By Shannon Combs Bennett, Student
Proof, sources, information and evidence are crucial to genealogical work. Being able to prove a connection can be hindered by the validity of your source, the reliability of the information and the evidence at hand. Understanding how these elements work together is a skill that all genealogists must possess to be effective researchers and successful. Through the six modules of Methodology 5 you are taught these skills.
I don’t know about you, but I love case studies and other examples to demonstrate the lesson you are learning. Which is why I was very happy to see that there were many different types of examples to walk you through the process for solving advanced research problems. These examples highlighted the skill we were just learning about to show the student how to put to use the information they just learned.
The entirety of Module 5 is using the skills you learned in the course to work through various problems. I enjoyed reading through these case studies, several of which are similar to problems I have faced in my own research, and was able to learn new ways to approach problems and a different perspective to follow the leads in the future. The way the instructor presents the problems, walks you through the solutions and then shows you the proof is very informative and I feel that many people will get a lot of great information out of this section.
One thing that I did not find awkward was the large number of non-US document examples used in the course. This was actually a question I was asked when I was working in The National Institute booth at RootsTech this year. Some students were worried they would not be able to understand lessons if they cover unfamiliar documents. I get that. It can be intimidating to see documents from other countries.
What I told them, and what I am telling you now, is seeing documents used as examples that you aren’t familiar with is great! There are no preconceived assumptions about what it may or may not contain. You can also focus in on the question at hand and learn to use your investigative instincts. Plus, you will constantly come into contact with documents you are not familiar with as you do research. No one can master everything, there will always be surprises. So honestly, this is not be a big deal.
Overall I think this series of methodology courses for the intermediate level was a great foundation for future courses in this section and beyond. No matter your experience level this will give you a good grounding in the fundamental skills you need for excellent future research.
See you online!