Sunday, December 20, 2015

Exaggerated Claims

This morning I noticed a post in my Facebook feed. A person had written to a group focused on research in a single county about her new book. In the post she claimed to have "finished writing" the history of a well-known family in the county. While I have never personally researched that family, I know many people who have and know enough persons related to the family that I expected her book to be hundreds of pages. I clicked over to Amazon where the book was being sold, only to discover that her book was only 30 pages in length. My immediate thought was, "You have barely scratched the surface." The book was being sold at an inflated price for the amount of research put into it. I suspect anyone who pays attention to the number of pages in the book will give it a pass. After all, the title implies the author has researched the line all the way back to England, which would not have been in the recent past, knowing the family's deep roots in the region. I suspect that in a few days we'll see bad reviews of the book from the few people who actually are tricked into purchasing it. I would love to see the book just to see how she managed to write a complete history in 30 pages. Did she omit references? Did she not write complete sketches? Did she neglect land and property records? Did she consult wills and probate records? Is the book merely lists of names and dates? Unless I run across it in a public library, I'm unlikely to ever know. However, I am certain that I could write 30 pages on this particular family in almost no time with very minimal research, and most of it would be 20th or 21st century. This would not even begin to scratch the surface of the family and its legacy. It would not even begin to get to the generations that require a little more digging to produce proof that meets genealogical proof standard. I will not be funding the exaggerated claim of the author of the book that popped up in my Facebook feed. I evaluated it before I even saw it based on its length's ability to cover its claims. It did not measure up.

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