Continuing with the Sources and Citations Series. Early on in the series we talked about sources, what they are the differences between primary and secondary sources; you an read that earlier post here.
Primary Source is something written at the time, by someone who had first hand knowledge of an event. Of course we as family historians are reliant on the person with the first hand knowledge, not be economical with the true facts or simply making a mistake. My earlier post gave an example of an mistake, likely a misunderstanding at the time of the event as I explained.
In my family files I have a photograph of a commemoration of someone’s life in the book of Remembrance at a crematorium. The entry is completely wrong. It makes no mention of children from a previous of the deceased, which was a deliberate omission. It references a Grandson, but not a deceased Grandson. The memorial stone goes a step further in some respects, and names only the widow, which might at first glance suggest that there was no descendants.
In my file I have provided the accurate information because I know it, but what what if I was researching 40 years from now and came across the entry in the book of remembrance? That is why Genealogical Proof Standard is so important, we need to verify information and not take everything as being accurate, even primary source material.
Of course, if this was not my own family, but featured as part of my One-Name Study I might not know that the information was incorrect, and again, Genealogical Proof Standard comes into play here.
In many ways, this is why when I add individuals to my genealogical database, whether that is my own family or for my One-Name or One-Place study I provide the source for each fact and that might mean that there are multiple entries of the same source in the database and the source maybe held at repositories or just one – it rather depends on the source material.
I will be back tomorrow talking about Repository lists and how they are useful.
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