Ins and Outs of Evidence for Genealogists Using the Census
Fundamentally, genealogists are concerned with history and historical sources. These historical sources are finite and scattered across the world. The activity of genealogical research is to find these scattered sources, extract the information contained therein about a limited set of ancestral families and then analyze, evaluate and record that information in some reproducible format. This activity is highly personal in nature. There may be opportunities for collaboration, but most genealogists are involved in a solitary pursuit. The fact that genealogists record their information publicly does not particularly imply that they arrived at their conclusions any differently than they would have had they kept the information to themselves.
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