Genealogy Books

BoydAJNeedhamGenealogists are always thinking that they are going to publish a book about their genealogy research. They have the mistaken opinion that it will be of interest to other people. Of course the only other people that are at all interested are the very few other genealogists who are researching the same family. The problem with publishing a genealogy book as that as soon as you do you will stumble across a new fact that makes some aspect of your newly published book wrong. Now you have become the worst thing in the world to a genealogists–someone who has published erroneous work. Somehow, those erroneous facts are always picked up by other researchers and treated as facts. They seem to spread like wildfire and you will always know that it is your fault for having published a book before the research was complete.

Of course, with genealogy the research is never complete. This is why all serious genealogists have one or more partially finished books somewhere on their computer. Or, as in my case, a completely finished ebook that I’m afraid to release because I don’t want to be responsible for spreading incorrect histories. I know this will happen, because I only finished the book less than 3 months ago and just last week I received an email from someone who had found an error in my on-line genealogy. Of course this error is also in the ebook.

I did publish a hardcopy book several years ago. It was a gift to my Dad on his 95th birthday. I haven’t found too much stuff that was in the book that is actually wrong–just a few things, but I know a lot more information now than I did then. I’m glad I did it, because my Dad really enjoyed the book. Another thing that I learned from writing that book is that it forces you to double check and verify your facts. So writing the book is a good thing because it aids your research. There’s nothing like writing something down that other people are going to read to make you want to be sure it’s correct.

2 thoughts on “Genealogy Books

  1. Banai I have asked many of my great aunts and uncles qoiutesns. I have been fortunate enough to get a lot of answers and good stories from them, but there are certainly qoiutesns that they were unable to answer for one reason or the other. I’ve been lucky enough to find many people who were either friends of the family or neighbors who were able to fill in more gaps.But since I am the baby of my generation and my mom had me at 30, I was unable to have a relationship with many family members because by the time I came around they were either already gone, their memories were gone, they were sick so I wasn’t allowed to visit often, or I just didn’t have the idea to ask the qoiutesns or write down what I heard.I did an interview in the 7th grade with my grandpa to discuss his service in the Korean War. The only things I wrote down were the answers that I needed to turn in my paper. It was one of the few times that I had a heart-felt conversation with my grandpa but I didn’t listen to the extra stories that he told. I no longer have that paper and for the life of me I can’t remember most of what he told me. I always wonder what would have been if only I had written everything down.

    • Nice article.When I was about 11, I had a fialmy tree school assignment which was soon followed by interviewing my three living grandparents. I gathered names, dates, and places. They volunteered a bit more, but I didn’t write down everything and I didn’t think to record them. When I got back to genealogy as an adult, I still had the data that I had written down from that time.So even though I did get an early start with three grandparents, I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t record them, didn’t ask the right questions, and didn’t write down every word they spoke. (I know my grandmother told me an uncle changed the name. She didn’t know which person that uncle was, but I’m certain she told me the name. Frustrating not to remember or have written it down!)Still, it was a good start and a lot more information than my parents could have ever provided. It’s a good thing some of my grandparents’ siblings were still around and I got to talk to them. Have you looked up your great-uncles and great-aunts?

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