Thursday, March 7, 2013
Genealogy is such an interesting hobby (or profession). There are so many different levels of doing research and different goals of the researchers. Some individuals pursue researching with a passion for learning more about their family in general, while others have the goal of learning about one specific person, line or even one event. Some research is done in an un-organized manner picking up information with a more haphazard approach. Many will use professional standards in citing sources and acceptance of facts. It seems a large number dream of writing a book. There are some that basically hoard their research for fear that others will use their research for their own or possibly for a book.
When I see the work of others, I have enjoyed most because they include iron-clad facts or in some cases pure fiction, but all are stories (true or not) of people and families. There are the ones that are like the “begats” of the Holy Bible [King James Version: Genesis]… you know, “Eber begat Peleg, Peleg begat Reu, Reu begat Serug, etc.” I have seen a lot of histories that are simply organized into charts, family group sheets with some documents and photos. Then there are the ones that are written in story form with few notes or citations, some with many footnotes.
But what I find that really makes this hobby interesting, educational and fun – is that it is YOUR family and YOU are the one doing it (even if you have help). Whatever way you do it, is your business! Now, if you are doing it for other people, then, you might have to do it in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience. This is the history YOU discovered and report to others.
Now, that I have spent over 50 years of learning about my family, gathering information and acquiring research techniques to improve my efforts and increase results; I, now, realize that I am just beginning to learn about my family. I have researched mostly with the idea of discovering the parents and siblings along with facts like birth & death, plus anything else I could learn. However, in the last few years I have been attempting to answer questions about these families and looking at people that are not so much in that direct line, like some of the more distant cousins. One reason for looking at more of these cousins is that I have been finding many “new” cousins learning about how their families relate to mine. Back to answering questions… this requires some intensive research into a very large area of documents and sources. Often, it leads to new questions and new information that is unrelated to my original question. This type of research lends itself well to putting “meat” onto the bones of my history. Now, I must warn you that you might discover facts that are different than what has been passed down, especially something that might be considered negative or bad. Realize that the more people you learn about in the family, the more you will encounter the ones that are not of the best character along with the heroes and saints. It’s just family, YOURS!
Genealogy is the study of families and their stories are what make up the fabric of the history of a community, a nation and the world… through the ages. And that is why genealogy is such an interesting hobby!
Written by Indiana Bones