11 June 2009

Raising The Bar...




Yesterday I was surfing the internet, and spending a bit of time on Ancestry.com and it struck me over & over again.... just how many name collectors there are vs how many real genealogists there really are out there.

If this seems like an odd statement to you then let me clarify. I classify a name collector as one who gathers tons of names & dates, and really doesn't know the "history" at all of the family. One who gladly will dump anyone's Gedcom into their file just to see the numbers climb on the data base without regard to quality of sourcing or documentation.

To me, a real genealogist would want sources, want to know where did this come from? Just how good is this information?

We all have a couple of date entries where we have no places, I'll give you a couple - but when every entry in your file is nothing but a date with no place, how much history are you doing? I mean, this is Family HISTORY research.

In my surfing & wandering yesterday, especially on the Ancestry entries there were entire entry's with nothing but dates and names. And forget a source! To me sourcing is real info, the name of a newspaper along with dates; the name & dates of a probate record or land record; a death certificate number with real places included, now that is sourcing. Most I found had no source or ... so & so's gedcom.... as a source. What the heck good does that do for you? When they change their email address what do you have left?

Personally I would like to issue a challenge to the online genealogical community - its time to raise the bar - raise the standard for what we consider to be real family history research, real sourcing, real facts with dates & places... When did it become acceptable to accept such work as genealogy research? My history teacher had a high bar for her reports & papers, and although at the time, I absolutely despised her requirements, I'm so glad I took her challenge and stepped up to the plate, and learned how to research. I learned how to source and what I didn't learn from her I learned from EVIDENCE!.

With all the happenings in today's society where parents don't live together, babies from multiple relationships being in the same household, it seems to me that we need to make sure that the history we as genealogists record regarding our FAMILY history is even more important. So lets raise the bar, raise the standards and do REAL family history research. We'll leave the name collecting to the census takers.

[Image of Casper & Mary Heidenrich Dute family, Lorain County, Ohio, ca 1890; Anna Dute Krugman, 1865-1933, greatgrandmother to studmuffin, is pictured second from left. ]

8 comments:

Tracy said...

I couldn't agree more. What is especially frustrating is when you contact that person in hopes they have more information, the reply is no further info, but if I come across something they'd love to hear from me! I know full well they don't value the information - it's just another name, date and statistic to add to the tree. I've even pointed out blatant errors and gotten no where. Frustrating.......

Karen said...

Yep Tracy - you are SO RIGHT! We need to hold the standard high and expect people to either do the same or not bother continuing the conversation with them. Frustrating to say the least! Thanks for your comments!

Greta Koehl said...

I always think of these genealogies as being the equivalent of dusty, long-neglected figurines in a display case.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Local genealogical societies need to take up this banner, and not only teach proper sourcing to their members, but also to practice it in their publications.

Karen said...

I agree 100%. Thanks for your post.

lindalee said...

I noticed you have Dute in Lorain County, OH. I have been working on a Dute line in Lorain County--Adam Dute born 18 Nov 1846 in Germany and died in LaGrange, Ohio 29 Sep 1940. Is there any relation?

Karen said...

Lindalee -
WIth those dates, I am sure he is some relation to the DUTE family I have. There were lots of letters between our George Dute and his family back in Germany, and I know some of them probably came here. I've found an entire line of headstones (Have to check data file) that I don't have in my data base and at one time I was trying to discover the connection between that line and ours. Email me karen at miprofgenie dot com and lets talk off the blog...

lindalee said...

Good idea. I have sent you an e-mail.