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FC 78 Sustainable Genealogy with Richard Hite

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Richard Hite, author of the book Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends.

Bio – Richard HiteRichard Hite on Fieldstone Common

Richard Hite is State Records Coordinator of the Rhode Island State Archives and Public Records Administration. Previously he was Assistant State Archivist at the Ohio Historical Society and from 2003 until 2012 he served as President of the Hite Family Association. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Book Summary

There are a lot of textbooks that describe how to find your ancestors; this new one by Richard Hite clarifies how not to. In short, Sustainable Genealogy explains how to avoid the traps many family historians can fall into. Whether it’s a proud family legend, a venerable publication, or the claims of an Internet family tree, the unsubstantiated genealogical source is like a house of sticks before the Big Bad Wolf–it won’t stand up. As Mr. Hite demonstrates in this collection of case studies, many are the “oral traditions that have fallen by the wayside under the lens of careful research in primary sources and more recently, DNA testing.”

Here are just a few of the lessons from Sustainable Genealogy that can protect you along genealogy’s primrose path:

  • Recognizing when identical surnames conceal different nationalities
  • Understanding when and why death certificates can be “wrong”
  • Knowing when ancestors’ middle names are not family names
  • Respecting the role of geography in establishing ancestral ties
  • Taking the genealogies in 19th-century “mug books” with a grain of salt
  • Accepting that all relationships must be chronologically plausible

Book InfoSustainable Genealogy with Richard Hite on Fieldstome Common

Title: Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends

Publisher: Genealogical Publishing Company (2013)

Trade Paperback; 110 pages

Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Richard and I talk about how he got involved in genealogy and the many rabbit holes he went down before he sorted out the myths from reality in his family history. Trouble areas that we touch on are surnames with multiple spellings and multiple national origins, maiden names, the royalty seekers, the would-be famous ancestors, the infamous Indian Princess and much more!

Prize Winners

One copy of Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Genealogical Publishing Company.

The winner is:

  • Margot Thompson of Massachusetts

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Genealogical Publishing Company for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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