The first thing I did was take a look on the internet to see if anyone had done Britney's tree. I found several websites with her family tree. I am only listing the one that doesn't have the compilers' names on it (the one listed below is a wiki type collaborative genealogy). None of the ones I saw had any sources listed so I didn't want to embarrass the compilers by pointing out that they have no evidence for their findings. I will also say that the ones I saw were verbatim identical to the one listed below so I am thinking there is some copying and pasting going on:
Unfortunately, I saw a name in Britney's direct line that is very familiar to me, Jesse Lee, Sr. (#332 on her pedigree chart). This would be Britney's 6th great-grandfather. Jesse is also my 6th great-grandfather which would make Britney and I 7th cousins. Ouch!
I emailed everyone that I found on the internet that had Britney's tree with Jesse Lee, Sr. included. Not one could tell me where they got their info other than to say they copied it off of the internet.
What I would need to do now is research Britney's direct line from scratch so that I could source it correctly. Then I could add her to my tree and say that we are cousins. Researching nine generations is a lot of work and there is no guarantee that it would work out the way the unsourced tree says it does. Do I really care if I am related to Britney Spears? Not really so it just isn't worth my while. So why did I go through all of this then? I did it to show you two important points:
1) If there are no sources then it is fiction
Even though I looked at all of this unsourced information, I could never use it. The very most I can do with it is to use it as a clue to actually do the proper research.
2) You should always research from what you know backwards in time to what you don't know, one generation at a time and then let the chips fall where they may
A big mistake that beginning researchers make is to find a famous person that happens to have their surname, or the surname of one of their known ancestors, and try to connect them up. People love to do that with the passengers of the Mayflower because if you happen to be a descendant of one of the Mayflower passengers you are eligible for membership in the prestigious Mayflower Society. I have six surnames in common with the Mayflower and I don't even have lines up in New England! It would be foolish for me to try and work my way downward from those people hoping that I will find a connection. I used Britney Spears as an example just because I think it is funny.
Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis