Monday, November 3, 2014

Eric Stroshein Offers Great Researching Tips

During the June 2013 WSGS conference in Yakima, Eric Strochiem used the image of the 140 year old banyan tree in downtown Lahina, Maui. "There is no danger of this tree being blown over in a tropical storm," he explained. "Each branch that curves to the ground, and then roots, becomes part of the forest of trunks of the tree that firmly help anchor the tree. No wind will blow over this tree!"

So it is with a well-rooted family tree. If the "roots," the foundation of that tree, are sound, then the branching tree will withstand scrutiny and testing and will stand as the correct tree for your family.

Eric offered tips and suggestions as to how we can have a family tree "rooted as firmly as that banyan in Lahina." I loved this quote of his, "Genealogy is not the act of looking up ancestors; it is the process of tracking down and tracing relevant information about persons. And hope is not a strategy!"

The suggestions Eric taught us that day included applying the GPS:  Genealogical Proof Standard in all its parts. (Ask Google to learn more.)

1.  Perform a reasonably exhaustive search.
2.  Write complete and accurate source citations.
3.  Analyze and correlate the collected data.
4.  Resolve any conflicting evidence.
5.  Write up a soundly reasoned, coherent conclusion.

In more "kindergarten" terms, these points might be stated thusly:

1.  When working on a genealogy problem you don't have the luxury of picking and choosing what records and sources to look at; you must look at everything.
2.  Keep written track of where you find every little bit of information.
3.  Take the time to study what you've found and see if it makes sound sense.
4.  Don't do generalogy, do genealogy.
5.  Write up the story of what stories you've learned about the events in your ancestor's life.

You must not, should not and really cannot build a solid family tree with roots that are barely hanging on in a sandy bank over the lake!

Thanks, Eric, for your good teachings.

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