23 April 2012

Everyone Makes Mistakes: Why You Should Review Your Research Notes

This article on Olive Tree Genealogy (5 March 2012) caught my eye since just recently I had been reading someone else’s research notes about a census entry for a family.  When I looked at the index entry at Ancestry.com and an image of the original census page – what becomes evident are two things – one, the handwriting is slanted across the page making it easy to get off “one” line when reading across AND two, that for this particular head of household, entries were erased and over-written with “corrected” entries [the researchers notes included both those erased and added – making for a much larger family].  

The funniest part about this – is that the “corrected” entries are actually consistent with all the other records found for this family whereas the transcription that has been used as the basis for most of the research, actually required one to explain “away” the other individuals purportedly listed!

Again, we are reminded that both our own research notes and those of others may contain “errors” of interpretation and that it is critical to see original documents.  We all do make mistakes when writing our notes, in how we interpret found records, etc. Be willing to re-look at your own notes and collected documents and you may find “new clues” hiding in plain sight!  

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1 comment:

  1. Many of our "brick wall" may be broken by reviewing our old notes, or the answer may lie in old notes written early in our search when we were new to genealogical research. With more experience, we see differently.