December 28, 2014

Research Do Overs?

I have read that several research friends are thinking about a complete do-over of their family research. 

That started me wondering if my research records would be any better if I should decide to do that as well?

I don't think so!

My research began some 30-plus years ago.  Between my families in The Edward Coffey Project (39,317 people and 12,712 families, 95,396 events, 42727 citations and 9168 multimedia items). and families in my personal files (24, 923 people, 7854 families, 48,495 events, 18,263 citations and 3216 multimedia items), I have no plans to start over.

Undoubtedly, there are errors in both files.  Even if I started over, there is no guarantee that I would not make new errors as well as repeating many of the existing ones.  I would wonder if I should completely ignore every one of those  nearly 64K people for whom I have so much documentation? Should I put those files and documents in a lock box and throw away the key, as some are intimating they plan to do before beginning their re-research?

I also freely admit that when I began research back in the mid-70's I did not record all sources, and many of those that I did record were likely recorded and/or cited incorrectly.

Now that I have pretty much found all of my early Coffee/y ancestors, and exhaustive research does not result in many successful finds today, I am faced with looking at contributions of my "Fourth cousins, 3 times removed" that most often arrive unsolicited and undocumented at my in-box.

Distant cousins are submitting personal information about themselves and their siblings and their sibling's children.  I've had my backside ripped a few times by a sibling for publishing their family info that had been sent to me by another of their siblings who did not first obtain permission.  At the moment, I see no advantage to recording those "late comers," as I tend to call them.  They are well left to their already recorded kin in my files to include them in their own family files as they see fit.

I prefer for those researchers to use me as their source rather than for me to use them as mine.

So, I will content myself to review my earliest research and look for and record proper sources, using the method experts tell us how they should be.  I will create citations, or correct them as I go. It is ultimately more satisfactory for me to find and record an early newspaper item or biographical outline about an ancestor or distant cousin than it is to record the 2014 birth of distant cousin's cousin.

Sounds like the perfect way to spend a cold, wet winter.

Happy New Year!

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