I found my family in a 878 page heritage book that was published in 1897 and later revised in 1974. The 1974 revision was the result of sending out 2000 letters to descendants. Hundreds did respond and provide their family histories. The original work of the author from 1874 remains unchanged during the 1974 revision.
What does this mean to me as a family historian studying genealogy. I have to ask myself how valid is the contents of this book. I found my family on page 800. From page 1 to 800 there are countless individuals, sources and stories to be verified.
My plan is to work backwards from page 800. I will review the sources that are listed and will valid each source. The sources are not in proper format however it is a good place to start.
Proof is a fundamental concept in validating my genealogy. In order to merit confidence with family members, each ancestor must have sufficient evidence to be validated. I base my research on acceptable conclusions that must meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The GPS consists of five elements:
- a reasonably exhaustive search;
- complete and accurate source citations;
- analysis and correlation of the collected information;
- resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
- a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
The Farnsworth and Markley families have been placed online. The online data needs to be cleaned up. I will be working on this over the next few months.