Pros and Cons and the “Genealogical Rear End”

Every record and finding aid has limitations. When using a source or a finding aid, it can be easy to get caught up in what it tells us and how it helps us. But it is to our advantage to not just focus on the pros of what we are using. We should think about the “cons” of that material as well.

  • How can it be wrong?
  • Could it provide biased information?
  • Could it be incomplete?
  • And so on.

Being aware of the “cons” does not mean that we ignore the “pros.”

But if we are only aware of the ways a record can be right or can help us we may get “kicked in the genealogical rear end” by the negatives we are not considering.