Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 3 of the FutureLearn Genealogy MOOC

This week of the class is exactly what I have been waiting for. We covered the major types of genealogical resources; both civil and religions. A big focus was placed on census records. I've been waiting to see how someone breaks down the overwhelming number of resources available into digestible lessons.

I really enjoyed the discussion of giving proper consideration as to WHY the record was created. You have no idea how many times I've showed a client a census record and they ask me, "Does it say when they died?" Um, not unless the census taker was an assassin or a psychic. One needs to realize why a particular resources is telling you what it is telling you and why it's not going to give you other bits of information you might be looking for.

My absolute favorite part of this week, though, was a video which demonstrated exactly how to use documents to fill in your family tree. After the instructor showed a document and discussed the recorded information, the video transitioned to a blank family tree form and showed exactly how to fill in the facts we just learned through the documentation.

The most important part of that video was the instruction to use pencil. We haven't gotten up to learning about the genealogical proof standard, or GPS, just yet. If you have done any family history research of your own, though, you have learned that not just one piece of documentation alone constitutes a fact. You kind of have to built up a collection of resources and boil them down to the facts.

The final component of this week's lessons focused on evaluating databases. In our very digital age we expect everything to be online in one place. Let me tell you, is not the end-all-be-all of genealogy research. It does indeed provide one access to a large array of resources but there are all sorts of online resources available for this type of research and even more that has not been made digital.

In any case, I wonder what this week has in store...

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