One of the cornerstones of effective research is pulling as much information from a source as possible. As Elizabeth Shown Mills points out in "QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof," a source contains information, the raw data which we evaluate to provide evidence toward a research problem.
I recently found a birth register, via FamilySearch, containing an entry for Elodia Varin, one of my great grandmothers. While I could have stopped at collecting just her birth date, I found a great deal more information by taking a moment to examine the entire page. From the entry I was able to note that:
- Elodia was born on 21 July 1898 in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
- Elodia's parents were Joseph and Georgiana Varin.
- Georgiana's maiden name was Gagnon.
- Joseph and Georgiana resided in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
- Joseph worked as a mill operator.
- Joseph and Georgiana were both born in Canada.
- All of the entries on the page have a record date of February 1899.
photo credit: Kristofer Williams 'Icy Surf' - Breiðamerkursandur, Iceland via photopin (license)