Debunking Your Family's Geneology Myths Through Geneology Research

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When family history gets passed down through the generations, oftentimes fiction mixes with the facts. The twisting of family history is often unintentional — an aging elder, for example, confusing their facts. Other times, history is purposely rewritten to hide a dark family secret. 

If you want to know the truth about your family's history, learning how to research your family's history through an online course or family history video class is a good place to start. The following are some common myths you could bust about your ancestors. 

Different Ethnic or Racial Background

DNA testing has played an important role in uncovering the genealogical secrets of families. Most people have made surprising findings. According to a recent Pew Research survey of those who have had DNA testing, 38 percent were surprised to find out what countries or continents their relatives came from. Even more startling, 27 percent of families were misinformed about their racial or ethnic background.

Even if you do know your ethnic identity, there is a tendency to stereotype origins in a new land. And disappointingly, many Americans discover they are not, in fact, sons or daughters of the original Mayflower descendants. Your DNA tests can lead you on a new path in genealogical research and validate genealogical family trees you may have mistakenly thought were dead-ends. 

Family Name Changed 

The Ellis Island myth is perhaps the most pervasive. Who does not know someone who claims the spelling of their last name was changed by a careless immigration typo at Ellis Island? Rockchild was actually Rothschild, they recount. In fact, the Ellis Island clerks' reputations have been redeemed. Most people changed their names themselves to Americanize them, according to genealogy historians

A more common name myth concerns relations to famous people. Many claim non-existent links to a famous person of the same last name of bygone years. Researching family trees often uncovers many different spellings. A genealogy course can show you how to validate name changes and follow the right branches.

No Ties to Slavery 

A genealogy search often explodes this myth when relatives are caught red-handed by historical records participating in the Civil War. A prime example is the "old family myth" of actor Noah Wyle, whose relative did indeed fight for the South in the Civil War. The myth: he had paid someone to take his place. 

The less you know about your family history, the more secrets likely have been hidden. A genealogy video class can show you how to access and search the genealogical records to discover the truth about your heritage.

For more information, contact a service that offers genealogy video classes in your area.