Select Page

Not so!!

One of The Legal Genealogist‘s pet peeves is when someone takes something another genealogist has done, strips off the identifying information and reposts it as if it was the second person’s work.

FMNThat, by definition, is plagiarism, and it’s a great big ethical no-no in genealogy.

Most of the time, people who do this are doing it without malicious intent. They don’t realize that they’re actually stealing someone else’s work and depriving the other person of credit for the work; most of the time they think they’re just sharing.

But there have been cases — famous ones sometimes — of genealogists who have set out to defraud: to pass off totally fictitious results as if they’re the real thing.

And, this week, I had a chance to discuss these issues with Jane E. Wilcox and Robert Charles Anderson, Director of the Great Migration Studies, in an hour-long recorded session in Jane’s wonderful The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told radio show on WHVW 950 AM radio in Poughkeepsie, New York, and on the internet at

Jane is a New York-based professional genealogist and, this week, her program focused on the problems we face in genealogy with plagiarism — passing off other people’s work as our own — and with actual fraud — fabricated results that sometimes are hard to detect. The interview is available online on

Among the topics covered:

• What is plagiarism?

• What is fabrication in genealogical research?

• How do we avoid this in our own work?

• What clues suggest fraud or fabrication?

• What guidance is out there to learn about these problems?

The great thing about Jane’s programs is that they’re recorded and archived, so folks can listen on demand any time they want. The link to listen to this interview is here.

So if you want to learn more about some of the instances of fraud in genealogy, what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, come on over and find out more at The Forget-Me-Not-Hour: Plagiarism and Fabrication: Genealogical Land Mines.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email