Saturday, December 17, 2011

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Genealogy research comes with a lot of decisions to make. Some are simple, which line or branch of the tree do you pursue at the moment, which do you hold off on till more records become available online. Do you rely on a database you find online because some of the dates, places and names match what you already have or do you dig more to actually confirm that what the database contains is at least somewhat accurate.

Then there are the more difficult decisions regarding genealogy, even though they go along with those listed above they take more thought. Like when I found information that could POSSIBLY take some of my maternal lines back another generation or two but if I were to add the information to my tree and I come to find out later that the information is inaccurate or completely off as far as connecting to what I already have, removing it will be a chore that I definitely won't enjoy in the least.

And there begs the question (or more than one), is the information I found accurate enough that adding it to my tree would benefit not only my research but also others that may find a connection to the line? Do I add the information to my genealogy program or just to what I have in the binders in the hopes that I can find more evidence it fits? And in the case of one of my paternal lines, do I actually SKIP a generation and put 'unknown' as the names for BOTH parents and then add the grandparents because that information is known. Skipping an entire generation is something genealogists don't like to do because doing it can come back to bite you later on, especially if it turns out the 'grandparents' are wrong, which would then mean those 'unknown' parents are also wrong.

So if any of the above questions are ones you are dealing with right now good luck in making those decisions. I wish I could give you advice on what to do, but the decisions are going to be different for each researcher.

CSI had an episode on this week that involved the murder of a genealogist. It was one of the more interesting episodes I've seen in a long time, because another genealogist was helping one of the CSI's solve the case by literally doing research on the suspect's family. I recall her saying something that I've said on the blog more than once 'Use your gut, what's it say?' Genealogists have to go by what their instincts are telling them because in the end that might be all you have to work with.

Instincts are important for any detective but especially a genealogist doing research, so if you find information that could take one of your lines back one, two or even three generations but still aren't sure if you should add and/or include this information in your family tree, all I can say is go with your instincts.

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