For the well-meaning family member who volunteers to serve as a family historian, the effort can quickly become a hair-raising and time-consuming chase, not unlike the untangling of a mass of string. The ready availability of online genealogical sites makes it incredibly easy for the history buff of the family to put together an extensive family tree in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately it can also give false confidence, encouraging us to “accept” the clue without doing our due diligence.
We recommend taking great care when reviewing those enticing little “clues” on your favorite genealogical site. Many cases of “mistaken identity” are perpetrated due to the researcher’s over-exuberance.
- Is the John Williams in the Falmouth city directory in 1925, the same John Williams in the Stafford church directory of 1929?
- Does DNA testing give you the missing link in your family’s history, or does it introduce confusion to the historian?
- What about that pesky record that seems to fit in with the great-great grandmother Anna, but the name is spelled differently?
Last week I went shopping at a local secondhand bookstore. I came home with three family history journals — none of which had a cracked binding or a single word written in them. Apparently we want to capture our family’s stories, but for whatever reason we just don’t. Despite vast amounts of information available at our fingertips, we still find time slipping away and our efforts diverted by the crisis du jour.
Through our blog, we hope to inspire your efforts and to share some easy ways for you to capture your family’s special memories before they are forever lost to time. We hope you’ll share your findings with us!