Sunday, October 7, 2012

18 Days with Sherlock – Day 16 – Come to Your Own Conclusions

When researching an ancestor or a family one of the first things we do is survey what all has been done before us. You will be reading family histories and genealogies, both published and non-published. You must always read these with a skeptical eye. Unless you know the researcher to be one who consistently uses sound practices and sources you must question everything. It is still very important to take the time to read through these things as they could give you some clues and direction but don’t take what you read as gospel. This is one of the biggest mistakes that a beginning researcher will make. This includes the family trees on Ancestry.com, Rootsweb.com, New FamilySearch and any others that are available on the internet. You might find a family genealogy that has been professionally published in a nice hardback book. That doesn't mean what is inside is good research.
“…we are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis. The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact – of absolute, undeniable fact – from the embellishments of theorists and reporters.” [Holmes to Watson, Silver Blaze]


Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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