In this Year Without Genealogy, this quote from Gary Player seems especially true for me. I am using my resources from my own personal genealogy library (at my home) and from the Genealogy Library Center (in my building downtown). Altogether I have access to many collections that are not available in other places in Utah. And many are not available in most of the places I have researched before the pandemic hit us. I am so grateful to have these resources available for the research do.
But, you know how greedy we genealogists are. There always seems to be more questions than answers. So there is always work to be done, evidence to be found, loose ends that are not yet connected, and records that may contain the information we need. That’s why genealogy has such a hold on us.
My knowledge of the internet and its holdings is increasing. I take lessons every Monday with my webmaster, Kathryn Bassett, on how to find information and where to find it. And I am amazed at the simple tools (once you know what has been added to sites) there are that ensure you can get the most value for the time your spend. When the computer age arrived, I employed other people to use the computers in my office. They did the work and I benefited from their efforts. Now I’m learning to use the equipment myself. And I am amazed.
The pandemic has created the opportunity and the time to invest in knowledge at the tip of your fingers. But, beware of instant ancestors–the first answer on the screen is there to be matched against all the other answers. For answers do not stand alone. You want documentation. So do I. Did you know that you can document the wrong ancestor? You can document the wrong family connection? You can document anything?
Some time ago, UPS delivered six boxes of British parish register extracts made by Bertram Tuft Norman, a well-known British genealogist. I opened Box #2 because it was on top of the pile: These are the original extracts of those parish registers from which the International Genealogical Index (IGI) entries were made. Now those online entries are available at http://familysearch.org under Genealogies.
Here’s the story—the original extracts sent to Salt Lake City were copied in pencil on notebook pages by Mr. Norman many years ago from the English parish registers. These entries were re-extracted onto cards. Then the cards were typed into a computer file. So you get entries 3-times removed from the original parish registers.
The parish register entries were usually noted on scrap paper (or equivalent of the time) when the event occurred—or may be written down later from memory by the parish vicar, who officiated at the event, or his parish clerk (eye witnesses). Later, they were copied neatly into the register book which the church kept for that purpose. This puts the IGI entries 5-times removed from the original recording of the actual events.Is it any wonder that you have errors? And each version is documentation for the register entries.
The Genealogy Library Center, Inc. is grateful to house these valuable extracts which are 3 times closer to the original event—for they would have been thrown away eventually by Brigham Young University Library Family History Center, once they had been entered into the computer.
**Besides, these entries come from parishes which are close to my own ancestral home in England and may even include my ancestors among the pieces of paper.**
A genealogy parable–now you know where to look for handwritten extracts of parish register entries which may fill in gaps for registers that did not survive enemy bombing and acts of enemy sabotage in England during World War II. Or include registers that were never microfilmed nor printed in the first place. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Documentation is important; it is more valuable when it can be matched with other data for accuracy.