Author Topic: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist  (Read 1031 times)

Online CarolA3

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #18 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 17:49 BST (UK) »
............... how you choose to pursue your hobby is as entirely individual as we all are.

If I could choose, I would be spending at least one full day each week in the Oxfordshire History Centre, and at least two full days at the Berkshire Records Office (because hardly any Berks records are online), and attending all meetings of both counties' Family History Societies, plus every FH fair/event in England, and exploring all of the places where my ancestors lived.

The technology does not yet exist to enable me to commute.  In the meantime I shall continue to do my feeble best with online records, CDs of transcribed PRs, local history books, personal memories, and the small portion of brains I was born with.  And RootsChat.

Carol
OXFORDSHIRE / BERKSHIRE
Bullock, Cooper, Boler/Bowler, Wright, Robinson, Lee, Prior, Trinder, Newman, Walklin, Louch

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Offline chiddicks

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #19 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 21:05 BST (UK) »
thanks River Tyne Lass for your thoughts and comments its much appreciated, its always a great friendly and helpful community, us genealogists are a friendly bunch.


I think this is a very interesting and thought provoking blog...

I agree with CarolA3 regarding the point that there are thousands no doubt who are trying to do their best from a distance and so this can't be classed as a 'sin'.  I am very fortunate in that I happen to be in an area that the majority of my ancestors settled in so it is easier for me to visit local archives and libraries to find family records. 

However, it is not possible for me timewise or financially to swan off around other places in the country or even abroad to places like America where some of my ancestors went so it is great that we have the internet these days and forums like RootsChat to obtain help.

If it is possible to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors - I would definitely recommend this too.  A couple of years or so ago, I went to visit the Half Moon pub in Durham which my Ancestor Edward Senior was publican in the early to mid 1800s - this was fascinating to look around and to see where they actually lived.  The staff said it was alright for me to take photos too. 

Personally, I think chatting about genealogy is a virtue rather than a 'sin' ;D ;); however, I know there are a number of very strange people out there who would disagree and likely find this boring.  ::) I suppose I can understand - I have no interest in football or fishing for example - and if others started talking about these hobbies I would likely find this boring.    I am one of those people who is very interested in how I got here - what paths were walked to get us here, etc.  So not easy to fathom why others might have no interest - but each to their own. ::) ;)

I also strongly agree with helping others.  I think there could be a blog in itself on how people can go about doing this.   For example putting postems on freebmd entries is an easy way to share what knowledge/records you have.

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Offline chiddicks

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #20 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 21:06 BST (UK) »
My Surname of Chiddicks has been spelt so many different ways I have almost lost count, they don't make it easy do they



Sin #9.

I wasn't rigid about names, but I realise now that some of my Scottish forebears didn't spell their surname the same way out here as they did back home (assuming the were literate - I think they were). 

I've had FAR more success tracing one line since realising our ancestor who emigrated as McEwen was baptised as McQuien and his siblings (baptised with a variety of spellings) were McEwan in adulthood.

Offline chiddicks

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #21 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 21:08 BST (UK) »
I wish I could restart my filing system again with the benefit of hindsight now Martin. My system has kind of evolved over numerous years to what it is today, but wish I knew then what I know now!




Number 11 should be to remember to have a big folder for all the documents that you download and don't immediately give a suitable file name too.

Martin

Offline chiddicks

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #22 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 21:14 BST (UK) »
For me there are two major defining moments for Genealogy, the first the advent of the internet and the second is here now, the advent of DNA


As the years (correction) months go by it gets easier and easier to do genealogy by computer. Even the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City does not seem to be as busy as it was years ago. One thing I missed when I lived in the County south of Newcastle-upon Tyne, which still has it own name and not one of those newfangled names, is the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel. Never even heard of it. As the Americans say I must have been asleep at the switch. I can proudly say that I am bilingual. American and English. Not fluent in Australian but I could get by.

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #23 on: Tuesday 02 July 19 21:50 BST (UK) »
I would disagree with Paul’s list of top ten “sins” of a genealogist.
My suggestions are :-

Sin 1: Not talking to relatives about their memories and experiences.
I don’t mean interrogate your older relative but take time talk to them, chew the fat and just talk, don’t be too concerned to keep the conversation on topic but let it ramble here there and everywhere. You will be surprised what you will learn

Sin 2: Only using civil registration and census to get back to 1837. Though these sources are important they are limited, get used to using church records including baptisms, marriages and burials tied in with wills newspapers and other records to help your research. This is imperative as when you reach 1837 if you don’t learn to use all available sources when easy to use sources are available for you to check your assumptions you will be lost when trying to search pre 1837.

Sin 3: relying on transcripts, transcript can be helpful as a finding aid but always, always without fail try to seek out the original record. Be aware many Parish Registers have been copied either in full or in sections (disregarding Bishop’s Transcripts), sometimes there are multiple copies of a Parish Register for a particular month or year. Compare as many copies of such registers as possible  and also remember to check out the Bishop’s Transcripts, hopefully every copy will record the same information but you may be surprised how they vary.

Sin 4: Concentrating your search, this is a useful technique if you are researching locally but if like most you are researching in a distant archive use the scattergun approach. Printout, or download to usb every instance of the names you are researching, do not even try to read what information is given, just print and download as much as you can in the little time available.
The “experts” will tell you this is counter productive and will cause you to follow the wrong lines but I disagree. Your time at a distant archive is your most precious resource, when you get home you can spend hours months and years going over what you have saved. If you have spent all your time pursuing one name you may come back with only two or three records of interest.
I visited Kew with a young lady who had lectured Family History for 10 years, her uncle was also and experienced researcher of many years but a certain ancestor had always alluded them, they had even engage a local professional researcher in the past but the ancestor was never found. On the train back home the young lady found the elusive ancestor popped out of the reams of printouts she had taken, family mystery solved.

Sin 5: Assuming records are always correct, all types of records from Birth, Marriages and Death registers through to records written in stone are open to errors always search for alternative records to confirm any and all details.

Sin 6: Not rechecking one’s research in later years digital copies of more and more records are becoming available every year and more private archives are becoming accessible as well check previous work every few years to see what has become available or what is now available in a more legible format (for example microfiche records may now be supplied in a clearer digital format which can be enlarged).

Sin 7: Falling into the trap of existing family trees, it is very easy to look at a sourced online family tree and follow the given sources without checking to see if there are other records that could fit the bill. The human mind can easily be convinced a record is correct if a source is displayed but the family historian still needs to confirm that the record given is the correct record.

Sin 8: Assuming everything is online, only a tiny percentage of records are online. The vast mass of archived material will probably never be digitised.
Sin 9: Assuming everything online is available to all, many records held in a digital format are in private online collections and not generally available. There are also a huge volume of unindexed record images that require browsing image by image to access, many of these may not be indexed for decades.

Sin 10: Perhaps the gravest sin of all, compiling a list of “sins” of a genealogist. ;)

Cheers
Guy
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Offline pinefamily

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Re: Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist
« Reply #24 on: Wednesday 03 July 19 00:33 BST (UK) »
Well put, Guy. Both your list and Paul's have merit.
I agree most with the sin #4. I used to write out a list of things I wanted to check when going to a library or archive. While effective, I realized that I was missing other avenues of information. It was then I started to make a list of what resources I would look at instead. That was even more productive.
And yes, the tyranny of distance is a hindrance to researchers far from where their ancestors lived. Now I live in the country, even the previously accessible libraries and archives are a three hour drive away.
I am Australian, from all the lands I come (my ancestors, at least!)

Pine/Pyne, Dowdeswell, Kempster, Sando/Sandoe/Sandow, Nancarrow, Carrington, Hounslow, Youatt, Richardson, Jarmyn, Oxlade, Coad, Bentham, Holloway, Lindner, Pittaway, and too many others to name.
Devon, Dorset, Gloucs, Cornwall, Yorks, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Wilts, Germany, Sweden, and of course London, to name a few.