This is the first of a three part series using Grandma as our fictitious family member through which we can explore some genealogy basics.
As a professional I often hear people say, “My grandma has done all of our genealogy.” This is done with just as much pride in the genealogy, as it is love for grandma. As touching as this is, it must be realized that grandma probably has not done all of your genealogy. She did what she could.
I have found this to be more than lip service as people pull out grandma’s published work. Some are impressive. However, this still doesn’t mean she did all the genealogy. What she did was compile the genealogy on a particular branch of the family. If she is your paternal grandmother, then she would have little interest in your maternal side of the family which is not related to her.
Now saying this, if the published family history is footnoted or at least adequately sourced, then it may be she has researched a particular branch of the family tree to its logical conclusion. I won’t question her research as she obviously did a thorough job. However, this is not always the case. If you browse through her book and you find it’s not footnoted or sourced, and there’s a lot of hearsay then you need to take a much deeper look at her research.
My advice is that we need to continue to contribute to grandma’s work. Even though she may be just as professional as any professional genealogists; she may also be – well grandma!