Reality vs fantasy

4 June 2015

Reality has kicked in and, as I mentioned yesterday, I am ‘back in the groove’. Not quite readjusted as yet – well, I have in terms of time-zone, but not in terms of unpacking! The suitcase is still sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and only one load of washing has been achieved so far. Not to worry – the Tabby and Ginger/White varieties of the FWL team don’t seem to be overly concerned.

Over the past few months – slightly à propos of the Genealogy Do-Over discussion thread of 2015 – I have invested some time going back over my own personal family history work to try to separate the good from the bad and the downright ugly parts of my initial research of twenty years ago. How is it possible that I was so stupid as to copy parish registers and not record the source of the record? Ugh…. if only I could turn back time.

Much of my photocopied material is now available to download from an online source (or two or three sources) so it’s fairly simple to rectify the omissions. There really should be a practical guide provided to all beginner genealogists before even being allowed to access FreeBMD, Ancestry, FindmyPast etc. and definitely before being given access to an archive/record office! A guide which embeds some key ‘How to’ information before starting, or maybe even a microchip….?

Recently, I have come across some quite staggering leaps of faith in research by amateur genealogists. Individuals apparently marrying several hundreds of miles from their birth place in the nineteenth century, when there is a much more obvious marriage record of an individual with the same name in a parish in much closer proximity. Ladies who marry and are then connected with a death record in their maiden name…. Some family histories are quite simply, fantasy.

What qualifies someone to be able to refer to themselves as a professional genealogist? There has been much discussion this year (and last) about standards and the need for some kind of accreditation, qualification or regulation of our industry. However, I have to confess from recent experience, that if fellow supposed ‘professionals’ were simply able to create a correct family history (with documentary proof), that would be a damn good start!

[Image source: Faith.Hope.Love]

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