Backing away from the ledge… March 31st, 2010
I am having an issue. As I jump into Genealogy blogging with both feet, I also need to remember my responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to correctly show and identify where my information comes from. So far, I haven’t posted anything that I would consider super factual or important. I take a very tongue in cheek, fluffy pajamas method of life. Trust me when I say that I do actually cite all my sources, and anything in my tree that isn’t cited, is not actual information to me. I do joke about things I haven’t “proven” yet, but I don’t actual dwell on those things.
I was reading some blogs today and it struck me that I might not actually come across as a serious person. I do take my family history very seriously, fluffy pajamas aside of course. My problem is that when I began to really delve into my research, I was 18 years old. So even though I have my sources cited, they aren’t cited correctly. So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going through one person at a time, and I’m fixing my family tree. I do have the whole tree up on moore-mays.org and I’m fixing it as I go. If I were putting my tree up for the first time, I’d only put verified information in. The problem is when I was 18, I published it out there in the Ancestry.com world. It was a horrible thing to do but it is what it is. The reason I haven’t taken it down is that many people have emailed me over the years about that tree. Even if I were to delete it, it’s still in Ancestry.com’s database. I can’t get it deleted for the life of me. It was almost 8 years ago that I uploaded it there and they’ve changed formats so much that it’s a complicated process to remove it. This is the main reason I’m so hesitant to put another tree on Ancestry.com. I don’t like that people can just merge the trees and then that’s it. Your information is on someone else’s tree and they take it as 100% proven fact.
I’m hoping that when people cite my website address, it turns that accountability back to me. So this is the place people will always have to come to verify that information. I’m sure that won’t always happen. It makes me feel better to know that in case someone gets the information through another person, they can come to me and I can speak with them personally.
This is an example of something I cite as a source. My mother found this online and printed it out for me. However I have no idea where these people got their information. In fact, I don’t even list these in my family file because I don’t know if they are family.
Need I say anything? Sometimes it’s not good keeping these things around, but I do because of my previous bad experience. So now I have it in case a question ever comes up. It shouldn’t but just in case.
This however I will cite. I have an old cemetery deed for the Moore family plot in Brooklyn. We called the cemetery and verified who was buried there. So I will cite it, and then when I go to Brooklyn I will add the proper official citation. They could only verify who was there and not anything else, so I definitely need to get to Brooklyn!
This is murky ground. This along with my Webb-Taylor tree ARE cited in my tree. They are cited as Undocumented Family Records. These are the original “trees” my grandmother gave me. You can even see where she wrote in that Bartholomew Taylor was her great grandfather. These are the trees I’m currently going through and verifying with census and vital records. My problem is that now that I know more about citing sources, I see how badly I did it in the past. It makes me want to just delete all those horrible citations and start again! That’s why I need to back away from the ledge. Even if they are badly cited sources, they are still my only link to my sources. This is where my patience comes in. I don’t usually have patience, but for genealogy I have an unlimited supply. Who knew!