Going the distance

8 November 2015

To whom it may concern:

Once upon a time, I was a lazy MD. I did my work each day and never considered how much physical activity I was doing. Honestly? I was a lazy oik! And then, the prison bracelet became a part of FWL. Each day, the prison bracelet shows its discontent if certain targets are not met – 10,000 steps, 8.05km, 2,724 calories and 30 active minutes. So, each day, the target must be achieved before midnight. Seriously, that is sometimes more of a challenge than you could ever want to consider and often, I find myself wearing out the carpet with minutes to spare in order to achieve the desired outcome.

However, there has never a day which has passed since the first Sunday I switched the Fitbit on, when I have failed my goals. Failure is not an option. There are plenty of distance walkers in the world – I am (sadly) not one of them. In name though, there are a few events which feature Distance Walker….

FreeBMDMost of the births, marriages and deaths can be connected (see FreeBMD screenshot, left). However, there was clearly a John Distance Hilton born in MQ1889 East Retford, who does not marry or pass on…. other data sources needed (or a trawl of John D. Hilton marriages and deaths, at the very least!).

Over the course of the last few weeks, the team has been tackling some very challenging cases. Various tasks – which appear on the surface to be straightforward – have been anything but that. A birth place is erroneous, the year of birth completely wrong, the name of the deceased doesn’t quite tie up …. there is so much room for manoeuvre. Widow? Was she really, or was that an assumption based on the fact she was in her 90s?

We never assume. We always go the distance to make sure that our conclusions are rock solid. No wiggle room. No get out of jail free card. Just because one source looks right, doesn’t make it add up. Dig, dig, dig, like a Terrier and then we will prove or disprove our hypothesis.

We never take anything on face value – we always double (or even triple) check the accuracy. No-one is perfect and some of our ancestors were illiterate so writing was not the most appropriate form of communication for them! Be creative – go the distance – seek and ye shall find!

Yours, MD@FWL.

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