Building for others as you do your genealogical research is very important. Many genealogist wonder why the need to document everything they research-whether a negative or positive source. It is so important to remember that you just never know who may be coming behind you years from now. Will they be able to find the information you have recorded to prove your research?
As I research behind others who were doing their genealogy in the 1960's and 1970's, I am so happy when I find those who recorded their sources. I might want to go back to that source to research other family members or neighbors. I might want to double check the spelling of a name. There are many reasons to want to go back to a source; there is nothing like viewing the marriage document of an ancestor with your own eyes. And, you never know what information the previous researcher did not record, not realizing it might hold the key to breaking a brick wall years later.
My challenge for this upcoming year to all of you is to record and document your sources. Even document the negative sources; there is nothing so frustrating to spend two hours reading through a book for someone to suddenly recall this was the exact book you reviewed once before.
Here is a poem that I found that I thought expressed this perfectly. As we do our research, let us not forget our descendants and/or others who one day might research behind us.
BUILDING FOR OTHERS:
THE BRIDGE BUILDER
"An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old Man", said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your time building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You will never again pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head;
"Good friend, in the path I have come,"
"There followed after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way..
This chasm has been naught for me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be,
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"
(W.A. Dromgoole and titled "The Bridge Builder")