Genealogy Presentation: Sustainable Genealogy-Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends

Thursday, April 46:00—7:30 PMCommunity Meeting RoomCharlton Public Library40 Main St., Charlton, MA, 01507

Tonight's meeting will be a special presentation by Rich Hite on his book "Sustainable Genealogy: separating fact from fiction in family legends". There are a lot of textbooks that describe how to find your ancestors; this one by Richard Hite clarifies how not to. In short, Sustainable Genealogy explains how to avoid the traps many family historians can fall into. Whether it’s a proud family legend, a venerable publication, or the claims of an Internet family tree, the unsubstantiated genealogical source is like a house of sticks before the Big Bad Wolf–it won’t stand up. As Mr. Hite demonstrates in this collection of case studies, many are the “oral traditions that have fallen by the wayside under the lens of careful research in primary sources and more recently, DNA testing.”

Here are just a few of the lessons from Sustainable Genealogy that can protect you along genealogy’s primrose path:

Recognizing when identical surnames conceal different nationalities

Understanding when and why death certificates can be “wrong”

Knowing when ancestors’ middle names are not family names

Respecting the role of geography in establishing ancestral ties

Taking the genealogies in 19th-century “mug books” with a grain of salt

Accepting that all relationships must be chronologically plausible

Richard Hite is State Records Coordinator of the Rhode Island State Archives and Public Records Administration. Previously he was Assistant State Archivist at the Ohio Historical Society and from 2003 until 2012 he served as President of the Hite Family Association. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Charlton Library Genealogy Group is a friendly group of people who share an interest in genealogy. They meet monthly on the first Thursday  of the month from 6:00-7:30 in the Community Meeting Room. Meetings will alternate between general discussion topics and guest presenters. The meetings are free and open to the public. 

This program is generously sponsored by Friends of the Charlton Public Library.

Registration for this event has now closed.