Can we find a way to tag ‘fake’ genealogies online?

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or

There has been a lot of discussion lately about fake news stories, and recently Facebook announced plans to try and fact-check stories in their realm.

I would hope that some of the major genealogy sites would find a way for those of us who have actually researched our family histories to be able to flag/tag/put a frowny face or something on a family tree, or sections thereof, that are clearly wrong, or unproven.

I have found that family trees on not only have an incorrect ancestor posted on my tree, but, due to that error, claim I descend from or am kin to many luminaries, like Isaac Newton. No one is checking anything out, and you are given no recourse when someone hijacks your ancestors.

On, their system of hints via leafs allows many uninitiated researchers to click on something and put it into their tree when it has no business being there. On many trees, it would seem that a branch had no children, because there is no phrase or item to click saying something like "I don't know anything about these folks, or whether they had any children or not."

You can leave messages on, and you can leave a correction when data shows up, like census data, that may have been misinterpreted. But, there is little recourse when a family tree appears with so many errors that it will set back anyone believing that it’s true.

Polio is topic of lecture

“Polio: the Journey” will be the topic of the Jan. 17 Lunch and Learn lecture at the DeKalb History Center. Shelia Harkleroad will speak about her personal journey with polio in the early 1950s, before there was a vaccine or any cure. For those who lived through those times as children, it should be an interesting story.

The lecture will be at noon and is free; bring your own lunch. The DeKalb History Center is in the Old Courthouse on the Square in Decatur. For further information, check or call 404-373-1088, Ext. 23.

The center’s archives is the place to go for research into DeKalb County history or to contact with regard to donating items related to said history. There is a full-time archival staff to help you with your research, but appointments are necessary, at the number above.

2017 anniversaries

This year will mark the anniversaries of several landmark events in history. This spring will be the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I with the declaration of war in April 1917. October will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in 1517. These events, and others — and the genealogy records they caused to be produced — will be covered in due course this year.