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Buchanan Estate Scam: Detecting and Navigating Genealogical Hoaxes

Genealogists to the Rescue

Librarians and patrons in the circular main reading room of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.. Between 1920 and 1950. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The essential lesson for all family historians is the necessity of doing one’s own research. Make the most of the family papers passed to you. Be grateful for, and give credit to, the work shared by other genealogists. But always do your own evaluation, seek out the original records, weigh the evidence, and come to your own conclusion. If you discover mistakes or issues, acknowledge the problem and address it. Explain your findings for the benefit of future researchers who will, in their turn, assess your contribution as they endeavor to explore the family history for themselves. Leave a legacy that helps rather than haunts your descendants.