You have worked so hard on your research, and you are at a brick wall.  And, lo and behold, someone has your tree on the web!  And, they have made it past your brick wall!  Does this sound familiar?

So, what is your next step?  Copy everything they have and accept it as yours?  Ask for permission to use the information and paste it into yours?  You think, no, I can’t do this unless the information is sourced.  So, you look, and the sources are all provided!  A wonderful find!

Think again.  What about those sources?  Are they genuine?  Is the information really from that source?

Recently, I was researching a family that had lived in North Carolina in the early-to-mid 1800’s.  The husband had died before 1850, as the only adult on the census record was the wife.  How would I find the husband’s name?  I searched online to see if anyone else had any ideas as to the husband’s name.  I actually found someone who had researched the exact same family!  And, there were sources!  So, I emailed the person to ask permission about using their information, and to ask about the sources.  I got a wonderful reply back telling me to use their information, and that I could be assured that the sources were correct.  The person even gave me more information than what was posted on the Internet!

I remembered about checking my sources, though.  So, I began the search.  I found one of the sources in a far-away library.  I contracted with someone who would be able to make a copy of the information from the book.  The person found the book and no such information was in the book.  The same source was used for the probable husband and the probable husband’s father, and neither was mentioned in the book!  And, upon more searching, it was discovered that no one from the family was mentioned!

So, be careful and check your sources every time!