Why should you fully document the information about your ancestors?
When many people think about documenting their research, they assume they are primarily helping others. In fact, the experience of many long time family history enthusiasts shows that the primary beneficiary is...themselves!
Are you confident that you will remember 5 years from now that it was your aunt who told you your great-grandmother had a half-brother named Harold? Is there any chance you will forget either that the birth date of your great grandfather was estimated from information on a muster roll, or where you can find it again? The spirit of documentation is encapsulated in the wise old saying, "I have a great memory as long as I write things down".
Documentation is also important because it allows us to evaluate the reliability of conflicting information. Suppose you have two different birth dates for your great-grandfather. One is from his birth certificate and the other comes from an application to join the military. Without knowing where these two dates came from there is no way to evaluate and make a decision on which you believe to be correct. But with sources in hand, and upon observing that according to his birth certificate, he would have been underage while his application makes him of age, the likely scenario becomes apparent.
Furthermore, it is true that getting the names, dates and locations of your ancestors is the first, most important part of genealogy work. But those things only provide a sketch, the merest outline of who those people were, how they lived their lives and what was important to them as individuals. Documentation captures the details that color in the outline and breathe life into a dry list of facts. For example, noting that a birth location was discovered from a ship manifest opens the door to studying more about the specific ship and what life aboard was like.
OneGreatFamily allows you to preserve a complete record of your ancestors, encompassing facts like names, places and dates as well as to add to that record as more details become available to you. You can also add enriching elements, like photographs, videos, sound clips and scans of documents. Most importantly, OneGreatFamily also allows you to document all of your information.
Many of us haven't taken the time to document the lives of our ancestors.
OneGreatFamily not only makes such efforts simple, but it will be preserved for future generations as well as instantly being available to other members of our OneGreatFamily.
Next week's newsletter will explain how you can add documentation in OneGreatFamily's Genealogy Browser.