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Archiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1300841980

From: "Linda M. Towne" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Citing Poor Sources - Was: Re: Name changes in narratives
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 20:59:40 -0400
References: <00DF3F3503160B281884009012@Judy-PC> <><>
In-Reply-To: <>

at the very least, I would probably set up a source labelled 'Family
Lore' or something similar and add a description showing that the
information is undocumented and unverified family stories, give it a
surety of 0 or - and that way I know in the future and anyone else who
inherits my database will also know that this is in need of further
research and not to be relied on.

I source everything in my database whether it's an ironclad primary
source or a hazy family story I barely remember from childhood or
something in between. Because if I'm putting that IN my database, at
some point, I or someone else is going to look at it and want to know if
it's documented fact or simply a clue. I've been researching for 25
years...some of those hazy, kernel of truth stories have lead me to the
truth, others have been proven completely fictitious and still others
are still there, awaiting final determination which may never happen.
But if I heard that there's Indian blood in the family for instance,
other people in the family have probably also heard that and I need to
address it - by proving or disproving it if at all possible or by simply
acknowledging that there is an unproven family story stating it.

And yes, sometimes I have guess-work in my database and I do source that
- with the sources that lead me to the guess and a research note or
conclusion (depending on the stage of my research) indicating WHY I
think that and what steps I've taken (or still need to take) as far as
proving/disproving it. For instance, I may not have any sources that
state the marriage date for a couple but I may have sources showing them
as married and a reasonable guess would be that they married
approximately a year before the birth of their oldest (known) child. So
I may put in an approximate date of marriage (a guess) with a note
indicating where I derived that date from (birth date of oldest known
child, _________in date) and source it with whatever I used to source
that child's birth date and any sources showing that they were married
such as a will naming a widow.

Linda Towne

On 3/22/2011 5:37 PM, Darrell A. Martin wrote:
> On 3/22/2011 2:30 PM, Carol Anne wrote:
>> I have myself as a source. Sometimes I know about family funerals,
>> marriages, etc. because I was there, and if the person is not in my
>> direct line, it's not important enough for me to send for a document
>> as proof.
>> Carol Anne
> Carol Anne:
> There is no reason why *actual* personal knowledge should be considered
> a "poor source". Sometimes it is the best source of all.
> My discussion has focused on situations where I do *NOT* have any real
> personal knowledge, but instead have tried to make sense out of material
> that does not (in my personal opinion) qualify as documentation:
> garbled stories, self-contradictory legends, myths mixed with reality in
> unknown proportions, and outright fabrications with perhaps a kernel of
> truth -- all without any traceability.
> Darrell

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