Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Moderately Recent Blog Posts I Have Enjoyed #2

Diana Dretske at Illuminating Lake County History posted a detailed appreciation of John Easton's 1844-1846 store ledger from the hamlet of Half Day. I became acquainted with the ledger's transcription when I had a research interest in the immediate area; I was unaware of its near-obliteration when the purchasers of Easton's property later used it as a scrapbook in which to post newspaper clippings! Good reading and images both for people interested in Lake County, Illinois, or in the enormous potential of this under-used resource.

The indefatigable Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist asks the key question of relevant Ancestry.com officials. She doesn't put it this way, but I will: Since Ancestry's advertising often does not encourage genealogical education, and since it hosts many erroneous trees, how can the company hope to make clear the limitations of its new autosomal DNA test when test results are being connected to those same erroneous trees? Is this anything more than the 21st-century version of pasting scrapbook items onto a potentially valuable genealogy resource and just making everyone more confused than before? If you think I'm over the top on this, Judy is more judicious than I and has done her homework. Read her post and draw your own conclusions.

In an earlier post I uncritically repeated Ancestry.com's statement at Wednesday night's NGS conference reception that the company has 10 billion records. James Tanner at Genealogy's Star does some badly needed investigation and finds this kind of claim to be more promotional than informational.

Please note: I am a long-time and continuing subscriber to Ancestry and have benefited enormously from its work. But it should be possible to earn a profit and educate the public at the same time, and I believe that genealogists in general (and professionals and bloggers in particular) have a role to play in encouraging its executives to keep both objectives clearly in view.

Harold Henderson, "Moderately Recent Blog Posts I Have Enjoyed #2" Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 15 May 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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