Wednesday, January 6, 2010

if it is not sourced "it never happened", if it is sourced "it might have happened".

My dear friend and marvelous mentor Susi Pentico posted to her blog the following question;
So for Monday Madness, well a sort of frustration, of wasting time/space taken up in a genealogical program I would hope to hear from many out in the big genealogical community on this topic. Is it fair to ask this person to not share this data, or should we accept their contributions. This is the second time I have seen this in the last year. The first time to have it indirectly affect my researching thought process.

This has been a concern for me ----- I have old documentation (pedigree charts, land deeds, marriage bond sheets,)--- dates/ locations/ etc. But I often see data that does not agree with my data. But the information not agreeing with my "documentation" seldom is sourced. I am adopting the attitude if it is not sourced "it never happened" if it is sourced "it might have happened".

"This is the history my mother wanted me to document."

I am trying to be true to my family history. I publish both data points. But I am keen in presenting the family history as presented by my known ancestors. Great Grandmothers that I remember (example Armenita C. Chapin, Cecil M. Hayley). This is the history my mother wanted me to document. I do find collaborating data to confirm this data. When in question (and I did state this to my family) I choose "our" data and references. I reference the other source also but only as a footnote. My thinking is----it is our history. I do find out and out inconsistencies and mistakes in my family history. These are referenced and show up in "NOTES" only. I want to preserve the letters, books, and documentation that has gathered throughout my family. Every written account of our family does have mistakes. In some cases I know why. The person giving the data did a best guess-timate at the time.

I am a serious genealogist and keen on documenting, verifying and validating my data. Several data points get "approval" by the so-called experts that I do not agree with---and there are those "close enough issues". I am writing four generation trees including the same people. But each have their purpose.

One for my aunt to present ancestors to temple.
One for DAR to pass their "data points". Probably the closest to "the history my mother wanted me to document".
One rather inclusive tree---exploring off shoots and distant relations that tie into history.
And one that I call my "sanitized data": a small subset of the above.

Why ?? because as stated different criteria and purpose. The all inclusive tree notes all variations of the DAR and the LDS. The reason I do this is "the path of least resistance". If the LDS or DAR accepts certain truths. I can build upon their foundation. Yes, I can go through and submit corrections etc. And I do in my own notes. But because I am multi-tasking and unwilling to call my data the absolute truth---I will serve my purposes better to give them what they want with disclaimers. Why do I include the disclaimers?? because if they ever find that in fact their data is faulty---maybe my data will survive the dumping of all assumptions derived from "this" data. It is happening all the time. Assumed data is being scrutinized and failing. All data based on those assumptions is being thrown out. My desire is to reference our data as so our data will not be subject to the "throwing out the baby with the wash".

Rightfully or not -- I have noticed that "legalistic" institutes (in an effort to be by effective and efficient) will place "laws, rules, criteria" that must be met to be accepted. Therefore you tell them what they want to hear to pass their criteria. I follow the letter of the governing laws set up. But I add "as footnotes" the intention and truth of the findings.

It's not easy being

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