Saturday, January 21, 2012

Confessions (of a Genealogical Nature)

Many of my ancestors were members of a religious organization that believes that confession is not only good for the soul, but is, in fact, required. In that spirit, I'd like to offer up a few genealogical confessions, to lighten the load on my genealogical spirit.

First, I will admit that I haven't always been the best correspondant.  I've let e-mail languish for embarssingly long periods of time before dashing off a sheepish reply, full of apologies and promises of better behavior in the future, along with at least some information that had been requested.  Most of my correspondents have been understanding, but I'm sure there are a few potential relationships that I have dealt near-irreparable damage by this behavior. I've gotten better with age, and strive to respond to e-mails, letters and the like in a reasonable amount of time.

Second, over the past fifteen years I've made virtually every mistake that an amateur genealogist can make, in terms of research and recording. I don't think I cited any sources for the first five years, I've made photocopies out of books without noting the source. I've found records in courthouses without noting any of the citation data, including, for a few documents floating around my files, the courthouse where found. If there's a mistake that can be made, I've made it. I'd like to believe I've learned something from all my miscues.  Heck, someday I might even be able to figure out where I found a particulary vexing photocopy that includes a marriage for one of my ancestors with a cryptic cross-reference to the original. 

Finally, and related in part to my first confession, I haven't really done my part to be a good member of the genealogial community and shared the work I have done (as good as some of it is and as suspect as some other parts).  But that's where this blog comes in, to help in the sharing.  I've already shared some surnames and locality information, and my next post is going to be all about sharing, as I am planning on talking about my immigrant McNally ancestor, Christopher McNally.  That's all for now.

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