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25 July 2010

If I’d known then. . . genealogical methodology

Lockport City Park, Lockport, Illinois
If I’d known genealogical methodology, my family tree would have more leaves on the branches. The genealogy mistakes made were in the area of citations, research and locations. With the information available at that time, I made my best choice. My mistakes have provided me with a motive for teaching.

Citations are one mistake that may take hours to correct. A citation is a written statement to identify the source of a particular fact such as birth. Genealogists rely on the Chicago Manual of Style. Mistakenly, I choose to wrote the library name and reference number. Later, the collection was moved rendering the information invalid.

Another mistake, I failed to keep an up to-date research log. During two different trips to Illinois, I searched, found and paid for a copy of the same death certificate. A completed log would have noted the results of the previous trip.
The third major mistake I made was on the topic of the location for an event such as birth. The event, the date and the location all need to correspond. Many hours were wasted looking in the wrong county. The location did not change; the boundaries for the location changed.

With the information available at that time, I made what I felt were the best decisions. All three of these mistakes are taking time to correct. But, I did the best I knew how with the information I had; correct methodology is my aim for teaching genealogy.