I have a question that maybe you can answer i have been trying to follow my family tree with some succcess and am wondering whether you can follow your records backwards up the tree .
my father and grand farther following back I know the g/g grandfather and am happy with that that but can i go backwards to his father for instance, currently I am back about 15 generations but not sure of accuracy.
any comments would be appreciated
In theory, there is no real limit to the amount of generations you can trace back with your ancestral lines. However, the further you do go the more difficult it will probably be in establishing firm evidence regarding the true identity of your ancestors.
Most of my research relates to my English ancestry. In some cases I have been fortunate to find wills, over a number of generations, that name children / grandchildren, etc., and in one or two branches this has led to my tracing lines back to individuals born in the 16th and even 15th centuries - well before the official commencement of parish register recordings. However, in one case, the earliest document I have (for a branch on my maternal side) is for 1822!
Only you (though possibly in collaboration with other researchers with shared interests / ancestry) can decide if the evidence is strong enough to link you - and your most distant "proven" ancestor - with those still further back. As suggested, wills, parish registers and perhaps other papers that have been preserved (either in local or national archives) will help in your research.
Try, where possible, not to rush, or to rely too much on hearsay. I am still working hard in trying to establish positive links within many braches of my family tree - and that is after thirty five years of research, which has taken me to record offices in different parts of England and involved many hours in local libraries and on my home computer.
I wish you success with your searches, but would stress the need to take care, as it is so easy to confuse individuals of the same name and similar identity, who you might initially consider a very good match for your own relatives and ancestors, but transpire to be only distantly connected to your family.
So, I will add a little to this discussion, in the context of the question about how accurate relationships and records are the further back you go. The answer is the further back you go, the less you can be sure of anything. That is why many, many lineage societies have established rigid standards of proof dealing with time and location. If you are working with someone who lived in the 1600s and you want to be proven as a descendant, there will be various rules to be adhered to, depending on what part of the world that 1600's ancestor lived in. Also, professional genealogists learn about the standards of proof, and that too gets customized depending on time and place.
So, at this point we are at a fork in the road. Do you want to verify lineage for a specific reason, such as membership in a lineage society, or do you simply want to do family history to the best of your ability? I take the second route. Some of my family appears to have very colorful people who have been major players in history, and I will occasionally send out chatty emails about the history, using a possible personal connection as a hook. I always say though, that the lineage is not proved.
When PAF was deleted there were several programs adopted including Roots magic Version 4 which included the Kinship List on page 155 of the manual and its system. As updates were made and Familysearch altered its software then problems became shown and the control between Family Search and its aligned software had difficulties.
So much depends on where you are researching and how well the local records were preserved. In many cases, in the USA, courthouses or churches burned, and records were lost. In Ireland, there were decades when it was dangerous for Catholics to keep written records.
Some more to think about to piggy back my other post. I get very annoyed at how FamilySearch conducts its various relative finder or relationship finder functions. Even when a child parent relationship is established as step or foster, these algorithms ignore that and still offer to you a relationship through those connections. The last Rootstech had a relative finder link and several times I have posted in the communities that the 2 names at the very top of my list of "relatives" were not relatives at all, they were descendants of a foster couple who raised one of my great grandmothers.
Thus, when going back 15 generations you must consider this situation as well as whether or not each generation is sufficiently documented to prove who they were and who their parents were. You may find at some juncture in the "way back" times that the first husband was undocumented while the second husband does have documentation, and the details in records imply your direct ancestor was born of the first husband. Funny wording in wills can do this to you, such as "my wife's son". So, victorscholes if you want to verify accuracy, study each generation carefully. When no sources exist, there is no accuracy.