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Buchanan Estate Scam: Detecting and Navigating Genealogical Hoaxes

Video Presentation

This extreme example of genealogy-gone-bad is a lesson to all of us about how to avoid stealthy pitfalls in family history research. It began when a grocer in Texas seized on a scheme to rally weary spirits, as the Great Depression drained hopes and finances across the country. He announced an $850,000,000.00 estate to be distributed among the eligible heirs of a vague ancestor. Before it was proven in Civil Court to be a complete fabrication, hopeful heirs of the estate scam overwhelmed the United States Postal System, New York Surrogate Courts, and Library of Congress. Tune in to this video to learn more about this event in history.

Video source: A Hoax in the Family: The Buchanan Estate Scam. 2021. Video. https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-10099/.