Many of us will have a recurring lesson that we learn while doing genealogy. Some of us find our lessons deal with the importance of organization. Some of us learn to cite our sources (or rather, we learn we should be citing our sources). What is the recurring lesson I have to keep learning? I’m so embarrassed to admit it, but for my readers I’ll reveal the skeleton in my closet.
I guess I’m so persnickety that genealogy is constantly teaching me more and more about patience that I hadn’t learned prior to starting my blog 5 years ago. One lesson that keeps coming up involves trying to ask someone to help me retrace their steps in acquiring pieces of genealogical evidence.
Now, I have learned that not everyone records their research step by step or even documents where their evidence came from. Most have never heard of the Genealogical Proof Standard. Trying to ask them where they obtained something might sound nosy to some people. Or perhaps it takes the wind out of their sails regarding their historical finds as they realize that maybe what they have is just a myth. Perhaps I’m frustrated that they may have the source I am looking for but don’t have an organization method that I can easily find it. Also, I have to figure out where this document came from, before I can retrace this person’s steps to see if there is something they might have missed.
It’s possible that many people don’t remember how they obtained their particular piece of evidence. So, asking them might be pointless. I should be grateful that I have a something to begin with. In the end, clues or no clues, it’s up to me to search after the facts.
In any case, documenting where a piece of evidence came from is important. Having patience with those who don’t do this but sincerely want your help is also important.
So, that’s my genealogy lesson that I’m constantly re-learning. I guess when I ventured into family history research, I didn’t think it would teach me so many personal character lessons. Someday, I will master this lesson and then move on to another.
So, what lesson are your constantly learning in genealogy? And, since it’s Harvest Time or the Thanksgiving season, are you grateful for this lesson?