Sorting Phyllis’ record keeping

13 April 2015

Quite some while back now (in fact, in January 2014), I was invited by Ray Anstis – a genealogical colleague I have known for some 10 years or more – to speak to the Family History Section at Phyllis Court. “A flourishing Country Club on the banks of the Thames in Henley”, he said and by jove, he was right there!

I rolled into the car park shortly after 10am and, in the vast expanse of car park, I had been saved the space right outside the front entrance – almost like I was royalty! Unpacking my ‘gubbins’ for my talk – my own Tracing Your West Country Ancestors publication, pop-up banner, business cards etc. – I was welcomed with coffee, technical support from the club staff and a room of interested club members. “Can you talk for about an hour?”, asked Ray. Not usually a problem!!!

This talk – Records and record keeping – is very much ‘do as I say, not as I do’! If only I could turn back time and change my poor source citations when I started doing family history in the late 1990’s. Why did I not record the negative results as well as the positive? When I copied a marriage register, please explain why I utterly failed to record WHERE the marriage took place on the reverse of the photocopy? Argh!!

I was delighted to find that I am not the only person who has committed these faux pas – no great surprise really – and pleased to share my tips and techniques for how to ‘do it properly’ with an audience of wide-ranging experience levels. Large sections of the ‘putting it on the web’ section were skipped as it was plain to see that this was not relevant to the vast majority of attendees. Like every good educator, you change your plan to meet the needs of your audience!

Phyllis made me very welcome – the Court and its club members. A lovely lunch followed, which was quite a different experience to the usual family history lecture scene. The facilities were outstanding and such diverse ‘sections’ for the members to get involved in. Marvellous! Many thanks for the invite, Ray…. I hope that maybe I might qualify for another invitation in the future.

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