L for Lazy Research

14 April 2016

When stuck for blog post topics, Team FWL, Mr FWL and Ma & Pa FWL are often consulted. Tonight, the credit goes to Mr FWL. L was, in his mind, for langoustine, longevity or legacy, prior to his eventual cunning plan of L for Lazy Research. As regular readers will know, blog ideas frequently stem from events which take place at FWL Towers.

Lazy research is unfortunately a major bugbear for us. Clients sometimes contact us to build their tree from scratch but others reach out to us when they hit brick walls. However, more often than not, the research that has taken them to the wall, is not thorough or accurately sourced. Would you build a house on dodgy foundations? Clearly not! In the same way, we won’t build further layers onto a tree which we cannot be sure is right. Back to the drawing board we go…. does the client appreciate our recommendation that we need to start from the beginning and purchase certificates or obtain other source material to confirm their conclusions? Generally, yes…. (but not always)….

It is wonderful that so many people are taking an interest in their heritage and tracing their family history. But who teaches you how to ensure that you are barking up the right tree? Most people track backwards when they are researching. How do you know that you have connected the right character? How many sources do you need to be 100% sure of your conclusions?

Most people don’t actively choose to be lazy researchers. They just don’t know any better. Some people even ‘brag’ about doing their family history for free, never using the commercial sites or purchasing any certificates. Well, I’ve got news for you! You are probably researching the wrong tree! If, by some sheer fluke, you have managed to connect the dots correctly, you are extremely lucky! Sources are crucial and, although you can do some research for free, there comes a time when you have to invest.

Take a look at your research…. do you have source references on all your documents? If someone else picked up your family tree, would they be able to follow the breadcrumbs to work out how you have come to your conclusions? Hm….

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