What has drawn me into the book is how I can relate to Elizabeth Philpot's compulsion to find fossils. In one particularly eloquent paragraph, she states the difference between collectors and hunters:
Collectors have a list of items to be obtained, a cabinet of curiosities to be filled by others' work... They have little understanding of what they collect or even that much interest. They know it is fashionable, and that is enough for them.
Hunters spend hour after hour, day after day, out in all weather, our faces sunburnt, our hair tangled by the wind, our eyes in a permanent squint, our nails ragged and our fingertips torn, our hands chapped. Our boots are trimmed with mud and stained with seawater. Our clothes are filthy by the end of the day. Often we find nothing, but we are patient and hardworking and not put off by coming back empty-handed.
This particular description has stuck with me, because are not genealogists like that? Dirtying our hands and knees to clean off a gravestone, or spending many hours going from one place to another in search of information, perhaps traipsing through a heavily wooded area to find an old homestead or cemetery, or cutting our hands on books or card files as we seek out information...
How does this book - this paragraph in particular - relate to this week's 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge?
I have been utilizing the new Family Search Pilot since its inception.
At the moment, I am focused on the 1871 Canadian Census.
The problem is that if you search a particular name and age range, you only get those results. The names are not linked to the whole family or head of household.
The name I am searching is Murphy in Nova Scotia.
Go on. Select the 1871 Canadian Census, then type "Murphy" into the search form. You will get 1,123 results.
Naturally I am searching for Emma Anna Murphy, my elusive great-great grandmother, and using all the variations (and then some!) that she used in the 1900-1930 U.S. Censuses.
However, while I can make a list of which ones are possibly "my" Emma, I have no way of knowing for certain without seeing the parents or family of each result.
This is where what separates the "collectors" from the "hunters" comes into play.
I have put in the time and energy to compile an Excel database of every single Murphy entry in Nova Scotia from the 1871 Canadian Census.
Yes, I am rebuilding it so that I can now see family groups and ultimately (hopefully!) answer the question as to whether or not "my" Emma is there.
The new Family Search Pilot is a great database, and I highly recommend you check it out. The volunteers have put in a huge amount of work, and continue to do so!