10 Golden Rules - James Tanner
JAMES TANNER - BLOGGER OF GENEALOGY STAR HAS PUBLISHED THE FOLLOWING RULES TO AVOID GENEALOGICAL SEARCH FRUSTRATION! http://genealogysstar.blogspot.ie/
Rule No. 1: Always assume what you are looking for is there.
The reality of genealogy is that you always have one more generation of ancestors. People do not just pop into existence from no where. They always had a mother and a father. Just because you can't find them has no bearing on the fact of their actual existence.
Rule No. 2: Always assume that the record you are searching has the information you want.
Indexes may be deficient or wrong. Names may have been misspelled into oblivion but the people were likely there. You may have to look at every single entry in the record to find them but they are there and you need to keep looking.
Rule No. 3: Always, always move from the known to the unknown; never start looking for the unknown until you know all about the known.
Many people will see a blank spot on their pedigree chart and immediately start looking for that ancestor without verifying the information that produced the blank. Always completely verify the information about the family members that leads up to the blank. Carefully research the known records before moving on to the unknown. You may just find that the information you had about the closer ancestor is entirely wrong.
Rule No. 4: Look for patterns.
If your ancestor has a common name, find someone in the family with a name that is not common. If all the names are common, look at the pattern of the family, i.e. a husband with a certain name married to a wife of a certain name with a child or children of certain names. Keep looking.
Rule No. 5: Keep a Research Log.
When the the search gets really tough, the tough keep a research log. Make sure you have searched all the records and written down when and where you searched and the results. Keep from going in research circles.
Rule No. 6: Assume there are more records.
If you get to a place where the records you know about have no information, then start searching for records rather than people. Read the history of the area and learn all you can about the people who lived there. Widen you search to surrounding towns, cities, counties or districts. Become the expert in the area where your ancestors lived.
Rule No. 7: Start over.
Question all your assumptions and start over. With a fresh start, you may just discover that the arrow didn't go over the wall at all. People do change their names, they do die, they do get divorces. Husbands do abandon their families. Wives do run off. Take into account all possibilities and start over.
Rule No. 8: Open your mind to the endless possibilities of family life.
It was not uncommon for families to be other than conventional. Maybe the children were raised by the grandparents or another relative. Maybe they all died in the Flu Epidemic. There are countless possibilites, think this through and never give up.
Rule No. 9: Records move.
Don't assume that records stayed in the same place. Commonly, local records may have moved to the state or into a private repository such as an historical society. Always search on a national, state or province or district, county and local level for your information.
Rule No. 10: Don't believe your relatives.
Family stories are just that; stories. Don't believe what you hear until you can verify that the information is correct.
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