Friday, March 09, 2007

Family Tree Forgeries

In the early 1900's, a genealogist scammer by the name of Gustav Anjou created hundreds of fraudulent genealogies and family trees for unsuspecting clients. Each family paid thousands of dollars to Anjou, in those days, a small fortune.

All the fradulent Anjou manuscripts have similar characteristics. They are in typescript manuscript form and begin with a two or three page history of the surname, with almost all genealogies going back deep into the European lines. All were written between 1900-1941 and may or may not carry the authors name or date and place of publication.

Anjou was a master at combining families to create one related family tree. Sometimes, he took a valid family tree and without proof appended it to the family tree of his client. Or sometimes, he added wills, births, marriages, and deaths that were his inventions into existing records. It is hard to tell where his falsification begins and ends because his forged genealogies have much proven material also.

Unfortunately, many of these manuscripts still sit on the shelves of the Family History Library of Salt Lake City, Utah and the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana with no indication that these are known forgeries.

Because the unwary clients believed they had a true genealogy, they and their descendants have republished these fraudulent family trees over the years in family books, the Mormon Church Ancestral Files, Family Tree Makers's World Family Tree Cd's, and the Ancestry World Tree. The cycle continues today as unsuspecting people download family trees from the Internet.

If you find a family tree on the Internet, even if the information has a source, don’t take it at its face value. It should be verified personally. Gustav Anjou’s forgeries have worked their way into many family trees on the web today.

For more information about Gustav Anjou and a list of his known forgeries , go to

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