Tomorrow night is my third class of the Genealogy and Family History class at UW. So I spent last night reading Greenwood’s book, as the reading assignment ws chapters, 4, 7, 10 and 12. Here are my short summations:
Chapter 4: Evaluation of Evidence: This chapter was written after ESM wrote her book Evidence! and after she wrote the seminal article in the NGS Quarterly. It’s hard for me to understand why he explains that he rewrote the chapter from his previous edition, references the Evidence! in his footnotes and then proceeds to describe the attributes of 6 different types of evidence (direct, circumstantial, primary, secondary, collateral, hearsay). No wonder it was confusing.
Chapter 7: Organizing and Evaluating Research Findings: This was a perplexing chapter to have as a first reading assignment. The author spends an inordinate amount of time discussing his paper methodology of recording his sources and findings. Certainly important and important to know about earlier rather than later in your genealogical career. I question whether his system is 1.) too labor intensive for most and 2.) if a simpler system could be derived; 3.) a recognition of a computer’s capability of managing this data would have been helpful. I want to talk about the recording of information not found and see if others have developed a great system for doing this. I actually like my system for recording sources and information not found but I am always interested in improving it. Let me know how you do this.
Chapter 10: Family History: Going beyond Genealogy: I have always been more interested in the stories than the dates. The stories are hard to get, especially in my family of non-story tellers…..and so sometimes I have to rely on the facts to “tell” the story. In this chapter I think Mr. Greenwood “gets it right”. We do need to “reach beyond the vital statistics….” Starting on page 173, he covers a lot of historical questions one could ask as one explores the mores of the community to which our ancestors belonged. You might find his questions interesting.
Chapter 12: Vital Records: This provided an historical look at the development of the recording of vital statistics and the census. I had not thought of how/why we started recording these events at the civil level. It was a particularly interesting topic.
What I have done since the last post: Read and commented in the margins (you do annotate your books don’t you?) on the reading assignment for my class.