Fraudulent Genealogies

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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 reseacher, 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," Jane's Story Page ( accessed 10 December 2009); includes a bibliography.

Gustav Anjou[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.

For more information about Anjou frauds, consult these sources:

  • Gordon L. Remington, "Gustave We Hardly Knew Ye: A Portrait of Herr Anjou as a Jungberg," Genealogical Journal (Utah Genealogical Association) 19, nos. 1-2 (1991). Identifies Anjou's real identity.
  • Robert Charles Anderson, CG, FASG, "We Wuz Robbed! The Modus Operandi of Gustave Anjou," Genealogical Journal (Utah Genealogical Association) 19, nos. 1-2 (1991). Describes the manner in which Anjou fabricated genealogies.

Additional Articles about Fraudulent Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

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.