Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where to start???

I began my genealogical snooping with lots of information, if only I would use it.

My mother had left me a photo album, two, actually. One was of her immediate family. One was of her mother's ancestors. Then there were a few photos from my father's family. She even walked me through this morass when I was 14. Of course I was bored stiff.

All those opportunities lost. Or ...

That's right! I knew where it all was. So when finally the bug bit, I had info galore!

So then what to do with it? Make a special corner in the tv room and buy a family history application. Easily done, since only one is specially made for Mac. :)

Then I had to learn to footnote. Oh, I could do it on a term paper, but the genealogical world is full of blarney, even from Scots! We humans accept too much on faith, and facts REQUIRE verification.

Example: Where did that factoid come from? Um, my mom's photo album. But the good folk at the historical society in that ancestor's town say the name was Forest, not Foust as written in album. Hmmm.

So that's how I learned that factoids must be backed up by a second witness. Just like in the Jewish law: If you can't justify it in two different places, BEWARE. (At least don't stone anyone.)

This little problem made for some brick walls a lot closer to present time than I'd expected, but then maybe, just maybe, checking out those "forest, not foust" walls have saved me a lot of wasted time snooping through wrong, though very interesting, roots.