Well, genealogical scams have hit the news again and thanks to the author of an article the news on this will be seen by many. The Huffington Post has an article by Chris Rodda about those mass marketed gifts that tell about “your” family’s name. Chris was providing her mother, a professional genealogist, a graduation gift by sharing the details of the scam publicly. Her mother, Anne Rodda, is now better known as Dr. Rhodda! I am also proud to say that Anne is a fellow certified genealogist.
Chris saw the commercial on the History Channel and says “Now they’ve sunk to a new low, airing ads for a company that peddles fraudulent history. So my graduation present to my mother, a real certified professional genealogist, is to expose the genealogical charlatan Michael Walshe, and the scam of his Historical Research Center’s so-called “research.” You can obtain a parchment scroll with “guaranteed authentic family name origin and meaning.”
Yeah, right. There have been several recreations of such “special” items over the years. Ever seen one of those carts in a shopping mall or an ad in the back of a magazine? Pretty much the same thing. We used to get many of those lovely offers by postcard in the regular mail. Over the years many people have told about how they laugh when promised the info on the family name’s origin and meaning or the historically accurate coat of arms. True family historians know about names changes and spelling differences in their own family background and that these one size fits all coats of arms mean nothing.
I hate to see unsuspecting people drawn in by the promises of such material. Each individual, each family is unique and there are no predetermined ready-made family history materials. Good genealogy takes time to research. There are many places to learn what’s the correct way to learn and to research.
Oh, and Chris tells us that the man behind these commercials is the same man who sold such miracle products as the Ginsu knife. And the guy is even offering franchises of the new business. Run, don’t walk, away, please. Chris, your graduation gift to your Mom is truly an international gift to many.
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