NEHGS and Absolute Certainty

According to an email I received from NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) today, they will let you know “with absolute certainty” if a lineage is correct. They will not check your entire tree for the $500 fee, but they will check one line of descent.

Many genealogical conclusions, particularly ones involving individuals born before the mid-19th century, can potentially be subject to revision. I’ll let readers decide how they feel about “absolute certainty.” I do understand the desire to have someone else look over your research. But I suspect if someone is willing to drop $500 to “check” a lineage there are possibly some conclusions in that lineage that are “solid.”

I’m not certain how I feel about “absolute certainty.” I’m leaning towards the fact that it doesn’t exist.

But if I’ve got an extra $500 to spend on my research, I’ll probably either spend that money to get some records I need or hire someone I know to work on a specific project for me–perhaps do some more work on that connection in the lineage I’m not too certain about.

That might be money better spent than having someone review my research on the entire lineage–chances are there’s just one link that’s the real problem.


3 thoughts on “NEHGS and Absolute Certainty

  1. That’s how I felt as well when I got the email. I can buy LOTS of certificates from the General Registry Office (UK) for that money that would go a long way to helping me establish “absolute certainty” on some of my lines. But, like you, I’m not convinced we can ever establish anything genealogical with “absolute certainty”, beyond the details of my own birth as told to me by my mother. And even then, only the date, not the exact time.

    • Good points. If I’m going to hire someone to do some work (or consulting for me), it’s likely to be on a specific person/family where I don’t have the records expertise or access and need an expert with knowledge in that area/era to assist.

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