I have found the search for reliable sources to be very difficult. I am sure many old publications are repeating errors that are impossible to verify. However, we have to rely on something. My limited research at the census record level reveals obvious errors as does my own input of my contemporary family members.
My goal has been to collect as many sources from others as I can without trying to check them myself. The purpose being, that when conflicts arise as the result of sharing, these sources will be examined and an informed judgment made. Or, at least, the conflict noted.
This has led to sometimes confusing and redundant entries into my notes in many cases. Part of the reason for this is the different ways various computer programs store sources. When merging people or pasting data in, a decision has to be made as how much to duplicate, or how much editing to do and perhaps, inadvertently lose some of the original data. Also, when a gedcom is imported from a different program, it is often impossible to determine the exact format of the original. An inaccurate quotation of a source would justifiably annoy the contributor as it would reflect badly on them as well as simply being wrong and misleading.
If this sounds like an apology for my notes and sources, it probably is. The notes in the database my immediate family have been substantially edited, and in the Shattuck and Distant Cousins database, the notes and sources have been eliminated entirely. Contact me directly for those.
The database of "The William Ward Genealogy" is well researched itself, and any data added has been checked against other sources if possible. In many instances, but not all, the source is noted. As well, in the past year or so many sources have been added when changes and/or additions have been made as well as credit given to the many who have contibuted data on Ward descendants. This has been made possible by the improvements to citing sources made in Brothers Keeper, the genealogy program in which the Ward data is kept.
Happy surfing. RCK Feb '00