The Genealogical Budget Standard–Genealogical BS

Maybe it’s time we had a “Genealogical Budget Standard.”

After all, we have a “Genealogical Proof Standard” and a variety of other terms and definitions created by professionals, accrediting bodies, etc.

But sometimes, amid all the theory, reality rears its ugly head. I can’t afford a copy of every document. I understand why getting as many copies of things is genealogically prudent. There can always be a “new clue” in an unexpected place. I also understand that the Genealogical Proof Standard does not always mean that we get everything, but it does suggest that we obtain what would reasonably answer our question.

But what if  Mr. Ima Really Confusingancestor and four ancestral siblings and ten first cousins all served in the Mexican War and all got pensions? That’s a pricey sum to obtain copies of all those records in hopes that one provides the clue that I need. Of course, I’d obtain first the file on Ima as it may provide good information. I might try next and get any files where the widow lived the longest as those tend to contain more information. I might look at any applications that were denied, contested, or resulted in a special examiner being sent to obtain evidence as those cases tend to have more detail.

But determining where to draw the line when I can’t afford it all–that’s the problem.

Maybe I need a personal Genealogical Budget Standard.

We can call it Genealogical BS.



4 thoughts on “The Genealogical Budget Standard–Genealogical BS

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Common sense should prevail. My “reasonably exhaustive” budget is also a consideration.
    Love the phrase “Genealogical Budget Standard.”

    • Thanks. I weigh cost/benefit with quite a few records that I get. While I fully understand looking at more than a few records (particularly not only using one), sometimes the costs do add up.

  2. And for my ancestors, if I can find one document at all I do the happy dance! Not everyone can get enough documentation to use the standard. ALL of my ancestors lived in places with no records, sometimes for 2 or 3 generations. I’ve decided I don’t care. I’ll gather my family history and be very happy that someone in my family did that much. So what if it doesn’t meet someone’s criteria of “Genealogy”.

    • I’m inclined to agree. There’s only so much time and so much money. Sometimes I’m lucky to get one record–let alone several. The best bet is to get what you can, transcribe it accurately, determine what it says, reach conclusions based upon that and move on. If there are records that I’ve not been able to obtain or have searched, mentioning that isn’t a bad idea either–so at least others know that there “might be more out there.” But sometimes it’s not always practical to search for something if there’s a very slight chance it might contain a new detail.

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