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If you’re new to the research of genealogy, you might be wondering why the field is so focused on documentation. However, documentation is considered an integral element of research, especially when it comes to family history. Here’s why it’s so important:
It speeds up the process. Whether you want to spend a few hours looking up family history on the web or you’re assuming the responsibility as the family historian, documenting every fact you discover will save you time in the long run. This is especially true with sources. Write down your sources so that the next time you work on the project again you don’t have to start from scratch.
It makes your research believable. Proper documentation is proof that your information is accurate. Without proper documentation, other people might not believe the facts. Having proof that your old family stories or facts are truthful is extremely important if you plan to publish a book or feature the information on the web the way these families did: Tilley Family History, Phineas Upham Family Genealogy, Winslow Family History, Turner, Henry Family and Smith Family Forum.
It avoids duplicate work. You might be researching a family that someone else has already researched. If they have documentation of their research, you don’t have cover the areas that are already covered. Instead, you can move on to other areas of your family history that have never been researched.