We were all genealogy rookies at some point in time. Those of us who passed through this phase decades ago were actually more fortunate than most beginning genealogy researchers today. We knew that we didn’t know much. We had to do actual research in real books and microfilms to find ancestral data that our mothers or aunt Jane didn’t give us. The same isn’t true today. Rookies think that all they have to do is search for and copy information on the Internet. Everything on the net is true and correct … Right? It is OK to wholesale steal the research that others have done and then claim and publish it as our own work …. Right?
No it isn’t OK. No everything on the Internet isn’t correct. In fact, in many cases the info on it is simply one genealogy thief parroting the information from another genealogy thief.
Don’t fall into these Rookie traps if you are just starting your ancestral quest or even if you already are a researcher and have strayed from the path. Do your own research. Assume the research of others is just a nice story. Not a good story. A nice story that is based on fairy tales and wisps of clouds. If they haven’t proven their work with real sources from real research. assume their information isn’t worth the time to read it.
Fortunately, the FamilySearch Wiki has a help article titled “Rookie Mistakes” that will help beginners get started on the correct research path.
Let’s look at a few excerpts from it.
Rookies are poor note keepers. How true. I was. Most beginners in my genealogy classes also fall in this category.
Rookies assume there was only one way to spell their ancestors name. You will fall into this trap. Without question. You’ll find yourself falling into it even after you’ve been researching for years. When you wake up, don’t stay in the trap. You’ll shake your head and hope no one noticed. Try to remember to avoid falling into it again in the future.
We become so focused in our research and get so used to seeing a consistent name spelling, our cognitive minds go to idle even though we are heavily engaged in research activities. There are numerous ways to spell names and they often weren’t heard by the recorders ear in a form that matches their real spelling.
Rookies don’t establish the goals they want to achieve in their research sessions and in the long term before they start their research. Do so at your own peril.
Rookies think it is easy to do research given all of the information available on the Internet. They don’t pay the price to learn the skills needed to be a successful researcher.
Pay the price. Take classes. Spend the time and resources needed to be a successful researcher.
Rookies expect too much too soon. TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. You have to pay the dues in time and effort if you want the reward of success.
Rookies have little patience or stick – tuitive – ness. The modern world is used to almost instant rewards. There is so much information, I didn’t say knowledge, available at our finger tips, that we’ve self-medicated our brains to fail to initiate real analysis and focused research thoughts.
The wiki article provides many other comments and guides to consider as a new researcher. Take the time to read them even if you’ve been researching for a while. Your success will be improved when you steer clear of the potential mud holes that lay in your research path.