I is for Informant and Individual.
I will be posting about the prompts that Angler’s Rest Julie Goucher listed for April 2015 A-Z April Challenge on Damegussie.wordpress.com Blog.
Informants are an important part of our genealogy work. They are usually a participant or observer at the time of an event. The closet to actual time of our ancestors. That doesn’t mean the information they provide is correct.
I consider informant information as clues that need to be supported or disproved by other records available, before I consider them facts.
There are questions I need to ask myself about an informant that gives me a level of validity to their statements.
- How are they connected to the person/people/place of the event?
- How do they benefit from the information provided?
- How would the event affect them emotionally?
- How would they know the information being provided?
If they are related to the people, it would make their information a little stronger. Keeping in mind that if they can benefit from what they provide could weaken the strength of the same information (wills, parentage, financially.) Maybe they don’t want their true age revealed or they are a child out of wedlock or maybe they don’t want to be related to a criminal. Are they protecting someone? Is there a divorce, children, step children, or other relatives that could affect the statement of information?
Emotions play a part in how clearly we think. If we are grieving our thoughts get cloudy. How many times have you seen a death notice or record with the wrong name? I have even called a person by the wrong name just in talking with them, even though I know them. Errors happen. It is a fact of life.
How would they know the information? Family lore? Records? Personal? All provide different validity values.
Bottom line is gather the information, know the informant reasons for providing the information, whenever possible. Seek alternate ways to confirm or disprove the information.
I is for individual.
I am an individual, a unique person in my own right.
You may see me differently from what I see myself. That is okay.
I am who I am. I accept who I am.
If you accept as I am that is even better.
Don’t worry about everyone else. They are feeling the same insecurities you are. We are more alike than not.
Get to know yourself!