The Heritage Gazette

Copyright 2014 Burks-Blake Company
What Kind of Researcher Are You?
Valley Forge
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     Before George Washington was president of the United States of America he was Commander-in-chief of the Contential Army during the American Revolutionary War.   During the winter of 1777 Washington moved his troops to Valley Forge.  His troops were worn out.  Many did not have proper clothing, supplies and food.  Valley Forge, which is located in Pennsylvania,  offered refuge from the British.  It was a place for the Continental Army to rest from the bleak winter weather.   
     At the beginning the soldiers at Valley Forge did not even have the proper supplies.  The soldiers did build log huts to shelter
them from the freezing weather.  Many soldiers did not have shoes or proper clothing.  Food was inadequate and disease was rampant.  So many soldiers deserted that Washington threatened to whip and shoot deserters.  The Continental Congress wanted Washington to attack the British at Philadelphia.  Instead, Washington brought the troops to Valley Forge.  He knew his soldiers needed to regroup.  Since Washington, defied the Continental Congress many rumors circulated that he was to be replaced.
     By January of 1778 things started to improve for the soldiers at Valley Forge.  Washington stayed in charge, the Continental Congress took over food and other supplies.  The soldiers improved their training and France helped with money and soldiers. By June 19, 1778, the soldiers left Valley Forge full of confidence to face the British.
     A muster roll of the soldiers at Valley Forge is at the following website. 
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   Genealogy researchers are very good at finding information on their family.  They discover information in many places and add it to their family tree.  But, some of the information might not be correct.   False information is then set in perpetual motion and picked up by others.  What kind of researcher are you?  When you find information that fits your ancestor, do you check to see if this source documented the information?  Do you document it yourself or do you just believe it is correct because somebody has it on their family tree so therefore it must be correct and besides you don't have time to check it out?  
     There are many instances on family trees where researchers pick up what others have posted without finding documentation.  The researcher might believe that the ancestor is in the right place at the right time with the right name so therefore it is the right ancestor.  It could very well be the correct ancestor but it is up to the researcher to find out if it is the correct ancestor before definitely saying it is.  If it is on a family tree undocumented but yet it is included in the family tree without any disclaimer, then that bit of information needs to be checked out before adding it to their own family tree.    
     Researchers need to document their own information or at least give it a disclaimer so that others know that it might not be correct.  When you come across any information on a family tree, records, or any source make sure you check it out.  It is time consuming but it is better to do that then to send false information out to cyber space.  It is so hard to change incorrect information as it seems to take on a life of its own as it is picked up by others.  Try to do as much as you can to verify the information.  The more documented information you have the better.  It would be sad to discover years later that you have the wrong ancestor included in your family.  Be a thorough researcher!