What does this all mean?

How can we interpret all this information?

As time goes by this website will get bigger as l collect data from any source that I can find, and then attempt to assemble this data into trees. In some ways this is like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. Unlike a jigsaw, though, most of us want to go a step or two further and look for insights into the lives of our ancestors. It is this putting of flesh on to the bare bones that makes family history so interesting. There are pitfalls to beware of, though.

Firstly, I will make mistakes, or the original data may be faulty. If you haven't already done so you can read my thoughts on this in the section on "Validity". Secondly, the data is often fragmentary, particularly as we go backwards in time. Thirdly, and more importantly, we can misinterpret what we think we are seeing.

Family history, like conventional history, is contingent, i.e. it is based on data that is unpredictable and may, or may not, be true. More dangerously, though, we will tend to interpret it from our own particular standpoint. I know from personal experience that people nowadays look at things very differently from when I was a schoolboy back in the 1940s. If attitudes can change so much in 60 years it is very difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of Victorian Plucks and Pluckroses, let alone those of 400 or more years ago.

I try to help by putting snippets gleaned from as far back into the past as possible into the History section. Your help in this respect is much appreciated.


" We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are."

Talmudic proverb

©2008 Derrick Porter