29 October 2015

That caught your eye, eh!? Well, for those non-British readers, codswallop is an emphatic way for us Brits to say that something is nonsense. states that the word is common and “has been so at least since the 1950s. Its first known appearances were in a BBC radio comedy programme, Hancock’s Half Hour ... and an episode from December 1959 of The Poetry Society, had someone saying “What a load of rubbish. … I have never heard such unadulterated codswallop in all my life.” The scriptwriters had a keen ear for demotic speech and we may reasonably assume it was already well known in the spoken language.”

Codswallop has always been a favoured word of mine, especially in my previous profession. In education, I had various phrases which could be used in the classroom, without being offensive or causing a stir! This was one…. and many students picked up on it and continued using it. [You have to be careful of that when teaching young people.]

Disappointingly, I have not located anyone in the world so far who has been called Codswallop. That is most certainly a blessing, I would say. The only record on Ancestry for the word is the British Phone Books in the 1970s and 1980s in Southend-on-Sea for Codswallop, Fried Fish Shop!

You are probably wondering why I am writing about codswallop. Well, I’ll explain …. In the last few weeks, I have experienced first hand the codswallop that other researchers produce. One potential client sent the work another researcher had completed a few years ago, to provide us with foundations to build on. The trees which were provided were drawn by hand and they will feature in our Top Ten Most Inaccurate Case Work files for a while to come.

Source citations are not a new concept. The book, Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills was written some years ago, so why don’t professional genealogists do it effectively? Mainly, I would say, because ‘professional’ is (for the most part) a self-appointment. No formal qualifications are required to allow you to call yourself a professional. So, how is it possible to stop the trail of codswallop? Jolly good question….!

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