Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #21

Prompt:  Lessons learned. Fess up to your research mistakes so others can learn from them.

I think my biggest “oops” was not properly sourcing the data I accumulated (or even sourcing at all!!).  In all fairness, when I started out, it was mainly just for me, so sourcing wasn’t of a huge importance.  But as I got more into genealogy, I began to realize the importance, especially if I want to share information. 

And as I later realized, it became important to me.  Many times if I came across a “fact” during a search, especially in cases where information was contradicting, I sometimes wondered, “where in the world did I get that original information from?”  Now, with everything sourced, I know where the information came from, and I can easily retrieve it for further examination if necessary.

I’ve also come to value or question the data of others.  When a researcher provides their sources it tells me that they are serious about their research, they’ve invested some time, and are likely correct in their assumptions.  On the flipside, I now tend to question unsourced data, because who know where the person obtained the information.  Sometimes I use the information as a stepping-stone and do my own research, but other times I simply discredit their research altogether and figure I’ll fair far better on my own path.

The moral of the story:  Source everything!!!!  Yes it can be cumbersome and time consuming.  But you’ll thank yourself for it later.


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