common ancestry

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Common ancestry refers the connection between people who share a common ancestor. Common ancestry implies a blood relationship and suggests that somewhere along the line of descent, two or more individuals can trace their ancestry back to a single, common ancestor. In the course of genealogy research, dozens of people may be researching the same family line, perhaps tracing back to a common immigrant ancestor.

A shared common ancestry may aid research, as you learn what others have done and share what you are learning. However, research data is only as good as the person collecting it, and considerable misinformation is perpetuated as incorrect information is passed from one person or one source to another. The easy acquisition of information across the Internet has significantly compounded the problem. Those who inherit or acquire information from others should make every effort to verify the accuracy of the data.

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