15 December 2014

I Just Can't Wait to Be King

“Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
From surname books that have little to nothing to do with genealogy to flat out lies like "family coats of arms" there will always be people trying to make a quick buck from genealogy. There always have been. The easiest prey are those who want fame, a royal connection.
Royal wannabes can buy fake coats of arms (most sites are not as upfront about the fake part as that one), their own royal portrait or their own royal title. I can't believe how many people have fallen for the latter one. They are easy to find because once someone is titled they need a website and/or a Facebook fan page to tout their importance and communicate with the little people.
The entire front page of the Royal Titles site focuses on impressing those who are, obviously, beneath you, and giving you a sense of self-importance.
"Sense of Grandeur and Historical Belonging, Social Status and Prestige, Instantly Perceived Glamour, Power and sense of difference and Privilege, Preferential treatment Everywhere, An incredible Source of Joy, Happiness and Amusement." 
The capitalization of random words really emphasizes the professionalism and trustworthiness of the site. (My kingdom for a sarcasm font!)
"We can offer a number of Royal Titles to choose." 
Because everyone knows if the King/Queen wants to knight you you can say, "Um, I'd rather be a Baron." Check out their disclaimer page. The site "does not sell noble titles." Yet a "Single Royal and Noble Title and Royal Medal is EUR €199." If you want to see what that gets you click here.
There are free sites that feed the royal wannabes need for these things. Most of the information on these sites has been copied to numerous Ancestry Member Trees (AMTs). At least Ancestry does its part to keep information on living people private. These other sites usually have no privacy boundaries but like a majority of AMTs, they have no credible sources. This one has profiles copied from a handful of books. From the "sources" section of the FAQ page:
"About half way through this exercise, I acquired a copy of S&N’s Royalty database, and merged this with my own database. Given I already had around 20,000 quite detailed records at this point, and the S&N was around 106,6000 separate records (with little detail given and absolutely no sources), this merging process took me a considerable period of time." 
No sources? No SOURCES! And you want to merge with it, why?
Then there's this one. Go to one of the indices and click through to a random entry. Chances are the only "source" you'll see is WorldRoots.com, a website that no longer exists. The only way to view it is with the WayBack Machine.
You might be thinking, "Well, no one would take those unsourced profiles as fact." I hate to burst your bubble but I didn't search for these sites. They were posted to Facebook threads by people encouraging others to use them.
What will it take to get these people to search for a record?

Genealogy as a Fraud from Genealogy's Star
Genealogy Scams: What You Need to Know About Generic Surname Histories and Coats of Arms from Price & Associates Genealogical Services
Myths, Hoaxes & Scams from Cyndi's List

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  1. LOLd at the the "Three Brothers Myth" on Cyndi's List because we have that history in my family. Three brothers and a sister emigrated from Germany w/ the sister dying enroute. In reality that history is for a different family w/ the same name except it was the parents, five brothers and two sisters - w/ one sister dying. My family it is actually parents and two brothers emigrating from Germany w/ the third brother born in the Colonies.

  2. Using the last link that you gave you could write an entire blog about the horrible sources she uses. Her source notes are mind blowing!

  3. Wow people are really gullible. LOL

  4. My very favorite part of buying a title would be "Flashing [my] Card with [my] Name and Title to Impressionable Waiters, Waitresses, Air Hostesses, Bank Managers, Friends, Boyfriends, or Girlfriends . . . " But wait, what if the waiter wasn't all that impressionable? Would that mean I wasted the money?

    And I can just imagine the card - for instance, I'm sure that Elizabeth I must have a card that reads, "HRH the Queen of England" (there would not be enough space on the card to add "by the grace of God" and/or "by plunking down a cash payment to a bogus website...") But just think - for that hard-to-buy-for loved one, you now can make him Duke of Nothing At All. And just in time for Christmas, how very timely.

    Thanks for posting this, I needed a laugh.