- Got this from another list; thought you might enjoy it:
Dollarhide's Rules For Genealogy
1. Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestors as equals....even
if some of them were in jail.
2. Death certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.
3. When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and
look like you have about a week to live...the funeral director will
give you anything you ask if he thinks you may be a customer soon.
4. The cemetery where your ancestor was buried does not have
perpetual care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has
snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs...and many of the old gravestones
are in broken pieces , stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.
5. A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate
because few people had anything to do with the information on their
own birth certificate.
6. The application for a death certificate you want insists that you
provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother...which is exactly
what you don't know and is the reason you are trying to get the death
certificate in the first place.
7. If you call Social Security and ask where to write for a birth
certificate, tell them it is for yourself...they won't help you if you
say you want one for your
great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather who died in 1642.
8. When you contact the state vital statistics office in your home
state and ask if they are "on-line" and they respond, "on what?," you
may have a problem.
9. A census record showing all twelve children in a family proves
only that your ancestors did not believe in birth control.
10. Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because
your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.
11. With any luck, some of the people in your family could read and
write....and may have left something written about themselves.
12. It ain't history until it's written down. (See #19)
13. A genealogist needs to be a detective. Just gimme da facts,
14. Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room.
Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for
great fun to see who throws the first punch.
15. The genealogy book you just found out about went out of print
16. A good genealogical event is learning that your parents were
17. Finding the place a person lived may lead to finding that
person's arrest record.
18. It's really quite simple. First you start with yourself, then
your parents, then your grandparents... then you QUIT . . .and start
teaching classes in genealogy.
19. If it's not written down, it ain't history yet. (See #12)
20. In spite of MTV, computer games, and skate boards, there is
always a chance that your grandchildren will learn how to read
21. "To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead, but
don't commune with the dead so long that you forget that you are
(From Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt)
by William Dollarhide