As they uncover ancient sites, archaeologists never try to “finish the job”. They leave a portion of the site under the earth. Aren’t they curious? Don’t they want to be able to say, now we have uncovered all of the site of Delphi, or this pyramid group, or this American Indian village? Of course they want to. But they know that in the future, new technologies and new knowledge will alter the way that archaeologists find and interpret knowledge of the past.
That does not stop some from creating stories of what people’s lives were like in that ancient place. But hopefully, in the future, someone will give their stories and conclusions a do-over.
Geneaology is like Archaeology
No matter how thorough your research is today, it is always possible that you missed a small article in a newspaper. Or a government entity suddenly makes documents available that had previously thought to be lost. Or an old journal is discovered in an attic.
There is, of course, also the possibility that you are fallible–you jump to a conclusion based on too little fact because it makes such a good story that you want it to be that way.
Or you transcribe an old document incorrectly.
Or you rely on second-hand knowledge without confirming it with more sources. (For instance believe a family history that does not include sources about a birth date without find a birth certificate or other report on your own.)
Or, frustrated by the slim number of sources, give up and don’t push on to find the hard-to-find sources.
Geneaology is never finished.
So this is a disclaimer that should be on every article in Ancestors in Aprons.
Recently, I went back to a few earlier posts and found I needed to make revisions based on new information. Some Do-Overs.
That is one of the beauties of websites. If something is wrong, you can fix it. Once you publish a book, unless it goes into multiple reprints, you’re stuck.
Here are a few posts where I have taken a do-over (made corrections):
Isabella McCabe Anderson and Eliza Bassett Emerson –a whole post devoted to straightening out misidentification of a photo.
Isabella McCabe Anderson and John O. Anderson–interpretation of facts.
Samuel How(e)–an unfortunate comparison that I now wish I had not made. (But who knew that the name of Donald Trump would conjure up quite different images after a political campaign?)
Guy Anderson and Rhema Anderson Fair–small error in statement.
Keith Kaser, a misidentified photograph
Col. William Cochran–another whole post updating information about this gentleman based on information I discovered AFTER the original post.
I even indulge in a do-over when I find a recipe is missing some critical instructions, or find a recipe I like better than the original. For instance, I just published this better recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes.
And I realized that I had not put a cooking time in the article on Corn Meal Mush, so I added it.
Bottom line, for you the fellow researcher–although you are free to use what I publish stick to the good reporter’s rule of confirming everything with more than one source.
Be careful out there!