The strengths and limitations of a one-name study and a plea
I have seen several MORCOM family trees on-line in which the wrong William MORCOM has been incorporated in a family, leading the author further astray. In the early days of my research, when I still thought the surname was very unusual, I could easily have made the same error. However, I am now very aware that my one-name study contains 139 men whose name is exactly "William MORCOM", and 657 with "William" as at least one of their forenames, and MORCOM, MORCOMBE or another variant as one of their surnames. This is out of a 19,194 person database, of which 8812 have MORCOM, MORCOMBE or another variant as their surname. The latter figure excludes the spouses of MORCOM/BEs who are recorded under their maiden names.
With this knowledge, and detailed knowledge of most families, I am far more likely to select the correct William, even if he is separated by continents from his parents.
However, the very size of this one-name study , compared with researching your own MORCOM/BE family line, makes it practically and financially impossible to purchase many of the birth, marriage and death certificates which would help to ensure that misidentifications were not made. So it is inevitable that there are errors in this website.
You are, of course, welcome to copy relevant parts of my research into your own family trees. However, if my information is copied, without checking, onto websites like Ancestry, then my possibly erroneous information is likely to be very quickly duplicated into more trees in Ancestry or other family history programs. When later, you or I discover a serious error, it will be impossible to correct all the sites which have promulgated the mistake.
An extreme example of this problem is an American fraudster who, in the 1930s made a very good living selling many bogus family trees to rich American families. His research was popular because he almost always found early ancestors of families who were well known American historic figures , one of the Pilgrim Fathers, or one or more well known European monarchs. Over 75 years later, many family trees, including many on-line, are still polluted by this fictitious source. My database must contain many errors, but, I promise, no inventions unless unknowingly copied from other sources!
My plea, therefore is that you do what I have been unable to accomplish. Please check as many of my relationships as possible by purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates, and wills, and delving into more obscure sources, before putting trees online which incorporate my research.
I will, of course, be most grateful if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with source evidence to substantiate any errors you have found, so that later versions of this one-name study can be corrected for the benefit of other MORCOM or MORCOMBE researchers.
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