Monday, 26 September 2016

ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 21 and Writing Historical Biography



Hilary Gadsby

QuickLesson 21: Citing DNA Evidence: Five Ground Rules    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 21: Citing DNA Evidence: Five Ground Rules,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-21-citing-dna-evidence-five-ground-rules : accessed 24 Sept 2016).     
and
Writing Historical Biography
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Writing Historical Biography," Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/writing-historical-biography : accessed 24 Sept 2016).


Welcome to my final blogpost for this study group.

I looked at these topics and thought how can I relate these to my own research. I have not done any genetic testing of either myself or any close relatives and I have not as yet attempted to write a historical biography.

So I cannot write from experience but I can say what I understand and how I would approach this.

ESM mentions "five basic ground rules"

Evidence versus citation

All we do when we write a citation is identify our source. In relation to DNA results these will have been analysed and presented in a particular format we cite how they have been presented to us (what we see). 

DNA is evidence

We take information we find in our source and use what it is telling us in building the evidence supporting or refuting our assertion. The same as any other source.

Citation to support an assertion

The information may need further analysis, to provide us with the evidence to support or refute an assertion that X is related to Y, but this is what we can add to our dicussion rather than a citation. Whatever the outcome of the discussion citing the source will not change.

What are you citing?

How has the result of the test been communicated to you. Have you been presented with a comparison to others held in a database?

You may need to explain what you are citing

Some citations are in need of explanation it may not simply be a case of including a name and date. We include sufficient information to clarify any specific item of interest.

The only thing I will add here as I have no specific example is that when we are dealing with genetics we are using information from living or sometimes recently deceased individuals. Given that even if an individual is now deceased they may still have close living relations we need to ensure we follow the guidelines. Elizabeth Shown Mills has a number of publications available including one on genetic sources and there is information available on the website for International Society of Genetic Genealogy.



Historical Biography

Whilst I have not as yet written any biography be it my own or anyone in my family I have used some of the records suggested.
If we wish to present an interesting picture of our family to others, be they family or friends, then we need to include more than a list of dry facts and possibly a few photographs. Technology may allow us to present things in a more interactive manner but first we need to find the information.
Census information, certificates, church registers tell us who was related to whom and when births, marriages and deaths may have occurred but they tell us little about how our family lived and interacted with others in their community. It is likely that our own lives have changed considerably over our lifetime and the same is likely true for our ancestors.
Whilst we may not have met someone we may still be able to build up some kind of picture of the life he may have lead.

I will show you an example from the half brother of my great grandfather Rowland Curtis.
We find his memorial at Find A Grave in Warminster.
This is incomplete and tells little about who he was and the family he had and any struggles he may have faced. He is recorded in the Family Search Family Tree with the currently available documents.

I have not included what I have found in the newspapers and books about Warminster.
It appears that this family were mentioned in the newspapers on several occasions.
The local newspaper is The Warminster and Westbury Journal and a search at Find My Past in the British Newspaper Archive returns several results.
They even made a national paper known as Lloyds News. The local paper included a copy of the original but unfortunately without the photograph.





"London Interviewer's Visit to Warminster," The Warminster and Westbury Journal, 28 March 1908, p. 6 col 3;digital images, Find My Past.co.uk (http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Sept 2016), British Newspaper Archive Collection.

So what do I need to do with this information? 
What else do I need to look for and how can I get this in to a format that the family will find interesting? 
I have found a photograph of the family in a copyrighted book page 112. There are also photographs of another family member on pages 58 and 59 in the same book. Danny Howell. Yesterday's Warminster (Buckingham, England: Barracuda Books Limited, 1987)

I am using Twile to collaborate with the family and I am going to add these to the website to help the family know more about who these people were and how they lived. I am always looking for more information and because it is a private website copyright issues may be less of an issue.  
I can share more in a private invitation only area than on public trees and I hope that it will be able to connect to my blogs and other sites to avoid duplication. The timelines and maps along with historical information can really bring our own history in to context.
There are plans for Twile to connect with Family Search but I will tackle any issues, I might have, if they become a problem. 

Like many I have gathered the information to write more about my ancestors but have rarely pulled it together to create something more this is something I hope to do on my family blog, maybe I should start with Rowland Curtis, but hey I have already started.


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