One small step for man and one giant step for mankind–Americans stayed up all night awaiting the exciting event! After a decade of assassinations and turmoil, such momentous work seemed like a turn of the tide away from disaster.
And we all soared to new heights–if we can put a man on the moon, we can do anything, we reasoned. So we did.
Much is made of academic credentials in historical research of any kind. And I have academic credentials. However, it was not in the history classroom where I learned the importance of careful and thorough analysis of genealogy evidence.
In the history classroom, too much is taken for granted and there is still a belief that you can be objective–that you can remove yourself and your own experience from the equation.
Please don’t misinterpret what I want to say.
My respect for historical methods is solid. And learning dates and important events and who participated in those events was important for me to learn.
What stumped me, was the insistence that my conclusions must be documented from what someone else wrote or said about the evidence– not just documented from the original sources where the evidence appeared. “Where did you find that?” Or “who taught you that?” I was asked and I struggled with the need to quote other historians.
Just remember that I am genealogist first, and an historian second.
Documentation in genealogy is essential, in my opinion. Quoting what another modern genealogist says about the family or the records in which they appear is not, in my opinion, documentation.
The antiquaries that I studied in my dissertation, did not like relying on the opinions of others either. They wanted to see the inscription or read the original document themselves. And they wanted to know that the person in the tomb was the one stated in the inscription–so they dug up the corpse and examined the clothing, the jewelry, the artifacts tucked among the silks to verify who it was. And they were considered to be kooks by the local historians.
To me they made perfectly good sense!
Have you ever thought that you might be seeking support for your brick wall ancestor? That he/she really cannot be found? I won’t support your brick wall.
I believe that your hardest-to-find ancestor can be discovered–especially today.
If an American can walk on the moon, you can find your great-grandfather. May take some focused work. May even take my professional help to find him. Find him you will–if you work at it.
And now, the original astronauts who went to the moon 40 years ago, want to lead the pack of us to MARS. They are convinced that America needs a NEW incentive to achieve. Do you? Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com
PS Buzz Aldrin described the moon as “magnificent desolation.” And he was only there for 2 1/4 hours. Any pedigree will be magnificent desolation too, if all you spend is 2 1/4 hours working on it before you give up.