17 May 2009

Confessions of a Genealogical Klutz

As a genealogist I try really hard to be good. I mean, you don't want people to think you're a genealogical klutz right? After all who would want anyone to think that you just accidentally stumbled into some information - you know, stuff other people search years to find & you just sort of stumble into it without even trying to find it?

Well come over here, just a bit closer to the screen, I have a secret to share... ready? I stumble into stuff all the time. I mean I don't plan it that way, it just sort of happens. I call it simply "stumbling". Does that make me a genealogical klutz or something? I don't really think so, but I've given it some thought and I think I can explain it out. Take a listen to this.

Each letter in the word stumble reminds me of things I do, things that help put me in the right place at the right time that make it possible for me to stumble into things. Goofy? Maybe. But it works. More than you know!

The dictionary defines Stumble with three different definitions. Of the three I like the third one the best - TO HAPPEN BY CHANCE. Although I don't know that anything happens by chance if you truly follow the letters of stumble.

S - SOURCES - Know where you got your information.
T - TRACE - keep good records on what you looked, the variations you searched
U UNTURNED - as in leave no stone unturned
M - METHODICAL - make a plan for searching & stick with it.
B - BOLD - Be bold. Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for photo's & Doc's
L - LEADS - follow every lead. No matter how small.
E - EVALUATE - Evaluate your plan, not once but every time. Something you could change that might get different results?

Sometimes stumbling can lead to great finds, although I must admit it does take a bit of work. So when you say, I stumbled on to this, you really aren't saying you're an unorganized genealogical klutz. Actually its quite the opposite!

Why not give it a try sometime?


1 comment:

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Great post!

May I use that -- with attribution, of course -- for the newsletter of the Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society? It's a great, short tutorial on methodology! (and it'll be a great plug for your blog!)