I recently read the article "Mining for Ancestors--A Challenge to Our Readers" in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly (Vol. 40, No. 1, Pg. 112) that asks us to "start mining for other genealogists' ancestors in your files."
So, I hereby accept the challenge. I have created a new database and am collecting non-related information in hopes to someday help someone else. So far, I have added names of people who are on the various certificates I have. For example, I have a hospital birth certificate for my dad that lists both the doctor and the superintendent. This could give someone information about their occupation and perhaps a timeline. Additionally, I know I have some obituaries that list people other than family, so I will go back and add them to the new database.
The article also lists some other places to mine for data such as "court proceedings, pension files, land records, letters, diaries, and any other type of unpublished document...." While I agree with "unpublished" I also think it's important to make note of anything you come across, unpublished or otherwise. For example, I have several newspaper articles about my great-grandfather accidental death. This article lists names of those involved in the incident, as well as police officers. Even though this information is published, it would still be difficult for someone to find since it's likely not indexed.
Another thing I seem to have a lot of are memorial cards and obituaries for neighbors and family friends. I hang on to these in hopes that someday I can pass them on to someone looking for that information. I check the boards periodically to see if anyone's searching for them; no such luck as of yet. But I am going to add them to my new database so I have everything in one place, and if I see a name mentioned somewhere, I can pop open the database and see if I have anything to share.
I'm not exactly sure if I will implement a "push" approach in which, for example I would publish names on my blog or some other forum. Right now, since I'm just figuring this all out, I'll stick with the "pull" approach and if I run across someone looking for something I can help with, I will contact them and provide the information.
- Current Mood: contemplative
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