When I first started researching my family’s genealogy, I took many classes to learn what resources were available, how to use them, and how reliable they were. In one of the classes, my husband and I were shown a photo of a gravestone and asked to interpret the information. The information seemed fairly straightforward and clear. I was taken aback when my husband thought it was equally clear, but had a completely different interpretation. Discussion of this photo lasted quite a while, and my husband and I continued discussing it afterwards. This really taught me how open to interpretation all documents and sources are.
While extractions are definitely needed and useful, nothing compares to the original source with all the info intact. It is invaluable to have a duplication to study for yourself and place in context of its time and history.
Coming soon, you will be able to upload any image to your Family Pursuit Private Family Tree and attach it as a source for others in your family to view and interpret. The advantage of sharing copies of original documents is invaluable to collaboration. Once the image is uploaded, anyone in your tree can view it and, through discussions, the ambiguity can be clarified. This is also another great way to help mentor the new genealogist. The image can be used for teaching, or a beginner can be assigned a task to get the image for the family to then analyze.
Images are not the only file that can be uploaded. Video and audio files are also accepted and are a great way to help younger generations connect to their older relatives by hearing their voice or seeing them in action.
Technology has greatly enhanced the amateur’s ability to get quality files. For digital photos Dick Eastman’s Forum has a great discussion about techniques and devices to use to ensure high-quality images: http://www.eogn.com/forum/index.php/topic,61.0.html. This discussion thread is contributed by other genealogists and is very interesting and helpful. It is relatively inexpensive to purchase an audio recorder that can be used to record interviews then plugged in to the computer to upload the files – no conversion necessary. Camcorders and webcams have facilitated recording home movies and interviews.
Sharing images, audio, and video will not only enhance the collaboration and mentoring ability available through Family Pursuit, but, more importantly, it will personalize your ancestors to help your entire family feel more connected to them.