Saturday, March 10, 2012

10 Clues You Might Be an Amateur Genealogist

  • 10. You are frustrated that you can’t find your ancestors in the 1890 federal census.
  • 9. You think that “Evidence!” (Mills) must be a great mystery novel, since so many genealogy blogs and newsletters talk about it.
  • 8. You think metes and bounds is what happens when you take your dog to the dog park.
  • 7. You think a collateral line is a home equity loan.
  • 6. You think probate is used in fishing tournaments.
  • 5. You think microfilm is watching video on your phone.
  • 4. You are puzzled by the talk about primary sources. What do elections have to do with genealogy?
  • 3. You think that all the information that exists about your ancestors is online.
  • 2. You think of Salt Lake City as just the capitol of Utah.
  • 1. You have someone in your family tree who was born before his father.

I hope you’re chuckling. If you’re puzzled or offended, I challenge you to educate yourself about research methodologies. Get out of your chair and go on a genealogy field trip.

I’d really like to get on a soapbox and rant, but instead, I’ll share a couple of things that set me off.
First and foremost, do not believe everything you find online. Use your critical thinking and don’t take the easy way out.

If a “fact” in someone’s tree has no source, it is a hint. If the source is someone else’s tree, it is not a source.

Many of us have worked years to unravel genealogical puzzles. It takes time and patience and you will never have a neat and tidy tree all the way back to Adam and Eve.

Check out this link for why you might not be progressing in your research and what to do about it:

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