A source for every statement of fact

Sometimes it is easy to criticize those who insist on a “source for every fact.” However, having started to do this on a few of my lines, I have learned one thing. It has forced me to correct many things I have either transcribed or remembered incorrectly.

It may be heresy to say this, but the world won’t end if your citations are not perfect. However, they should lead you or someone else back to the original.

Going back and getting the actual information right may even cause you to break down those brick walls that were accidentally created by the researcher themself. Of course, this never happens to me—just other people!

Did the Reason Die With Them?

Some things leave behind absolutely no record and those who know either never tell or it never gets written down.

It is possible that some secrets or stories will never be uncovered.

However, that does not mean we stop trying to find the answers and that we don’t analyze records as completely as possible.

Just know that there are limitations to ever search and some people will never be found.

Just don’t stop looking and keep learning about new sources.

Check that Date!

For some reason, I thought today was my great-grandmother Ufkes’ birthday. I am not certain where I got it in my head that her birthday was 17 February, but I did.

Unless you are certain–CHECK!

I was partially correct–Trientje Maria Janssen was born on the 17th, but it was 17 April, not February.

Are there Gaps?

Genealogy tip of the Day readers know that sometimes there are gaps in the tips (I’m working to fix them).

However, the gaps make an excellent point. When viewing records that are filed chronologically pay attention to filing dates, dates of record, etc. Are there gaps? If so, it could indicate missing or misfiled records?

Do not JUST look for NAMES and only names. Context is everything—in more ways than one.

Flip it Over

If you have a newspaper clipping that is undated and unsourced, flip it over. Anything can be a potential clue as to location or date, even classified ads.

One obit I found in a set of clippings had a date, but no name of the newspaper. Flipping it over I found the classified ads. The phone numbers and street names told me it was from a nearby town of 40,000 and not one of the small towns near where the relative actually died.

Start Small

Is compiling the “whole genealogy” too overwhelming for you? Instead start with just one ancestor and compile everything you know about him or her. Work chronologically, documenting every fact.

Expand to the children of the ancestor. Once that’s compiled, consider submitting it for publication in a local genealogical society publication or journal. That way it gets preserved.

Then go from there.