APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-07 > 1216050679
Subject: Re: [APG] Evaluating and revising
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 15:51:19 +0000
I like David and Elizabeth's responces here. The reality is that all of us probably have poor source citations and documentation somewhere in our family tree because we were all beginners when we started. We need to remember where we began. We did not begin by learning the importance of documentation or source citations. We began with an enthusiasm for wanting to know about our families.
When I started doing source citations on the computer back in the mid 80's the old DOS "Family Roots" program was limited to about 20-30 characters for the source citation, so you might get in there an 1841 census for Leeds and that was about it. I upgraded to a windows based program and those citations carried over. I know many will think I am nuts but a few years ago I actually went through and did a system wide delete of all source citatons and forced myself to start the citation process over again (not yet complete). It has been a good experience. It has forced me to reexamine and reevaluate the paper files and the documentation I have and to fill in the gaps. I have had the frustration of finding certificates in the files for the wrong people with the same name (same age, same occupation, same sons name, same community - but still wrong person). I have had the joy of finding more people to add to the tree and more information on people already on the tree with documentation sitting in the files.
My contention is that often many of the answers to our brick walls are already sitting in our own files and among the documents we already have. The problem is that when we obtained that document we did not know enough about genealogy or the family to know that what we found was the answer to the problem. Often we file it never to return to that documentation.
For many of us we work on a family line, go so far, and then move on to the next line- often never to return. I like many professionals on this list do not have much time to research my own family. After doing research for over 25 years I like to think I have learnt a thing or two. Like David, part of the fun of genealogy is the return to past work pick it up again and still be able to find new things, revise ideas and hypotheses, solve problems and often without going further than our own files.
Yes, new online indexes and online images have quickened the process for getting a lot of information. They make it easier to go back in fill in those collateral lines.
For any genealogist returning to the documentation to evaluate and revise our ideas and hypotheses should be an important step in the process, even if many years after we first worked on that line.
We are all - or at least should be - learning more all the time. Its okay to admit that we missed that the first time around, or that citation doesn't meet all the current standards. Going back helps us all to build skills and confidence.
Keep Learning - Keep Evaluating and Revising
-------------- Original message from "Rev. David McDonald" <>: --------------
I am embarrassed to admit how many citations in my personal database, dating from my earliest research, are inadequate. "IGI, Yorkshire," or "US Census," or
> better still, "personal knowledge" pervade my earliest citations.
> One of the pieces of great fun for me, long after the era of finding a new great-grandparent's entire ancestry back to the seventeenth century has past, is revising earlier guesses and conclusions that I had based upon evidence that I
> now realize is not sound.
> Elizabeth's point about reevaluation is absolutely sound: all of us, and our work, are well-served, when we recognize the possibility that early results may not stand up to long-term scrutiny. At this stage in my researching life, I derive enormous pleasure out of proving more thoroughly my own conclusions, disproving flawed assumptions made by me or by others, or in making the connection and supporting my conclusions on families that had previously been
> Rev. David McDonald, CG(sm)*
> *"CG" & "Certified Genealogist" are service marks of the Board for Certification
> of Genealogists, and are used by authorized associates following periodic,
> peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate No. 452, expires 19 April
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