A persistent problem in genealogical research and publication is the massive copying of original work, text and photos, without attribution. One Nash County researcher informed me that some of his work, containing references to his aunts, by name, had been copied and reproduced several times without change or attribution. In other words, some researchers have copied and published, at various places, his original work that includes references to his Aunt Mary as if she was their Aunt Mary. For those of us who have worked on our families for years there is very little that surprises us anymore. I shared information on one of my families once where speculations were posted as facts. Also, it is certain that some of our best researchers are sitting on a massive amount of work reluctant to put anything online because of this problem. The hunger and obsessiveness too often found in our enterprise does produce behavior that scholars views as laughable. I once heard a college-based historian say with a laugh, “I am interested in everyone’s family not just my own!” Simply, the Darwinian excesses of our enterprise requires mechanisms of correction. Therefore, on the Nash County NCGenWeb site, researchers with family in the county, historically and in the modern era, will have a place to correct content errors and to establish that work is their own where their has been publication of their research and writing on their families without attribution. All corrections require proof based in the records and verifiable dates of publication. One large problem in getting at the truth about genealogical postings is that FamilySearch and other major websites do not contain internal mechanisms of correction. In fact according to one of the staff people a regional LDS library informed me that in the near future there will be a website where people can make documented corrections on posted information about their families. Unfortunately, at least as of March, 2010, even if the existing posted information is proven by document to be incorrect, it will not be removed. Rather, the information will still appear on FamilySearch as well as the correction. Of course, this is not ideal, however, it is better than the status quo. Several corrections seem to me of such importance that they deserve immediate attention.
1. it is not possible for someone to be born in Nash County before 1777, the date of its creation. This mistake occurs frequently on all of the major websites in genealogy; namely, that people are born, for example, in 1759, actually, in some cases, much earlier, in Nash County. Even if they were born on what became my grandfather Bell’s farm on Stony Creek in Nash County, it is not in Nash County in 1759. This fact may seem obvious. It is a frequently appearing error in the posting of eighteenth century births. When I informed one researcher of this fact, his response was that it appeared on FamilySearch. I welcome additional corrections of similar kind by experienced researchers.