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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 84
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

   We're talking about genealogy and some of the things you should tuck away in the recesses of your mind.
   When folks come into my office at the library and say, "Wow!  I found a new record of my family today!" I wonder if they have really looked at that document and really gotten all of the information from it that they can?
   I sometimes ask the researcher if they plan to enter the new information into their genealogical database (if they are using a computer program)? 
   Are you going to file that document so you can find it again? 
   Will you adequately cite the document so someone else can find the original?
   When researchers come by and complain that they have a document that they just don't understand, I ask them some questions: Have you really read that record and thoughtfully analyzed it? 
   Have you thought about what other records the document suggests you might research? This means if you find a death should look for a will.  If you find a will.look for the death record, etc.
   Have you looked up the words you don't understand?  This is really important with legal documents. 
   Is the record you have an abstract or a complete document?
   When folks come by and say they cannot find where their ancestor came from, I ask them: Have you looked at the entire family and not just your particular ancestor?  Have you looked for unknown family members?  Have you thoroughly analyzed the neighbors of your family (and you do find them on census records)? 
   Have you read local histories to see if a church or community arrived in a group?
   Have you researched regional histories?
   Have you simply looked at a map and the geography? 
   Have you considered economics?  (Such as: If your ancestor disappears about 1850, did he go to the Gold Rush in California?)
   Have you looked at the migration trails? 
   Have you considered the boundary changes - where the person stayed put and the county or state lines moved?
   Researchers will come into my office and happily say, "I found my entire family on the Internet!"
   This causes twitching in the extremities of genealogists! I want to ask the happy genealogist if they have contacted the original compiler of the records they found?
   Has the genealogist located the original source of the information they found?
   Has the genealogist located the records the online source suggests?
   Have you ever thought about the fact that the online source might be incorrect?
   Have you considered using offline sources as well as Internet sources?
   Are you taking the Internet information as "gospel" or using it as a clue?
   Years ago, when I had time for such things, I joined The Jamestowne Society.  This is a tough you must have everything with absolute documentation and proof.  As a result of this membership, I know - beyond doubt - that the information in my thirteen generations from me to Col. Walter Chiles is correct.
   Not long ago, I tried to duplicate this information from the Internet.  Of the thirteen generations, not one was completely correct.
   So, for Internet information - beware.

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