Dear 100 Hour Board,
I want to do family history but it seems like everyone who tries to explain what to do is assuming I have a traditional, simple family tree. My ancestors were largely drunks and deadbeats. Many were born out of wedlock and even the couples who were together for life didn't always get married. I'm not even convinced they all got birth certificates.
Can I seal couples if they never actually got married? Can kids be sealed to parents who were never married? What if family search is asking for birth dates and there aren't any birth records? What if a woman had lots of children and no one knew who the fathers were? What do I do if there are 5 different sources that all have different birth years and name variations for a person??
Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated.
No one has the perfectly nice family tree that's complete with all the proper documentation. However, if that documentation wasn't required, then there would be no way to verify any inputted information's validity; people could just create family trees that had no bearing on reality.
I would suggest getting in contact professional family history services, such as the LDS Church History Library, or BYU's Family History Library. These places will be able to help answer your more specific questions.