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Proformat News
No: 142
December 2017
Seminars: Graham Jaunay no longer conducts family history seminars'

A final message
Fifty years ago I started researching my own family history. My late younger brother, a Mormon convert, whose research seemed to be producing very fanciful results, motivated me! As a graduate in history and politics I resolved to approach this task from an academic perspective. After a number of visits with my brother to his local church research room I was rather taken aback at the lack of vigour in proving ancestral links. The people undertaking research seemed to be just collecting people of the appropriate names in the appropriate places at the appropriate time without making any effort to verify the findings.

I can cite numerous examples of such a lack of research vigour. Of most significance in the Church was the regular rejection of sinful behaviour! Efforts were often made to legitimise children, discount bigamous marriages, ignore persons of a differing religious persuasion and family breakups by tweaking the records or ignoring the material completely.

In this issue:

Feature article
A final message


Graham Jaunay
Glandore SA 5037

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

I will never forget a person finding two men of the same name with a wife of the same name living in the same area selecting their ancestor as the one with the larger property holding!
In these pre-personal computer days everything was recorded on paper and visits to repositories were restricted to the local level or during holidays. The bulk of distant work was done by correspondence and at the time many repositories just ignored mailed requests. Often the process required engaging local researchers to access material.

In 1994 I left my employment and decided to commence work as a genealogist. Over the past 18 months I have been winding things down and the business closed in mid-2016 although I have continued as a consultant and lecturer in family history. It is now time to take the next step and as a consequence this is the final edition of Proformat News.

Remember there are two research streams—
Pursuing remote family: connecting with distant relatives is the primary way of developing a family history.
Following the paper trail: locating records to fill in the gaps in the record.
In closing I will remind readers of the basic principles I have employed as an amateur and professional genealogist:
    Always work from the known into the unknown.
    Never assume anything.
    Be objective and do not let emotions and preconceived values get in the way.
    Be organised and systematic.
    Develop a planned research strategy.
    Maintain a set of research log books to manage your research program.
    Plan visits to repositories thoroughly.
    Seek out and accept good advice.
    Widely advertise your research interests amongst appropriate target groups.
    Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of primary and secondary resources.
    Use indexes appropriately.
    Understand the need to collaborate facts with independent sources wherever possible.
    Record your sources clearly and concisely.
    Evaluate your findings in the light of the reliability of the source.
    Publish your findings widely.
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