The Year Without Genealogy, Part III

“FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in June of 2020 with over 25.1 million new indexed family history records…” The latest records and indexing report from FS to persons registered with the program begins with this sentence. How encouraging–while we struggle with the lack of access to some records, the indexing program continues on with millions of newly indexed records! A bright spot to be sure.

Other archives and libraries have also been at work doing the jobs that usually happen every day. The genealogy public will one day be the beneficiaries of those continued efforts. Just, waiting for access is hard!

The Covid-19 virus from China has created this year without genealogy–perhaps, we should say the year without [public access to] genealogy. The difficulty arises that each and every genealogy problem that I work on is distinct and different resources are needed to solve it. To be sure, several ancestors may come from the same locations and thus, some searches can be done together. I try to organize my time to do just that.

Migration patterns, date splits for the generations being searched, specific life styles, and family cultural mores all differ enough that many searches are unique. An important difference is access to historical records–indexed specifically for each and every entry. Unless the names are the same, they are searched separately.

Research by Footnote–a strategy that often advances the research as well as educating the researcher. During the last few months, I have been re-reading some of my standard research aids and historical works that apply to the Southern United States or to New York and its environs. Re-examining the evidence upon which the conclusions are based and the sources that have supplied that evidence.

Remember that many courthouse fires and military actions criss-cross the South–they have contributed to much record loss. To aid us in these areas, current-day genealogists have reconstructed and recreated missing data to fill in the evidence gap. The footnotes and the bibliographies enable the researcher to determine which data are more reliable.

Stay tuned to this blog for how I deal with record loss. And, what resources I use to determine the accuracy of the data. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS This research hiatus has actually been a beneficial respite increasing my knowledge and experience by-passing record loss.

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