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Archiver > GENIRE > 2003-03 > 1046520683

From: "Sharon Carberry" <>
Subject: Re: R.C. parish lists and their importance............
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 07:11:23 -0500
References: <00ac01c2dec3$194163e0$db8691c2@computer> <>

"The Chief" wrote:
To me this comes close to the cardinal sin of genealogy - famous name
chasing...The only way to do genealogy is to
work back from what you know, not to make wild stabs at trying to connect to
documented people of a particular surname, even if "rare."

My response:
It depends on much time and effort you care to spend
in your researching. Once someone gets beyond the
newbie stage but is not making progess despite having obtained documentation
for all the known ancestors, there is some opportunity in measures which
stretch across
time and space. First, you can collect obituaries and
biographies in local histories which fall into a "likely"
category based on what you know already, and, second,
you can post about your known ancestors on various
surname bulletin boards. Both these methods have borne
fruit for me in my non-Irish lines. The key is in the
identifying details (makes no difference whether the detail is from a
priest's biography or a prolific merchant's). From a welter of same-named
people, you can distinguish among them if you can connect them to a very
specific locality in a time period. Two examples follow.

This past week, one of those methods paid off, as a saved "likely" obituary
published online in year 2000 was linked via mention of the decedent's small
town in an 1800s news article on brothers visiting each other across a
distance of many hundreds of miles, in the U.S. The obit of this
long-lived person named surviving relatives who were easily contacted and
yielded a goldmine of information from the long-lost brother's descendants.

The posting of mere surnames on a bulletin yielded an overseas cousin, whose
family had saved a photo of my grandmother's brothers with no knowledge of
who they were. I identified it for them; the photos I have of the same
generation match the ones they had been sent. After being out of touch with
the American branch for over 60 years, the overseas family sent me a few
details which led to my finding several stray members of the American
branch. Do I mind that one of the members of the overseas family hap-pens
to appear in widely-published new stories as being in the circle of power
which includes a famous world leader ? No, and if I had researched how that
fellow had my ggrandfather's surname, I might have found my overseas cousins
and the rest of my U.S. cousins a lot faster.

Sharon Carberry

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