is that one should not use simply, "" as the complete reference. If someone is going to use the resources on and, then they need to provide a link to each direct resource that they are referencing to document the profile.

Also, there are times when developing a family that the only clue which we might have for breaking through a brick wall is an undocumented rumor, whether on,, or someone in the family "said so." This is still a valid note and reference for the profile, but it needs to be stated clearly that it is an undocumented rumor. Genealogy is not a strictly 2019 phenomenon. There will be researchers fifty to a hundred years from now working on these families. Maybe a huge, currently unknown, data cache will appear fifty years from now, and a simple rumor from today will be what our children need to solve or verify a family mystery.

Also, don't go throwing data and interpretations of data away, even if it is wrong. Leave wrong data in a profile with an explanation as to why it is wrong, so that someone else understands what is happening when they follow the same bad leads later on.
Agreed, I find more curious census reports than any other source. People 4 houses over with a mispelled name?

Forever. Or they say my names is Dodson and then one Dotson family shows up down the road.

So yes census is kind of interpretive if you ask me.

David Thompson, its not the sourcing from and that is objectional,  its the using of (or other site name)  Without the citation.  Or 

* 1870 census 

And the bane of us, using a tree as the source. 

I'm on other world trees and they will allow other trees, say at Site X will allow me to use Wikitree-ID as a source for the person.  Or the trees at familysearch.  We don't allow trees to be used. You can say this person is the same as Person-ID at sites X, Y, and Z. But the tree itself cannot be used as a souce.  

And as for using a pay sites for citing sources, well, unless you are a member, (or in my case cousins have asked me to help manage their ancestry trees and gave me their logins) the source is then worthless. is free.  Granted they don't have all the documents that has. But their citations are far easier to use and read.  And open to everyone. Free. All you need to do is log in. 

And as for name spellings... Mark Twain: I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.  And there is another along the same lines for being able to spell your name 6 different ways. Jester has been spelt 6 different ways on census.  

And yes, you have to have a logical, analytical, and descriminating mind to successfully do genealogy.   

Holler at me and I'll find some examples of poor sourcing for you. 


If a source is behind a paywall, or in an undigitized book, quote the relevant parts.

@ David Thomson and Lynette - I think the thread is getting off track, it is for the update on the Project. You are making good points, but they may be better off on their own post. smiley

GREAT NEWSLETTER!  Wonderful to remind WikiTreers about the types of sources and to find the BEST sources one can with factual documentation. Thanks on the newsletter for all your efforts, David!
posso usare l'italiano or english

12 Answers

+12 votes
Thank you David, for another great and informative newsletter!! And, thank you for all your work, as well as Lynette's and Pam's on the Southern Pioneer's Project! My second trail was just approved and I am really excited to be a part of this group. Keep up the great work!
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (226k points)
Thanks for your kind comments and congrats on your 2nd trail approval.  Well done !
+11 votes
It's great to see that progress is being made!
by David Hughey G2G6 Pilot (640k points)
David thanks for that encouraging comment.  We appreciate the positive feedback we receive from valued members such as yourself.
+10 votes
What an exciting project! Hail, hail to all of you that are doing these amazing things in the Southern Pioneers.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (710k points)

Maggie thanks ever so much for your kind words.  We are trying our best to be useful to our members and to encourage quality work on the profiles within our scope.  We are here to help.

For those of you that may not know Maggie N is one of WikiTree's outstanding project leaders.  She is involved as a leader or co-leader of a number  (too many to mention) of great WikiTree projects that you may want to check out.

+9 votes
Thank you for these newsletters. I am still a relatively new genealogist (April 2019) and WikiTree contributor. I have been slow to participate but read the newsletters and will soon feel more confident to participate.
by Linda Price G2G3 (3.8k points)
Keep plugging Linda, the learning curve is high but the rewards are great -as is this group of wikitreers!

Thanks for your comment Linda and thanks to Lisa for her encouragement.  As Lisa says, let's keep plugging away.  There is a bit of a learning curve but the best way to get it down is by doing, and asking questions.  G2G and our Google discussion group is a great resource where you can get help and answers from experienced members

Ditto David and Lisa, and if you need any help or have questions Holler!!!
+8 votes

Thank you David for another insightful newsletter.

The retired history teacher in me LOVES  heart  the outstanding descriptions and explanations about sources. Could we please make this required reading for ALL wikitreers?

by Lisa Linn G2G6 Mach 3 (39.9k points)
Lisa I appreciate your comment.  We do try to provide content to our members in the newsletters that is both interesting and helpful.  The importance of quality sourcing is a frequent topic.  As a project we focus on sourcing because reliable sources and proper citations are the key to producing accurate genealogies.
David, I have a remark about "Ancestry sources". Ancestry TREES are not considered sources on WikiTree. Ancestry (and FamilySearch and MyHeritage, among others) do have tons of original sources. They have databases, some with original images, some only indexed, with original sources. And these databases ARE considered sources. Nearly everybody here has already copypasted a FamilySearch citation into a profile, and this profile is considered "sourced". If the only source mentioned is "Ancestry Tree", THEN the profile is considered unsourced.
Thank you Jelena.  I think we are basically saying the same thing,
+8 votes

Great newsletter David! Thanks for all the info smiley

by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (347k points)
Thanks Liz, you do a great job with the Magna Carta newsletter.  I always sneak a peek looking for ideas I can borrow for SP
+6 votes
Thank you, excellent/informative newsletter.  I enjoyed reading it, and so nice that more people are joining your project.
by Cheryl Skordahl G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
Thank you Cheryl.  I think Southern Pioneer's has a great group of members and the project just keeps getting better and better as a result.
+5 votes
Well said.
by Edie Kohutek G2G6 Mach 6 (64.7k points)
+5 votes
Congratulations for this inspiring newsletter! The Pioneers Trail is especially interesting. I wonder how it could translate to other projects? My own interest being, as you know, from the other side of the pond: the trail would have to go from a migrant to some sort of gateway ancestor.
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (301k points)
I had a feeling a verified trail thingy would catch on to other projects. Personally, for my own work, I was satisfied with just getting back to the immigrant. And I've watched as my ancestors have itchy feet or gypsy blood.
Isabelle I think the Pioneer Trails concept could be adapted for most topical projects.  I borrowed the basic idea from the Magna Carta project and it works quite well for Southern Pioneer's.  It makes it fun to work profiles and provides a way to validate and recognize a member's efforts.  It also helps to improve the overall quality of the profiles in the trails worked and increases collaboration.
+5 votes

Thank you for the great summation on Sources.  Being a genetic genealogist, I am constantly giving reasons to new genealogists on  the "who-why-how-when-where" of  documentation.  I will use your summary as an understandable link for these new well meaning new genealogists on how to document their trees. I look forward to Part 2 of What is considered a reliable Source.  Curry

by Curry Walker G2G2 (2.4k points)
Thank you Curry !  We appreciate your input and your membership in Southern Pioneer's.  Its awesome having you as a member.  And you are so right about the importance of good sourcing.
+2 votes

Thanks for another wonderful newsletter, David!! 

Would anyone like to help with the 5 Star profile of Daniel Boone? Thanks for correcting me David. I had the wrong profile:

Here is an article that shows you how to tell fact from hearsay based on Daniel Boone. 

by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (230k points)
edited by Paula J
Yes, Paula, I would like to improve the profile of Daniel Boone, inasmuch as I am a native Kentuckian, and a North Carolina resident for 30 years... stopped MANY times on way to KY at Bear Cr. of S. Br. of Yadkin River , Mocksville, NC, by the bridge and historical marker, homeplace of Boone. VERY moving experience!  Yes, Boone's  profile needs more work, especially on the military section, I'd like to work on... his participation  in Fr. & Indian War and Dunmore's War, been on LOC and other excellent sights. It will take time, for this is a HIGH  profile indeed and wish to do an excellent job with sourcing. THANKS for asking here on G2G!
Since there may be more than one person working on Daniel Boone, I suggest either coordinating your efforts in the message boxes on his profiles (we can delete when finished) or make a space page. Juliet, would you please lead this effort? If you need help we are here.
I left message on the profile page, and hope others may wish to help. There are lots of sources listed which can be used along with new sources to describe in more detail Daniel Boone's life. LOTS of history about Boone on the web!
+2 votes
I just want to add that Pam Kreutzer has been immensely helpful and patient in helping me to blaze through my pioneer trail, which is close to being completed.
ago by Keith Schindler G2G1 (1.7k points)

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