Saturday 14, July 2012
Have you ever made a mistake?
I never make mistakes. (LOL) The truth is I make many each day and wish I didn't but I guess as long as I'm alive, I will make mistakes. That's part of being human.
Mistakes are made in genealogy as well so we can never completely trust the research someone else has done. But that's what makes it so fascinating. Each person has the opportunity to add their own data and knowledge to a family line...
Genealogy is a lot like science. The definition of science is the “methodical study of material world.” Knowledge of our world progresses as scientific facts are tested and proved. In the process, some long-held beliefs about our world are discarded and new ideas advanced as scientists study our world. But without some of their wild theories, science would never move forward.
With the debut of DNA in genealogy, many previously accepted family trees have been found to be inaccurate and this has created some hard feelings in the genealogy world. This is because years of work, time and research were suddenly thrown out. It's similar to what learned scientists must have felt when Columbus discovered the earth was not flat, but round. But where would America be if he had not challenged this accepted belief and ventured across the Atlantic?
It may be silly to compare genealogy research to scientific study but the concept is the same. I often receive comments from people who say, they spent 20 or 30 years researching a family line and something on the website is not correct. When someone informs me of this, I offer to add their information to the disputed biography, GEDCOM or disputed article. Some people follow through and provide me the information while others do not.
...Obviously, there will be disputes about material provided. Some will probably never be solved. In my own family, there is a dispute between two family lines in regard to a middle name of a gr-grandfather.. Both lines have argued that they knew the man and claim that they were correct. To this day one line follows one direction while another follows another. Until new information is found, neither line will agree as to the correct name but at least they continue to research and try to prove their theory. This is how we move forward.
The above article is by Donna Causey of Alabama Pioneers who has graciously consented to have her newsletter reprinted here.