The Committee is Placed in A Most Painful Situation

I have been a member of Ancestry since way back.  I have availed myself of the several resources there quite happily, but from time to time, have scratched my head wondering how things were indexed.  Now this project has been going on for ages, but I guess I finally took my blinders off and actually noticed the sidebar that was impelling me to jump in and help out with the World Archives Project. What does that mean?  It means being able to lend your time to key information from original records that then allow those records to be searchable on Ancestry for all of us.  I wish I had found this earlier.

Now, there are always several projects going on, and your ability to choose what you can help key will not always mean that you can see projects super relevant to your own research interests, but I have found that I don’t care anymore if it’s something I am currently researching, because this is opening my eyes to types of records I might not have realised existed.

Continue reading “The Committee is Placed in A Most Painful Situation”

It May Be Etched in Stone, But It Doesn’t Mean It’s Correct

Oh the heartbreak when I realized that one of the types of sources that I believed were inarguable (way back when I was just a wee tot in genealogy) were actually hugely questionable.

I had some preconception that if someone where to etch a piece of information in stone, it HAD to be correct. Why would you preserve it for eternity if it were wrong?

Now, I had by this time come to terms with the fact that census reports were to be taken with a measure of scepticism. Of course, the value of the information depends solely on who the census taker was, if they were actually literate and spoke the same language as the family they were interviewing. Not dissimilar to those validating manifests in the ports. But you had to also consider who answered the door when the census taker came around. What if the only person home was not actually sure, but gave their best guess? Somehow I was able to understand and accept that census reports could add confusion rather than clarify the answer to a simple question, such as “When was my great grandfather born.”

Continue reading “It May Be Etched in Stone, But It Doesn’t Mean It’s Correct”

To Tech or Not to Tech

Listen. I’m all about technology. I run with two computers (one Mac, one PC), use the cloud, feel that I have become quite adept at online research, and am a Family Tree Maker user. And I have been, for over two decades.

However, while it’s lovely to have digital folders and it’s cool to click through my growing archives and quickly retrieve something that can be emailed/uploaded etc…there comes a point where I just have to go old school.

I have to have paper. Lots of paper.

I need big paper to sketch out family trees as they build…and to thought map potentials when there aren’t enough primary sources (yet) to pick one direction.

I need narrow ruled, hardbacked writing pads to review and compile research from various sources.

I need a pen in my hand, and paper in front of me.

I need physical photos and documents too. Not the originals, but copies that I can mark-up and flag and post-it to my hearts content. It is a large part of how my brain works.

It’s like physically writing all that information down longhand puts it into a different part of my brain. Being able to compare documents that I have physically in front of me to verify handwriting is key when I need to know if that’s really a 9….or is it a 4?

Sometimes, paper is really the only way to go.

Sure, it may mean double work at some stages, whether I need to extrapolate information I’ve obtained digitally, or enter information into my databases that I’ve sussed out the old school way, but it works for me.

I’m curious if there are others out there that find the same combination works for them…or if most people are all tech, or, conversely, no tech at all….

I’m looking forward to hearing what other folks do!

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