Saturday, February 20, 2010

My long absence explained...

It's been nearly a month since I posted here...very unusual for me. But, as you know, life takes unexpected turns sometime.

On the evening on February 5, my mom was rushed to the hospital. And while I will not bore you with the details, hours, concerns of her stay there, I want to share a part of my experience which is critical to genealogists.

I know my mother's birthday like the back of my hand. Yet, when the paramedics asked me her date of birth, I answered "May 4, 1925." I didn't realize until a few minutes later that I replaced her year of birth with my father's year of birth and quickly corrected it for the record. Then off in the ambulance to Mercy Gilbert Hospital.

At the hospital, I overheard someone in ER say, "The paramedics wrote the wrong birth date. They wrote May 4 instead of May 7." Oh boy, despite all of my outward calm, my 911 response training and support, I messed up both the year and the date. I used my daughter's birthdate which is three days before my mom's.

I share this story because it is so easy for genealogists and family historians to accept dates at face value. Yet, here I was, presumably in control of the situation, with full knowledge of my mom's birthday, and I messed it up. Imagine what could happen at more crtical times. A big part of our role as researchers is to question, question, question and verify!

The good news is mom is back home with me. We arrived home just before half time of the Super Bowl and she well on her way to recuperating. Thanks to all of the folks at Mercy Gilbert Hospital (which, according to my sister, looks more like a resort than a hospital) for helping my mom on her way to recovery. And, thanks for the reminder that no matter how much you know about your family history, you need to be careful to share the right information at the right time.

1 comment:

Frank said...

I'm glad your Mom is doing better and I am super stoked that you're back posting. I was jonesing for a Value Meals update. I guess I'm a Blog Groupie (that sounds creepy). Your point about remembering dates is well taken. In some of my studies of my family's history I have found plenty of discrepencies in dates. Some are due to poor memory, others to the difference between the birth date and baptism date. And add in how many times names were misspelled..... Ugh!