Practicing what I preach…

The full title of this blog is Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession. My original goal in establishing this blog was to create a forum in which I could discuss professional-level genealogy. I wanted to write about issues that face professional and “transitional” genealogists–business issues, as well as advanced skills and methodology.

For the most part, I feel that I have succeeded in this goal. Yet I also recognize that many of my readers are not professional genealogists and read to learn about how to research their own families more effectively.

Lately I have been thinking about my audience, and it makes me miss researching my own family. Self-employment does not afford much time for hobbies, which stings all the more when you are employed doing your hobby. I have not had the time or energy to research my own family extensively for a few years.

So I have resolved to kill two birds with one stone, and practice what I preach. I will apply the research skills and methodology that I discuss on this blog to aspects of my own family history.

My first endeavor will be to evaluate a manuscript family history written by my great-great-grandmother in 1938, using the principles of the Genealogical Proof Standard. These posts may be sporadic as I have time to accomplish them.

I am looking forward to spending some time going back over my research from years ago, and applying the knowledge and experience that I now have. I hope that you will enjoy reading them…

12 thoughts on “Practicing what I preach…

  1. I very much look forward to seeing future posts about your family. Although I do appreciate your posts on professionalism, etc., it’s nice to see how other genealogists tackle their own personal research problems. Best of wishes!

  2. I’m very interested in learning by watching how others research/evaluate genealogy challenges, Michael. There is definitely an art to research, along with the science of genealogical standards, and stepwise analysis is excellent teaching/learning. I also have a ‘history’ written by my grandmother… so full of lies/omissions and outright drama for drama’s sake, that I had to stop using it as a source! All the best.

  3. That’s what I’m starting to do. As I learn more and more, I go back over my old research and dot the I’s and cross the T’s, as it were. And you are a big part of it. Thanks.

  4. That’s what I’m doing too. As I’ve been reading and learning more and more, I’m going back through my old research and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, as it were. Thanks to you.

  5. You’re right Mr. Hait. I am not a professional genealogist, but I do follow your blog to learn techniques and best practices to use in my own family research. So I thank you for all you’ve shared and continue to share with professional and non-professional genealogists. Application of knowledge learned is key! So it will be a pleasure to see those techniques and best practices in action in your family research here as well. Again, thank you!

  6. My dad’s tree has been researched extensively. My files are full of genealogy journal articles, weak evidence, strong evidence, memoirs, information from long-lost correspondence, researchers’ notes, letters and emails.

    I assess the strength of the evidence, at least recently, but I started in 1996 and a lot of those researchers started in the 1800s. This is an extreme test of measuring reliability, I guess. I hope you get a chance to talk about it when you find it.

    Thanks for all the good discussion and information you post in your blog!


  7. Michael, this is probably a great move on your part. I have done same to my first manuscript I wrote in the late 70’s early 80’s and sent to a very ill cousin whom wanted to know what I had learned on our family. I can now triple fold the information that was originally written. I just do not like to over document where that is more than the written information. It takes away from the story reading.

    When I go to a site where five lines list 10 sources I cringe.

  8. Michael,

    I’m not a professional genaologist, and just discovered your blog today. I was also glad to learn of the genealogical proof standard. I strive to establish fact in my family research, not the number of ancestral names in my past. I periodically travel to Washington, D.C., and two years ago did research in the National Archives – a very fun experience.

  9. Pingback: Analysis of the Elizabeth (Smith) Hait family history, 1938, part one « Planting the Seeds

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