Monday, April 20, 2009

How To Write The History of a Family - A Guide To Genealogists - 1887

I found this book so interesting that I thought I'd share an excerpt with you.

It is evident the perception of the Genealogist/Family Historian hasn't changed much since 1887.

However, I have always thought that through education programs that set standards for research, writing, and production; and that teach the skill sets necessary to achieve those results, we will improve not only how others view us, but how we view ourselves. Seems my ideas aren't new either.
In this little volume it is scarcely necessary to vindicate the study of genealogy against those who assert that it is but an idle pursuit, for it may be presumed that those only will consult it who are already persuaded of the utility of preserving their family history. The reverence which is almost universally shown toward ancestors is but an extension of the commandment. "Honor thy father and they mother." All races of men seem to possess an instinctive feeling that a line of honorable ancestry is a subject for legitimate pride.

"Who are these graves we know not,
Only know they are our fathers."

But though many affect to jest at what they call "pedigree-hunting" there are few who do not feel more or less interested in knowing something of their own family history, however humble it may be; and that this is so is shown by the increasing number of those who now take some pains to trace it out and place it on permanent record.

Genealogy in the past was chiefly confined to tabular pedigrees, more remarkable for an imposing array of names and titles than for any just claim to be termed history. Still, a few family memorials worthy of the name were compiled as early as the seventeenth century, such for example, as the splendid history of the "Lives of the Berkeleys, written by John Smyth, of Nibley, about the year 1618. The independent family memoir, however, is a product almost exclusively of modern growth and though some valuable examples have been issued in England, it is in the United States that they are most numerous.

The necessity of accuracy and method is specially insisted on, and the reader's attention is drawn to the advantage of uniting the narrative with key-tables by means of a definite system of cross references, a combination which hitherto has been too much neglected by genealogists.

W.P.W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L.
How To Write The History of a Family
A Guide for Genealogists


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