Finding Sources

When I started working on my family genealogy, I inherited quite a bit of information from my Grandma Scott who had researched for many years. I was very blessed in that. Unfortunately, I did not know the importance of documenting my sources of information. I would find something and just plug it into my tree then move on. I will admit that I did this for about 5 years until the light finally went on. It finally hit me that knowing where I got the information was EXTREMELY important. How did I miss that? It seems inconceivable to me that I didn’t automatically know this, especially when you consider I have a Master’s in psychology and did a thesis.

For the last several years, I have slowly been going through my tree trying to find all my sources for my family history. I have gotten quite a bit. In fact, I would guess that I have found the sources for 95% of the research I did. However, the stumbling block I am running into is in finding the documentation for the research my Grandma did.

You see, when I started researching, my grandmother was no longer researching. In fact, she seemed hostile to the idea in many ways. I remember asking her for some information. I was quite frankly told that she was no longer investigating the tree and didn’t want to look at it again. To say the least, my disappointment was immense. Here was a woman who knew so much and could be a huge help, but she did not want to assist me in any way on our family tree.

My Grandma Scott passed away over 10 years ago. When my parents went through her belongings, they found very little genealogy research. It seems that my grandma got rid of the vast majority of her research. Devastating.

The stuff that is missing is likely her sources of information. I have lots of birth dates, death dates, marriage dates for ancestors, but no source of where it was found. I trust my grandma’s research, for the most part, but would love to know where she found it all. I would like to appropriately document the research with the appropriate sources. Eventually, I am sure I will find it all, but until then, I will just focus on providing the proper documentation as I do my research.



2 thoughts on “Finding Sources

  1. I was the same way. I didn't document my sources when I started my family research.Who knows what I was thinking! I guess it's newbie excitement!I'm slowly retracing those early steps and sourcing everything, so it's a lesson learned! Who knows, with fresh eyes we may be picking up info we missed the first time!Good Luck!


  2. I know what you mean! I did the same thing and I know better. I have an MA in anthropology. All through college I had to write papers (and a thesis) and cite my sources. In my career, I write reports, and I cite my sources. For some reason (probably excitement as Cindy said), I didn't always do that when first working on my family tree. It was really embarrassing when my cousin would email me after looking at my tree for something and ask me "Where did you find that? That's not what I have." I'd scramble to find a source but usually I wasn't successful. I'm slowly going back through my tree to correct my wrongs.Catherine


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