hand-drawn family tree with overlay "Should you believe the paper tree?
Beginning Genealogy

Should I believe the paper tree?

A few years ago, my cousin sent me some information from Germany. He had contacted a researcher in Germany and asked for some information on our Mack relatives and their friends the Puseckers.

He received a wonderful letter in response to his queries. A sweet woman spent about 7 hours looking through the Kirchenbuch for the church and seemed to have pushed our family back a few generations and supplied names for a wife we had not previously known. I was very excited to receive this information.

My first challenge was how do I document this information?
And is the letter of a person willing to do research enough ‘evidence’ to include these new names on my family tree? She says she looked through the Kirchenbuch and found this information. Since I’m so unfamiliar with German Genealogy, I’m stumped. I really want to be excited and claim new relatives. On the other hand, I feel a desire to have more evidence.

She had sent a handwritten tree and I typed it all into RootsMagic and started uploading the information into Ancestry and FamilySearch. But then my gut started telling me something wasn’t quite right. There are no RED exclamation points on RootsMagic or FamilySearch flagging obviously errors. Things like a mother who is not old enough to have children, fathers dead and children born years later. The research hasn’t fallen apart in that way, but something doesn’t feel right.

Pusecker tree supposedly based on Gillersheim church records, but which ones?

And I think the trouble is what was requested and paid for by my cousin wasn’t clear. If I hire someone to do German research, I need to be very explicit in what it is I want. A general looking for Mack and Pusecker in church records by someone who is familiar with the church records but not familiar with the need to documentation leaves me second-guessing. Photocopies (or pictures) of the book would have been nice so that I could verify what the researcher put together.

A quick look on the FamilySearch catalog shows that there is a Gillersheim church book for 1855-1874. Unfortunately, the one I am looking for is earlier. Guess this mystery will have to wait until another time.

hand drawn family pedigree with caption should you trust the tree

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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