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Searching for the Wrong Ancestors

We all know that in genealogy we must carefully work backwards in time, verifying each fact for each ancestor. One mistake, and we run the risk of spending precious research time on the wrong people.

Earlier this year, we ignored this rule somewhat. We did some hasty research in an effort to glean as much information as we could before our trip to Norway. Did we spend time investigating the wrong ancestors? Yes and no.

In my husband/tech advisor’s line, we did take a wrong turn with the identity of one female ancestor. Luckily, the entire family comes from the same area in Norway. We visited the correct place despite the research error. We have since amended our family tree.

For my family line, we visited the island of Dønna in Helgeland, purported home of my great-great grandmother, Karen Marie Johansdatter Bentsen. We went to Titternes Farm, where she was born.

Imagine my surprise this week when I came across a family tree for her on Ancestry.com that is nothing like the tree I have built. It names different parents with origins in Denmark. Panic! How could I have made such a massive mistake?!

I pulled out everything I have collected for Karen Marie and reviewed all the evidence carefully. Everything points to the Helgeland origin. I do not think I have been researching the wrong ancestors; I think the person who contributed the tree to Ancestry made an error. Of course that tree lists no sources.

This happens when we take shortcuts. We need to do our research correctly so we do not waste our time and publish erroneous information.

I am glad to find that Karen Marie really seems to be from Dønna. It is a lovely place.

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