Monday, March 7, 2016

Field Notes: Over Cite To Avoid Oversight

While researching my 2nd great grandmother for my 52 Ancestors piece on her, I needed to reference my 2nd great grandfather's life. I noticed I had included the note that he had gone to Australia mining for gold in 1851. Now, I remember finding a document on it about 8 years ago, but wouldn't you know it I did not reference it!! Nope. Just wrote the note that he went.

I spent the better part of a day attempting to re-locate that bit of information.

I would suspect I got it from a passenger list. But WHERE???

That is now the 6 million dollar question.

I can't tell you what possessed me to note this without citing where I'd found the information. I remember being excited and intrigued upon discovering it and had planned on returning to it at some point to investigate further.

I am a bit of a scattered note taker, but I combed through all my research notes. I found some other things I had discovered around the same time, but not the gold mining in Australia bit.

Two things come to mind. Right around that time my genealogy computer crashed. We were able to recover almost everything, but not all of it. There was also a glitch in my old FTM16 when I tried to convert/upgrade to FTM2010.

Perhaps the information I spent the weekend hunting for was lost to the crash? Or the software conversion?

These days I make copious notes right in the fact box on Ancestry and add additional notes in the note section. Taking every effort to keep my Ancestry and FTM trees synced after any bit of work I do on either end.

And, I back up to several different locations.

Live and learn.

Takeaway: Back-up. Early and often. And always cite your sources. Always, always, always.

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