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Portugal Project Reliable Sources

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Portugalmap
Surnames/tags: Portugal Madeira Azores
Profile manager: Mindy Silva private message [send private message]
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Reliable Sources

  • Parish records: baptisms, marriages, burials, and other acts such as confirmations or inventories. These are available through the Archives for the region that the event currently belongs in. They can be consulted in person at the Archives or, in most cases, are online through the different Archives website. See the Portugal Project Resources by Region
  • Passport Records: Passport records can be requested from the Archives at the relevant location. Indexes that were created by the Archive in question are considered a legitimate source; though looking at the record itself is better. Passport indexes created by other sites are not considered reliable as you don't know if the person posting the information looked at original records or not.

Unreliable Sources

  • Ancestry trees: Ancestry trees are user-contributed trees, many of them unsourced. A tree with precise dates and places will usually be a good guide of where to look for primary records. Some Ancestry trees have sources. Look for the source and check it for yourself; do not use the Ancestry tree as source.
  • Other user-contributed trees: FamilySearch, Geni, MyHeritage, Rootsweb, WikiTree, the Peerage, family association websites, etc. See Ancestry trees.
  • Find A Grave memorials: Most pre-1700 memorials come without an actual burial place and burial details, and are in fact reconstructed from trees. These cannot be used as sources. Additionally: before the widespread advent of cemeteries in the late 1800's, the Portuguese buried most of their dead in churchyards, always with the understanding that when it was time to bury the new, the old would be brought up and moved into a common ossuary. Temporary plots that were purchased were only occupied for 3 to 5 years, so a documented burial site pre-1800 is most likely not occupied by the same person. Therefore a tombstone that can be photographed should not exist.
  • Third party indexes: Indexes created outside of the Archives are not considered reliable. They are a good tool to use in order to find an actual record, but are not a reliable source on their own.
  • Wikipedia articles can be problematic. Genealogical information in an otherwise well-researched article may not be supported by a source at all or the source may be one that WikiTree would consider unreliable. When citing Wikipedia as a source for parent/child relationship(s), birth, marriage, and/or death information, please include not only a link to the Wikipedia article and date accessed but also the source(s) cited by Wikipedia for genealogical facts from the article. Wikipedia can not be used as the only source on a profile.

Family Genealogies

There are numerous published books dating from the early 1800s through the day before yesterday that present the genealogy of a particular family. Other family genealogies may be published on websites maintained by a family organization (possibly with a name like "The So-and-So Family Association, Inc.") or distributed privately to the members of a family organization. Often these sources are the best (or only) information we have to work with regarding an individual or a family group. Unfortunately, however, family genealogies range in quality from superb to horrifyingly bad. Some are even fraudulent. In evaluating the reliability of a particular genealogy, we should consider whether the author cited their sources, and consider whether those cited sources are reliable. In reviewing citations, consider the age of the work. A book published recently should be considered doubtful if it lacks good standard reference citations. However, because 19th-century authors typically did not use modern-style citations, we need instead to look for informal descriptions of where their information came from. Regardless of the citation formats, spot-check their information against those sources you are able to access, to see whether the primary sources validate the information found in the family genealogy. Check the credentials and reputation(s) of the author(s). Consider where and how the work was published. Do not treat the "official" work of a family association as having any special credibility or legal authority over a family's history -- their publications should be evaluated the same way that we would evaluate another author's work. Finally, don't hesitate to ask other WikiTree genealogists (in the G2G Forum) for advice regarding the reliability of a particular work.


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