Gary Helm


Most of my information is from primary sources, and sources verified for accuracy.
My information has been gathered through careful research in county, state and federal archives, and other reliable sources.

Primary sources: These include original records and legal documents written at the time in question. Some records I read were so old the librarians had to provided me with white gloves and watched over me while I read the document. In most cases the documents were microfilms of the original records.

Secondary sources: Books and documents written using primary sources. Even so, it is best to verify if secondary sources are accurate.

Tertiary sources: These are books, articles and websites that use a variety of sources including word of mouth. These sources must be used with caution. They may or may not be historically accurate.

Word of Mouth: Grandma, grandpa and aunt lucy always said we were related to George Washington. They must have assumed we knew they were talking about George Washington Lovingood, but not the president.

Fabricated Sources: Fabricated sources are common on the Internet.

Prevalent examples are the names of Moses Helm's children, born in the mid 1700s.
I have never come across any record prior to the late 1960s with any of them having a middle name. The names were fabricated, made up by someone.
The fabricated names are repeatedly used on the Internet and ancestry websites.

Another fabricated story tells how James Helm moved from Virginia to Tennessee, and later went back to visit his grandmother.
The story tells how his grandfather Moses abandoned the family and was last seen walking north, and his grandmother was not right in the head.
For anyone doing research there are two obvious errors, both his grandfather and his grandmother died before James moved to Tennessee.

Research Errors: One type of error is caused by misreading primary documents without knowing the history behing the document.
For example: there is a repeated error of Moses Helm being a highway engineer, citing a historic document.
No, the document is merely a list of names of people who lived on a road that had been in existance for decades.
The list was made because the property along that road was made part of a new county, and at the time people who lived or owned property along a road were responsible for maintaining the road.

One researcher's error concludes Theodrick was a drunk whose whiskey jug was found under the porch of his house. Two Primary Sources refute that claim: I have a picture of Theodrick, shortly before his death, standing in front of the cabin where he lived and there is no porch; and Theodrick was a member of a strict religious organization and church minutes report him in the highest regard. However his son, Theophilous was disfellowshiped from the church on multiple occassions for the behaviors falsely attributed to Theodrick.

When someone says "have you gone to ancestry dot com? They have lots of information."
I question where does the person asking the question imagine ancestry dot com gets all this information?
Does the information majically appear in their database? And who checks the the information for accuracy?