Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
An error checker is a feature in a genealogy software database that scans the data and reports potential errors and discrepancies. The feature may appear under different names in various programs, but the function of checking for errors remains the same, regardless of what the feature is named. Some programs allow users to set certain parameters, and some programs may offer more advanced error checking features.
Errors are common in recording and transcribing genealogy information. Some mistakes are made accidentally and some are made through carelessness. The most careful researcher can make errors, to say nothing of those who are not careful or who take information at face value. Unless errors are identified and corrected, they can be perpetuated indefinitely as information is shared. The most common errors are dates that don't add up, birth, marriage, and death and names that suggest some discrepancy. Computerized error checkers are programed to detect such errors, alerting users. Checking for errors periodically is recommended, allowing users to correct simple errors, document sources, and verify information, thereby increasing the reliability and integrity of the information.