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1776 Project Reliable Sources

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Work in progress Until this page is up and running, we recommend the use of 1776 Project Resource Page

Not even church books and other old documents are always correct. It is good practice to try find several sources to confirm the correctness of the data. Do not hesitate to ask your project or in G2G if you have a source you can't find on these lists.

Reliable Sources

  • Revolutionary War pension files are generally regarded as good sources for a person's Revolutionary War military service. These files, which may include items such as letters, personal affidavits and depositions, documents submitted by applicants, records of determinations of pension eligibility, and records of pension payments, often are available in electronic form through paid-subscription websites such as fold3,com and ancestry.com. Some of these materials are also available at familysearch.org, which may have additional resources in the future.
  • US National Archives provides access to thousands of Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=revolutionary%20war%20pensions&f.oldScope=online&rows=100
  • Published articles and books with sources cited. Publications through genealogical associations are often peer reviewed as well.

Reliable with Conditions

  • Find A Grave, Billiongraves and other cemetery sites would be deemed reliable only when a picture of the headstone is provided. Remember that even grave markers can have errors in name spelling and dates.
  • Wikipedia and other wikis, including WikiTree, are derivative sources and are only as reliable as the original sources they cite.

Unreliable Sources

  • User generated online trees like Geni, MyHeritage, Ancestry, FamilySearch, Rootsweb, Geneanet, etc. These kinds of sites can be used to find details that can lead to reliable sources. Some trees cite sources that can be used for your profiles when you have checked them out. Never use a user generated tree as source.
  • A generic familysearch.com or ancestry.com should never be used as source citations. Always cite the specific documents where you found the information.
  • International Genealogical Index (IGI) (FamilySearch Historical Records) where up to 50 % of the entries are user generated.
  • Published books, articles and blogs that do not have sources listed.
  • See also Category:Frauds_and_Fabrications




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Bernard Burke A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland.

This is generally regarded as a reliable source in Britain and in my case goes back to 1577.

posted by Heather Hemming
I don't think we should focus on pre-1700, but add anything that is relevant to the span of this project.
I added a little content about Rev War pension files, but those files aren't relevant to the pre-1700 time period.
posted by Ellen Smith