Genealogy and the Citizens
Yes we are different than the rest of the peoples. We look at the need to
know as important. The need to keep as critical. The need to spout off, well, for
some of us that is really important too.
Herein lies the difference, in spouting off and citing sources.
I recently read the report by Thomas MacEntee that brings this to the forefront of
reporting and story telling. Apparently, a family story upset an individual that
was somehow, somewhat involved with the story and they felt harassed and somewhat
threatened. Their peace and quiet was disrupted due to location. They sued.
On that note, we are planning a seminar to help new found researchers to
learn how to do Genealogy with ease and competence. As we discussed the opening
packet regarding charts there was a question as to the need to mention Citing Your
Sources. Ultimately we all agreed as to the need from day one to be aware of that
As I watched the responses around the table it was interesting to see how maybe
confused we still are on this topic. Alas, I was never taught to cite a source.
What today is called sources I just kept as keepsakes. When the government lost
those keepsakes ie sources it created a major void and a lot of need to find some
type of replacement. Worse along comes the learning much data was already erroneous
that in the past was taken as fact and suddenly everyone wanted some thing more than
just a story, whether it was fact or not.
So to explain my feelings I said to the members when you fill out a family group
sheet. You need to cite the source. Personal information by me, Susi Jones Pentico.
Whether it is a name, date, place or event, the citing of the source of information,
down the road may help a grandchild that has strayed away or a cousin that we have
not heard from in years who wants to get involved and learn about the family.
A group sheet will represent: father, mother and any children they would have had.
It also has a space for the parents of the Mother and Father so it represents three
generations. What you know as experienced and exposed to you can be the source. :>)
What a delight it would be if I could pick up a paper that would give me three
generations of data on my lineages I am seeking information on. Today since they
have become so stringent, I would even suspect notarizing the document would
make it more valid for the future.
As a beginner, would not it be a good thing to learn the method the current correct
way verses have so much done and learn you need to go back and find and cite the
So we are not the regular guy on the street we are our own breed of citizens.
Down the road as we present the learning classes we will have an in depth time to
go into the intense method of citing sources. Maybe even using MILLS' Book.
O, I think we have gotten carried away with this citing of sources so intently but
my father told me years ago the pendulum swings far to the east and then to the west.
The word of man is not accepted any more because to many told tales that were not
true. That is a sad situation for the human kind. I am to old to not remember
when word of the mouth and shake of the hand was a binding contract and honored by
all. By the 1950's and beyond it slid away down the chute. To day it is basically
I will say that there are niches and pockets in this great country where you can
set out an article and say leave the money in the jar and it is still followed. A
human's word is still as good as it ever was. But from the top of our country to
the bottom this is seriously lacking thereby creating the need for the documentation
if we desire to join many of the great organizations that are out there for us to
become members of.
So if you follow Hank Jones advise and write your story please make sure it
is noted with a disclaimer that it is as true as you know it or was presented to
you. Write your story by all means just do not cause others pain or hurt if the
topic is so near the surface of our time. We do need to be sensitive to our fellow
citizens even if they can not understand our passion for the all encompassing truth.
Which we learn some times is really not the truth. Write your story and enjoy
the fruits of your labor and share with your family as Hank Jones said," your the
author you can write it, change it, rewrite it and change it, as you feel the need."
In the end your story will be more than full filling.