Lidija Sambunjak, professional genealogist

Building family history on a firm evidence

Some time ago I got an interesting inquiry from a man who’s ancestors came from Croatia. He had worked on his family tree for some time and wanted a more experienced researcher to extend the research, double check the dates, family links and perhaps find some people that he might have missed. So I got his file and started my work.

I was impressed by how good the research this man had done and I didn’t find many significant mistakes. Well, there were a few names wrongly linked and I did find quite a few relatives that he missed, but all in all, he did a very good job.

As I was checking this family tree, I was thinking how many people do their family trees and are not quite resourceful and consistent at what they do. Sometimes they base their research on ‘family stories’ that go 200 years back and are nothing more than legends without any genealogical evidence to support them.

Stick to the ‘old way’

There are people who’s stories, when they start telling them, begin something like ‘when my first ancestor came to our town back in the 15th century’ or ‘one of our grandfathers purchased this land way back at the beginning of the 16th century’. I don’t dare to ask them how they came to these conclusions or where are the written data to support such claims.

A true genealogist should rather stick to the ‘old way’- building the history based on evidence and documents even when they don’t get them further back than 17th or 18th century. This way one can be sure that the data collected is true and can be safely passed on to next generations.