I’m loving Unlock the Past‘s series of genealogy booklets. The first one I read was Pitfalls in Family History by Graham Jaunary’s of Adelaide Proformat. I easily knocked it over in one sitting and that’s the beauty of these booklets.
Graham discusses many of the barriers that we face when conducting family history research. So what is a pitfall?
a concealed pit as trap for man or animal, an unsuspected difficulty or danger or an error into which it is easy to fall.
I am yet to set up a ‘Research Logbook’ as suggested by Graham. I can see the benefit of keeping a summary of my research because I’ve already gone through the Queensland BMD online databases numerous times with the same people. He suggests:
Simply rule the page into columns headed: date, research, location, record, search range, result/comment.
Graham discusses problems with indexes and recommends always viewing the original document. He also explains how the spelling of names varies and why; and also the significance of the calendar change from Julian to Gregorian. Fortunately, I have not come across date problems yet! But I think we have all be stumped by name changes before.
I was intrigued to read about how it used to be a Victorian pastime to (falsely) link the family tree with the rich and famous. There are even cases where they tried to colour coordinate a coat of arms to match the decor of a living room!
A great summary of many of the pitfalls, which reminds me of saying that family history “it’s more of an art, than an exact science”.