Sunday, April 24, 2011

CVGS Program on 27 April - Hank Jones: "When the Sources are Wrong"

The April Program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is this Wednesday, 27 April at 12 noon in the Auditorium at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street). Please enter through the conference room door (off the east hallway) to register your presence, pick up a program, buy an opportunity drawing ticket, and have a snack to tide you over.

After a short business meeting, the program will be Henry Z. (Hank) Jones speaking on "When the Sources are Wrong." The description of the talk and Hank's biography are below:

Erroneous sources are part of the territory in genealogy. Each and every family historian has, at one time or other, run into a source that is wrong. Sometimes, however, the actual source is just fine: it's our perception of that old document that may need a bit of work. This talk examines our common problem of erroneous sources and offers solutions as to what to do when we encounter them.

Secondary sources are discussed. The genealogical validity of the late-19th early 20th century "mug books" are examined as to their accuracy. Census indices are scrutinized, and reasons for their many errors examined (for example, a published census index of the 1830 Federal Census of Maryland showed 52% error when compared with the original documents!).

The older family histories (pre-Jacobus emphasis on documentation and weighing the preponderance of the evidence) are looked at, with suggestions made as to which hold water today. Some of the "saints and sinners" of our genealogical past are discussed, and names set forth as to which ones to trust.

The quirks of old church books are studied, with special note of errors made therein that are contemporary with the actual event - enough to send modern-day genealogists blithering and blabbering off into the sunset. Case studies of actual errors found in church records are presented, with solutions offered as to what to do when errors are discovered therein when compared with other known documentation.

This topic is a universal one for genealogists everywhere, and this talk offers suggestions as to how to overcome the problems presented ... "When the Sources are Wrong!"

Henry Z ("Hank") Jones, Jr. has been actively climbing family trees since the age of eight, and, since his graduation from Stanford, has specialized in tracing 18th century German emigrants. Hank has written several books and many articles over the years. He received the NGS Award of Merit for "Distinguished Work in Genealogy" and has been elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, of whom there are only fifty in the world.

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