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Archiver > TMG > 2000-01 > 0948548114

From: "Bob Bass" <>
Subject: Re: TMG-L: UK word Evidence
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 08:35:14 -0500

>Main problem is that the author is an academic historian.

You have brought ups something that I feel is hurting modern genealogy. We
have become too academic! I say this from the viewpoint of a college
professor. I heard recently that genealogy is the second largest hobby. I
suspect the average modern genealogist are non-academic, at least in the
language and history fields. Why is this a problem? (excuse me Ms Mill
while I pick on you) Personally I to not always enjoy reading NGS Quarterly,
it is often difficult reading, due to its very high academic standards.

I have noted in the class room if we use a text written at a high academic
level the students do not study as much, even the great ones, compared to
when one is used that is written on a more 'worldly' level. I then contend
that when the average modern day genealogist reads an academic genealogy
they MAY become discouraged and abandon ALL academic standards. I further
speculate, this is why we see so many undocumented or poorly documented

I suggest it is time to lower the academic bar, thereby encouraging better
genealogy. For instance, I cannot understand why my ggggrandfather lived
and raised his children in middle Tennessee in the 1820's when he worked on
a ship. He was a yeoman<G>. The one exception to lowering the bar is
documenting sources. I moved to TMG because of its documentation ability
and have fallen in love with its research features. The only trouble with
modern documentation standards is they are very complex and difficult for
most people to understand. This is illustrated by the number of threads on
this group relating to sources. It is imperative we develop an easy to use
and understand method of documenting sources.

Ms. Mills' book has taken great strides in that direction. The problem is,
I use "EVIDENCE ...." like I suspect most of you do, I look for the example
that exactly fits. What happens when their is no example? Well we should
study her section on formatting citations, but we do not, we grab something,
however inappropriate, and adjust it so it look good and hope for the best.

I was once told, and it is still true, "never bring up a trouble area
unless you have a possible solution". I brought up what I feel is a
problem. I must admit I do not have a solution, I can only hope that among
the great minds which visit here can brainstorm and produce the solution.

Bob Bass, Ph.D.
The Red-Neck Genealogist

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