My great grandfather Alfred Webb Hambrook was a timber faller and riverman on one of the tributaties of the Miramichi River of New Brunswick. His nephews, sons and grandsons and grandnephews in the west followed similar pursuits as fallers or rivermen. Fallers learn early in their career a great principle of productivity.
The principle is this, unless you sharpen the saw regularly, your productivity will decline rapidly. Self directed study is sharpening the saw for genealogists. We need this activity in our lives for four reasons, probably more
- Our research problems are constantly changing
- Our training in sources is insufficient for the tasks we face
- Our time is limited. You too may have a grandson you need to visit with.
- Our learning needs are often more urgent than the next big organized conference.
A good place to begin our self directed learning is with the study of well constructed proof arguments or proof statements that use exhaustive searches to establish a solid arguments based on the Genealogical Proof Standard.
Case studies are another source. These solve difficult problems in the same way as proof argumentys and highlight the methodology or unique resources used.
It is these methodologies, these resources and these techniques in thinking through problems that are transferable to our own research.
What do you think?
Watch for more soon
“Where do we find case studies worth reading?” A good question. May I suggest you start by subscribibg to the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Since about 1990 there have been in almost every issue at least one good case study.
For those starting now to build case studies, visit your local genealogy library or public library and read their back issues.
Need to possess the articles. Some photocopy the articles, and some look for back issues for sale on ebay or elsewhere. I picked up a nice 12 year run at the book sale of a genealogical society. My friend to me she bought a stack on ebay.
Go get ’em!