DO not rely on serach results alone.

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DO not rely on serach results alone.

Postby AndrewA » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:46 pm

DO not get me wrong, using searches on the various database and archive websites is invaluable tool and extremly useful, however do not assume that if the search results return nothing, then the person or record you are after does not exist. I come across an ever increasing number of people who basically give up after 20 minutes because they find nothing at all. Not quite how the adverts portray family history research.

I hope you are aware of the issues over transcription errors, one of the main reasons why certain records are never found, there are number of other reasons why you can not find what you are looking for which i will not go into now.

Therefore the old tried and tested methods of research are still important and necessary to progress, in other words, get your self down to an archive and look through documents yourself.

Fortunately in this day and age, with every month which passes, archives and records are continually being scanned and photographed and made available to view on internet, which can often mean a saved trip to the archive. Travelling a few hundred miles to simply see if someone name is actually recorded in a parish register can be very costly and time consuming.

So next time you get stuck, make a cup of tea, sit down and physically go through the original documents and read them yourself, you maybe surprised as to what information you can gain from this process, instead of relying on a basic search return
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Re: DO not rely on serach results alone.

Postby AndrewA » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:25 pm

A good example of this has come about from a mistake I made when starting my family history research well over a year now.

I relied too much on the Ancestry results, this is actual page of the parish register for entries made in 1819 of Stoke Next Guildford, St John the Evangelist found in the Surrey, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912 collection.
Image
It was only in recent months I decided to sit down and look through this register instead of relying on Ancestry transcription work and search returns.

Low and behold I found the entry I needed, William Robert son of John Ottaway and Hannah Heath, baptised Feb 28th.

However, whoever transcribed this for ancestry had a terrible day or was just rubbish at the job.
Then entry in Ancestry had williams full name as William Robert OTTAWAY, his mother, Hannah HEATH was missing was instead recorded as another child. Further Roberts baptism date was recorded as Feb 19th, which was actully the date for previous entry for John Powell. Roberts baptism date of 28th Feb was recorded with the incorrect entry for Hannah HEATH!.

So this is a good example why looking at records is better than relying on transcription and search returns.
Hit a Brickwall? Have you lost all trace of someone? Do not despair, simply make a note they were abducted by aliens! Don't believe in aliens? No problem, just write them off as having disapeared in a time portal
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Re: DO not rely on serach results alone.

Postby snoopysue » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:52 pm

Must admit, I had to read the image entry a couple of times before I worked it out. So even though this isn't straightforward (and I can understand the transcribers mistake) it does illustrate your point!
Snoopysue

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Re: DO not rely on serach results alone.

Postby AndrewA » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Well yes looking at that image my comments may seem a little harsh, however if you look at the whole page it becomes more clearer, 1st line of each entry, childs and parents names, second line aligned to right, baptism date.

When you come to William's entry, it is clearer that not enough room was left to write a complete line across the width of page, it looks like whoever made the entry has tried to slope down to avoid the previous baptism date, then had to just continue with the parents details etc on the second row.

Image
Hit a Brickwall? Have you lost all trace of someone? Do not despair, simply make a note they were abducted by aliens! Don't believe in aliens? No problem, just write them off as having disapeared in a time portal
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