Cremated with Her Genealogy

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Many years ago in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan I began a lecture on source citations with the tale of Larry's great Aunt Ida who bequeathed him her 30 years of genealogy research reduced to a few boxes.

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Three big boxes of Aunt Ida's research. Larry was excited and studied it long into the night. But when the dawn came, so did his decision. Larry, an experienced genealogist packed all the notes into the casket and cremated it all with Aunt Ida! Why! Why! Why did Larry send the research home with Aunt Ida? An undocumented genealogy may as well be burned for all its worth.

Now I had their attention, and they were ready to learn about the importance of, and the techniques of source citation.
I was remind of this astounded group when I was reading over Ernest Speakers Tips for Speakers: Organizing Your Talk . Under his list of he writes,

• Explain why the topic is important.
• Make a surprising statement.
• Create suspense or curiosity.
• Tell a story or anecdote.
• Ask a rhetorical question.
• Begin with a quotation.
• Refer to the occasion.

I had discovered a good one. "Make a surprising statement". And before you all come screaming into my life about the blasphemy of burning a genealogy, the story is fictional. But I indeed think some of the abominations that pass for genealogies should be burned if it would stop their errors from being perpetuated. The sins of the old genealogists need not be passed down to a new generation.

If you are a budding speaker, take a look at Ernest's site.

Your comments are welcome.

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