Let’s Talk About: Tom Jones & Puzzles

Most genealogists know who Tom Jones is, genealogist extraordinaire with decades of credibility and standing. The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society was privileged to have him teach us for our May society meeting.

His presentation title was Building A Credible Lineage Despite Multiple Research Barriers and he took us through a case study step-by-step. Here are my summary notes from that class:

  1. To solve a research problem, you have to define, outline and dissect the problem and the research steps to solve said problem. “The scatter-shot approach to research using your mouse is easy to do but with that approach you likely will not solve the problem.” he said.
  2. “You must search ALL the pieces from ALL the pertinent sources, pull out appropriate pieces (facts) and study out how they fit together,” he said next.
  3. “And how to know when you have enough information?” Tom quizzed us, and pointing to a zigzag puzzle, answered, “If you have enough pieces to show what the puzzle IS, then you don’t have to have every single pieces.”

Tom Jones was teaching some 60 members of the EWGS that while it’s good to strive to have every single puzzle piece, and every single genealogical fact, know that you will not be able to find every single fact you seek due to a large variety of reasons.

We all agreed; with the inspiration from Master Teacher Tom Jones, we just might complete our family history puzzle before we cross that bridge. Maybe.