We know the many reasons we should source our research.
- So we can review our own sources should new information come to light.
- So we know where our facts are more solid – documented – and where they are less than certain – not documented.
- So the next generation has a basis to trust or dispute our findings.
- So another researcher can take our work and using our sources extend the research instead of rebuild the research.
- Because it follows good, formally approved, standards of research and garners respect from colleagues and professionals.
Yet we get busy and sometimes are remiss, and I am the first to admit I sometimes don’t document my work.
The Documented, Sourced Work that Generated This!
But today I got a wonderful reminder that even though I am “busy,” documenting my work really, really pays off in so many terrific ways.
I have several trees on Ancestry.com. And I do my best to document my work, because my rule of thumb when it comes to ancestry.com or any other compiled trees (online or in print) is “don’t use the information, don’t trust the information if it is not sourced.” I would like people to trust my work in the same manner I trust other researchers’ work.
A lady, whom I’ve never met, never knew of, found one of my trees and sent me this.
Your family tree seems to have the most references so I picked your site and I am offering you a few more documents that have come into my possession. I had to have them digitally restored to be able to handle them and find out who’s family I have.
This lady has personally selected MY TREE, and me as the author, as the recipient of some rare, but digitally restored, family archives. Why??? Because my tree was WELL SOURCED. What did I say earlier about garnering respect from others?
I love genealogy for so many reasons – the amazing people you work with, the great finds, the research adventure – but the most wonderful part is the fabulous, touching moments like these.
I just received the documents. One document was a “family page.” It is a decorative document that the user writes in the family information, kind of like an early American template. It leaves room to list a couple’s children and their birth dates in the middle, then document their marriage at the bottom. The page is for my ancestor Jonas E. Greenwood, b. 1825 in Maine, settled in Territorial Kansas in 1854, and lived to about 1888. AMAZING!!!
I use Jonas as a case study in several of my classes. Guess I’ll need to update my visuals in the PowerPoints!
Go forth and source!