Friday, November 4, 2011

My Heart's Blood

To tell the life story of any individual is a difficult task. To tell the life story of an individual who has lived more than 360 years ago is quite a challenge. I come to this task after many, many years of genealogical research. (More than 51 years, to be exact.) It would seem that I have collected almost every historical document pertaining to my Cadwallader Jones. I am sure this is not the case, and that there are other documents which I have not uncovered. However, I have decided to stop digging around and start writing about what I have found. The plan of my blog will be to let the historical documents speak for themselves. These documents will be presented in chronological order, and as written in the language of the day. There are certain cases where some translation into modern English was necessary, but these will be identified. I will then try to place these documents into the historical context which surrounds them. Weaving these items into a coherent thread will be one of my tasks, but I like to tell stories. I will try to draw, from these records, the life story of one Cadwallader Jones.

At this point, it will be necessary to outline some of the methods and approaches that I have taken. I will use the following definitions for the terms and abbreviations that will be used throughout the posts.

First, call a "Primary Document" any historical document written during the life time of the person under research. I further define a "Primary Document" into three classes:

Class A- is an civil, legal, or governmental document recorded during the life span of the individual being researched. Examples are deeds, wills, court orders and records, birth certificates, death certificates, census data, military records, etc.

Class B- is any family, personal, religious, social, historical document written during the life span of the individual. This would include such items as Bible Records, personal letters, diary, business, or other items which involve communications or reference to the person being research.

Class C- is any document written during the life of the individual from any other source such as letters, newspaper, diary, which are written by others regarding the individual under research.

Secondly, call a "Secondary Document" any item which is written about the individual after the life span of the person under research, but does not represent any of the primary documentation classes outlined above. This would represent the published materials such as books, articles, biographies, etc., written about or pertaining to the person under research. I would further define these "Secondary Documents" as follows:

Class A- is any report, article, or book, which carefully records and references sources that are used in writing these documents. This would include genealogical work or historical texts which have clear references documented, and this documentation can be verified by an independent researcher.

Class B- is any item or document which presents information pertaining to the person of research, but does not present clear documentation. This would include family stories (legends), oral histories and accounts, newspaper articles, etc.

Class C- is any genealogical information recorded pertaining to the individual under research without references or documentation. This would included many of the Internet sites which present genealogical information without the source of documentation!

Whew, enough already. I will try and use the above classifications for each item(s) presented when telling the story of Cadwallader Jones. This will provide a way for the reader to judge the historical "strength" of each document, and to have a means to check the source for themselves.

Wow, let's heart's blood.

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