Aug 162011

This is the second of three articles about my research into Aarob M. Knepper.  See also:

In a previous post (“Who Do I Think You Are, Aaron Knepper?“) I reported on my task of gathering, surveying, analyzing, and drawing some conclusions about my 2g-grandrather, Aaron Knepper.   The gathering of some data was necessitated when I added the Ancestral Trees page to my blog.   I needed three valid dates for Aaron Knepper as I accomplished that task — birth, marriage, death.  As I indicated, I became a victim of a “genealogical feeding frenzy.”   I suspect that we have all experienced that at one time or another.  One piece of data leads to another which raises a question which leads to more data which leads to a gap in knowledge which lead….     (Well, you know how the story goes, and goes, and goes!)

In the past my feeding frenzies have lacked discipline (hence the name “frenzy”) — a census record for one family leads to the search for a death certificate which leads to a search for a spouse’s father….   This time, however, my focus was on Aaron B. Knepper.

In the past, data about individuals has come in bits and pieces.  Some of it gets entered immediately in my RootsMagic 4 database; some of it gets stored in my Research Wiki.  Previously, I never gathered and analyzed all my data for one individual at one time.  So, what have I learned from this project:

I learned…. In addition to being fun; genealogy is hard work.   A simple little project morphed into a two week venture.  

I learned….  There is a lot of data available on the internet.  Some of it is even useful.  (Not a new learning; instead, a reminder of an old learning.)

I learned….  Keeping a singular focus for my genealogical research paid dividends. 

I learned….  All the data available on the Internet is not enough to fill in all the blanks.  I will have to go elsewhere to learn more.

I learned….  Some information about my 2g-grandfather will likely never be discovered.  Other information will require different kinds of searches — trips to county courthouses, etc. 

I learned…. Online family trees (mostly un-sourced) need to be examined.  Where they are sourced (even if only a couple of sources) may be just the resource I need.  I found death certificates for Aaron Knepper and his wife Sarah this way.

I learned….   Even un-sourced online family trees can provide marvelous clues for further research.   (A number of trees provided 3-4 generations of ancestors for Aaron and Sarah Knepper.  I won’t add those names to my RootsMagic 4 database, but the information is in my Research Wiki.)

I learned….  This comprehensive online search for Aaron Knepper’s records provided me with a comprehensive and unitive approach for my genealogical research.    Looking at the big picture, helps fill in the small details.

I learned….  I want to know what the “B” stands for in Aaron B. Knepper’s name!   and    I want to know why the family moved to Lawrence County Tennessee after the 1870 census and returned to Fairfield County Ohio prior to the 1900 census.

I learned…. Having a copy of Mark Tucker’s visualization of the process involved in the Genealogical Proof Standard on my computer table, helped keep me on focus.  It was a reminder that Having the data was not enough.

  4 Responses to “What I Learned from My Aaron B. Knepper "Feeding Frenzy"”

  1. I like the idea that you devoted two weeks to finding everything you could about one person and love your summary of what you learned. This is much like the approach I am trying to take to my research – and "frenzy" is a very apt description!

  2. Thanks for the link to Mark's flow chart. I'm going to post it in my office.

  3. I love the term feeding frenzy. Whenever I do genealogical research one thing leads to another–and now I know what to call it.

  4. Thanks to each of you for the comments. Feeding frenzies are the boom and bane of my genealogical work. On the one hand, feeding frenzies produce a lot of data… When that data is organized, analyzed, and validated, it advances my knowledge of self and ancestors. On the other hand, feedig frenzies produce a lot of data… Data, in and of itself, is just data. I've had days when I started researching my paternal 2g-grandfather and, before long, found myself collecting census records for my wife's maternal grandmother's brother. Not necessarily a waste of time and effort, but a significant distraction. And, when the distractions come, it is sometimes difficult to keep them organized. Mea culpa… mea culpa… mea maxima culpa.

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