Fraudulent Genealogies

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Genealogy is affected by forgeries, fakes, and frauds. Numerous fraudulent genealogies are known to exist and can be found in any major genealogical library, online or off.

"Armchair historians, family-tree climbers, and professionals are all among the guilty. Many are well-meaning folk who "just got carried away" by imagination, enthusiasm, or inexperience. Others are, yes, quite calculating in their deceit."[1]

As a result genealogy researcher, Carmen J. Finley, warned that it is important to track down the original records cited in compiled genealogies. Carmen said,[2]

"Serious genealogists know not to believe everything in print. Honest mistakes happen. The accuracy of published record abstracts depends on many factors... Even more difficult to detect can be the misguided alterations and deliberate deceptions by seemingly sincere authors who tamper with evidence or manufacture it outright. No researcher really wants to consider such a likelihood."

The Horn Papers[edit | edit source]

The Horn Papers were records of western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio, western Maryland, and northern West Virginia from 1765 to 1795. For more information, see:

  • Arthur P. Middleton and Douglass Adair, "The Mystery of the Horn Papers," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 4 (October 1947): 409-45; report proving the Horn Papers were a hoax.[1]
  • W. F. Horn, The Horn Papers: Early Westward Movement on the Monongahela and Upper Ohio, 1765-1795 (Scottsdale, Penn.: Herald Press for the Green County Historical Society, 1945); published copy of the Horn Papers.
  • Jane A. Leavell, "The Horn Papers"; includes a bibliography.

Known Fraudulent Genealogists[edit | edit source]

Gustav Anjou (1863-1942)[edit | edit source]

Gustav Anjou is perhaps the most famous author of fraudulent genealogies. Many of his works are available online and at reputable libraries like the Family History Library.

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • Anderson, Robert Charles, CG, FASG, "We Wuz Robbed! The Modus Operandi of Gustave Anjou," Genealogical Journal (Utah Genealogical Association), Special Issue, Genealogical Deception: Vol. 19, Nos. 1 & 2 (1991):47-70. Describes the manner in which Anjou fabricated genealogies. Extracts of this article online at Fraudulent Lineages forum at Genealogy.com.
  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oliver, Harold, Director, America's First Families. "More Fraudulent Lineages". Contains a list of 305 Anjou genealogies. Online at: Archive.org, Genealogy.com ("More Fraudulent Lineages" extract is a section of this article).
  • Remington, Gordon L., "Gustave We Hardly Knew Ye: A Portrait of Herr Anjou as a Jungberg," Genealogical Journal (Utah Genealogical Association), Special Issue, Genealogical Deception: Vol. 19, Nos. 1 & 2 (1991).
  • Remington, Gordon L., "Gustave Anjou - Forger of American Genealogies," Swedish American Genealogist, Vol. 12, No. 4, Article 2 (1992). Online at: Digital Commons. Downloadable.
  • Gustave Anjou at Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

Charles Henry Browning (1846-1926)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • Charles Henry Browning Fraud at WikiTree
  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oshle, Mahina. "Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries". Seattle Public Library. Downloadable. Lists some known fraudulent publications by author.

Harriet (Bainbridge) De Salis (1829-1908)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • Moriarty, George Andrews. "The Woodman Family." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 97 (1943): 281-7. Online at: American Ancestors ($).
  • Reed, Paul C. "Whitney Origins Revisited ..." The American Genealogist. Vol. 69 (1994): 9-14. Online at: Whitney Research Group, article used with permission.

Charles Arthur Hoppin (1866-?)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oshle, Mahina. "Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries". Seattle Public Library. Downloadable. Lists some known fraudulent publications by author.

Brian Leese (1931-1989)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • Thompson, Neil D., Ph.D., C.G., FASG, "A Twentieth-Century Genealogical Charlatan," Genealogical Journal (Utah Genealogical Association), Special Issue, Genealogical Deception: Vol. 19, Nos. 1 & 2 (1991): 77-80.

Orra Eugene Monnette (1873-1936)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oshle, Mahina. "Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries". Seattle Public Library. Downloadable. Lists some known fraudulent publications by author.

Louis Raphael Nardini, Jr. (1938-2007)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

Frederick Clifton Pierce (1855-1904)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • Frederick Clifton Pierce Fraud at Wikitree: "...[I]ncluded fraudulent genealogies in his Pierce genealogy books...information [which] was incorporated into subsequent books by other authors." This article notes several other family names for which Pierce wrote genealogies.

Jesse Montgomery Seaver (1890-1975)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

Horatio Gates Somerby (1805-1872)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Reed, Paul C. "Two Somerby Frauds or 'Placing the Flesh on the Wrong Bones'", The American Genealogist, Vol. 74, No. 1 (January 1999). Online at: Article as PDF download.

Raymon Meyers Tingley[edit | edit source]

Frederick Adams Virkus (1879-1955)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oshle, Mahina. "Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries". Seattle Public Library. Downloadable. Lists some known fraudulent publications by author.

John S. Wurts (1876-1958)[edit | edit source]

Articles discussing fraudulent works:

  • McCracken, George E., "Towards an Index Expurgatorius," The American Genealogist, Vol. 52, No. 3 (July 1976): 182. Article identifies genealogical fraudsters: Gustav Anjou, Horatio Gates Somerby, Charles H. Browning, C.A. Hoppin, Orra Eugene Monnette, Frederick A. Virkus and John S. Wurts. Article excerpt online at: Bartonsite.org, p. 9.
  • Oshle, Mahina. "Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries". Seattle Public Library. Downloadable. Lists some known fraudulent publications by author.

Additional Articles about Fraudulent Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • Frauds and Fabrications at Wikitree. Links to Wikitree pages discussing various family history and genealogical works, proven or suspected as fraudulent.
  • Finley, Carmen J., Ph.D., CG. "Checking the Authenticity of Cited Documents: A Finley-Hess Hoodwink in Colonial Pennsylvania." National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Vol. 87 (1999): 295.
  • Goodwin, Aaron. "Genealogical Fraud". NGS Monthly: Methodology, News, and Views, digital newsletter. Fraudulent claim regarding Tobias Bickel parentage. Only NGS members have access to full article.
  • Gormley, Myra Vanderpool, CG. "Grafting Family Trees". RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Genealogy News. Vol. 3, No. 17 (26 April 2000). Archived on Internet Archive.
  • Oliver, Harold, Director, America's First Families. "Genealogy Frauds". Archived on Internet Archive.
  • Wild, Ron. "Beware of Fraudulent Genealogies". Family Chronicle. Archived on Internet Archive. Citing print edition, January/February 2001. Lists multiple fraudulent genealogists, including Anjou works.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gary B. Mills and Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Hoodwinks, Tomfoolery, and Fakelore," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87 (1999): 259.
  2. Carmen J. Finley, Ph.D., CG, "Checking the Authenticity of Cited Documents: A Finley-Hess Hoodwink in Colonial Pennsylvania," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87 (1999): 295.