Last week I paid a visit with my two college friends. Unbeknownst to me my friend was "doing" genealogy for nearly 30 years. Off on that path we went! He apologized to me at the end of our conversation for the length of his presentation and I laughed! No "deer in the headlight" look from me. I was impressed with his collection and his sourcing.
He was very careful about his sourcing. He uses primary sources whenever possible. In this day of quick information and poorly sourced documentation, his research was refreshing. He was extremely fortunate to have primary sources from his own family including memorabilia and photos from his family's store. Along with his wife, they spend time combing antique shops in pursuit of family advertisement cards from the store his gr-grandfather had. He had a wonderful collection of cards which enhanced his genealogy research.
Our conversation had me thinking-what could I find? Several of my recent finds have been from primary sources through online databases. Published Congressional records led me to obtain a copy of documentation from an admiralty case from the 1790s through NARA. Of course there was the discovery of another gr-granduncle who sold reindeer to Alaskans. (Can you imagine how much fun I have with my third graders and that tidbit at Christmas?) Then there was the ophthalmology article I found through Google books that discusses how my gr-gr-granduncle was the first to advertise sunglasses, "white, blue, green, and grey glasses to suit all eyes." http://books.google.com/books?id=jh2gAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA539&dq=James+Peters+%2B+%2Bopthamalogy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fE75UfTxKe_A4APPpoGAAw&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=James%20Peters%20%2B%20%2Bopthamalogy&f=false A visit to an online antique store led me to a pair of sunglasses made by him! (Yes! I bought them!)
The importance of family history and passing it forward is a dilemma for all of us. Remembering who gave us the information, where it is found, and how we present it to others is always a challenge as we research. The one constant is sourcing. Remember to cite your sources...your descendants will love you for it. Thanks, Bob, for the reminder.