Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Sounds like work, doesn't it? Very important work, but still work. It isn't nearly as much fun as searching for your ancestors, but a necessary evil. Without good documentation a researcher ends up going around in circles because it's very possible without documentation to research the same documents many times and never move on to other possiblilities. When you share information, the recipient would like to know where you got the information, in other words what was the source of the information and is it a primary or secondary source. It makes quite a bit of difference whether the source is primary or secondary. Primary records are vital records or records directly from the subject. Everything else is a secondary source.

Some kind of filing system is necessary, when I just started out I didn't realize the amount of paper you accumulate when doing genealogy. Photo copies are the best way to copy the information from your sources because hand written notes are prone to errors. The information about where, what, and who are best kept in a research log that lists the depository (library, ect.), name of the source (use the same criteria used in term paper documentation), name of the subject (John Doe), and the page number and any other information you feel you need to keep from going in circles, and this record is hand written. I suppose you could type it out when you get home, but I don't think it's necessary.

Dale L. Edwards

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