Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Where Does the Inspiration Come From? Or Blunder Your Way to a Blog Topic!

Okay, I know I've left it a bit late, but hey, I've been sick and the Winter games are on! DH is watching ice dancing prelims which are starting to bore me to tears.  "See ya later, honey, I'll be in my office for a while!"

The head congestion has fried my brain and I am thinking, "Am I up on Monday?"  I think the answer is yes.

So my topic is where I get the inspiration for my blog. The first six weeks of this blog just flew by without much thought on my part and the topics just flowed from my fingers. After a week of not feeling quite up to par, the ideas have seemed to dry up, unfortunately the sinuses haven't!

I find when I am actively researching, especially a new resource, I can rattle on about all kinds of subjects. But after days of not working on anything at all but email and the Olympics, I was somewhat at a loss for a topic.

Actually, some of the best ideas can come from mistakes I've made and how I've gone about rectifying things.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was in simply taking at face value information that was given to me, without verifying the sources. The first time something didn't add up, I sat down and tried to figure out which was correct and how to go about recording both pieces of information. And how to avoid it again.

And it seems through the years of actively researching (since 1986, thank you very much,) I've come across this problem time and again. Not just errors, but information that differs from what I have and why I think it is important to include it. There are still times that I come across obvious errors, ages don't add up, birth place is wrong on a death certificate, parent's name is wrong. I mean, have you ever come across a death certificate where the informant is the son of the decedent and he gives his own parent's names as the parents of the decedent? This has happened to me a couple times. Usually through census and other vital records you can document this as an error. But it is still important to document when you enter that erroneous death certificate, what you surmise happened when the information was taken. The frustrating part is when you can't figure out which information is correct. In this case, I just document both, usually I put what I consider the incorrect information in the notes. And because I am blessed afflicted with OCFRD* I become a person possessed with the tenacity to find more information that will prove or disprove my information.

What I really find irritating are the number of headstones I've found recently with just years on them, and I have the obituary which has a different year on it chronicling the life of so-and-so and the stone says he/she died a year prior or a year later. Maybe it is an instance of the stone going in much later? Since some of these are in upstate New York and I have many instances of "Burial will take place in the Spring," I'm thinking maybe it's possible they died in October and didn't get planted until April or May due to weather, but how can you really verify that? So I keep an open mind and record it all including my thoughts in [ ].

So that is basically how I get my inspiration for Gene Notes. Blunders of genealogists past and my own errors will probably supply me with blog topics ad infinitum or ad nauseum.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Researching is ALWAYS a good place for inspiration! After all they give me so much good material! You always do a nice job! Set that bar high for the rest of us to follow...

  2. For someone with a cold, you write a mean article, hear me, eh???