It can be difficult sometimes to know exactly what you are looking at. That difficulty can be compounded when an image has been copied and shared by someone whose excitement in locating something has surpassed their concern about remembering when and where something was located. This also assumes that the person who located something realized that the details of “where and how” they obtained an item were important.
This issue is compounded with how easy it is to screen shot an image and make digital copies of digital images of records. Some times it is a little too easy.
Genealogists though want to know where an image came from. The information on the image can’t be accurately cited and analyzed if those details are unknown. It also makes it difficult to determine if there’s a way to get a better image if one has no idea what one is really looking at.
Then there’s the real reason.
There may be more information.
Let’s face it. Genealogists are after more information. If someone sent us an image of a record, then there might be more.
The image in this post is from a Revolutionary War widow’s pension application. That’s not clear from just what’s on the image, but the consistent handwriting tells me this is a copy of the record–not the original. And the style of handwriting looks a little “too modern” for something done in the 1780s. Reading the entire document (always suggested–no, make that required) reveals that it’s a transcribed copy of the document and is not a digital image of the original.
I may want to try and get the original document–so I can see the actual handwriting and see if there’s anything else on it that may be relevant to my research. This transcription was in a widow’s application for a pension based on her husband’s service. The goal of her application was to get the pension–proving the marriage was a part of that. It’s always possible that there is a comment or notation on the original that mentions something else.
That something might have had nothing to do with Mary’s marriage to Dominick, but could be helpful in my search.
I won’t know if I don’t look.
And I won’t know where to look if I don’t find out what I’m looking at in the first place.