FAMILY HISTORY WEBSITES
This page is intended to clarify the purpose and aims of this website.
This page is intended to give a general overview of the purpose and aims of the family history websites at www.bedfordpark.net/genealogy. Not all of the features discussed below are included in every site, but the template is intended to be more or less the same. Any constructive feedback is welcome.
The website is intended to facilitate research into the history of the family, by helping researchers to share information more effectively (so as to reduce duplicate effort and inconsistencies), and by providing a forum for highlighting areas of debate and sharing thoughts on potential future research projects. Although the basic structure has been set up by Ian Hall, it is hoped that this will develop into a community website, with all researchers being encouraged to contribute material on their own specific areas of interest. The three main initial aims are as follows :
|(i)||To provide a summary of those researching the family (with contact details or web links where appropriate), set in the context of their line of descent.|
|(ii)||To provide an overview of original research previously carried out by researchers (as both outline trees and summaries of sources consulted).|
|(iii)||To provide summaries of outstanding areas of debate or uncertainty, and of potential future research projects|
Researchers and lines of descent
The site aims to give an overview of the various (currently unconnected) branches of the family being pursued. Attached to each branch, the aim is to provide a brief history of the line, some notes on past research and potential future projects specific to the line (see below), and an outline summary of the upper part of the tree. Attached to the tree is a summary of researchers known to have an interest in the family, with links showing the line of descent being pursued.
It is not currently intended to add substantive detailed or database driven trees to the website, although it is hoped to link to or incorporate (with appropriate acknowledgement) any suitable trees maintained by other researchers. It is not intended to incorporate any material relating to living or recently deceased individuals in the interests of privacy. The trees published may represent a synthesis of material provided by several researchers, but the aim is to draw attention to any inconsistencies or areas of uncertainty or debate. While the initial trees have been prepared by Ian Hall, it is quite feasible that other researchers might take over the maintenance of specific trees or sub-trees relevant to their own interests (see below).
Researchers names come from direct correspondence, listings on mailing lists or bulletin boards, and in some cases from other researchers. E-mails addresses are included as links only where they came from other internet sources or where explicit permission has been given. The notes section is intended to allow the recording of additional information about a researcher's interests. This may be links to personal or other related websites, or specific notes provided by a researcher. For example, a researcher who is generally inactive and would only like to hear from close relatives may wish to attach a note to this effect, or someone with a substantial database which they are happy to review for other researchers may like to add some descriptive notes. Researchers are encouraged to send any brief notes that they feel may be of interest, and to list their e-mail address, for ease of communication. If anyone would like to have their name listed or de-listed, to add a note of inactivity, to list or de-list their e-mail address, or to amend in any other way their personal link, they are encouraged to send an e-mail.
Overview of previous research
Not only do many researchers end up duplicating research (and perhaps highlighting inconsistent readings or conclusions in the process), but much second-hand material is passed around without a clear picture as to what original sources were consulted and by whom. The aim of the original research summary is to give a quick overview of what original sources have been reviewed and by whom (possibly in the context of overall source availability in an area), so that fundamental facts can be more easily checked and outstanding gaps in research can be more easily highlighted. The aim is to summarise both general research relating to the name over a broad area, and specific research relating to particular parishes or records connected primarily with one branch of the family. The success of this venture depends on those who have carried out original research providing summaries for inclusion, and anyone who has done so is very much encouraged to participate.
Potential areas for future research
Of course, understanding the current state of research and the history of sources previously reviewed is only the first step in planning research for the future. It is firstly hoped that the website will allow areas of uncertainty or inconsistency to be highlighted. While some of these may be irreconcilable given the available sources, others may throw up interesting potential lines of inquiry. Secondly, it is hoped that other potential areas for future research can be outlined on the website. These may then provide inspiration for others, as and when time is available for further investigation. All researchers are encouraged to contribute their thoughts in this area.
Further thoughts ...
While the description above relates to the creation of a website which can hopefully be a useful tool for information sharing in its own right, it is also feasible that the site could act as a catalyst for a slightly broader cooperation between researchers. One possibility is to introduce a circular e-mail group of interested researchers, so that new developments can be easily communicated. This idea may be prototyped sometime in the future. Another possibility is the informal grouping of researchers into sub-groups sharing a specific interest (perhaps a common line of descent and therefore several other overlapping ancestral interests). Rather than one or two active (and busy) individuals attempting to consolidate and cross-check all parts of the tree, sub-groups could each concentrate (in a very informal way) on maintaining and extending specific portions of the overall tree, or on pursuing particular relevant lines of new inquiry. The results could then be shared via the web (or e-mail) to everyone's benefit. In principle, this type of framework might allow researchers to reduce their duplication of effort and spend more time on genuinely new research, should they wish to do so. A website based on this type of cooperative model is also much more likely to grow and serve people's needs than one maintained entirely by a single or small number of individuals. All thoughts on this model are very welcome.
All comments and suggestions relating to this outline, or to any other aspects of the site, are most welcome.
This page was last updated 16 May 2007