Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Genealogy Fools Day is on Monday

March, like the other months this year, has flown by and Monday, April 1, is April Fools’ Day. This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver is a close cousin to the generic April Fools’ Day – Genealogy Fools Day. 🙂

1)   April Fools Day is Monday.  When were you a Genealogy Fool?  What wrong, funny or silly genealogy effort did you make?

I’m glad Randy gave us an example of one of his old lists because I’d have a hard time remembering back 40+ years! Seeing his list helped jog my own memory.

Here are my foolish moves when it came to genealogy:

10. Waiting until the 1990s before making my first visit to the FamilySearch Library. Microfilms had to be ordered to view locally and they cost money. I easily went through 100+ microfilms in the actual library when I got there the first time. This was long before the internet was around and I could have made much more progress, especially on my husband’s family tree if I had just gone to Salt Lake. Being a teacher, I was free for the summer.

9. Accepting my 5X great grandmother Judith Haskell as the one for whom the local town clerk so kindly provided documentation. That mistake stayed in my family tree from the early 1980s until a few years ago. Another descendant contacted me with the information that there were two Judith Haskells, cousins, born just a few months apart. The one the town clerk provided for me died in her early 20s unmarried. The same-named cousin is my ancestress.

8. Struggling to accept and master source templates in my genealogy software. I did cite sources, using old college-style bibliographies in the resource notes and I have to admit I still find lots of other things to do besides facing those templates. At least I know where I got my information!

7. Not maintaining constant membership in the New England Historic Genealogical Society through the years. I was/have been a member for many of my 45 years of research, but not all of them. Again, with their resources and mail library (at the time), I could have achieved more in less time.

6. Being a name collector in the early years. It was too thrilling when a new ancestral name was discovered, which meant that learning the social history took a back seat, a seat way way in the back! Today’s I’m backtracking, filling in life stories.

5. Not attending more national, state and local genealogy conferences to benefit from the wisdom of others. I went to a few conferences, including one NGS conference in San Diego, which was an eye opener and Genealogy Jamboree hosted by SCGS in Pasadena, California for years, but I should have made an attempt to attend more.

4. Only visiting a couple of courthouses and town clerks – in person – even though my time spent there was more than worth the effort needed to visit Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri.

3. Waiting years to visit great places like the DAR Library, Library of Congress, Maine State Archives and many local libraries and historical societies. As with my first visit to Salt Lake, I learned so much from these other visits.

2. Not asking my family genealogy mentor, cousin Charles Chadwick, even more questions than I did. He was a veritable encyclopedia of details about ancestors and remembered quite a bit. However, he passed away in 2008 and, of course, there are many more questions I wish I had asked.

1. Related to #2, I think the most foolish thing I didn’t do was ask my maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother questions about their lives growing up, details about their parents and even their grandparents (my 2X greats.) The stories they could have shared!

That’s my list. Thank you, Randy, for an interesting challenge this week!

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