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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum

Re: Fortune Richard and Clarissa Richard


Thanks for the background and I applaud your efforts. The AfriGeneas Forum, in my humble opinion, is the best place to broadcast your needs and have capable, experienced genealogists find you and help you provide answers. I would be reluctant to advise you to post any of the chapters online as this is a public forum and you wouldn't want your life's work stolen by some interloper.

That said, I appreciate how little time you have left, but YOU need to sit down and make a list of each of the missing items you need help finding. There's no guarantee we can help. But we will do ALL possible to at least point out available sources you might have overlooked, and at the most, we'll help you with your research.

This is a very honorable task you have undertaken and the ancestors would be very pleased to know that their stories will be safe at least for another generation.

1) Spelling Doesn't Count - Particularly with a surname like Richard. Some may pronounce it as "re-SHARD," others, "RICH-urd." Since most folks didn't know how to read or write back in the day, I'm sure you can imagine how many variant spellings one might encounter when dealing with this and other surnames.

2) Assume Nothing - Nothing is certain with regard to race, marital status, origin, even gender. Online and other resources often code men as women, blacks as whites, etc. If you find someone in a census record, for example, and most facts match, but some don't, do not assume you have the wrong person ... it could just be the error of the enumerator, transcriber or computer input person.

3) Never Tell Them You're Black - Some will disagree with me, but I think it's always best to not mention that the families for whom you search are black, at least not in the beginning. However, I've also found that when doing my own Canadian genealogy, the "blackness" actually helped. In the states, though, I don't mention black unless I absolutely have to. Have had doors and phones slammed, emails not returned, and have even been called a name or two (particularly when the person on the other end of the phone finds out that they have black ancestors or cousins).

4) Baby Steps ... small victories that take you closer and closer to your goal are ALWAYS better than trying to hit a home run. Home runs are nice, too, but they don't happen often enough.

These four rules in mind, take some time to work on your list, then, rather than giving us the entire history of the universe as background, keep the questions as succinct as possible and a clearly defined research question.

I wish you well on your quest, my friend, and I'm sure we all look forward to hearing from you.

- Lisa

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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