Saturday, May 14, 2016

Anjou-itis: Fraudulent Genealogies

Gustav Anjou was a self-styled genealogist during the early 20th century. He was a native of Sweden.  Anjou compiled numerous pedigrees that delighted his clients. Unfortunately, most of them were fraudulent.

Noted genealogists Robert Charles Anderson and Gordon L. Remington wrote articles about Anjou in 1991. Anderson noted that  "A typical Anjou pedigree displays four recognizable features:
1. A dazzling range of connections between dozens of immigrants to New England; for example, connections far beyond what may be seen in pedigrees produced by anyone else.
2. Many wild geographical leaps, outside the normal range of migration patterns.
3. An overwhelming number of citations to documents that actually exist, and actually include what Anjou says they include and
4. Here and there an invented document, without citation, which appears to support the many connections noted under item 1 above."  [from Wikipedia article on Anjou.]
So, basically, Anjou used legitimate sources to compile fraudulent works. Many reputable genealogists relied on Anjou's works over the years. If you have used a genealogy compiled by Anjou, double-check everything in it!

I recall several years ago finding a list of fraudulent genealogies on-line. Google the topic to see if the list is still available.

Interestingly enough, I have used items researched and published by Anjou, especially in colonial New York/Netherland. The information has turned out to be accurate.

The guy could have been legit, but there wasn't the motivation, I guess.

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