Most genealogists probably encounter family traditions. They’re the stories—often with uncertain origins—that have been passed down from one generation to the next. The tales may involve subjects such as ethnicity, places of origin, military exploits, occupations, accomplishments, connections to famous people, and so on. Can we use family traditions as sources? Absolutely! As Thomas W. Jones points out in “Perils of Source Snobbery,” by omitting sources such as family tradition, valuable data could be overlooked. Genealogical standards teach researchers to evaluate and analyze sources as well as to compare evidence from multiple, independent sources. Incorporating family traditions into sound research, therefore, requires that stories be evaluated, analyzed, and compared to evidence obtained elsewhere.
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