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Many family stories are carried down from generation to generation as stories told around the fireplace. I think Alex Haley demonstrated this very well in his Roots book and tv series.

Often these stories are carried from generation to generation by memory, and get written down only later (as people realize that some details are getting left out). Plus story tellers sometimes embellish the story for the benefit of the current audience. Details can easily get distorted or affected by history, other stories, etc, etc.

Once they are written down, you have a document to study, discuss, and compare with other facts. Until then, stories can be fluid--always changing.

Be thankful when you are able to verify some details and you have something to work with. Too many stories get lost along the way leaving no record.
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