“Often researchers cause their own research problems by making assumptions.” So began Charles S. “Chuck” Mason, Jr., CG, in his presentation “Don’t Make These Mistakes” at the FRGS 4th Annual Fall Conference. Beginners certainly can fall into this trap, but the caution applies equally to family history researchers who have been at it for a while.
Chuck presented a series of mistakes that can lead genealogists down the wrong road or cause them to overlook potentially valuable research areas. One of the most common mistakes made is looking for records that were never created, for example, looking for vital records such as birth and death certificates at a time when those records were not kept. Before you begin your research…find out the recordkeeping laws that were in force for your locality and time period.
The audience was kept chuckling as Chuck gave numerous examples of research gone awry because of faulty assumptions…one of the most frequent being researchers trying to connect themselves to a famous person. Session participants gained some valuable tips on how to make the most efficient use of their time in conducting their research.