Discussion:
Needed: a gold standard
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r***@gmail.com
2018-04-16 13:19:42 UTC
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This may seem off-topic at first, but bear with me, please...
I recently posted regarding WikiTree, and problems encountered. Thinking about that made me reflect on two previous careers in my life: numismatics and gemstones. When I was a numismatist, there was chaos in the field, especially in classic (Greek and Roman) coins. There were no established grades and determining whether a coin was genuine or not had to be based on your own expertise and the knowledge (and honesty) of the dealer.
In 1986, an company called Professional Numismatic Grading Service began to seal coins in plastic slabs after authenticating and grading them. Within a few years, they became the "gold standard." If you held a slabbed coin, you knew it was real and could expect an accurate grade as to its condition.
In gemstones, a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the "gold standard" for knowing something is real and properly graded. If they say a diamond is a certain size and quality - and really a diamond - you know it is true.
So, to my point - what we need in genealogy is a gold standard, a recognized repository of verified information. The Henry Project is an excellent example of what is possible in the medieval world.
What I am thinking of is a two-part process. First, a service that would review and certify genealogies submitted by the public. In other words, a person would register his/her line or lines, as they chose, and submit documentation. When it was approved, it would go into a growing database. Once in, other relatives could connect to "deeper" lines by proving connection to someone already in the database.
Fees would be charged for verification and inclusion in the system. A portion of those fees would go to fund the expansion of a Henry Project-like effort, led by experts in different areas and periods, over time covering pre-1500 genealogy.
Ultimately, if care was taken at the beginning and standards kept high, you would have established a true "gold standard" that would end the current chaos we find in genealogy.
Ian Goddard
2018-04-16 14:20:18 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
In 1986, an company called Professional Numismatic Grading Service began to seal coins in plastic slabs after authenticating and grading them. Within a few years, they became the "gold standard." If you held a slabbed coin, you knew it was real and could expect an accurate grade as to its condition.
In gemstones, a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the "gold standard" for knowing something is real and properly graded. If they say a diamond is a certain size and quality - and really a diamond - you know it is true.
With gemstones there are independent tests such as X-ray diffraction
which can confirm that the material is what it purports to be.

Coins can also be analysed as to material and consistent grading should
be straightforward with a collection of reference graded examples. But
what if some group of coins were the products of a faker or an
unauthorised mint, previously unrecognised? Such as system would make
it very difficult for anyone discovering or suspecting this to get a
hearing; the weight of an authenticated collection would be a formidable
obstacle.

Would such an appeal to authority be an obstacle in genealogy? As a
palaeoecologist back in the '60s I remember the times when all manner of
established archaeological dating sequences suddenly collided with
independent (i.e. not typological) carbon dating. In that case the new
dating was irrefutable but the old ones had often been regarded as
unassailable (apart from the common situation of there being two
competing chronologies, each regarded as unassailable by its adherents).

Ian
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-16 16:25:04 UTC
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If we look at this as a discussion about priorities, then maybe it is important for practical reasons to point out that even on Wikitree the main problem is not enough people, and too much work to do. So this is an economics style problem: limited resources, and opportunity costs.

From your post it sounds like you think all the bad genealogies on wikitree are caused by POV-pushers (pushers of their own point of view), as they are called on Wikipedia, and where they are a much bigger problem. They might have started that way, but these days most genealogists working on earlier generations on Wikitree can recognize better work and they tend to accept it when they see it. As a Wikipedian that actually surprised me, so I understand your assumption.

Such pushing probably is more of a problem in the recent generations, because these are the ones where people feel more possessive because 1. they may have actually done some of their own research, 2. the profiles will be for closer relations, 3. these are often critical generations for self-image, think for example of the importance of gateway immigrants to people.

But here we are mainly talking about pre-1500, which is far calmer now on Wikitree, but not changing fast enough for some!

OTOH, it is maybe interesting to note that the Magna Carta project which I mentioned before does use a sort of certifying methodology. I believe that a separate project member has to sign off on work done. Maybe John can explain more. I think most importantly they have clearly got a simple and practical method, not a massive or complicated bureaucracy.

The lesson to me seems to be that any group of 2 or more people can start such a "certifying" or even just a "criticizing" scoreboard project (think of the Keats-Rohan reviews on the FMG website, or the Complete Peerage ones on medievalgenealogy.org.uk) within any online site that allows it, from something like wikitree, to simple private websites.

I wonder if the Magna Carta project on wikitree ever thought of keeping track of every time it decided to vary from Richardson for example. That would be handy.
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-16 22:22:40 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.

I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.

Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-16 23:34:37 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.

Peter Stewart
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-17 00:39:35 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
I'm just referencing the overwhelming quantity of times that "Douglas Richardson" comes up in the wikitree debates as perfection and infallibility. If you offer a point contrary to Douglas Richardson...whoa boy, you are in for a long battle over at wikitree. I was trying to say, but poorly, that apparently this is what debate devolves to if you have a sufficient number of non-experts deciding what is 'truth'.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-17 01:03:53 UTC
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Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
I'm just referencing the overwhelming quantity of times that "Douglas Richardson" comes up in the wikitree debates as perfection and infallibility. If you offer a point contrary to Douglas Richardson...whoa boy, you are in for a long battle over at wikitree. I was trying to say, but poorly, that apparently this is what debate devolves to if you have a sufficient number of non-experts deciding what is 'truth'.
There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them - how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative? If Wikitree compilers are so deliberately obtuse, then why bother to consult the site ever again after finding this out?

Peter Stewart
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-17 01:26:18 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them - how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative? If Wikitree compilers are so deliberately obtuse, then why bother to consult the site ever again after finding this out?
Personally, I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point.
--JC
d***@aol.com
2018-04-17 01:28:54 UTC
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Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
I'm just referencing the overwhelming quantity of times that "Douglas Richardson" comes up in the wikitree debates as perfection and infallibility. If you offer a point contrary to Douglas Richardson...whoa boy, you are in for a long battle over at wikitree. I was trying to say, but poorly, that apparently this is what debate devolves to if you have a sufficient number of non-experts deciding what is 'truth'.
There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them - how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative? If Wikitree compilers are so deliberately obtuse, then why bother to consult the site ever again after finding this out?
Peter Stewart
Almost all WikiTree compilers in addition to some contributors on this newsgroup consider Douglas Richardson's works to be the "gospel truth." Which surely translates to record-breaking sales of his self-published books.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 06:58:57 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
I'm just referencing the overwhelming quantity of times that "Douglas Richardson" comes up in the wikitree debates as perfection and infallibility. If you offer a point contrary to Douglas Richardson...whoa boy, you are in for a long battle over at wikitree. I was trying to say, but poorly, that apparently this is what debate devolves to if you have a sufficient number of non-experts deciding what is 'truth'.
There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them - how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative? If Wikitree compilers are so deliberately obtuse, then why bother to consult the site ever again after finding this out?
Peter Stewart
Almost all WikiTree compilers in addition to some contributors on this newsgroup consider Douglas Richardson's works to be the "gospel truth." Which surely translates to record-breaking sales of his self-published books.
Frankly, that seems to me to be an incredibly silly and wrong generalization. How was this survey conducted? Richardson's books are very handy for the subject they cover, and that's how I see people write about them on wikitree.

I think it is important for people not to take a few thoughtful and critical remarks by people on this forum about wikitree or Richardson as a signal to start making "tribal" attacks. Let's be constructive?
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 07:16:41 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
Peter Stewart
I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things.

The practical point is surely that no single work is perfect. Good researchers using such resources also look at the primary documents and try to track back any differences between secondary sources. That is the approach good researchers also take on wikitree as far as I have seen.

Apparently you are very "locked on" to the idea that Richardson is often cited on Wikitree. The Magna Carta project use him a lot, but they specifically do not have to stick to him. I think this is very practical because that particular projects shares a focus. Wouldn't be crazy to not use him in that project?

FWIW I have cited Keats-Rohan many times on Wikitree, but generally speaking each such case was a complex effort requiring a look at the sourcing and checking what secondary sources exist. That period is by its very nature much more difficult than Richardson's, whose books can also benefit from a tradition in America (and online) of working on these lines. (In practice, his books are already more like a wiki because of this background. Again reminding: in practice wikis, a building up of information over time with the efforts of many, often achieve surprising quality without requiring individual editors/authors to be the best.)
Peter Stewart
2018-04-17 08:54:27 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
Peter Stewart
I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things.
This is a deeply irrational and unjustifiable opinion. Katherine Keats-Rohan is a conscientious expert in her field, whose depth and breadth of research are in no way comparable to the often unguided gleanings and compulsive cadgings of Douglas Richardson. When he undertakes research on his own initiative is is almost always through vapid Googling. She on the other hand has made a systematic study in a wide and to a considerable extent untilled field.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The practical point is surely that no single work is perfect. Good researchers using such resources also look at the primary documents and try to track back any differences between secondary sources. That is the approach good researchers also take on wikitree as far as I have seen.
And it is just the approach that Keats-Rohan's work facilitates but that Richardson's obfuscates with messy puddles of citations.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Apparently you are very "locked on" to the idea that Richardson is often cited on Wikitree.
Um, you are replying to me and I have never even set eyes on a Wikitree page - I have no interest in doing so.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 10:07:27 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
Peter Stewart
I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things.
This is a deeply irrational and unjustifiable opinion. Katherine Keats-Rohan is a conscientious expert in her field, whose depth and breadth of research are in no way comparable to the often unguided gleanings and compulsive cadgings of Douglas Richardson. When he undertakes research on his own initiative is is almost always through vapid Googling. She on the other hand has made a systematic study in a wide and to a considerable extent untilled field.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The practical point is surely that no single work is perfect. Good researchers using such resources also look at the primary documents and try to track back any differences between secondary sources. That is the approach good researchers also take on wikitree as far as I have seen.
And it is just the approach that Keats-Rohan's work facilitates but that Richardson's obfuscates with messy puddles of citations.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Apparently you are very "locked on" to the idea that Richardson is often cited on Wikitree.
Um, you are replying to me and I have never even set eyes on a Wikitree page - I have no interest in doing so.
I see myself as replying to an escalating chain of posts, which is starting to focus on the perceived quality of the writers, designating them as goodies and baddies, in or out, based on their Latin skills or whatever, and not the quality of the end product, as can be seen in for example in the number of mistakes. There are valid concerns with any publication, and this can be discussed constructively. No problem with that.

The reality is that Richardson's books, though they rely much on the work of others, and deal with easier lines, contain fewer mistakes than Keats-Rohan, and the mistakes it makes tend to be ones which have been difficult for everyone, whereas Keats-Rohan makes mistakes which look much more avoidable. The methodology and the types of mistakes, are at least similar to those on MEDLANDS. (Here I am not referring to mistakes interpreting documents so much, which I think you see as the biggest problem on MEDLANDS. I am thinking of the over-use of new speculations based on things like onomastics or land possession, made too much in isolation, without reference to what other's have already done. Being exposed to Latin mistakes is just one of many side effects of this approach. Some Latin sentences are subject to decades of debate by the most qualified scholars.)

This does not mean I find MEDLANDS or Keats-Rohan bad. I find them useful. What I am pointing to is that practical quality of the end result is NOT simply determined by the raw skills of individuals. (Indeed it appears that one of the strong points of Richardson, and weak points of MEDLANDS and Keats-Rohan, is that he does look for information more widely and does not try to work in as much isolation.) You might feel that reality "should" be different, but that is not the topic.

And while I strongly agree with your remarks about the format of Richardson's citations, Keats-Rohan's are not that different, also compressed into little separate paragraphs, but actually smaller and much more incomplete. Genealogics, another source being praised in the general thread, has virtually no sources given, though I understand it mainly based on secondary sources and correspondence with other researchers, not primary research like MEDLANDS and Keats-Rohan.

If we are looking for good practical formats it seems there is widespread respect for the Henry project. If we are trying to judge the quality of the writers themselves long distance (I for one have never met Richardson, Keats-Rohan, etc) then I personally find that an unfortunate use of the forum, and in conflict with the goal of making better genealogy in practice.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-17 10:47:22 UTC
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For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Eh? This reads like a "country" point of view - and for a contrary one, they can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters.
Peter Stewart
I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things.
This is a deeply irrational and unjustifiable opinion. Katherine Keats-Rohan is a conscientious expert in her field, whose depth and breadth of research are in no way comparable to the often unguided gleanings and compulsive cadgings of Douglas Richardson. When he undertakes research on his own initiative is is almost always through vapid Googling. She on the other hand has made a systematic study in a wide and to a considerable extent untilled field.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The practical point is surely that no single work is perfect. Good researchers using such resources also look at the primary documents and try to track back any differences between secondary sources. That is the approach good researchers also take on wikitree as far as I have seen.
And it is just the approach that Keats-Rohan's work facilitates but that Richardson's obfuscates with messy puddles of citations.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Apparently you are very "locked on" to the idea that Richardson is often cited on Wikitree.
Um, you are replying to me and I have never even set eyes on a Wikitree page - I have no interest in doing so.
I see myself as replying to an escalating chain of posts, which is starting to focus on the perceived quality of the writers, designating them as goodies and baddies, in or out, based on their Latin skills or whatever, and not the quality of the end product, as can be seen in for example in the number of mistakes. There are valid concerns with any publication, and this can be discussed constructively. No problem with that.
The end product depends on the skills employed to reach it. For medieval genealogy or prosopography those skills necessarily include Latin, but also a great deal of other knowledge that is best learned before rather than during or after an attempt to make a name in the field. Readers who doesn't yet understand that Charles Cawley is woefully lacking in preparation for his work are most probably no more so themselves. As for Richardson, look in the archive to find the long, patient and unavailing efforts by Paul Reed and others to educate him on the job.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The reality is that Richardson's books, though they rely much on the work of others, and deal with easier lines, contain fewer mistakes than Keats-Rohan, and the mistakes it makes tend to be ones which have been difficult for everyone, whereas Keats-Rohan makes mistakes which look much more avoidable.
This is utter rot. Keats-Rohan's mistakes are always made in good faith, and she has done excellent work to progress a neglected area of study. If you find her works less useful than Richardson's this can only be because you either don't know how to use them properly or make glib conclusions from relatively few problems.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The methodology and the types of mistakes, are at least similar to those on MEDLANDS.
Katherine Keats-Rohan's methodology is in now way similar to Cawley's - this criticism of her is beyond preposterous, it is so outlandish that I find it hard to believe you can be serious. But if joking, it is completely devoid of humour.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
(Here I am not referring to mistakes interpreting documents so much, which I think you see as the biggest problem on MEDLANDS.
The biggest problems with MEDLANDS are the failure to evaluate sources and to find the appropriate ones to evaluate in the first place. This is very similar to Richardson's inane efforts, dredging up obsolete secondary works from a bit of Google-dabbling to support whatever half-baked notion he is pursuing at the time.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I am thinking of the over-use of new speculations based on things like onomastics or land possession, made too much in isolation, without reference to what other's have already done. Being exposed to Latin mistakes is just one of many side effects of this approach. Some Latin sentences are subject to decades of debate by the most qualified scholars.)
And Katherine Keats-Rohan is one of the leading scholars who has taken the trouble to be well-equipped to engage in this kind of debate. Of course she has made mistakes, as has everyone else. But she does not make a practice of digging massive earthworks around her errors in order to defend them, as Richardson has done habitually.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
This does not mean I find MEDLANDS or Keats-Rohan bad. I find them useful. What I am pointing to is that practical quality of the end result is NOT simply determined by the raw skills of individuals. (Indeed it appears that one of the strong points of Richardson, and weak points of MEDLANDS and Keats-Rohan, is that he does look for information more widely and does not try to work in as much isolation.) You might feel that reality "should" be different, but that is not the topic.
Katherine Keats-Rohan has cited a vast body of current secondary literature in addition to covering virtually all the primary sources in her field of study. Richardson and Cawley regularly satisfy themselves with any old tosh they find online, and apparently consider anything in Latin that they can roughly comprehend to be an oracle for whatever they want to find. Cawley's Latin is even more rudimentary than Richardson's, while Richardson's French is so lacking that he one actually changed a c cedilla that he had copy-pasted into a q. And this is the person you are equating with Katherine Keats-Rohan, who has edited Latin documents and writes quite passably in French.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
And while I strongly agree with your remarks about the format of Richardson's citations, Keats-Rohan's are not that different, also compressed into little separate paragraphs, but actually smaller and much more incomplete. Genealogics, another source being praised in the general thread, has virtually no sources given, though I understand it mainly based on secondary sources and correspondence with other researchers, not primary research like MEDLANDS and Keats-Rohan.
Keats-Rohan's aggregated citations are not the same at all - they are structured and readily verifiable, and they are to original primary sources, to competent editions of these and/or to relevant and worthy secondary research.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
If we are looking for good practical formats it seems there is widespread respect for the Henry project. If we are trying to judge the quality of the writers themselves long distance (I for one have never met Richardson, Keats-Rohan, etc) then I personally find that an unfortunate use of the forum, and in conflict with the goal of making better genealogy in practice.
What has meeting people got to do with assessing their work?

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 12:00:34 UTC
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On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:47:23 PM UTC+2, Peter Stewart wrote:

Peter I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying Keats-Rohan or any of these authors are useless. I said they are all useful in my experience.

I deliberately chose frequency of mistakes as a measurement of quality because I thought that fact would show a logical error you are making. I did not choose it because I think such a simple measure is a good way to have a constructive discussion. (But I do think you must not ever have tried to work through Keats-Rohan much, because you seem to over-rate the quality a lot. I wonder if she had students doing a lot of the compiling or something. The sources are not at all carefully selected or showing any sign of brilliant observation or superior knowledge that I have seen. I have the impression sources used were often simply forgotten, or sometimes mixed up. This of course does not imply bad intentions! Anyway, if you do not agree with my observation about frequency of errors in the Domesday books, which I just thought was self-evident, then it did not illustrate my point well, but I think the logical point is still correct.)

My point in a nutshell is that you are simply committing a logical fallacy when you equate the quality of a "product" with the respect (or disrespect) you feel for the "producer". (I use odd words deliberately here, to show this is a claim concerning the logic.)

Your comments about Latin are one aspect of that broken logic. Extending this logic we can probably name more types of knowledge that people have more or less of, for example concerning medieval legal systems, and call each of them absolutely essential. But are they? What is essential, surely, is that those skills are available, but NOT that EVERY researcher has them to the same level. Great scholarly work is often done by teams, or people making minor contributions over a long period, which can even just involve proof reading and cross checking. And while Wikipedia is an obvious and relatively minor example today, the whole way that modern natural science works is a bigger and better one. Modern science has historically been criticized many times for being narrow and aiming at practical results, in a way which means that teams of less superior people, with a narrow base of knowledge and skill, can, like artisans always could, produce bigger results that no individual ever could.

Actually FWIW I respect all of the genealogical "producers" mentioned, and find all of their "productions" useful. I also agree with your all or most of the more thoughtful criticisms made on occasion about their various methods and formats. But there is, just to make my point a different way, nothing logically inconsistent about holding all those positions.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 00:28:02 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Peter I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying Keats-Rohan or any of these authors are useless. I said they are all useful in my experience.
You are misrepresenting me - I never took you to be saying that Keats-Rohan's work is useless, but only that its quality is comparable to Medieval Lands and the works of Douglas Richardson. Obviously poor work can be "useful" if it leads to a better understanding because of taking the trouble to find what is wrong with it - but in most cases this is a gross waste of time, and for those who don't have the resources to find the errors such works are actually worse than useless. But Keats-Rohan's work is not. I disagree with some of her conclusions, strongly at times, and aspects of her methodology occasionally, but that doesn't mean I would denigrate her skills - especially not by comparing her output to the work of people who patently lack essential skills.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I deliberately chose frequency of mistakes as a measurement of quality because I thought that fact would show a logical error you are making. I did not choose it because I think such a simple measure is a good way to have a constructive discussion. (But I do think you must not ever have tried to work through Keats-Rohan much, because you seem to over-rate the quality a lot. I wonder if she had students doing a lot of the compiling or something. The sources are not at all carefully selected or showing any sign of brilliant observation or superior knowledge that I have seen. I have the impression sources used were often simply forgotten, or sometimes mixed up. This of course does not imply bad intentions! Anyway, if you do not agree with my observation about frequency of errors in the Domesday books, which I just thought was self-evident, then it did not illustrate my point well, but I think the logical point is still correct.)
Now you are brazenly misrepresenting Katherine Keats-Rohan - she did not start frmo people and work towards sources, that is a fundamental flaw of Richardson's and Cawley's method, but rather she started from sources and worked through these systematically to draw out prosopographical data.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
My point in a nutshell is that you are simply committing a logical fallacy when you equate the quality of a "product" with the respect (or disrespect) you feel for the "producer". (I use odd words deliberately here, to show this is a claim concerning the logic.)
This is tortured circular logic - my "respect (or disrespect)" for "producers" can be based only on their "product" since I don't know any of the people we are discussing. I haven't met any of them, and don't expect I ever shall.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Your comments about Latin are one aspect of that broken logic. Extending this logic we can probably name more types of knowledge that people have more or less of, for example concerning medieval legal systems, and call each of them absolutely essential. But are they? What is essential, surely, is that those skills are available, but NOT that EVERY researcher has them to the same level. Great scholarly work is often done by teams, or people making minor contributions over a long period, which can even just involve proof reading and cross checking. And while Wikipedia is an obvious and relatively minor example today, the whole way that modern natural science works is a bigger and better one. Modern science has historically been criticized many times for being narrow and aiming at practical results, in a way which means that teams of less superior people, with a narrow base of knowledge and skill, can, like artisans always could, produce bigger results that no individual ever could.
I have no idea how you think you can rationalise the reading of Latin into a optional extra skill for medieval research.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Actually FWIW I respect all of the genealogical "producers" mentioned, and find all of their "productions" useful. I also agree with your all or most of the more thoughtful criticisms made on occasion about their various methods and formats. But there is, just to make my point a different way, nothing logically inconsistent about holding all those positions.
Perhaps you could retrieve your position by showing us how you competently use a website such as Medieval Lands, and then provide us with an example of a comparable error in the entire body of Keats-Rohan's work.

Try this page: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm

Under 'Comtes de Vermandois' you will find this (quotation markes for every lie so that no-one thinks I wrote it):

"Comte Hugues & his wife had [nine] children:

"1. MATHILDE de Vermandois (-after [1130]). ...

"The fact that Mathilde was the eldest daughter is confirmed by the De Genere Comitum "Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses which records "Agnes uxor domini Ingelranni de "Cociaco" as daughter of "domina de Baugenciaco primogenita [comitis Hugonis li
"Maines [note 314: De Genere Comitum Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses MGH SS, p. 257.]"

Mathilde was indeed the eldest daughter of Hugo Magnus of Vermandois, and the source cited is indeed the appropriate one for this specific information. So what is wrong with Cawley's statement? And why would anyone trusting it be accepting a specious assertion based on glaring ignorance?

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 00:30:50 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Try this page: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm
Eek, my apologies - I meant to type "quotation marks for every line ...", not to suggest that there is any deliberate falsehood in the quoted text.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-18 07:31:48 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Peter I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying Keats-Rohan or any of these authors are useless. I said they are all useful in my experience.
You are misrepresenting me - I never took you to be saying that Keats-Rohan's work is useless, but only that its quality is comparable to Medieval Lands and the works of Douglas Richardson. Obviously poor work can be "useful" if it leads to a better understanding because of taking the trouble to find what is wrong with it - but in most cases this is a gross waste of time, and for those who don't have the resources to find the errors such works are actually worse than useless. But Keats-Rohan's work is not. I disagree with some of her conclusions, strongly at times, and aspects of her methodology occasionally, but that doesn't mean I would denigrate her skills - especially not by comparing her output to the work of people who patently lack essential skills.
I quite clearly said that I am not talking about her skills or knowledge, only the result, the genealogy. I quite clearly pointed to imperfections only in a relative way, because I respect both her and her work. You write as if Keats-Rohan is perfect and Cawley is a moron. That is inaccurate, and not a helpful stand point for genealogy.

Concerning what you said, here it is "If you find her works less useful than Richardson's this can only be because you either don't know how to use them properly or make glib conclusions from relatively few problems." So you did make this misrepresentation of me.

Concerning "poor work" I think with this "admission" you are deliberately being stubborn and not admitting what is simply both logically correct and observable in every day life. (Indeed it is part of the normal theory of economics, used by managers etc.) Teams of people (and also communities, traditions, etc, i.e. people working in some kind of synergistic way towards a common goal) with narrow skill sets can do BETTER than individual "superstars". That is just a fact. We see it every day.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I deliberately chose frequency of mistakes as a measurement of quality because I thought that fact would show a logical error you are making. I did not choose it because I think such a simple measure is a good way to have a constructive discussion. (But I do think you must not ever have tried to work through Keats-Rohan much, because you seem to over-rate the quality a lot. I wonder if she had students doing a lot of the compiling or something. The sources are not at all carefully selected or showing any sign of brilliant observation or superior knowledge that I have seen. I have the impression sources used were often simply forgotten, or sometimes mixed up. This of course does not imply bad intentions! Anyway, if you do not agree with my observation about frequency of errors in the Domesday books, which I just thought was self-evident, then it did not illustrate my point well, but I think the logical point is still correct.)
Now you are brazenly misrepresenting Katherine Keats-Rohan - she did not start frmo people and work towards sources, that is a fundamental flaw of Richardson's and Cawley's method, but rather she started from sources and worked through these systematically to draw out prosopographical data.
No, I clearly am not. I made it clear that I find it hard to imagine exactly how things were put together and checked. I am guessing there were several disjointed steps in a collecting process. I made it clear I was looking at the results. Obviously I am not complaining about Keats-Rohan, and what criticism I am making of her works' formats, sourcing, error count etc is all very relative.

Obviously you don't want it to be clear that I am complaining about an over-simplistic dismissal using "apples and pears" comparisons to completely different types of genealogist.

To give another example of that, you propose to compare her to Richardson concerning how much they over-defend when wrong. Richardson participates in online discussions and publishes updated versions of his work. In practice, this shows it can't be as bad as you say, even if it looks bad. With Keats-Rohan there is not much we can look in terms of publications, and I am not aware of her participating in public discussion. So that is a bit of a cheap shot. This can be used to argue that everyone who participates in public debate can be shown to be nasty, and the people who don't are all nice? It is just an illogical criticism, and it is NOT criticism of the genealogy. It is ad hominem.

I think good discussion of the genealogy is an aim which is in conflict with ad hominem discussions.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
My point in a nutshell is that you are simply committing a logical fallacy when you equate the quality of a "product" with the respect (or disrespect) you feel for the "producer". (I use odd words deliberately here, to show this is a claim concerning the logic.)
This is tortured circular logic - my "respect (or disrespect)" for "producers" can be based only on their "product" since I don't know any of the people we are discussing. I haven't met any of them, and don't expect I ever shall.
My point exactly, and your recent "apples and pears" criticisms of the people you do not like tend to be filled with character descriptions, very little genealogy. Again, my point exactly.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Your comments about Latin are one aspect of that broken logic. Extending this logic we can probably name more types of knowledge that people have more or less of, for example concerning medieval legal systems, and call each of them absolutely essential. But are they? What is essential, surely, is that those skills are available, but NOT that EVERY researcher has them to the same level. Great scholarly work is often done by teams, or people making minor contributions over a long period, which can even just involve proof reading and cross checking. And while Wikipedia is an obvious and relatively minor example today, the whole way that modern natural science works is a bigger and better one. Modern science has historically been criticized many times for being narrow and aiming at practical results, in a way which means that teams of less superior people, with a narrow base of knowledge and skill, can, like artisans always could, produce bigger results that no individual ever could.
I have no idea how you think you can rationalise the reading of Latin into a optional extra skill for medieval research.
Not exactly what I said though is it? I said that when we consider teams or people working on the shoulders of others, not everyone one of them needs the complete skill set to the highest level. Do you agree with that or not?

Latin is of course something you are highly respected for, for example. But not everyone who makes any kind of small contribution to medieval genealogy has the same level of skills.

You can use the exact same criticism you use of Cawley against most people, because unfortunately very few people today have the ideal level of Latin. So by extension your argument against Cawley means most of us are all better off getting out of medieval genealogy.

...I think this point is self-evidently wrong, but you keep writing as if it is incomprehensible to even doubt it. At the very least, it is comprehensible.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Actually FWIW I respect all of the genealogical "producers" mentioned, and find all of their "productions" useful. I also agree with your all or most of the more thoughtful criticisms made on occasion about their various methods and formats. But there is, just to make my point a different way, nothing logically inconsistent about holding all those positions.
Perhaps you could retrieve your position by showing us how you competently use a website such as Medieval Lands, and then provide us with an example of a comparable error in the entire body of Keats-Rohan's work.
Try this page: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm
"1. MATHILDE de Vermandois (-after [1130]). ...
"The fact that Mathilde was the eldest daughter is confirmed by the De Genere Comitum "Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses which records "Agnes uxor domini Ingelranni de "Cociaco" as daughter of "domina de Baugenciaco primogenita [comitis Hugonis li
"Maines [note 314: De Genere Comitum Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses MGH SS, p. 257.]"
Mathilde was indeed the eldest daughter of Hugo Magnus of Vermandois, and the source cited is indeed the appropriate one for this specific information. So what is wrong with Cawley's statement? And why would anyone trusting it be accepting a specious assertion based on glaring ignorance?
I think there have been many good discussions here about specific errors on MEDLANDS and also systematic tendencies towards certain types of errors and also about the way errors have spread, compounding the problem. You are once again committing a logical fallacy by telling me I have to be arguing against that if I say anything which defends MEDLANDS even in a limited way. I am not.

I should also remind that concerning error frequencies and citation format and completeness, it was Richardson's books, not MEDLANDS, which I compared favorably to Keats-Rohan's books. Your response was to change the subject to something else: implying that we should compare how Richardson and Keats-Rohan react to criticism, but as mentioned above, we can not compare them on this.

MEDLANDS clearly contains more errors than both, but again it is a completely different type of project. We've recently had more detailed discussion about this here which were more constructive, so I think those do not need to be repeated.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 08:27:51 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Peter I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying Keats-Rohan or any of these authors are useless. I said they are all useful in my experience.
You are misrepresenting me - I never took you to be saying that Keats-Rohan's work is useless, but only that its quality is comparable to Medieval Lands and the works of Douglas Richardson. Obviously poor work can be "useful" if it leads to a better understanding because of taking the trouble to find what is wrong with it - but in most cases this is a gross waste of time, and for those who don't have the resources to find the errors such works are actually worse than useless. But Keats-Rohan's work is not. I disagree with some of her conclusions, strongly at times, and aspects of her methodology occasionally, but that doesn't mean I would denigrate her skills - especially not by comparing her output to the work of people who patently lack essential skills.
I quite clearly said that I am not talking about her skills or knowledge, only the result, the genealogy.
The prosopography - strictly speaking she is not presenting herself as a genealogist - IS THE RESULT OF HER APPLYING HER SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE. Your attempt to evade this obvious and plain fact is not going to work.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I quite clearly pointed to imperfections only in a relative way, because I respect both her and her work. You write as if Keats-Rohan is perfect and Cawley is a moron. That is inaccurate, and not a helpful stand point for genealogy.
You are responding to my post saying "I disagree with some of her conclusions, strongly at times, and aspects of her methodology occasionally" by trying to represent me as writing "as if Keats-Rohan is perfect". That too is not going to fly.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Concerning what you said, here it is "If you find her works less useful than Richardson's this can only be because you either don't know how to use them properly or make glib conclusions from relatively few problems." So you did make this misrepresentation of me.
And your point is? The comparison of Keats-Rohan's work and Richardson's is the matter under discussion.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Concerning "poor work" I think with this "admission" you are deliberately being stubborn and not admitting what is simply both logically correct and observable in every day life. (Indeed it is part of the normal theory of economics, used by managers etc.) Teams of people (and also communities, traditions, etc, i.e. people working in some kind of synergistic way towards a common goal) with narrow skill sets can do BETTER than individual "superstars". That is just a fact. We see it every day.
Again, not to the point. Richardon, Cawley and Keats-Rohan have this in common, that each of them offers work for public consumption under their own sole name. They are not trying to be part of a "synergistic" or collaborative effort, whether or not anyone thinks it might be better if they were. Richardson's work started from collaboration with David Faris (I think that is the right name), but only one name is now on the title pages.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I deliberately chose frequency of mistakes as a measurement of quality because I thought that fact would show a logical error you are making. I did not choose it because I think such a simple measure is a good way to have a constructive discussion. (But I do think you must not ever have tried to work through Keats-Rohan much, because you seem to over-rate the quality a lot. I wonder if she had students doing a lot of the compiling or something. The sources are not at all carefully selected or showing any sign of brilliant observation or superior knowledge that I have seen. I have the impression sources used were often simply forgotten, or sometimes mixed up. This of course does not imply bad intentions! Anyway, if you do not agree with my observation about frequency of errors in the Domesday books, which I just thought was self-evident, then it did not illustrate my point well, but I think the logical point is still correct.)
You haven't tried to illustrate your point at all, you just keep repeating a characterisation as if it is established fact. Rosie Bevan has done a valuable job in collecting errors in Keats-Rohan's *Domesday* works (for some reason you write as if that was all she had ever published). I don't see anything there to sugegst a rate of errors remotely comparable to the reams of Richardson's and Cawley's errors documented in this newsgroup, quantitatively or qualitatively. If you disagree, for goodness sake PUT UP specifics.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Now you are brazenly misrepresenting Katherine Keats-Rohan - she did not start frmo people and work towards sources, that is a fundamental flaw of Richardson's and Cawley's method, but rather she started from sources and worked through these systematically to draw out prosopographical data.
No, I clearly am not. I made it clear that I find it hard to imagine exactly how things were put together and checked. I am guessing there were several disjointed steps in a collecting process. I made it clear I was looking at the results. Obviously I am not complaining about Keats-Rohan, and what criticism I am making of her works' formats, sourcing, error count etc is all very relative.
So you are criticising Keats-Rohan's major works based on your guess about how theyr were compiled. Your criticism of her works is "all very relative" to some supposed rate of error that you compare to Richardson's and Cawley's but don't (I suppose can't) prove this with examples.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Obviously you don't want it to be clear that I am complaining about an over-simplistic dismissal using "apples and pears" comparisons to completely different types of genealogist.
To give another example of that, you propose to compare her to Richardson concerning how much they over-defend when wrong. Richardson participates in online discussions and publishes updated versions of his work. In practice, this shows it can't be as bad as you say, even if it looks bad. With Keats-Rohan there is not much we can look in terms of publications, and I am not aware of her participating in public discussion. So that is a bit of a cheap shot. This can be used to argue that everyone who participates in public debate can be shown to be nasty, and the people who don't are all nice? It is just an illogical criticism, and it is NOT criticism of the genealogy. It is ad hominem.
Good gracious - Keats-Rohan's work has been exposed over years to criticism in peer-reviewed journals and at symposiums and conferences. She has engaged in controversy in print and in person without making a full-scale production of her infallibility such as Richardson has treated us to in this newsgroup time and again. Apparently you were not in attendance at the time, or have forgotten his countless delinquencies in this regard.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I think good discussion of the genealogy is an aim which is in conflict with ad hominem discussions.
Ad hominem attacks are such as "He can't be right about medieval genealogy because he is cruel to his pets", and so on. No amount of criticism that is directed to the point at issue, including about someone's integrity and however swingeing, is ad hominem unless the tenor is irrelevant to that point. Again, a cop-out that won't work here.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
My point in a nutshell is that you are simply committing a logical fallacy when you equate the quality of a "product" with the respect (or disrespect) you feel for the "producer". (I use odd words deliberately here, to show this is a claim concerning the logic.)
This is tortured circular logic - my "respect (or disrespect)" for "producers" can be based only on their "product" since I don't know any of the people we are discussing. I haven't met any of them, and don't expect I ever shall.
My point exactly, and your recent "apples and pears" criticisms of the people you do not like tend to be filled with character descriptions, very little genealogy. Again, my point exactly.
Another point that escapes me. What "apples and pears" criticisms? What "character descriptions" that have "very little" to do with genealogy?
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Your comments about Latin are one aspect of that broken logic. Extending this logic we can probably name more types of knowledge that people have more or less of, for example concerning medieval legal systems, and call each of them absolutely essential. But are they? What is essential, surely, is that those skills are available, but NOT that EVERY researcher has them to the same level. Great scholarly work is often done by teams, or people making minor contributions over a long period, which can even just involve proof reading and cross checking. And while Wikipedia is an obvious and relatively minor example today, the whole way that modern natural science works is a bigger and better one. Modern science has historically been criticized many times for being narrow and aiming at practical results, in a way which means that teams of less superior people, with a narrow base of knowledge and skill, can, like artisans always could, produce bigger results that no individual ever could.
I have no idea how you think you can rationalise the reading of Latin into a optional extra skill for medieval research.
Not exactly what I said though is it? I said that when we consider teams or people working on the shoulders of others, not everyone one of them needs the complete skill set to the highest level. Do you agree with that or not?
Richardson, Cawley and Keats-Rohan are not teams of people, they are three individual researchers whose own skill-sets are used to produce their own results.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Latin is of course something you are highly respected for, for example. But not everyone who makes any kind of small contribution to medieval genealogy has the same level of skills.
Quite obviously I wouldn't be here if I thought that everyone participating needs to read Latin. My point is that anyone setting themselves up to research directly from primary sources MUST be representing that they can comprehend medieval Latin. Adequacy for this task is not hard to achieve - Latin is hardly rocket science. Scholarly work in the field of medieval studies also requires the ability to understand at least the gist of exposition and argument in some modern languages other than English.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
You can use the exact same criticism you use of Cawley against most people, because unfortunately very few people today have the ideal level of Latin. So by extension your argument against Cawley means most of us are all better off getting out of medieval genealogy.
Rubbish - how many others try to represent that they can produce a general or specialised guide in the field of medieval genealogy through working from primary sources? The only sgm participant I can think of who does this is Stewart Baldwin, who has taken the trouble to learn the languages he needs for his task.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
...I think this point is self-evidently wrong, but you keep writing as if it is incomprehensible to even doubt it. At the very least, it is comprehensible.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Actually FWIW I respect all of the genealogical "producers" mentioned, and find all of their "productions" useful. I also agree with your all or most of the more thoughtful criticisms made on occasion about their various methods and formats. But there is, just to make my point a different way, nothing logically inconsistent about holding all those positions.
Perhaps you could retrieve your position by showing us how you competently use a website such as Medieval Lands, and then provide us with an example of a comparable error in the entire body of Keats-Rohan's work.
Try this page: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm
"1. MATHILDE de Vermandois (-after [1130]). ...
"The fact that Mathilde was the eldest daughter is confirmed by the De Genere Comitum "Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses which records "Agnes uxor domini Ingelranni de "Cociaco" as daughter of "domina de Baugenciaco primogenita [comitis Hugonis li
"Maines [note 314: De Genere Comitum Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses MGH SS, p. 257.]"
Mathilde was indeed the eldest daughter of Hugo Magnus of Vermandois, and the source cited is indeed the appropriate one for this specific information. So what is wrong with Cawley's statement? And why would anyone trusting it be accepting a specious assertion based on glaring ignorance?
I think there have been many good discussions here about specific errors on MEDLANDS and also systematic tendencies towards certain types of errors and also about the way errors have spread, compounding the problem. You are once again committing a logical fallacy by telling me I have to be arguing against that if I say anything which defends MEDLANDS even in a limited way. I am not.
I should also remind that concerning error frequencies and citation format and completeness, it was Richardson's books, not MEDLANDS, which I compared favorably to Keats-Rohan's books. Your response was to change the subject to something else: implying that we should compare how Richardson and Keats-Rohan react to criticism, but as mentioned above, we can not compare them on this.
MEDLANDS clearly contains more errors than both, but again it is a completely different type of project. We've recently had more detailed discussion about this here which were more constructive, so I think those do not need to be repeated.
So you have squibbed the challenge - that was predictable, I didn't suppose you would take it up. Let me make it easier then: I defy you to produce any one example of an error by Katherine Keats-Rohan that is due to her ignorance and incompetence rather than simply overlooking something or misjudging something. Anything, in other words, remotely comparable to Charles Cawley's boast when Medlands was launched that he had made the discovery of two medieval queens of Hungary in turn marrying Lui von Frizberg (a 20th-century Austrian man). You seem to imagine that his work today isn't still a tissue of imbecilities of that kind (obviously not all of that degree), but if so you are wrong. Demonstrably wrong.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-18 10:02:58 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
The prosopography - strictly speaking she is not presenting herself as a genealogist - IS THE RESULT OF HER APPLYING HER SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE. Your attempt to evade this obvious and plain fact is not going to work.
Not only am I not evading it. It is not even the subject of any discussion, let alone disagreement. The concern I raised was one of how discussions on this list start to escalate (or slide) into "tribal" ones which seek to define artificial "reasons" for treating some genealogists as excluded or excludable. I think frankly your responses just demonstrate the point.

We are only discussing individual skills and knowledge, and individual mistakes, or individual claims, because you keep trying to make that the subject, as a way of defining people's rank, and excluding the ones you do not like. It is not the subject, because individuals on their own are not really the most important point. Scientists and economists worked this out a long time ago, and people working in modern organizations work this way every day.

Ignoring this basic reality for reasons of snobbery and tribalism also happens to make sensible discussion about things like online coordination almost impossible. Instead, after a few of ad hominems, we always start to get things like threads with titles like "You can’t fix stupid or lazy". I am not saying that I disagree with that comment either, but is it really the issue?

The rest of your responses are really all just going further and further from the original subject, and also becoming very distorted and exaggerated. I think it is easy for any interested reader to slowly go through it and see how you've twisted my words continually in conflict-seeking ways which can only make the discussion useless.

There was originally a discussion about online collaborations such as wikitree. Now I am being told that I am avoiding the "real" discussion about error counting and so on.

The point I wanted to make was that the fact that such discussions always seem to become insult sessions about MEDLANDS and Richardson is just not useful, at least not in the way these discussions keep going.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 22:36:42 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
The prosopography - strictly speaking she is not presenting herself as a genealogist - IS THE RESULT OF HER APPLYING HER SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE. Your attempt to evade this obvious and plain fact is not going to work.
Not only am I not evading it. It is not even the subject of any discussion, let alone disagreement. The concern I raised was one of how discussions on this list start to escalate (or slide) into "tribal" ones which seek to define artificial "reasons" for treating some genealogists as excluded or excludable. I think frankly your responses just demonstrate the point.
We are only discussing individual skills and knowledge, and individual mistakes, or individual claims, because you keep trying to make that the subject, as a way of defining people's rank, and excluding the ones you do not like. It is not the subject, because individuals on their own are not really the most important point. Scientists and economists worked this out a long time ago, and people working in modern organizations work this way every day.
Ignoring this basic reality for reasons of snobbery and tribalism also happens to make sensible discussion about things like online coordination almost impossible. Instead, after a few of ad hominems, we always start to get things like threads with titles like "You can’t fix stupid or lazy". I am not saying that I disagree with that comment either, but is it really the issue?
The rest of your responses are really all just going further and further from the original subject, and also becoming very distorted and exaggerated. I think it is easy for any interested reader to slowly go through it and see how you've twisted my words continually in conflict-seeking ways which can only make the discussion useless.
There was originally a discussion about online collaborations such as wikitree. Now I am being told that I am avoiding the "real" discussion about error counting and so on.
The point I wanted to make was that the fact that such discussions always seem to become insult sessions about MEDLANDS and Richardson is just not useful, at least not in the way these discussions keep going.
Can someone else explain this post?

To me I'm afraid it registers no sense at all. The point immediately under discussion is the rate of errors in Keats-Rohan's works compared to those of Richardson and Cawley.

How the thread started is quite obviously not the same as how this part of it developed. I simply can't understand why anyone else doesn't understand that rudimentary circumstance of the present exchange.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-18 08:07:40 UTC
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On Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 2:28:04 AM UTC+2, Peter Stewart wrote:

Maybe I should have also noted again, just to try to avoid any more misunderstandings, that (a) Keats-Rohan errors are collected on a reasonably well-known webpage and (b) no one is claiming they are the same TYPE (or frequency) of errors as found on MEDLANDS. It is not simple to make a short summary of the patterns to either set of errors, but I think anyone who has worked through a couple would agree that they both have their own style. We've talked more here about the patterns to the MEDLANDS errors because they are frankly having a bigger impact on genealogy.

Examples I've looked at in detail include the de Hastings families and the Taillebois/ de Lancastre/ fitz Reinfried/ Ketel fitz Eldred group of families, which are in fact both cases it seems Keats-Rohan spent time on, and cases where there was a spread of confusions created. I think both have been discussed both here and elsewhere quite a lot.

For the Hastings case there are several errors, and it is hard to really understand how some of them got through, because they are not just omissions but actually rather complex and tangled. One is shown by comparing pedigrees 6 and 7 on my webpage here: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%20of%20the%2012th%20century.html Another is talked through on another webpage of mine: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%2520Part%202.html

For the de Lancaster case I'll cite a Wikitree page I worked on, which compares Keats-Rohan to the primary sources and other secondary sources! https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lancaster-115 None of the modern scholars are really perfect on this subject, and Keats-Rohan is certainly one of the better ones. All of them slip in a little confusing speculation here or there as a fact though, which has not been helpful. I notice I added short remarks on the meanings of no less than two Latin words (antecessor and avunculus). Both have been extensively discussed here on this forum though, and I feel this was allowable. Hopefully the Latin police will not come knocking and asking for my qualifications. :)
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 08:34:30 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Maybe I should have also noted again, just to try to avoid any more misunderstandings, that (a) Keats-Rohan errors are collected on a reasonably well-known webpage and (b) no one is claiming they are the same TYPE (or frequency) of errors as found on MEDLANDS.
Maybe you should re-read your own post from yesterday, when you wrote:

"Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level."

How is that not a claim that Keats-Rohan and Cawley produce a similar rate of errors?

Peter Stewart





It is not simple to make a short summary of the patterns to either set of errors, but I think anyone who has worked through a couple would agree that they both have their own style. We've talked more here about the patterns to the MEDLANDS errors because they are frankly having a bigger impact on genealogy.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Examples I've looked at in detail include the de Hastings families and the Taillebois/ de Lancastre/ fitz Reinfried/ Ketel fitz Eldred group of families, which are in fact both cases it seems Keats-Rohan spent time on, and cases where there was a spread of confusions created. I think both have been discussed both here and elsewhere quite a lot.
For the Hastings case there are several errors, and it is hard to really understand how some of them got through, because they are not just omissions but actually rather complex and tangled. One is shown by comparing pedigrees 6 and 7 on my webpage here: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%20of%20the%2012th%20century.html Another is talked through on another webpage of mine: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%2520Part%202.html
For the de Lancaster case I'll cite a Wikitree page I worked on, which compares Keats-Rohan to the primary sources and other secondary sources! https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lancaster-115 None of the modern scholars are really perfect on this subject, and Keats-Rohan is certainly one of the better ones. All of them slip in a little confusing speculation here or there as a fact though, which has not been helpful. I notice I added short remarks on the meanings of no less than two Latin words (antecessor and avunculus). Both have been extensively discussed here on this forum though, and I feel this was allowable. Hopefully the Latin police will not come knocking and asking for my qualifications. :)
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 09:13:58 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Maybe I should have also noted again, just to try to avoid any more misunderstandings, that (a) Keats-Rohan errors are collected on a reasonably well-known webpage and (b) no one is claiming they are the same TYPE (or frequency) of errors as found on MEDLANDS.
"Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level."
How is that not a claim that Keats-Rohan and Cawley produce a similar rate of errors?
Peter Stewart
It is not simple to make a short summary of the patterns to either set of errors, but I think anyone who has worked through a couple would agree that they both have their own style. We've talked more here about the patterns to the MEDLANDS errors because they are frankly having a bigger impact on genealogy.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Examples I've looked at in detail include the de Hastings families and the Taillebois/ de Lancastre/ fitz Reinfried/ Ketel fitz Eldred group of families, which are in fact both cases it seems Keats-Rohan spent time on, and cases where there was a spread of confusions created. I think both have been discussed both here and elsewhere quite a lot.
For the Hastings case there are several errors, and it is hard to really understand how some of them got through, because they are not just omissions but actually rather complex and tangled. One is shown by comparing pedigrees 6 and 7 on my webpage here: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%20of%20the%2012th%20century.html Another is talked through on another webpage of mine: http://users.skynet.be/lancaster/Hastings%2520Part%202.html
For the de Lancaster case I'll cite a Wikitree page I worked on, which compares Keats-Rohan to the primary sources and other secondary sources! https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lancaster-115 None of the modern scholars are really perfect on this subject, and Keats-Rohan is certainly one of the better ones. All of them slip in a little confusing speculation here or there as a fact though, which has not been helpful. I notice I added short remarks on the meanings of no less than two Latin words (antecessor and avunculus). Both have been extensively discussed here on this forum though, and I feel this was allowable. Hopefully the Latin police will not come knocking and asking for my qualifications. :)
I didn't have time to look at these before - they do not support your claims about the rate of errors in Keats-Rohan's works. These are reconstructions of families from evidence that is not complete and straightforward: identifications and connections in these cases are open to argument, and opinions on each point get to be successively enmeshed with each other.

Cases such as these are not useful measures of an overall rate of errors in enormous works of prosopography such as the *Domesday* books of Keats-Rohan, and your disagreements with her do not indicate an absolute or relative lack of skill, care and thoroughness on her part.

They are not even distantly analogous to the errors and incompetence of Richardson and Cawley that have been documented here in detail on many far simpler questions.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-18 10:25:50 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I didn't have time to look at these before - they do not support your claims about the rate of errors in Keats-Rohan's works. These are reconstructions of families from evidence that is not complete and straightforward: identifications and connections in these cases are open to argument, and opinions on each point get to be successively enmeshed with each other.
Cases such as these are not useful measures of an overall rate of errors in enormous works of prosopography such as the *Domesday* books of Keats-Rohan, and your disagreements with her do not indicate an absolute or relative lack of skill, care and thoroughness on her part.
I think they are absolutely relevant surely? This is what medieval genealogy (oops prosopography or whatever want to call it) is all about as far as I can see: complex puzzles with broken pieces. (Logic is really often the most important skill!) I think the Hastings cases in particular show some odd confusions when you go through them in detail, both with regards to the primary and secondary sources. To study errors in Keats-Rohan can take a lot of time of course, and I suppose it is possible I've only looked at families which were difficult and gotten a bad impression?
Post by Peter Stewart
They are not even distantly analogous to the errors and incompetence of Richardson and Cawley that have been documented here in detail on many far simpler questions.
I think they all work differently on different types of aim, but in raw error terms, just counting, I would be very surprised if Richardson had as many as Keats-Rohan. Of course you would probably be absolutely right to say that Keats-Rohan's errors will often be a bit more debatable and complex. But again, ALL of this is not really the issue I see as the subject I wanted to raise.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-18 22:46:32 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I didn't have time to look at these before - they do not support your claims about the rate of errors in Keats-Rohan's works. These are reconstructions of families from evidence that is not complete and straightforward: identifications and connections in these cases are open to argument, and opinions on each point get to be successively enmeshed with each other.
Cases such as these are not useful measures of an overall rate of errors in enormous works of prosopography such as the *Domesday* books of Keats-Rohan, and your disagreements with her do not indicate an absolute or relative lack of skill, care and thoroughness on her part.
I think they are absolutely relevant surely? This is what medieval genealogy (oops prosopography or whatever want to call it) is all about as far as I can see: complex puzzles with broken pieces. (Logic is really often the most important skill!) I think the Hastings cases in particular show some odd confusions when you go through them in detail, both with regards to the primary and secondary sources. To study errors in Keats-Rohan can take a lot of time of course, and I suppose it is possible I've only looked at families which were difficult and gotten a bad impression?
Genealogy is the study of families, their ancestry and lines of descent - prosopography is the study of groups and the common or exceptional characteristics of individuals in them, which of course may happen to include their ancestry and (less often) intermarriages among their posterity. Keats-Rohan's *Domesday* books are works of the second kind.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
They are not even distantly analogous to the errors and incompetence of Richardson and Cawley that have been documented here in detail on many far simpler questions.
I think they all work differently on different types of aim, but in raw error terms, just counting, I would be very surprised if Richardson had as many as Keats-Rohan. Of course you would probably be absolutely right to say that Keats-Rohan's errors will often be a bit more debatable and complex. But again, ALL of this is not really the issue I see as the subject I wanted to raise.
The subject you wanted to raise is not binding on everyone else throughout a thread. If another comment takes the discussion somewhere different you can chose whether to follow it or not. You don't get to choose that every subsequent contribution must relate directly to your initial issue. The subject line is "needed: a gold standard". That is very broad. Standards broadly are the issue.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-19 09:29:36 UTC
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The subject you wanted to raise is not binding on everyone else throughout a thread. If another comment takes the discussion somewhere different you can chose whether to follow it or not. You don't get to choose that every subsequent contribution must relate directly to your initial issue.
Of course. But this applies both ways.
Post by Peter Stewart
The subject line is "needed: a gold standard". That is very broad. Standards broadly are the issue.
And I raised a particular concern within that, to give it a name: standards of debate. (Good discussion, and keeping logical, is perhaps even a skill like Latin?)

Genealogy has always shown its weak point when it pushes status symbols and the overuse of authorities and "rank", and the like. That is why people think genealogy is generally unscientific, and unfortunately they have a point. Renaming it as "prosopography" is just an example, not a solution, in my honest opinion. (A subject which looks at the same information using the same techniques to come to the same types of conclusions, such as whether people are biologically related or NOT, for example contractually related, is pretty much the same subject. The only difference in practice I have noted is that people who prefer to refer to their field as prosopography tend to allow themselves a lot more assumptions made overusing weak methods like onomastics and comparison of possessions. I guess that in itself gives a motivation to claim you in another more fancy field.)

I am saying that constantly making everything about how bad MEDLANDS is, is not good for genealogy. This is shown by the way that constructive discussions about how to collaborate online keep getting sidelined by this tendency going to unconstructive extremes which take over too many discussions. Hasn't there been enough said? I don't see anyone really disagreeing with the main concerns.

Concerning error counting also I am not sure what more you want to discuss. I told you my remarks were based on practical experience only, and I adjusted my remarks on MEDLANDS v Keats-Rohan, while saying that my impression about Richardson v Keats-Rohan (which I think was the original point) I still have the same impression. The only counter examples you could make were about how discussions have gone here online, but we can not compare Keats-Rohan on that, as a I said. I simply think we've already covered this as far as we can take it.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-19 22:41:36 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
The subject you wanted to raise is not binding on everyone else throughout a thread. If another comment takes the discussion somewhere different you can chose whether to follow it or not. You don't get to choose that every subsequent contribution must relate directly to your initial issue.
Of course. But this applies both ways.
It was entirely predictable that this smelly red-herring would be dragged across the discussion - I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD but only to point out your breach of netiquette in using my post to represent that you were replying to it, when in fact you were writing about a different aspect of your issue.

If I had wanted to take part in a discussion of online collaborations, I could have done so. I didn't, because I had nothing to say and the subject doesn't interest me in the first place. I joined the thread when a preposterous statement was made about Katherine Keats-Rohan's work i direct comparison to that of Douglas Richardson and Charles Cawley. When caught out in a plain misstatement about your own post of the day before, you resorted to "Maybe that wording was too strong" instead of just admitting that you had goofed.

It seems that words, assertions and the tenour of particular discussions have little or no definite and specific meaning for you, and you prefer to jump back and forth ad lib misusing the threading conventions as you go. That is not helpful.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
The subject line is "needed: a gold standard". That is very broad. Standards broadly are the issue.
And I raised a particular concern within that, to give it a name: standards of debate. (Good discussion, and keeping logical, is perhaps even a skill like Latin?)
It is simple good manners to stick to the point. Trying to tar someone else with this brush by implication is unbecoming.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Genealogy has always shown its weak point when it pushes status symbols and the overuse of authorities and "rank", and the like. That is why people think genealogy is generally unscientific, and unfortunately they have a point. Renaming it as "prosopography" is just an example, not a solution, in my honest opinion. (A subject which looks at the same information using the same techniques to come to the same types of conclusions, such as whether people are biologically related or NOT, for example contractually related, is pretty much the same subject. The only difference in practice I have noted is that people who prefer to refer to their field as prosopography tend to allow themselves a lot more assumptions made overusing weak methods like onomastics and comparison of possessions. I guess that in itself gives a motivation to claim you in another more fancy field.)
Good grief - you clearly don't understand the aims of prosopography at all, despite a straightforward statement of these in this thread. Let me put it another way: GENEALOGY IS INCIDENTAL TO IT, NOT ESSENTIAL. Your set of interlocking kindred identifications that differ from Katherine Keats-Rohan's individual ones may nor may not carry the argument, but either way it does not make her supposed "errors" comparable to the outright blunders of Richardson and Cawley.

By the way, I hesitate to name them together in this way, since Richardon's mistakes are not as frequent or as foolish as Cawley's. In large part that is because they have been filtered out here, in the days when he consistently posted half-baked ideas and played even dumber in order to elicit free research assistance. Cawley doesn't take part in public discussions as far as I know, and so he can't benefit from ongoing help in the same way.

Unfortunately this misleads some people into supposing that any part of Cawley's work not examined and corrected here must be, or at least probably is, adequate.

Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I am saying that constantly making everything about how bad MEDLANDS is, is not good for genealogy. This is shown by the way that constructive discussions about how to collaborate online keep getting sidelined by this tendency going to unconstructive extremes which take over too many discussions. Hasn't there been enough said? I don't see anyone really disagreeing with the main concerns.
It is necessary here for the sake of newcomers - Medieval Lands is being widely used and trusted, appearing in mirror sites and copied into Wikipedia articles and even (to their shame) academic papers, as well as (no doubt) countless private databases. Suggesting that this newsgroup should sit on its hands in these circumstances because the typing fingers have already had a few goes at it is in my view truly unconstructive.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Concerning error counting also I am not sure what more you want to discuss. I told you my remarks were based on practical experience only, and I adjusted my remarks on MEDLANDS v Keats-Rohan, while saying that my impression about Richardson v Keats-Rohan (which I think was the original point) I still have the same impression. The only counter examples you could make were about how discussions have gone here online, but we can not compare Keats-Rohan on that, as a I said. I simply think we've already covered this as far as we can take it.
There is no value in continuing on that point, I agree. Katherine Keats-Rohan has done important work in her field that is worth correcting in detail. Charles Cawley has not. Douglas Richardson has already received the benefit of much help and advice here, and has failed to credit adequately the people who provided this - driving away from the newsgroup some of its most valued contributors in the process. But he has evidently mellowed with his partly-undeserved success, and his contributions recently have been of a higher order than in the past (anything else would be practically impossible...).

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-20 09:54:00 UTC
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When caught out in a plain misstatement about your own post of the day before, you resorted to "Maybe that wording was too strong" instead of just admitting that you had goofed.
Was that the wrong thing to do, do you think? You think this is the type of thing which causes worse discussions?
Post by Peter Stewart
It seems that words, assertions and the tenour of particular discussions have little or no definite and specific meaning for you, and you prefer to jump back and forth ad lib misusing the threading conventions as you go. That is not helpful.
It is simple good manners to stick to the point. Trying to tar someone else with this brush by implication is unbecoming.
Well, the discussion that started has now been cut off. I described my concern as being the way that these discussions escalate and get exaggerated and unhelpful. The question was raised about how to set a gold standard and I felt that some of the responses were very extreme such as saying that Genealogics can not be improved upon, which is crazy, and that Wikitree editors all treat Richardson as "gospel truth", which is very untrue and unfair.

You can not say you were uninvolved in that part of the "escalating" discussion. Not only are all your posts in a context of defending those ones, but you wrote one of extremist ones: "There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them".

...This is referring to anyone who uses Richardson as a source, which means a lot of good genealogists.

That led to a response to you: "Personally, I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point." And so on.

Despite the offensive tone, my quite detailed responses to that thread as a whole avoid using moral indignation, which you keep using. I included a small bit which you have hammered away at with great moral indignation, but there is no way this could be read as ever having been my main point. And as you mention above I was quick to correct my position about one specific tiny aspect of it which you say is now your only interest. You've then even wanted to talk about how bad it is that I accepted one thing I wrote should be adjusted.

Reading through all that, it is clearly normal for any careful reader to see you as partly also wanting to defend the polemic and aggressive, we could even say offensive, style of discussion which triggered my remarks. To quote from what you were reacting to:

"I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things."

To be removed then, just to be clear: ", and their effective error level". The immediately following sentences already made clear that my main point was that there are simply big differences between such projects, and that we should not exaggerate and go tribal. Furthermore, in terms of error frequencies, if you read it through in context you can already get the impression that I was really thinking more of Richardson's books.

The real theme of that group of my posts is that some of the insults (they can hardly be called criticisms or anything like that) were very hypocritical. For one example Richardson's sourcing format, which certainly could be better, is similar to Keats-Rohan's, but tending to be more complete. Genealogics is respectable to the same people making these complaints as well, but has almost no sourcing. For another example, I constantly see single mistakes being cited here to show how consistently terrible Richardson and MEDLANDS are, but again there is no comparison, whereas Keats-Rohan (who is respected) is clearly not error free. The general hypocrisy and exaggeration clearly and obviously was my concern and remains my concern.
Post by Peter Stewart
Good grief - you clearly don't understand the aims of prosopography at all, despite a straightforward statement of these in this thread. Let me put it another way: GENEALOGY IS INCIDENTAL TO IT, NOT ESSENTIAL.
I get the theoretical distinction. I explained my opinion about the practical reality. Same is same. Logic is logic. Reality is reality. And this is all a side issue, because the differences are just about the way people present themselves in public and to themselves. Following your very philosophical description, genealogists practice prosopography incidentally, and prosopographers practice genealogy incidentally. That means the actual "activity", to use that word in an Aristotelian way (given the importance of the classical terms incidental or essential in your sentence), is the same. In fact, when practiced well, which is the standard for this way of describing reality in terms of what the purpose is, it is exactly the same activity. It is when they are practiced badly that they can look different for example in the types of errors and omissions they make.
Post by Peter Stewart
By the way, I hesitate to name them together in this way, since Richardon's mistakes are not as frequent or as foolish as Cawley's. In large part that is because they have been filtered out here, in the days when he consistently posted half-baked ideas and played even dumber in order to elicit free research assistance. Cawley doesn't take part in public discussions as far as I know, and so he can't benefit from ongoing help in the same way.
A more reasonable point to make in my humble opinion. Nice to see something more optimistic also! :)
Post by Peter Stewart
Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Hmmm, apparently I have failed to complete my homework assignment. LOL. And yet you say "I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD". :)
Peter Stewart
2018-04-20 23:32:22 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
When caught out in a plain misstatement about your own post of the day before, you resorted to "Maybe that wording was too strong" instead of just admitting that you had goofed.
Was that the wrong thing to do, do you think? You think this is the type of thing which causes worse discussions?
Post by Peter Stewart
It seems that words, assertions and the tenour of particular discussions have little or no definite and specific meaning for you, and you prefer to jump back and forth ad lib misusing the threading conventions as you go. That is not helpful.
It is simple good manners to stick to the point. Trying to tar someone else with this brush by implication is unbecoming.
Well, the discussion that started has now been cut off. I described my concern as being the way that these discussions escalate and get exaggerated and unhelpful. The question was raised about how to set a gold standard and I felt that some of the responses were very extreme such as saying that Genealogics can not be improved upon, which is crazy, and that Wikitree editors all treat Richardson as "gospel truth", which is very untrue and unfair.
You can not say you were uninvolved in that part of the "escalating" discussion. Not only are all your posts in a context of defending those ones, but you wrote one of extremist ones: "There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them".
...This is referring to anyone who uses Richardson as a source, which means a lot of good genealogists.
This is flat dishonesty on your part - I was referring to people who were said IN YOUR OWN WORDS ABOVE to 'treat Richardson as "gospel truth"' - this is patently not 'anyone who uses Richardson as a source'.

Do you not attach any meaning to words and statements apart from your own convenience at any point in a verbose wriggle out of your own past statements?
Post by Andrew Lancaster
That led to a response to you: "Personally, I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point." And so on.
Who are you quoting now, and in what specific context was this comment made in response to me?
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Despite the offensive tone, my quite detailed responses to that thread as a whole avoid using moral indignation, which you keep using. I included a small bit which you have hammered away at with great moral indignation, but there is no way this could be read as ever having been my main point. And as you mention above I was quick to correct my position about one specific tiny aspect of it which you say is now your only interest. You've then even wanted to talk about how bad it is that I accepted one thing I wrote should be adjusted.
I don't know or care about your "main point" - you are responsible for EVERYTHING you post, whether "main" or subsidiary. I am indignant that you should seek to denigrate Katherine Keats-Rohan's work by euqating her rate of errors to that of others, WHICH YOU DO CLEARLY NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO ASSESS. Your intuition is not an informed opinion. You are unable to look at a single passage cited by Cawley and tell us what is wrong with his representation of it in the quotation I posted. If you can't do that, what you say is revealed as having no sound basis.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
"I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things."
To be removed then, just to be clear: ", and their effective error level". The immediately following sentences already made clear that my main point was that there are simply big differences between such projects, and that we should not exaggerate and go tribal. Furthermore, in terms of error frequencies, if you read it through in context you can already get the impression that I was really thinking more of Richardson's books.
So when you write that Keats-Roahn's effective error level is similar to that in MEDLANDS we are to understand that you really have Douglas Richardson in mind... This is inane.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The real theme of that group of my posts is that some of the insults (they can hardly be called criticisms or anything like that) were very hypocritical. For one example Richardson's sourcing format, which certainly could be better, is similar to Keats-Rohan's, but tending to be more complete.
This is yet another proof that you don't know what you are talking about. Richarson piles up references, many to obsolete and/or unverifiable secondary sources (for example his unguided over-indulgence in 18th and 19th century antiquarian literature). As has been demonstrated here before repeatedly, this can result in a futile chase after nothing to the point he is pretending to establish. Keats-Roahn's citations on the other hand are systematic, readily pursued and genuinely relevant to the case.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Genealogics is respectable to the same people making these complaints as well, but has almost no sourcing. For another example, I constantly see single mistakes being cited here to show how consistently terrible Richardson and MEDLANDS are, but again there is no comparison, whereas Keats-Rohan (who is respected) is clearly not error free. The general hypocrisy and exaggeration clearly and obviously was my concern and remains my concern.
Genealogics is not masquerading as anything other than an aggregation of secondary material - Leo was always clear that he was a "gatherer" in this way and not a "hunter" of data from primary sources.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Good grief - you clearly don't understand the aims of prosopography at all, despite a straightforward statement of these in this thread. Let me put it another way: GENEALOGY IS INCIDENTAL TO IT, NOT ESSENTIAL.
I get the theoretical distinction. I explained my opinion about the practical reality. Same is same. Logic is logic. Reality is reality.
The distinction is plainly not just theoretical - you can't get out of this hole by digging you way through the Earth. If you seriously think that someone with a tenuous grasp of one field of research can debunk it as "practically" the same as another in which his competence is also not demonstrated, then you are sadly mistaken. You might as well say that biochemistry is just biology under a fancy name, without showing any expertise to underpin your perception.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
And this is all a side issue, because the differences are just about the way people present themselves in public and to themselves. Following your very philosophical description, genealogists practice prosopography incidentally, and prosopographers practice genealogy incidentally. That means the actual "activity", to use that word in an Aristotelian way (given the importance of the classical terms incidental or essential in your sentence), is the same. In fact, when practiced well, which is the standard for this way of describing reality in terms of what the purpose is, it is exactly the same activity. It is when they are practiced badly that they can look different for example in the types of errors and omissions they make.
This is another misrepresentation. Chasing drunk drivers is incidental to policing, not the essence of it - but that doesn't mean that it is practiced "incidentally" when it is necessary. Genealogy is not at the core of propopography, and not even incidental to it in some research projects. In the case of Domesday landholders it is peripheral, in the case of their heirs and successors it is more important. But that doesn't make Katherine Keats-Rohan definitively into a genealogist: she is an historian who pays closer attention to genealogy as an aspect of prosopography than do many others. The creators of some highly valuable projects (including online resources) take much less interest in family relationships without detracting from their purpose.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
By the way, I hesitate to name them together in this way, since Richardon's mistakes are not as frequent or as foolish as Cawley's. In large part that is because they have been filtered out here, in the days when he consistently posted half-baked ideas and played even dumber in order to elicit free research assistance. Cawley doesn't take part in public discussions as far as I know, and so he can't benefit from ongoing help in the same way.
A more reasonable point to make in my humble opinion. Nice to see something more optimistic also! :)
The point of discussion here in my view is to get at the truth, not at good feeling.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Hmmm, apparently I have failed to complete my homework assignment. LOL. And yet you say "I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD". :)
I'm not, I'm trying to see if your contributions are based on actual competence to back up your opinions rather than on similar motivation to Cawley and (in the past) Richardson, wanting to present yourself as knowing much more than you do. I think we all now have the answer to that.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-21 08:08:58 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
When caught out in a plain misstatement about your own post of the day before, you resorted to "Maybe that wording was too strong" instead of just admitting that you had goofed.
Was that the wrong thing to do, do you think? You think this is the type of thing which causes worse discussions?
Post by Peter Stewart
It seems that words, assertions and the tenour of particular discussions have little or no definite and specific meaning for you, and you prefer to jump back and forth ad lib misusing the threading conventions as you go. That is not helpful.
It is simple good manners to stick to the point. Trying to tar someone else with this brush by implication is unbecoming.
Well, the discussion that started has now been cut off. I described my concern as being the way that these discussions escalate and get exaggerated and unhelpful. The question was raised about how to set a gold standard and I felt that some of the responses were very extreme such as saying that Genealogics can not be improved upon, which is crazy, and that Wikitree editors all treat Richardson as "gospel truth", which is very untrue and unfair.
You can not say you were uninvolved in that part of the "escalating" discussion. Not only are all your posts in a context of defending those ones, but you wrote one of extremist ones: "There are levels of stupid that are morally inadmissible, where mentally competent people have no right to go (as the US media are revealing every day lately, willingly or not), and this is one of them".
...This is referring to anyone who uses Richardson as a source, which means a lot of good genealogists.
This is flat dishonesty on your part - I was referring to people who were said IN YOUR OWN WORDS ABOVE to 'treat Richardson as "gospel truth"' - this is patently not 'anyone who uses Richardson as a source'.
Do you not attach any meaning to words and statements apart from your own convenience at any point in a verbose wriggle out of your own past statements?
No, in context these people you were chipping in about are wikitree editors. I am sure you know about the importance of reading things in context.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
That led to a response to you: "Personally, I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point." And so on.
Who are you quoting now, and in what specific context was this comment made in response to me?
There is no way I can be read as saying you wrote these words, but they are part of a chain of escalating comments you are an important part of. You share some responsibility for them, and if you disagreed with the comments you were responding to, or which responded to you, then you would have written differently and certainly not sought to dress yourself as a knight in shining armour to attack the person who did criticize them.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Despite the offensive tone, my quite detailed responses to that thread as a whole avoid using moral indignation, which you keep using. I included a small bit which you have hammered away at with great moral indignation, but there is no way this could be read as ever having been my main point. And as you mention above I was quick to correct my position about one specific tiny aspect of it which you say is now your only interest. You've then even wanted to talk about how bad it is that I accepted one thing I wrote should be adjusted.
I don't know or care about your "main point" - you are responsible for EVERYTHING you post, whether "main" or subsidiary. I am indignant that you should seek to denigrate Katherine Keats-Rohan's work by euqating her rate of errors to that of others, WHICH YOU DO CLEARLY NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO ASSESS. Your intuition is not an informed opinion. You are unable to look at a single passage cited by Cawley and tell us what is wrong with his representation of it in the quotation I posted. If you can't do that, what you say is revealed as having no sound basis.
Ad hominem, and baseless. You are now making statements about me personally simply for rhetorical effect, not consistent with anything I've said, or which you previously said about me. This type of post is not good for genealogy, or anything else. And that is my point whether you like it or not indeed.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
"I don't think Keats-Rohan's books are more accurate than Richardson's to be honest, although of course it deals with a tougher period. Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful and I also respect MEDLANDS and find it useful. It is also not meant to imply that Keats-Rohan as a researcher is equivalent to Charles Cawley, because I am looking at the end result in practice. I simply think every such project or publication has its own approach which gives it strengths and weaknesses. I don't see any point in us going tribal about such things."
To be removed then, just to be clear: ", and their effective error level". The immediately following sentences already made clear that my main point was that there are simply big differences between such projects, and that we should not exaggerate and go tribal. Furthermore, in terms of error frequencies, if you read it through in context you can already get the impression that I was really thinking more of Richardson's books.
So when you write that Keats-Roahn's effective error level is similar to that in MEDLANDS we are to understand that you really have Douglas Richardson in mind... This is inane.
I think I have admitted to not liking the words I chose. It was a small mistake in a much bigger context. Simple. How much mileage are you going to try to get from pretending you do not understand that? Take you shining armour off please?
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The real theme of that group of my posts is that some of the insults (they can hardly be called criticisms or anything like that) were very hypocritical. For one example Richardson's sourcing format, which certainly could be better, is similar to Keats-Rohan's, but tending to be more complete.
This is yet another proof that you don't know what you are talking about. Richarson piles up references, many to obsolete and/or unverifiable secondary sources (for example his unguided over-indulgence in 18th and 19th century antiquarian literature). As has been demonstrated here before repeatedly, this can result in a futile chase after nothing to the point he is pretending to establish. Keats-Roahn's citations on the other hand are systematic, readily pursued and genuinely relevant to the case.
And often not all given or traceable. Anyone who has tried to track through the various entries referring to related people, and then compare them to the existing literature, will know that. There are often quite complex speculative arguments which are not being explained at all. It is not up to the standard of the Henry project for example. (Reminder to consider the thread topic.)

I see that you are now refining your criticism of Richardson to say it is more to do with the use of antiquarian literature. I think this is a not simple, because we all have to use older literature sometimes in the period Richardson works most on. I think in the context of this discussion I would just say neither author is perfect in terms of the completeness and up-to-dateness of the sources they use, and the way they explain their rationales.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Genealogics is respectable to the same people making these complaints as well, but has almost no sourcing. For another example, I constantly see single mistakes being cited here to show how consistently terrible Richardson and MEDLANDS are, but again there is no comparison, whereas Keats-Rohan (who is respected) is clearly not error free. The general hypocrisy and exaggeration clearly and obviously was my concern and remains my concern.
Genealogics is not masquerading as anything other than an aggregation of secondary material - Leo was always clear that he was a "gatherer" in this way and not a "hunter" of data from primary sources.
I obviously agree that it is different and that direct comparison is unfair, because that is what I have been saying. But I keep seeing you make this point about "masquerading" concerning both Richardson and Cawley. It is a strong and personal accusation, but it is one you never really demonstrate. For example, does anyone who makes a comment about a Latin record risk being accused of masquerading by you? It seems really silly and unfair to make this your fall-back argument justifying all the generalizations.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Good grief - you clearly don't understand the aims of prosopography at all, despite a straightforward statement of these in this thread. Let me put it another way: GENEALOGY IS INCIDENTAL TO IT, NOT ESSENTIAL.
I get the theoretical distinction. I explained my opinion about the practical reality. Same is same. Logic is logic. Reality is reality.
The distinction is plainly not just theoretical - you can't get out of this hole by digging you way through the Earth. If you seriously think that someone with a tenuous grasp of one field of research can debunk it as "practically" the same as another in which his competence is also not demonstrated, then you are sadly mistaken. You might as well say that biochemistry is just biology under a fancy name, without showing any expertise to underpin your perception.
Who is trying to "debunk" anything? You always seek to make things as polemic as possible.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
And this is all a side issue, because the differences are just about the way people present themselves in public and to themselves. Following your very philosophical description, genealogists practice prosopography incidentally, and prosopographers practice genealogy incidentally. That means the actual "activity", to use that word in an Aristotelian way (given the importance of the classical terms incidental or essential in your sentence), is the same. In fact, when practiced well, which is the standard for this way of describing reality in terms of what the purpose is, it is exactly the same activity. It is when they are practiced badly that they can look different for example in the types of errors and omissions they make.
This is another misrepresentation. Chasing drunk drivers is incidental to policing, not the essence of it - but that doesn't mean that it is practiced "incidentally" when it is necessary. Genealogy is not at the core of propopography, and not even incidental to it in some research projects. In the case of Domesday landholders it is peripheral, in the case of their heirs and successors it is more important. But that doesn't make Katherine Keats-Rohan definitively into a genealogist: she is an historian who pays closer attention to genealogy as an aspect of prosopography than do many others. The creators of some highly valuable projects (including online resources) take much less interest in family relationships without detracting from their purpose.
I would say that the equivalent of "policing", ie the bigger field, relevant to our discussion, is the study of history, surely? Genealogy/Prosopography is the specialized activity which "serves" that aim, like the skill of high speed pursuits, along with things like archaeology and economic history, which are still growing in importance. In medieval periods historians specialized in the use of written records have heavily relied on the skills and work of genealogy/prosopography, and because of the limited evidence, and it very hard to prise them apart in any meaningful way. For example to be a genealogist you need to try to understand what is happening in almost every type of document. In the real world though, prosopography is a word to give an certain image of being more academic and not just a genealogist. I am sure there is a great explanation available about how this should not be true, and maybe one day all dreams will come true. I just made a comment about what the present reality is. I think I am allowed to do that.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
By the way, I hesitate to name them together in this way, since Richardon's mistakes are not as frequent or as foolish as Cawley's. In large part that is because they have been filtered out here, in the days when he consistently posted half-baked ideas and played even dumber in order to elicit free research assistance. Cawley doesn't take part in public discussions as far as I know, and so he can't benefit from ongoing help in the same way.
A more reasonable point to make in my humble opinion. Nice to see something more optimistic also! :)
The point of discussion here in my view is to get at the truth, not at good feeling.
To get to the truth, genealogy needs useful and constructive thinking and discussion. Creating conflict by making distorting generalizations is not the same as being a lover of the truth, to say the least.
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Hmmm, apparently I have failed to complete my homework assignment. LOL. And yet you say "I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD". :)
I'm not, I'm trying to see if your contributions are based on actual competence to back up your opinions rather than on similar motivation to Cawley and (in the past) Richardson, wanting to present yourself as knowing much more than you do. I think we all now have the answer to that.
Right, so it was not part of our discussion, but a "test". I get it: You much prefer to have something to tear down, and it is best of all if you can in your case turn it into a discussion about Latin skills. Now you are trying to use this masquerading accusation on me for not playing the game?

Being constructive is a harder job. We all know that.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 11:42:58 UTC
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<snip>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
That led to a response to you: "Personally, I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point." And so on.
Who are you quoting now, and in what specific context was this comment made in response to me?
There is no way I can be read as saying you wrote these words, but they are part of a chain of escalating comments you are an important part of.
No-one is suggesting you said I wrote those words - re-read my question and this should be plain.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
You share some responsibility for them, and if you disagreed with the comments you were responding to, or which responded to you, then you would have written differently and certainly not sought to dress yourself as a knight in shining armour to attack the person who did criticize them.
Please don't try to tell me how I should have responded to anything. I am not responsible at all for what anyone else posts, and I respond as I chose when I choose.

In this case, I am now too bored with the entire discussion to go back and find out what you are trying to get at.

<more blather snipped>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
I don't know or care about your "main point" - you are responsible for EVERYTHING you post, whether "main" or subsidiary. I am indignant that you should seek to denigrate Katherine Keats-Rohan's work by euqating her rate of errors to that of others, WHICH YOU DO CLEARLY NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO ASSESS. Your intuition is not an informed opinion. You are unable to look at a single passage cited by Cawley and tell us what is wrong with his representation of it in the quotation I posted. If you can't do that, what you say is revealed as having no sound basis.
Ad hominem, and baseless. You are now making statements about me personally simply for rhetorical effect, not consistent with anything I've said, or which you previously said about me. This type of post is not good for genealogy, or anything else. And that is my point whether you like it or not indeed.
Ad hominem my foot - you made a preposterous criticism of Katharine eats-Rohan's work which you can't back up with sensible examples, and by implication an equally preposterous puff for Medieval Lands that you can't show yourself qualified to make. Pointing this out is not an ad hominem attack. Just because you don't like criticism that doesn't make it invalid.

<further blather snipped>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
This is yet another proof that you don't know what you are talking about. Richarson piles up references, many to obsolete and/or unverifiable secondary sources (for example his unguided over-indulgence in 18th and 19th century antiquarian literature). As has been demonstrated here before repeatedly, this can result in a futile chase after nothing to the point he is pretending to establish. Keats-Roahn's citations on the other hand are systematic, readily pursued and genuinely relevant to the case.
And often not all given or traceable. Anyone who has tried to track through the various entries referring to related people, and then compare them to the existing literature, will know that. There are often quite complex speculative arguments which are not being explained at all. It is not up to the standard of the Henry project for example. (Reminder to consider the thread topic.)
Katharine Keats-Rohan's work is certainly "up to the standard" of my own contribution to the Henry Project. She has produced a large body of work, most notably her *Domesday* volumes that are a standard work of reference withstanding the most expert world-wide scrutiny. Your misfired attempt to denigrate her skills and knowledge are not going to change that one iota.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I see that you are now refining your criticism of Richardson to say it is more to do with the use of antiquarian literature. I think this is a not simple, because we all have to use older literature sometimes in the period Richardson works most on. I think in the context of this discussion I would just say neither author is perfect in terms of the completeness and up-to-dateness of the sources they use, and the way they explain their rationales.
I made an incidental remark about the overuse of antiquarian literature, not a "refinement" of my general criticism. The main reason to rely on these works now is that occasionally they quote from or otherwise draw on sources that are now lost. If not, they are mostly obsolete unless it is to credit their initial discovery on some point at issue. Certainly they are not worth the default attention they receive from Douglas Richardson while he is frequently overlooking more recent and/or current scholarship in the same field.

<snip>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Genealogics is not masquerading as anything other than an aggregation of secondary material - Leo was always clear that he was a "gatherer" in this way and not a "hunter" of data from primary sources.
I obviously agree that it is different and that direct comparison is unfair, because that is what I have been saying. But I keep seeing you make this point about "masquerading" concerning both Richardson and Cawley. It is a strong and personal accusation, but it is one you never really demonstrate. For example, does anyone who makes a comment about a Latin record risk being accused of masquerading by you? It seems really silly and unfair to make this your fall-back argument justifying all the generalizations.
It is not a "personal" accusation but a professional one in Richardson's case and an occupational one in Cawley's. They (especially nowadays Cawley) are pretending to skills and knowledge as an imposture on people who don't know enough to see through this. Richardson has, belately, learned some of the basics and nowadays sometimes conducts useful research on his own initiative. Cawley does not.

It may interest you to know that in the past I have agreed with Douglas Richardson here in direct opposition to Katharine Keats-Rohan's conclusions on a question under discussion - for instance here more than 10 years ago:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/soc.genealogy.medieval/U8ETY0AGywU/P1w3usKz89IJ;context-place=searchin/soc.genealogy.medieval/Countess$20Lucy$20of$20Devon%7Csort:date

The criticism I made of her opinion then is no more personal than any I make of others today. It was not an attack on her character or on her expertise, but only a review of some specific conclusions.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Good grief - you clearly don't understand the aims of prosopography at all, despite a straightforward statement of these in this thread. Let me put it another way: GENEALOGY IS INCIDENTAL TO IT, NOT ESSENTIAL.
I get the theoretical distinction. I explained my opinion about the practical reality. Same is same. Logic is logic. Reality is reality.
The distinction is plainly not just theoretical - you can't get out of this hole by digging you way through the Earth. If you seriously think that someone with a tenuous grasp of one field of research can debunk it as "practically" the same as another in which his competence is also not demonstrated, then you are sadly mistaken. You might as well say that biochemistry is just biology under a fancy name, without showing any expertise to underpin your perception.
Who is trying to "debunk" anything? You always seek to make things as polemic as possible.
YOU tried to debunk the study of propography as no more than a tarted-up name for genealogy - YOU wrote:

"That is why people think genealogy is generally unscientific, and unfortunately they have a point. Renaming it as "prosopography" is just an example, not a solution, in my honest opinion. (A subject which looks at the same information using the same techniques to come to the same types of conclusions, such as whether people are biologically related or NOT, for example contractually related, is pretty much the same subject. The only difference in practice I have noted is that people who prefer to refer to their field as prosopography tend to allow themselves a lot more assumptions made overusing weak methods like onomastics and comparison of possessions. I guess that in itself gives a motivation to claim you in another more fancy field.)"

This rant is an attempt to debunk prosopography on entirely specious grounds. Onomastics as a tool for speculatively relating people play a vastly smaller part in prosopography than in genealogy.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
And this is all a side issue, because the differences are just about the way people present themselves in public and to themselves. Following your very philosophical description, genealogists practice prosopography incidentally, and prosopographers practice genealogy incidentally.
Where did I say that genealogists practice prosopography at all, much less incidentally? Again, particular words and whole statements using them don't seem to have exact or focused meaning for you. This makes discussion rather pointless.

<snip>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Hmmm, apparently I have failed to complete my homework assignment. LOL. And yet you say "I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD". :)
I'm not, I'm trying to see if your contributions are based on actual competence to back up your opinions rather than on similar motivation to Cawley and (in the past) Richardson, wanting to present yourself as knowing much more than you do. I think we all now have the answer to that.
Right, so it was not part of our discussion, but a "test". I get it: You much prefer to have something to tear down, and it is best of all if you can in your case turn it into a discussion about Latin skills. Now you are trying to use this masquerading accusation on me for not playing the game?
Being constructive is a harder job. We all know that.
Being competent to reach the judgments that you post and showing us that in a quick and simple way are too hard for you, evidently. You can go on avoiding this as long as you like, but no-one else is fooled.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-21 17:00:39 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
<more blather snipped>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
I don't know or care about your "main point" - you are responsible for EVERYTHING you post, whether "main" or subsidiary. I am indignant that you should seek to denigrate Katherine Keats-Rohan's work by euqating her rate of errors to that of others, WHICH YOU DO CLEARLY NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO ASSESS. Your intuition is not an informed opinion. You are unable to look at a single passage cited by Cawley and tell us what is wrong with his representation of it in the quotation I posted. If you can't do that, what you say is revealed as having no sound basis.
Ad hominem, and baseless. You are now making statements about me personally simply for rhetorical effect, not consistent with anything I've said, or which you previously said about me. This type of post is not good for genealogy, or anything else. And that is my point whether you like it or not indeed.
Ad hominem my foot - you made a preposterous criticism of Katharine eats-Rohan's work which you can't back up with sensible examples,
Translating, you are admitting I gave examples. This is the first time you've said they were not sensible. Previously you said that they show different sorts of problems than the ones on MEDLANDS, which was more reasonable.
Post by Peter Stewart
and by implication an equally preposterous puff for Medieval Lands that you can't show yourself qualified to make.
Pointing this out is not an ad hominem attack. Just because you don't like criticism that doesn't make it invalid.
You have only now for the first time accused me of making a "puff" for MEDLANDS. So it is ridiculous to say that I am reacting to such an accusation in posts from before this accusation? Please step down from that great white charger.
Post by Peter Stewart
I made an incidental remark about the overuse of antiquarian literature, not a "refinement" of my general criticism.
No, it was the back-up explanation when pushed. I can read English very well. It is the exposed sandy foundation of your accusation of "masquerading".
Post by Peter Stewart
The main reason to rely on these works now is that occasionally they quote from or otherwise draw on sources that are now lost. If not, they are mostly obsolete unless it is to credit their initial discovery on some point at issue. Certainly they are not worth the default attention they receive from Douglas Richardson while he is frequently overlooking more recent and/or current scholarship in the same field.
You have not demonstrated that they are Richardson's "default" source. You are just making stuff up.
Post by Peter Stewart
It is not a "personal" accusation but a professional one in Richardson's case and an occupational one in Cawley's.
These are not opposite words. Logical fallacy. Calling someone a fraud is in any case serious.
Post by Peter Stewart
They (especially nowadays Cawley) are pretending to skills and knowledge as an imposture on people who don't know enough to see through this.
And as shown by your extension in your other post of this insult to me, basically "pretending" here means any kind of practicing in public of genealogy. That is not a good reason to call someone a fraud.
I know of such cases and I know that this type of discussion and respect them. I would not be spending all this time criticizing some comments of yours if I thought you were just an internet troll. I have great respect for you.
Post by Peter Stewart
YOU tried to debunk the study of propography as no more than a tarted-up name for genealogy -
Let me remind that I've kept insisting on the fact that I see this as what it is in practical reality in most cases. My preferred formulation was that the term distinction has to do with how people present themselves to others and to themselves. The distinction is relevant for your specific concern. By the way, Cawley sees himself as doing prosopography.
Post by Peter Stewart
"That is why people think genealogy is generally unscientific, and unfortunately they have a point. Renaming it as "prosopography" is just an example, not a solution, in my honest opinion. (A subject which looks at the same information using the same techniques to come to the same types of conclusions, such as whether people are biologically related or NOT, for example contractually related, is pretty much the same subject. The only difference in practice I have noted is that people who prefer to refer to their field as prosopography tend to allow themselves a lot more assumptions made overusing weak methods like onomastics and comparison of possessions. I guess that in itself gives a motivation to claim you in another more fancy field.)"
This rant is an attempt to debunk prosopography on entirely specious grounds. Onomastics as a tool for speculatively relating people play a vastly smaller part in prosopography than in genealogy.
I am going to claim rank here as the better qualified person to judge my intentions. The above is not intended to debunk prosopography. I respect Keats-Rohan for example, and I can imagine that the term might help her in defining her focus to herself and others. There is absolutely no logical reason to say that this is impossible if I think that in practice prosopography and genealogy tend to overlap more or less completely.
Post by Peter Stewart
Where did I say that genealogists practice prosopography at all, much less incidentally?
It is a necessary conclusion from the fact that genealogists and prosopographers look at the same limited information with more or less the same questions. (For example, "what is the relationship between these two people?") Based on your own posts, the only way you can escape the conclusion is to make a very forced and extreme position that genealogy is a part of prosopography. Maybe that's even true in a theoretical sense, but it is not how people currently use the terms in practice.

Best Regards
Andrew
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 23:09:18 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
<more blather snipped>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
I don't know or care about your "main point" - you are responsible for EVERYTHING you post, whether "main" or subsidiary. I am indignant that you should seek to denigrate Katherine Keats-Rohan's work by euqating her rate of errors to that of others, WHICH YOU DO CLEARLY NOT KNOW ENOUGH TO ASSESS. Your intuition is not an informed opinion. You are unable to look at a single passage cited by Cawley and tell us what is wrong with his representation of it in the quotation I posted. If you can't do that, what you say is revealed as having no sound basis.
Ad hominem, and baseless. You are now making statements about me personally simply for rhetorical effect, not consistent with anything I've said, or which you previously said about me. This type of post is not good for genealogy, or anything else. And that is my point whether you like it or not indeed.
Ad hominem my foot - you made a preposterous criticism of Katharine eats-Rohan's work which you can't back up with sensible examples,
Translating, you are admitting I gave examples. This is the first time you've said they were not sensible. Previously you said that they show different sorts of problems than the ones on MEDLANDS, which was more reasonable.
What now? I didn't deny that you have given examples - that was the point of my saying that they were not apposite ones (i.e. not sensible for the question at issue). Translation: once again you are reading your own preferred twisted meaning into what I have posted instead of exercising basic readerly good manners by assuming that I mean just what I write.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
and by implication an equally preposterous puff for Medieval Lands that you can't show yourself qualified to make.
Pointing this out is not an ad hominem attack. Just because you don't like criticism that doesn't make it invalid.
You have only now for the first time accused me of making a "puff" for MEDLANDS. So it is ridiculous to say that I am reacting to such an accusation in posts from before this accusation? Please step down from that great white charger.
What now? The entire point of my initial contribution in this thread was that you are implicitly and unduly puffing Medieval Lands by comparing its rate of errors favourably with that of a genuine expert, Katharine Keats-Rohan. If a new word for the same thing throws you into conniptions, I suggest you might benefit from a course of reading lessons.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
I made an incidental remark about the overuse of antiquarian literature, not a "refinement" of my general criticism.
No, it was the back-up explanation when pushed. I can read English very well. It is the exposed sandy foundation of your accusation of "masquerading".
Masquerading means parading in disguise. That is precisely what Charles Cawley is doing in presenting himself as competent to undertake the work of Medieval Lands. Reinforcing a straightforward point that you try to fudge is not a "back-up explanation when pushed". You have wildly inflated ideas of your own cogency and skill in controversy. Perhaps someone else could helpfully chime in to tell you that you are making a fool of yourself.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
The main reason to rely on these works now is that occasionally they quote from or otherwise draw on sources that are now lost. If not, they are mostly obsolete unless it is to credit their initial discovery on some point at issue. Certainly they are not worth the default attention they receive from Douglas Richardson while he is frequently overlooking more recent and/or current scholarship in the same field.
You have not demonstrated that they are Richardson's "default" source. You are just making stuff up.
I DID NOT SAY "default source" I wrote that he pays them "default attention", i.e. he looks to them when this is not appropriate or productive. Words have meanings, whether you like it or not.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
It is not a "personal" accusation but a professional one in Richardson's case and an occupational one in Cawley's.
These are not opposite words. Logical fallacy. Calling someone a fraud is in any case serious.
Yes, and Cawley as a medieval genealogist is seriously a fraud. This is not an ad hominem attack - I know nothing of his personal life or habits. If I said He can't do medieval genealogy because he wears polka-dot ties, that would be an ad hominem attack unless I could establish that his taste in neck-wear had some bearing on his abilities in research. Again, words have meanings and are not available for every last twist that suits your ad hoc needs.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
They (especially nowadays Cawley) are pretending to skills and knowledge as an imposture on people who don't know enough to see through this.
And as shown by your extension in your other post of this insult to me, basically "pretending" here means any kind of practicing in public of genealogy. That is not a good reason to call someone a fraud.
And it is obviously not my reason. Cawley is a fraud because he doesn't posess (i.e. haasn't bothered to acquire) the skills and knowledge that he represents himself as employing in his chosen task. You are a fraud because you post judgments that you don't have the underpinnings of knowledge to make.
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I know of such cases and I know that this type of discussion and respect them. I would not be spending all this time criticizing some comments of yours if I thought you were just an internet troll. I have great respect for you.
Post by Peter Stewart
YOU tried to debunk the study of propography as no more than a tarted-up name for genealogy -
Let me remind that I've kept insisting on the fact that I see this as what it is in practical reality in most cases. My preferred formulation was that the term distinction has to do with how people present themselves to others and to themselves. The distinction is relevant for your specific concern. By the way, Cawley sees himself as doing prosopography.
And he is not doing this, as I said to FMG in my unfortunate response to a request for advice before Medieval Lands was ever published.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 08:22:42 UTC
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On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 1:09:21 AM UTC+2, Peter Stewart wrote:
"Words have meanings, whether you like it or not."

Yes indeed. For example:

1. Sensible and apposite are two different things.

2. Puffing and comparing error rates would be two different things. (Of course comparing error rates of MEDLANDS and Keats-Rohan never was my point, and any possible misunderstanding of that was clarified by me early. There is nothing at all in any of my posts which can be called puffing.)

3. Using a source as a default source, must surely mean the same as using them too much, which must surely mean the same as using them when not appropriate.

4. Calling someone a fraud, if you use the word correctly, surely is an ad hominem attack. For example even in the context of genealogy it is not about genealogy. Of course I understand you are trying to say it can be applied by you to anyone who is not good enough at genealogy, but that is not what it means. Being a fraud is a more serious a general thing you say of a person's fundamental character.

5. Saying that MEDLANDS is not prosopography should also not be the same as saying it is poor quality prosopography. Your way of writing makes it unclear which you mean, and looking at your other posts I suspect the two accusations are being mixed up.

"Words have meanings, whether you like it or not."

Peter, I think you could have kept all discussion shorter by simply explaining why you originally wrote words to the effect that "wikitree users" are at a "level of stupid" that is "morally inadmissable" because they cite Richardson sometimes instead of Keats-Rohan. Or did you not say that?

Well of course, you'll presumably say that you did not MEAN that because of "words having meanings". But what you were replying to and the replies to you show how this is hard to believe. The most direct reply to you was that, presumably based on your perceived judgement, "I see no value in the site whatsoever at this point". I did not see you correct that reading of you.

And so it would be good if you could clarify. In later posts you've emphasized that you think Richardson has improved and you sometimes even agree with him over Keats-Rohan.

And yet, looking back to your original accusation, the justification you gave for your strong words about Richardson was that he "doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references". As I've pointed out, neither does Keats-Rohan.

FWIW, I think there are very good reasons for genealogists to cite Richardson sometimes over Keats-Rohan. Firstly, Keats-Rohan does not cover as many periods and people. Secondly, she is more often wrong about the genealogies, and her explanations about her speculations are normally very difficult to reconstruct. I gave examples and explained that in cases I have spent time on, such issues seem common.

Sorry, but it is a bit hard to accept that this puts me on a morally inadmissable level of stupid! Maybe it was unwise of me to try to get clarity, given that this seems to now be an ego thing, but it is really not a good feeling to leave such unfair accusations hanging around, when I hope that they are probably not actually accusations you'd even admit to when pushed.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 11:55:16 UTC
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<chomp>
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Genealogics is not masquerading as anything other than an aggregation of secondary material - Leo was always clear that he was a "gatherer" in this way and not a "hunter" of data from primary sources.
I obviously agree that it is different and that direct comparison is unfair, because that is what I have been saying. But I keep seeing you make this point about "masquerading" concerning both Richardson and Cawley. It is a strong and personal accusation, but it is one you never really demonstrate.
Never? Really?

Again, this is so absurd that I have to wonder if you are actually serious or just making blind jabs for the sake of being provocative.

The archive is replete with highly detailed demonstrations by me of grievous inadequacies in Medieval Lands, from its first excrescence until very recently. The same applies to many of Douglas Richardson's posts in the past, though not so recently as he has lifted his game lately.

Do you actually think, or try to substantiate your ideas, before you post?

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-21 16:34:29 UTC
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<chomp>
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Post by Peter Stewart
Genealogics is not masquerading as anything other than an aggregation of secondary material - Leo was always clear that he was a "gatherer" in this way and not a "hunter" of data from primary sources.
I obviously agree that it is different and that direct comparison is unfair, because that is what I have been saying. But I keep seeing you make this point about "masquerading" concerning both Richardson and Cawley. It is a strong and personal accusation, but it is one you never really demonstrate.
Never? Really?
Again, this is so absurd that I have to wonder if you are actually serious or just making blind jabs for the sake of being provocative.
The archive is replete with highly detailed demonstrations by me of grievous inadequacies in Medieval Lands, from its first excrescence until very recently. The same applies to many of Douglas Richardson's posts in the past, though not so recently as he has lifted his game lately.
Do you actually think, or try to substantiate your ideas, before you post?
What I have seen demonstrated in this discussion and others over several years are examples of errors, and in some cases examples of awkward debates which could be argued to be over-defensive or whatever. This comes nowhere near evidence for masquerading, which means deliberate fraud. Burden of proof is on the side of the person making strong accusations against people.

What's more, your reliability as a judge has to now be in question because now that you are in a bad mood in one of your recent posts you even extended the accusation of fraud to me, based on the fact that I refused to play a set-up game with you.

Logically then, this conversation now with me is the type of evidence you think sufficient to say someone is "masquerading"? This is not up to your standard Peter. I respect you and I can only hope that by pointing to the fact that this has gone silly, we can avoid this continually happening on this forum.
s***@mindspring.com
2018-04-21 00:26:21 UTC
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On Friday, April 20, 2018 at 4:54:01 AM UTC-5, Andrew Lancaster wrote:
...
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The real theme of that group of my posts is that some of the insults (they can hardly be called criticisms or anything like that) were very hypocritical. For one example Richardson's sourcing format, which certainly could be better, is similar to Keats-Rohan's, but tending to be more complete. Genealogics is respectable to the same people making these complaints as well, but has almost no sourcing. For another example, I constantly see single mistakes being cited here to show how consistently terrible Richardson and MEDLANDS are, but again there is no comparison, whereas Keats-Rohan (who is respected) is clearly not error free. The general hypocrisy and exaggeration clearly and obviously was my concern and remains my concern.
...[quoted part cut because of length]

"Single mistakes" come in many types. Even if we ignore trivial ones (like typos) and only consider mistakes where faulty reasoning occurred, such errors occur at many different levels. In particular, I think that it is a gross misrepresentation to list Charles Cawley's "Medieval Lands" in the same company as Keats-Rohan, Richardson, and van de Pas as if they were somehow roughly comparable. Because of the very different goals that they had/have, the works of Keats-Rohan, Richardson, and van de Pas are themselves difficult to compare to each other in any meaningful way, and the same is true of the errors that they made. However, I believe that it is grossly unfair to all three of them to suggest that the errors committed by any one of them are even in the same league as those appearing in "Medieval Lands." The following two examples may only qualify as "single mistakes" in your view, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of the problems with Medieval Lands.

One huge blunder of which I have been aware for some time is that in his account of the early kings of Denmark, Cawley names a supposed early tenth century king named Svend, stating that "Adam of Bremen names 'Sueonum principum' as ruler of Denmark with his sons" while referring to an individual named Svend who is mentioned by Adam of Bremen. What Cawley apparently did not understand was that the Svend mentioned as "princeps" by Adam was not the obscure man who appears only in a patronymic later in the same passage, but Adam's contemporary king Svend II, who Adam cited as his source for the information. So, by misunderstanding the Latin, Cawley turned a man about whom nothing is known other than his name into a king of Denmark.

Another whopper, which I only noticed a couple of days ago, occurs in Cawley's account of the early kings of Scotland, in which the father of king Giric [Cawley's "Greg"] is given the alternate name "Licet" after mistaking the ordinary Latin word "licet" for a name in one passage referring to Giric ("Ciricius" in the relevant passage).

In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness, showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting. But it gets even worse. In both of the above examples, there are easily available English translations which Cawley could have consulted if he felt so inclined. Regardless of whether or not he was aware of these translations (how could he not be?), I am unable to think of a scenario explaining this which would reflect positively on Cawley's reputation. (If he knew, why did he not check them? If he checked them, what was is basis for rejecting the correct translations?) It is not difficult to see how an uninformed novice could look at Cawley's material, with all of its Latin quotes (often misinterpreted or out of context), and believe that his account was authoritative. However, any genealogist who claims to be skilled at medieval research should realize how bad Medieval Lands really is.

I have often heard amateur state that a certain unreliable source is "good for clues." This is often used as an excuse to type the "information" into a database as a "placeholder" which is then converted to a "fact" when the reason for entering it is later forgotten. Too many genealogists are unaware of the difference between a legitimate "source" and a "finding aid." Because of the many primary sources cited there, Medieval Lands can serve as a useful finding aid for those who know how to use it. However, despite all of the window dressing that you see on the site, it has very little in the way of original research (i.e., using the primary sources directly to reconstruct the families), and what original research does appear there is more often than not poorly done, and on families which were already more competently done in the secondary literature which Cawley ordinarily shuns. Most of what passes for "original research" there has in fact been created by using either ES or something similar as a framework and then adding primary sources as they are found, usually with wording apparently attempting to portray the relationships as having been deduced directly from the primary evidence. Any careful reading shows that this is not the case. Although Medieval Lands represents a tremendous amount of work, it would have been much more useful if it had been more honestly identified as the finding aid which is its primary value.

As something that is useful PRIMARILY as a finding aid, there should only rarely even be a reason to give a separate citation to Medieval Lands (no more than you would separately cite Marshall's "Genealogist's Guide" every time it gave you a citation to a visitation pedigree which you later used). There is another good reason to follow this policy. A knowledgeable genealogist who wants to help novices should not only try to lead them toward good sources, but (at least in my opinion) ought to avoid leading novices to bad source like Medieval Lands. This is also one of the reasons why I dislike websites like Wikitree so much, where even the (all too rare) decent pages usually have links leading the unwary to garbage in just a couple of steps. As exceptions to this, I can think of three times when it might be appropriate to cite Medieval Lands (preferably with an appropriate warning about its general unreliability):

1. As a general blanket acknowledgement in cases where Medieval Lands was often useful as a finding aid in researching a large work (but not on a cite-by-cite basis).

2. On any occasion where Medieval Lands has produced valid original research supplying previously unknown information. (I am not aware of any items falling into this category, but given the huge volume of material on the site, it would not be surprising if there were examples of this here and there.)

3. To expose errors appearing there. (I would say that this category should usually be avoided, but there might be times when an error created there has received wide enough circulation to make this necessary.)

Stewart Baldwin
taf
2018-04-21 01:21:34 UTC
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Post by s***@mindspring.com
In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness,
showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting.
I came across something analogous on a Spanish connection - unfortunately it was a few months back, so I don't remember the precise details, but he took a common medieval Iberian relational statement and tried to translate it using modern Spanish, and as a result converted a cousin into a sibling and he found himself inventing multiple marriages and rearranging well-documented relationships to accommodate his mis-translation.

And I have already mentioned here before how he took the eldest son of the famous Musa ibn Musa, the 'Third King of Hispania', named Lubb ibn Musa, and instead made him son of the obscure Musa ibn Galind, simply because they had both served as governors of the same town - it is not like the political environment there is obscure. In stead of educating himself by reading any of the dozens of studies that discuss the Banu Qasi, he just guessed.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 02:38:25 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by s***@mindspring.com
In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness,
showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting.
I came across something analogous on a Spanish connection - unfortunately it was a few months back, so I don't remember the precise details, but he took a common medieval Iberian relational statement and tried to translate it using modern Spanish, and as a result converted a cousin into a sibling and he found himself inventing multiple marriages and rearranging well-documented relationships to accommodate his mis-translation.
This is typical of the problems that infest the whole enterprise - I have never dipped into it without immediately or very soon coming across similar examples. Following the links from one spot where a fact has been correctly stated or a questionable point has been adequately resolved - and of course these can be found, since it is largely a derivative effort - will shortly lead to a walloping blunder.

I'm not clear that it has value as a "finding" aid, as this presupposes that Cawley has found the relevant source/s with some level of consistency, at least enough to avoid wasting time. This _may_ be so with lineages that have been traced through the references given in CP, but I'm not aware of any systematic use of other equally thorough secondary works.

For some sections there are multiple citations of private emails received by the compiler. I should have thought that anyone embarking on such a project for public consumption would have the self-respect to avoid this kind of worthless referencing.

Peter Stewart
s***@mindspring.com
2018-04-21 18:51:19 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I'm not clear that it has value as a "finding" aid, as this presupposes that Cawley has found the relevant source/s with some level of consistency, at least enough to avoid wasting time. This _may_ be so with lineages that have been traced through the references given in CP, but I'm not aware of any systematic use of other equally thorough secondary works.
I agree that for those familiar with the material, Medieval Lands has limited uses as a finding aid. However, Cawley has clearly trawled through many of the published primary sources that are now available in the public domain, because Medieval Lands is loaded with citations to MGH, the Rolls Series, published charters, and other material. How exhaustive this is I don't know, but I have occasionally found the site useful for quickly finding a reference. For example, there have been some occasions when I knew that something I was looking for would probably be in one of a half dozen or so volumes, and checking Medieval Lands first allowed me to find it significantly faster than it would have taken me to search all of the volumes. Many poor works can occasionally be used in this manner. In tracing branches of my American families, there have been numerous cases where the undocumented work of an amateur has led me to search sources which would not otherwise have been obvious. Sometimes, this has led me to find the documentation, and sometimes it goes nowhere (or leads to disproof). The sources cited do not need to be exhaustive in order provide a useful pointer. My reference to a "finding aid" was meant to refer to this aspect of research.

Perhaps somebody can suggest a better term than "finding aid" for this. There are too many people working on genealogy who don't understand the difference between a source which is appropriate to cite as an authority for a statement (e.g., a primary source, in some cases a high quality secondary source), and books and websites which may provide a clue to further research, but do not have sufficient authority to be an acceptable citation. One of the main points of my posting was that (except for possible rare cases of which I am unaware) Medieval Lands should be used ONLY for the latter purpose. Even though Medieval Lands might lead a researcher quickly to SOME of the relevant primary sources, it should never be assumed that those are the only relevant ones, and the primary evidence thus found should be judged INDEPENDENTLY of whatever conclusions appear in Medieval Lands (or whatever other book or website led you to the primary evidence). Truly experienced genealogists already know this, but there are too many genealogists who do not know how to separate real evidence from the pointers that led them there, often leading to circular arguments (or worse).

Stewart Baldwin
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 23:23:31 UTC
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Post by s***@mindspring.com
Post by Peter Stewart
I'm not clear that it has value as a "finding" aid, as this presupposes that Cawley has found the relevant source/s with some level of consistency, at least enough to avoid wasting time. This _may_ be so with lineages that have been traced through the references given in CP, but I'm not aware of any systematic use of other equally thorough secondary works.
I agree that for those familiar with the material, Medieval Lands has limited uses as a finding aid. However, Cawley has clearly trawled through many of the published primary sources that are now available in the public domain, because Medieval Lands is loaded with citations to MGH, the Rolls Series, published charters, and other material. How exhaustive this is I don't know, but I have occasionally found the site useful for quickly finding a reference. For example, there have been some occasions when I knew that something I was looking for would probably be in one of a half dozen or so volumes, and checking Medieval Lands first allowed me to find it significantly faster than it would have taken me to search all of the volumes. Many poor works can occasionally be used in this manner. In tracing branches of my American families, there have been numerous cases where the undocumented work of an amateur has led me to search sources which would not otherwise have been obvious. Sometimes, this has led me to find the documentation, and sometimes it goes nowhere (or leads to disproof). The sources cited do not need to be exhaustive in order provide a useful pointer. My reference to a "finding aid" was meant to refer to this aspect of research.
Perhaps somebody can suggest a better term than "finding aid" for this. There are too many people working on genealogy who don't understand the difference between a source which is appropriate to cite as an authority for a statement (e.g., a primary source, in some cases a high quality secondary source), and books and websites which may provide a clue to further research, but do not have sufficient authority to be an acceptable citation. One of the main points of my posting was that (except for possible rare cases of which I am unaware) Medieval Lands should be used ONLY for the latter purpose. Even though Medieval Lands might lead a researcher quickly to SOME of the relevant primary sources, it should never be assumed that those are the only relevant ones, and the primary evidence thus found should be judged INDEPENDENTLY of whatever conclusions appear in Medieval Lands (or whatever other book or website led you to the primary evidence). Truly experienced genealogists already know this, but there are too many genealogists who do not know how to separate real evidence from the pointers that led them there, often leading to circular arguments (or worse).
I understand that bad work can save time in the way you have outlined, but this can be hazardous for people who are familiar with the sources he has scanned as well as for those who aren't.

In the case I put forward as a litmus test, for instance, Cawley has used the MGH edition which is actually the worst of four, three of which are in the public domain. The MGH editor reported that his colleagues had been unable to find the original source (because this was wrongly cited in *Recueil des historiens*) and instead Waitz relied on later copies. In the process he managed to leave out two lines, so that even the earlier *Recueil* edition that he refers to is better than his.

Scholarship requires the critical evaluation of sources and of editions. Cawley doesn't do the first often enough, and almost never (if at all) the second.

I should add that the problem with the MGH edition has nothing to do with the litmus test. My view is that this is so basic to the study of medieval genealogy that readers who couldn't work it out for themselves would be very ill-advised to use Medieval Lands for any purpose, ever.

Peter Stewart
s***@mindspring.com
2018-04-22 02:14:56 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I understand that bad work can save time in the way you have outlined, but this can be hazardous for people who are familiar with the sources he has scanned as well as for those who aren't.
In the case I put forward as a litmus test, for instance, Cawley has used the MGH edition which is actually the worst of four, three of which are in the public domain. The MGH editor reported that his colleagues had been unable to find the original source (because this was wrongly cited in *Recueil des historiens*) and instead Waitz relied on later copies. In the process he managed to leave out two lines, so that even the earlier *Recueil* edition that he refers to is better than his.
Scholarship requires the critical evaluation of sources and of editions. Cawley doesn't do the first often enough, and almost never (if at all) the second.
I should add that the problem with the MGH edition has nothing to do with the litmus test. My view is that this is so basic to the study of medieval genealogy that readers who couldn't work it out for themselves would be very ill-advised to use Medieval Lands for any purpose, ever.
I tend to agree. However, the problem is that, ill-advised or not, they are going to use it anyway. Thus, if they can be trained to use it only as a pointer to sources, and to draw their conclusions independently of what led them to the source, then that is at least a step in the right direction. Also, novices don't become experienced researchers overnight. For those who get there at all, it is a gradual process. Finding primary sources can be a frustrating experience for those lacking experience at doing so. In my opinion, learning to reason correctly and logically from the primary evidence is more crucial than learning to locate references in primary sources, because most people capable of doing the former will be able to learn the latter, while the reverse is much less often true. Given that at least some of the novices who are hooked to the Medlands "drug" have the aptitude to become useful researchers, weaning them seems more realistic to me than asking them to go "cold turkey."

Another factor has to do with efficient (less inefficient?) use of time. Given the huge number of unindexed primary sources now available online, more than anyone could search in several lifetimes, doing an exhaustive search is often out of the question. It becomes a matter of getting the best return for the time invested, and there are inevitable trade-offs. (That is one of the reasons I dislike sites such as Wikitree so much, because doing research while wading neck-deep through other people's messes seems like such a notoriously inefficient way of doing genealogical research.)

Stewart Baldwin
Peter Stewart
2018-04-22 04:23:37 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I understand that bad work can save time in the way you have outlined, but this can be hazardous for people who are familiar with the sources he has scanned as well as for those who aren't.
In the case I put forward as a litmus test, for instance, Cawley has used the MGH edition which is actually the worst of four, three of which are in the public domain. The MGH editor reported that his colleagues had been unable to find the original source (because this was wrongly cited in *Recueil des historiens*) and instead Waitz relied on later copies. In the process he managed to leave out two lines, so that even the earlier *Recueil* edition that he refers to is better than his.
Scholarship requires the critical evaluation of sources and of editions. Cawley doesn't do the first often enough, and almost never (if at all) the second.
I should add that the problem with the MGH edition has nothing to do with the litmus test. My view is that this is so basic to the study of medieval genealogy that readers who couldn't work it out for themselves would be very ill-advised to use Medieval Lands for any purpose, ever.
I tend to agree. However, the problem is that, ill-advised or not, they are going to use it anyway. Thus, if they can be trained to use it only as a pointer to sources, and to draw their conclusions independently of what led them to the source, then that is at least a step in the right direction. Also, novices don't become experienced researchers overnight. For those who get there at all, it is a gradual process. Finding primary sources can be a frustrating experience for those lacking experience at doing so. In my opinion, learning to reason correctly and logically from the primary evidence is more crucial than learning to locate references in primary sources, because most people capable of doing the former will be able to learn the latter, while the reverse is much less often true. Given that at least some of the novices who are hooked to the Medlands "drug" have the aptitude to become useful researchers, weaning them seems more realistic to me than asking them to go "cold turkey."
That is an amusing and illuminating way to look at it. Medieval Lands is certainly a turkey, and using its half-cooked flesh is a sure way to get food poisoning. Going "cold" on it eliminates the risk.
Post by s***@mindspring.com
Another factor has to do with efficient (less inefficient?) use of time. Given the huge number of unindexed primary sources now available online, more than anyone could search in several lifetimes, doing an exhaustive search is often out of the question. It becomes a matter of getting the best return for the time invested, and there are inevitable trade-offs. (That is one of the reasons I dislike sites such as Wikitree so much, because doing research while wading neck-deep through other people's messes seems like such a notoriously inefficient way of doing genealogical research.)
The proliferation of digitised medieval manuscripts is the recent advance that I am most thankful for, though I agree that there could be an overload if you are researching in such wide geographical and chronological swathes as attempted in Medieval Lands. However, few people have the urge to try this and nobody has the need.

Within my narrower field of enquiry (ca 750-ca 1250, mostly in Frankish and Anglo-Norman parts of Europe), there is not yet very much material online that is new to scholarship. Happily my interest tails away in short order as the middle ages start to wane and as research is inevitably directed into feudal administrivia. I don't care tuppence about who owned what from the mid-13th century onwards, or who showed what heraldic quarterings on their tombs and so on. However, I can greatly admire those who do venture into these areas and come out with new data on individuals and families or insights into social history. We are lucky enough to have some of these people still with us in the newsgroup who joined it years ago, or who recently participating for the first time.

To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 10:04:59 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
Paulo Ricardo Canedo
2018-04-22 12:42:31 UTC
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Dears Andrew and Peter, sorry for barging in, like this, but I think it's time to stop your discussion. It's getting personal.
Peter Howarth
2018-04-22 13:28:13 UTC
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Dear Andrew

You have found yourself with a view different from that held by Peter Stewart, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie on the subject of early mediaeval evidence. So be it. That is your prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, exactly what you think. However, you will never convince Peter Stewart to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.

Dear Peter

You have found someone with a very different view of early mediaeval evidence from the one held by you, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie. So be it. That is his prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, both sides of the argument. However, you will never convince Andrew Lancaster to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.

Peter Howarth
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 13:44:29 UTC
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Dear Andrew
You have found yourself with a view different from that held by Peter Stewart, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie on the subject of early mediaeval evidence. So be it. That is your prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, exactly what you think. However, you will never convince Peter Stewart to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.
Dear Peter
You have found someone with a very different view of early mediaeval evidence from the one held by you, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie. So be it. That is his prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, both sides of the argument. However, you will never convince Andrew Lancaster to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.
Peter Howarth
FWIW I disagree with your description, although I understand why you might misunderstand this given the twists and turns.

I have no idea whether Peter Stewart really disagrees with me on anything to do with early medieval evidence, at least anything in this discussion above. I disagree with his use of such things as casual accusations of fraud and the like, which by the way, I think he does not actually believe himself.

I am open to correction though. If you can name such a difference, I'll be happy to learn about it. I have often enjoyed discussions with Peter about actual genealogy, and he often changes my mind on that type of subject. In those types of discussions, I make no claim to any kind of superiority or even being an equal! Please do not think of me that way.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-22 23:29:17 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
Dear Andrew
You have found yourself with a view different from that held by Peter Stewart, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie on the subject of early mediaeval evidence. So be it. That is your prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, exactly what you think. However, you will never convince Peter Stewart to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.
Dear Peter
You have found someone with a very different view of early mediaeval evidence from the one held by you, Stewart Baldwin and Todd Farmerie. So be it. That is his prerogative. We have seen, in very full detail, both sides of the argument. However, you will never convince Andrew Lancaster to change his mind on this matter. However often you try, it will never work. My suggestion is that you continue to hold your view, allow him to hold his, and save yourself the effort of banging your head against a brick wall.
This is not about views of medieval evidence but about how it is used and abused by modern researchers.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts. The difficulty arises with differing opinions on what is or isn't a fact.

That is why is it necessary to expose counter-factual statements and present proof that an opinion relying on these is untenable.

Anyone who can't or won't acknowledge the high frequency of such problems in Medieval Lands - higher than the frequency in Douglas Richardson's books and VERY MUCH higher than in the work of Katharine Keats-Rohan - needs to be exposed as incompetent to reach such a conclusion that is patently contrary to demonstrable fact.

When that person tries to twist someone else's words into an implicit notion that presenting inapposite examples is somehow sensible, that person needs to be exposed as a nincompoop. An extremely verbose, tedious and self-satisfied one at that.

No-one's opinions are binding on anyone else, just as no-one is even partly responsible for anyone else's posts (which the same ninny ludicrously asserted to me).

If you, Peter, are now chiming in with a "plague on both your houses" response or any implication of rational equivalence, then I am sadly disappointed with your judgment after having respected you highly for years.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 13:35:42 UTC
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Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
Dears Andrew and Peter, sorry for barging in, like this, but I think it's time to stop your discussion. It's getting personal.
Yes, I agree very much, but I'd like to extend that logic beyond this thread.

My point has been from the beginning that it started as strongly and deliberately personal, and it is too often personal.

This forum is so accustomed to some types of lazy unconstructive remarks about Richardson and so on that they are hardly noticed, but they do have a big effect on certain topics of discussion. I think we need to notice this more, and be less accepting of it.

A subject which keeps being sabotaged by such remarks is how to get better online collaborations, and I think it is a worthwhile subject. Internet genealogy (and prosopography, and local history etc) projects small and large are going to keep happening, and possibilities to learn from pioneering projects abound. If good medieval genealogists are scared away from such a topic then the projects will go ahead without them, and I think that is not for the best.

So I basically agree, but I'd say the personal stuff should stop more generally and be less common on this forum.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-22 23:38:37 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?

I will make it even easier for you, leaving aside your apparent inability even to find the text cited by him - here is the page in question:

http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html

The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.

They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.

Go to it.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2018-04-23 05:52:30 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.

Peter Stewart

Under 'Comtes de Vermandois' you will find this (quotation marks for every line so that no-one thinks I wrote it):

"Comte Hugues & his wife had [nine] children:

"1. MATHILDE de Vermandois (-after [1130]). ...

"The fact that Mathilde was the eldest daughter is confirmed by the De Genere Comitum "Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses which records "Agnes uxor domini Ingelranni de "Cociaco" as daughter of "domina de Baugenciaco primogenita [comitis Hugonis li
"Maines [note 314: De Genere Comitum Flandrensium, Notæ Parisienses MGH SS, p. 257.]"

Mathilde was indeed the eldest daughter of Hugo Magnus of Vermandois, and the source cited is indeed the appropriate one for this specific information. So what is wrong with Cawley's statement? And why would anyone trusting it be accepting a specious assertion based on glaring ignorance?
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-23 08:04:54 UTC
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To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.
Peter Stewart
It is indeed surprising Peter that people are not racing to be tested in your "tool of revelation" and dissolved on your litmus. I am sure people will be frightened to read anything at all about Hugh de Vermandois for years to come, for fear of being named a fraud. Welcome everyone, to medieval genealogy, or as we like to call it, the Inquisition. Please take your seat on the dunking stool.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-23 08:52:57 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
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Post by Peter Stewart
To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.
Peter Stewart
It is indeed surprising Peter that people are not racing to be tested in your "tool of revelation" and dissolved on your litmus. I am sure people will be frightened to read anything at all about Hugh de Vermandois for years to come, for fear of being named a fraud. Welcome everyone, to medieval genealogy, or as we like to call it, the Inquisition. Please take your seat on the dunking stool.
No dice - this is a test for you to substantiate your representation of yourself as someone with an informed opinion.

No-one else has pretended to assess the rate of errors in Cawley's database.

If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud.

No amount of further gas-bagging will save you from exposure.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-23 09:55:50 UTC
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To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.
Peter Stewart
It is indeed surprising Peter that people are not racing to be tested in your "tool of revelation" and dissolved on your litmus. I am sure people will be frightened to read anything at all about Hugh de Vermandois for years to come, for fear of being named a fraud. Welcome everyone, to medieval genealogy, or as we like to call it, the Inquisition. Please take your seat on the dunking stool.
No dice - this is a test for you to substantiate your representation of yourself as someone with an informed opinion.
No-one else has pretended to assess the rate of errors in Cawley's database.
If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud.
No amount of further gas-bagging will save you from exposure.
Peter Stewart
I did not pretend anything Peter. Please for your own sake get off the horse.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-23 10:14:52 UTC
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To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.
Peter Stewart
It is indeed surprising Peter that people are not racing to be tested in your "tool of revelation" and dissolved on your litmus. I am sure people will be frightened to read anything at all about Hugh de Vermandois for years to come, for fear of being named a fraud. Welcome everyone, to medieval genealogy, or as we like to call it, the Inquisition. Please take your seat on the dunking stool.
No dice - this is a test for you to substantiate your representation of yourself as someone with an informed opinion.
No-one else has pretended to assess the rate of errors in Cawley's database.
If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud.
No amount of further gas-bagging will save you from exposure.
Peter Stewart
I did not pretend anything Peter. Please for your own sake get off the horse.
So all your opinions expressed here were just unhinged waffle, not in any way pretending that you had a clue what you were talking about?

Your inane efforts to avoid admitting that you don't know much, and certainly not enough to back up what you have posted, are truly contemptible. There are no free passes on SGM for impostors and poseurs.

Aggressively pursuing rattle-bags like yourself is not riding a high horse, it is defending the purpose of this newsgroup. People who have taken immense trouble over many years to clear up messes caused by ignorance and pretense are not about to cede the field to yet another puffed-up wannabe who hasn't learned even the basics.

When you have finally given up on posting blather trying to deflect attention from your failure in this thread, readers will remember the contretemps next time you set out to fool them.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-23 12:48:40 UTC
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To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
In case anyone else is taking trouble over this tool of revelation, I should repeat the litmus test that was posed upthread (see below) and point out that the passage quoted by Cawley is on lines 28-29 of the page as indicated in the left margin.
Peter Stewart
It is indeed surprising Peter that people are not racing to be tested in your "tool of revelation" and dissolved on your litmus. I am sure people will be frightened to read anything at all about Hugh de Vermandois for years to come, for fear of being named a fraud. Welcome everyone, to medieval genealogy, or as we like to call it, the Inquisition. Please take your seat on the dunking stool.
No dice - this is a test for you to substantiate your representation of yourself as someone with an informed opinion.
No-one else has pretended to assess the rate of errors in Cawley's database.
If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud.
No amount of further gas-bagging will save you from exposure.
Peter Stewart
I did not pretend anything Peter. Please for your own sake get off the horse.
So all your opinions expressed here were just unhinged waffle, not in any way pretending that you had a clue what you were talking about?
Your inane efforts to avoid admitting that you don't know much, and certainly not enough to back up what you have posted, are truly contemptible. There are no free passes on SGM for impostors and poseurs.
Aggressively pursuing rattle-bags like yourself is not riding a high horse, it is defending the purpose of this newsgroup. People who have taken immense trouble over many years to clear up messes caused by ignorance and pretense are not about to cede the field to yet another puffed-up wannabe who hasn't learned even the basics.
When you have finally given up on posting blather trying to deflect attention from your failure in this thread, readers will remember the contretemps next time you set out to fool them.
Peter Stewart
troll
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-23 07:46:51 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
To me the revelation has been in looking at the original manuscripts of some important texts that I had known before only from scholarly editions. Seeing changes of hand or ink, and unrevised orthography, can be unexpectedly enlightening. In the case of the source behind the quotation about Mathilde of Vermandois, for instance, this may be useful (though not essential) in disentangling an ostensible contradiction that Cawley overlooked and that a big-talking poster hasn't been able to find.
After so many semi-tantalizing posts mentioning this as an aside, I suggest you start a new thread and explain what you are talking about. For now I assume it is just fake news, and part of your trolling, so to speak. A person with something real to say would not just keep using hints of it as a tool of obfuscation in "intentionally rude" posts about other things.
"Tool of obfuscation" my foot - why would I spoil the exposure of your pretense at competency in making a judgment about Cawley's rate of errors by giving you the answer?
http://www.dmgh.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb00000875_00270.html
The are two glaring problems with Cawley's use (or abuse) of this source in the passage I quoted.
They should both be obvious to anyone capable of assessing his rate of errors.
Go to it.
Peter Stewart
But the rate of errors in MEDLANDS is not the subject of my posts, and you've consistently continued citing some words I corrected soon after. Your persistently aggressive dishonesty about this point is stunning.

My disagreements with you in this thread are, for the record:

1. You remarked that wikitree editors who cite Richardson are guilty of a level of stupidity which is "morally inadmissable", because Richardson "doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references". My point was that Keats-Rohan, who you specifically cited as a better source (even though she does not even begin to cover the same ground), is weak in this *specific* regard (which *you* selected as important) as well as in some other ways. BTW no one cites Richardson as "gospel truth" and these are also not my words, as you have tried to imply, but words from a post *you* decided to jump on and go beyond.

2. You later proposed that MEDLANDS is not just guilty of mistakes and low quality, but is "fraud". You went beyond criticizing genealogy this way in order to justify (and indeed intensify) your childish hyperbole. In some of your posts you've implied that this accusation should also be applied much more widely around this community.

If you want to say clearly that these are not your real positions, like I did concerning the error rate of Keats-Rohan compared to MEDLANDS, that would be about the best ending to this discussion possible.

Just to be clear though Peter, you've written now that you were being deliberately rude in order to discourage me from posting again, like an internet troll. But you can expect that hyperbolic ad hominem attacks upon the genealogical community can and will get called out. Please just stop them? That's the best solution for everyone.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 07:43:25 UTC
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Post by s***@mindspring.com
Perhaps somebody can suggest a better term than "finding aid" for this.
Funnily enough, just reading Ian Woods' book about the Merovingians I like the appendix for the family connections which has lists naming the relationships from primary sources in a very handy way, and looking it up with your question in mind I find the section is titled a "prosopography".

A suggestion I would make to MEDLANDS to work towards strengthening a strongish point and removing sources of concern would be to use the format of not showing an indented "pedigree" format unless it is a relatively certain one. There are already some sections like this, with simple chronological lists of people associated with titles.

Unfortunately genealogists have always had a natural urge to avoid such admissions of ignorance. If there was a gate to enter medieval genealogy we could post a warning to avoid this urge there.
taf
2018-04-21 03:41:18 UTC
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Post by s***@mindspring.com
In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness,
showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting.
I came across something analogous on a Spanish connection - unfortunately
it was a few months back, so I don't remember the precise details,
I found the case I was referring to. He finds a document in which Sancha Sanchez (Maceratiz) refers to another as 'Sancionis Albaronis mei primi congermani'. He takes 'primi' as representing 'primus', meaning Sancho was "first among others with whom Sancha had a similar position," and translates 'congermani' to refer to the fact that they were "raised together “as siblings”." He then suggests that they were step-siblings, that Sancha's mother had a previously unrecognized second marriage to the Alvar who was Sancho's father. Except this is clearly a rendering of the vernacular 'primo congermano', later simply 'primo hermano' - a first cousin, cousins by way of siblings. Cawley goes on to point out that first cousin is the more likely meaning - my guess would be that someone pointed out the error, but he was so enamored with his own word-by-word translation that he couldn't bring himself the remove it, and he continues to show the second 'marriage'.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 04:58:16 UTC
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In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness,
showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting.
I came across something analogous on a Spanish connection - unfortunately
it was a few months back, so I don't remember the precise details,
I found the case I was referring to. He finds a document in which Sancha Sanchez (Maceratiz) refers to another as 'Sancionis Albaronis mei primi congermani'. He takes 'primi' as representing 'primus', meaning Sancho was "first among others with whom Sancha had a similar position," and translates 'congermani' to refer to the fact that they were "raised together “as siblings”." He then suggests that they were step-siblings, that Sancha's mother had a previously unrecognized second marriage to the Alvar who was Sancho's father. Except this is clearly a rendering of the vernacular 'primo congermano', later simply 'primo hermano' - a first cousin, cousins by way of siblings. Cawley goes on to point out that first cousin is the more likely meaning - my guess would be that someone pointed out the error, but he was so enamored with his own word-by-word translation that he couldn't bring himself the remove it, and he continues to show the second 'marriage'.
That seems a reasonable guess to me - this kind of retentive habit (I needn't say in what part of the mental anatomy) is not unique to Medieval Lands. Whether nonsensical (as in this case) or not, some people feel bound to relate any and every alternative interpretation that seems to them at all possible.

If taken to its extreme this kind of OCD would involve every last detail of every family, as it is always possible that a source, or all the sources, could be wrong or corrupted in transmission.

There are no certainties except death, taxes and, of course, lies from the White House.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 07:36:31 UTC
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I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.

And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.

Peter Stewart

"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping
the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-21 17:12:54 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.
And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.
Peter Stewart
"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
This is not a great quote to clarify a definition but it is interesting. Genealogy is definitely involved, as mentioned above. Otherwise you just have lists of people.

Prosopography, it seems, also wants to go beyond the genealogy and collective biography to look at society etc. The text makes it clear that however not everyone uses the term to cover that advanced phase and I imagine one reason is that this is basically merging the subject into history as a whole and giving the term a pretty big "empire". I think on the other hand that some respected authors do see prosopography as collective biography.

But anyway it is an interesting discussion and certainly not in conflict with anything I am saying, except where it lazily uses the word "online" to mean, by implication, something self-evidently bad. If only good scholars would just learn more about the internet and use it better! The internet is just a medium for communication. Any scholar who starts blaming a medium is off track.

The quote clearly agrees that there is a problem with the practice of prosopography in the real world. That was my main point.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 23:13:29 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.
And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.
Peter Stewart
"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
This is not a great quote to clarify a definition but it is interesting. Genealogy is definitely involved, as mentioned above. Otherwise you just have lists of people.
Prosopography, it seems, also wants to go beyond the genealogy and collective biography to look at society etc. The text makes it clear that however not everyone uses the term to cover that advanced phase and I imagine one reason is that this is basically merging the subject into history as a whole and giving the term a pretty big "empire". I think on the other hand that some respected authors do see prosopography as collective biography.
But anyway it is an interesting discussion and certainly not in conflict with anything I am saying, except where it lazily uses the word "online" to mean, by implication, something self-evidently bad. If only good scholars would just learn more about the internet and use it better! The internet is just a medium for communication. Any scholar who starts blaming a medium is off track.
The quote clearly agrees that there is a problem with the practice of prosopography in the real world. That was my main point.
Good grief - the point of Keats-Rohan's remarks was not a problem with the practice of prosopography, but with the failure to practice it adequately by people who think (and represent) that they are doing so. She was not calling for prosopography to be rolled into genealogy, or saying that they share the same aims because of an overlap, or that prosopography is just a fancy term for genealogy, or any other nonsense you may hit upon in another twist of meaning.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 07:36:19 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.
And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.
Peter Stewart
"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
This is not a great quote to clarify a definition but it is interesting. Genealogy is definitely involved, as mentioned above. Otherwise you just have lists of people.
Prosopography, it seems, also wants to go beyond the genealogy and collective biography to look at society etc. The text makes it clear that however not everyone uses the term to cover that advanced phase and I imagine one reason is that this is basically merging the subject into history as a whole and giving the term a pretty big "empire". I think on the other hand that some respected authors do see prosopography as collective biography.
But anyway it is an interesting discussion and certainly not in conflict with anything I am saying, except where it lazily uses the word "online" to mean, by implication, something self-evidently bad. If only good scholars would just learn more about the internet and use it better! The internet is just a medium for communication. Any scholar who starts blaming a medium is off track.
The quote clearly agrees that there is a problem with the practice of prosopography in the real world. That was my main point.
Good grief - the point of Keats-Rohan's remarks was not a problem with the practice of prosopography, but with the failure to practice it adequately by people who think (and represent) that they are doing so. She was not calling for prosopography to be rolled into genealogy, or saying that they share the same aims because of an overlap, or that prosopography is just a fancy term for genealogy, or any other nonsense you may hit upon in another twist of meaning.
Peter Stewart
So a "a problem with the practice of X" is different from "the failure to practice X adequately"? Clearly this is again stretching things.

Concerning people who "think (and represent) that they are doing" prosopography, the comments of Keats-Rohan are clearly not only addressed to MEDLANDS, and I think you and I both know that. So Keats-Rohan's words clearly show that there is some level of disagreement about how to define it, which goes beyond MEDLANDS which we were discussing.

The rest of what you say is of course distortion. I wish you'd stop that. I find it odd to say the least that you can already say that anything I may hit upon is wrong. But it does reflect your recent style of discussion with me.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-22 08:10:58 UTC
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I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.
And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.
Peter Stewart
"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
This is not a great quote to clarify a definition but it is interesting. Genealogy is definitely involved, as mentioned above. Otherwise you just have lists of people.
Prosopography, it seems, also wants to go beyond the genealogy and collective biography to look at society etc. The text makes it clear that however not everyone uses the term to cover that advanced phase and I imagine one reason is that this is basically merging the subject into history as a whole and giving the term a pretty big "empire". I think on the other hand that some respected authors do see prosopography as collective biography.
But anyway it is an interesting discussion and certainly not in conflict with anything I am saying, except where it lazily uses the word "online" to mean, by implication, something self-evidently bad. If only good scholars would just learn more about the internet and use it better! The internet is just a medium for communication. Any scholar who starts blaming a medium is off track.
The quote clearly agrees that there is a problem with the practice of prosopography in the real world. That was my main point.
Good grief - the point of Keats-Rohan's remarks was not a problem with the practice of prosopography, but with the failure to practice it adequately by people who think (and represent) that they are doing so. She was not calling for prosopography to be rolled into genealogy, or saying that they share the same aims because of an overlap, or that prosopography is just a fancy term for genealogy, or any other nonsense you may hit upon in another twist of meaning.
Peter Stewart
So a "a problem with the practice of X" is different from "the failure to practice X adequately"? Clearly this is again stretching things.
Concerning people who "think (and represent) that they are doing" prosopography, the comments of Keats-Rohan are clearly not only addressed to MEDLANDS, and I think you and I both know that. So Keats-Rohan's words clearly show that there is some level of disagreement about how to define it, which goes beyond MEDLANDS which we were discussing.
The rest of what you say is of course distortion. I wish you'd stop that. I find it odd to say the least that you can already say that anything I may hit upon is wrong. But it does reflect your recent style of discussion with me.
The point of your foolish remarks about prosopography being genealogy by another name
was an attempt to support of your foolish criticism of Katharine Keats-Rohan, and then you tried to adduce her own remarks as somehow agreeing with your own. I can assure you she was not setting out to denigrate herself as a pretentious nitwit. She has a fine brain and uses it.

You on the other hand haven't used your brains effectively in these tedious exchanges - much of this thread has been like trying to have discourse with a sleepwalker sinking into logical quicksand.

My style of discussion with you is intentionally rude, as I don't have any wish to do it again. That is, writerly ill manners on my part in response to your readerly ill manners in twisting my words after reading your own inaccurate presuppositions into what I have clearly written.

You are one of the most tiresome nincompoops I have encountered here over the years, and responding to you has been a waste of time.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-22 10:00:27 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
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Post by Peter Stewart
I have just twigged that in my posts I have been misspelling the first name of Katharine Keats-Rohan.
And it occurs to me that she is the best person to explain the aims of prosopography, as she did in 'Domesday People revisited', *Foundations* (2012) 4 pp 3-4, copied below.
Peter Stewart
"Prosopography is a word that has started to be over-used. Or perhaps the concept is becoming devalued. It was once said of prosopography and biography, the 'one is not simply the plural of the other.' The same is true of genealogy and prosopography. Yet a prosopography of any society will demand extensive genealogical inquiry if sense is to be made of the connexions between people that, taken together, yield genuine insights into the formation and functioning of social networks, which is the business of prosopography. It is more than a list of people, with basic biographical information and a few dates, attached to the study of a particular person or group in much the same way as a list of dramatis personae for a play. Far too much of this approach is seen in graduate theses and even in some scholarly biographies. It should also be much more than a mere biographical repertory of persons loosely connected by membership of an ill-defined group, often over many centuries. The classical prosopographies began this way in the late nineteenth century and produced much of value in laying the foundations of serious study of ancient societies, but we should now be moving on. The increasing prevalence of online prosopographies is not helping the situation, especially when these do not readily yield an accessible basic biographical framework for each person, and so atomize data on individuals that any chance of identifying and exploring the networks within the core groups – which is supposed to be the point – is seriously compromised."
This is not a great quote to clarify a definition but it is interesting. Genealogy is definitely involved, as mentioned above. Otherwise you just have lists of people.
Prosopography, it seems, also wants to go beyond the genealogy and collective biography to look at society etc. The text makes it clear that however not everyone uses the term to cover that advanced phase and I imagine one reason is that this is basically merging the subject into history as a whole and giving the term a pretty big "empire". I think on the other hand that some respected authors do see prosopography as collective biography.
But anyway it is an interesting discussion and certainly not in conflict with anything I am saying, except where it lazily uses the word "online" to mean, by implication, something self-evidently bad. If only good scholars would just learn more about the internet and use it better! The internet is just a medium for communication. Any scholar who starts blaming a medium is off track.
The quote clearly agrees that there is a problem with the practice of prosopography in the real world. That was my main point.
Good grief - the point of Keats-Rohan's remarks was not a problem with the practice of prosopography, but with the failure to practice it adequately by people who think (and represent) that they are doing so. She was not calling for prosopography to be rolled into genealogy, or saying that they share the same aims because of an overlap, or that prosopography is just a fancy term for genealogy, or any other nonsense you may hit upon in another twist of meaning.
Peter Stewart
So a "a problem with the practice of X" is different from "the failure to practice X adequately"? Clearly this is again stretching things.
Concerning people who "think (and represent) that they are doing" prosopography, the comments of Keats-Rohan are clearly not only addressed to MEDLANDS, and I think you and I both know that. So Keats-Rohan's words clearly show that there is some level of disagreement about how to define it, which goes beyond MEDLANDS which we were discussing.
The rest of what you say is of course distortion. I wish you'd stop that. I find it odd to say the least that you can already say that anything I may hit upon is wrong. But it does reflect your recent style of discussion with me.
The point of your foolish remarks about prosopography being genealogy by another name
was an attempt to support of your foolish criticism of Katharine Keats-Rohan, and then you tried to adduce her own remarks as somehow agreeing with your own. I can assure you she was not setting out to denigrate herself as a pretentious nitwit. She has a fine brain and uses it.
You on the other hand haven't used your brains effectively in these tedious exchanges - much of this thread has been like trying to have discourse with a sleepwalker sinking into logical quicksand.
My style of discussion with you is intentionally rude, as I don't have any wish to do it again. That is, writerly ill manners on my part in response to your readerly ill manners in twisting my words after reading your own inaccurate presuppositions into what I have clearly written.
You are one of the most tiresome nincompoops I have encountered here over the years, and responding to you has been a waste of time.
Peter Stewart
Peter I think at least in this post you are accurately describing the internet troll methodology you've used in this discussion. It is a shame that you choose this sometimes.

FWIW though it is not true that my criticism of *your* *fake* moral indignation about (a) the fuzzy distinction between prosopography and genealogy in practice and (b) the quality of Keats-Rohan's large Domesday project, is linked in any simple way to my personal evaluation of either of these things. I doubt we even have very different real opinions about them! This discussion gives no clear insight into such things unfortunately, because for you the discussion has unfortunately been about obfuscating, and insulting, not clarifying or helping me or anyone else understand anything.

You noted something about American politics early on, and I have to wonder if you've been reading Mister Trump's twitter feed too often.

My strongest criticism of Keats-Rohan in this whole discussion, should be seen as my remark about her throwaway use of the word "internet". The rest was about details, and I object to your obviously fake attempts to distort them and present yourself as a knight in shining armour. I think if anyone reading has not read Keats-Rohan they will now maybe have a worse impression of her because of the mean little game you've been playing with her name. That's a shame.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-21 17:32:47 UTC
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Post by s***@mindspring.com
...
Post by Andrew Lancaster
The real theme of that group of my posts is that some of the insults (they can hardly be called criticisms or anything like that) were very hypocritical. For one example Richardson's sourcing format, which certainly could be better, is similar to Keats-Rohan's, but tending to be more complete. Genealogics is respectable to the same people making these complaints as well, but has almost no sourcing. For another example, I constantly see single mistakes being cited here to show how consistently terrible Richardson and MEDLANDS are, but again there is no comparison, whereas Keats-Rohan (who is respected) is clearly not error free. The general hypocrisy and exaggeration clearly and obviously was my concern and remains my concern.
...[quoted part cut because of length]
"Single mistakes" come in many types. Even if we ignore trivial ones (like typos) and only consider mistakes where faulty reasoning occurred, such errors occur at many different levels. In particular, I think that it is a gross misrepresentation to list Charles Cawley's "Medieval Lands" in the same company as Keats-Rohan, Richardson, and van de Pas as if they were somehow roughly comparable. Because of the very different goals that they had/have, the works of Keats-Rohan, Richardson, and van de Pas are themselves difficult to compare to each other in any meaningful way, and the same is true of the errors that they made. However, I believe that it is grossly unfair to all three of them to suggest that the errors committed by any one of them are even in the same league as those appearing in "Medieval Lands." The following two examples may only qualify as "single mistakes" in your view, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of the problems with Medieval Lands.
One huge blunder of which I have been aware for some time is that in his account of the early kings of Denmark, Cawley names a supposed early tenth century king named Svend, stating that "Adam of Bremen names 'Sueonum principum' as ruler of Denmark with his sons" while referring to an individual named Svend who is mentioned by Adam of Bremen. What Cawley apparently did not understand was that the Svend mentioned as "princeps" by Adam was not the obscure man who appears only in a patronymic later in the same passage, but Adam's contemporary king Svend II, who Adam cited as his source for the information. So, by misunderstanding the Latin, Cawley turned a man about whom nothing is known other than his name into a king of Denmark.
Another whopper, which I only noticed a couple of days ago, occurs in Cawley's account of the early kings of Scotland, in which the father of king Giric [Cawley's "Greg"] is given the alternate name "Licet" after mistaking the ordinary Latin word "licet" for a name in one passage referring to Giric ("Ciricius" in the relevant passage).
In my opinion, such blunders are off the chart in level of seriousness, showing how little Cawley knows about the language he so fond of quoting. But it gets even worse. In both of the above examples, there are easily available English translations which Cawley could have consulted if he felt so inclined. Regardless of whether or not he was aware of these translations (how could he not be?), I am unable to think of a scenario explaining this which would reflect positively on Cawley's reputation. (If he knew, why did he not check them? If he checked them, what was is basis for rejecting the correct translations?) It is not difficult to see how an uninformed novice could look at Cawley's material, with all of its Latin quotes (often misinterpreted or out of context), and believe that his account was authoritative. However, any genealogist who claims to be skilled at medieval research should realize how bad Medieval Lands really is.
I have often heard amateur state that a certain unreliable source is "good for clues." This is often used as an excuse to type the "information" into a database as a "placeholder" which is then converted to a "fact" when the reason for entering it is later forgotten. Too many genealogists are unaware of the difference between a legitimate "source" and a "finding aid." Because of the many primary sources cited there, Medieval Lands can serve as a useful finding aid for those who know how to use it. However, despite all of the window dressing that you see on the site, it has very little in the way of original research (i.e., using the primary sources directly to reconstruct the families), and what original research does appear there is more often than not poorly done, and on families which were already more competently done in the secondary literature which Cawley ordinarily shuns. Most of what passes for "original research" there has in fact been created by using either ES or something similar as a framework and then adding primary sources as they are found, usually with wording apparently attempting to portray the relationships as having been deduced directly from the primary evidence. Any careful reading shows that this is not the case. Although Medieval Lands represents a tremendous amount of work, it would have been much more useful if it had been more honestly identified as the finding aid which is its primary value.
1. As a general blanket acknowledgement in cases where Medieval Lands was often useful as a finding aid in researching a large work (but not on a cite-by-cite basis).
2. On any occasion where Medieval Lands has produced valid original research supplying previously unknown information. (I am not aware of any items falling into this category, but given the huge volume of material on the site, it would not be surprising if there were examples of this here and there.)
3. To expose errors appearing there. (I would say that this category should usually be avoided, but there might be times when an error created there has received wide enough circulation to make this necessary.)
Stewart Baldwin
Dear Stewart

I think this a well-thought out and reasonable criticism of MEDLANDS. And I think the attempt to define "safe" uses is reasonable and matches my own thinking. I can see why you categorize its quality as being on another level to Richardson, and Keats-Rohan. (Hard to compare any of these to Genealogics, to be honest, because that is so different.) I hope in saying this, my own real opinions are clarified after the long and messy discussion.

I think my only correction would be that I've seen primary research on MEDLANDS. However when I have seen it, unfortunately it has generally been questionable in my personal opinion. It is definitely not a strong point of the present methodology, though I guess it is an aim of Charles.

A fairly trivial example of original research is the only one that comes to mind which is that Roger de Lancaster of Rydal (in the Lake District, a lord in chief of Rydal who was apparently an illegitimate son of Gilbert fitz Roger fitz Reinfrid) was split into two by Charles based on a chronological argument which I thought misunderstood the chronological evidence.

An example of how I would use MEDLANDS is for example recently working on Lotharingian counties in the 10th and 11th century, and already knowing more or less what Charles has posted as family trees, I might look at it to remind myself of which medieval chronicles or charters said something about a particular count of Namur that I recall. I do not say he has complete collections, but the chances are good that I can find things there quickly at least for this subject.

One lesson, trying to be constructive, is that we can all do the world a favour if we remember to post good references, and preferably also clickable hyperlinks to online texts, on any online work we do. In my case that means for example on my personal webpages, on wikipedia and on wikitree.

Clickable hyperlinks are not on MEDLANDS, but are also one thing not on the Henry project. :)
Peter Stewart
2018-04-21 01:27:02 UTC
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...
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Your own failure to look up and verify (or not) a single plain statement of his about Mathilde of Vermandois strongly suggests to me that you are in this category. If you were competent to use his website critically and to assess his rate of errors, this should have given you no trouble at all.
Hmmm, apparently I have failed to complete my homework assignment. LOL. And yet you say "I AM NOT TRYING TO DIRECT YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THREAD". :)
In case anyone else has leapt to the same wrong conclusion, I should emphasise that the challenge regarding Mathilde of Vermandois does not require "work" - it is a very simple matter of checking the citation, which is the most basic kind of critical use that can be made of Medieval Lands, and noting the astounding incompetence of Cawley's use of this source.

No prior knowledge of Mathilde or her family is required to find one or both of two glaring problems, which is why I chose such a straightforward opportunity for Andrew Lancaster to show that he has the basic skill to make the assessment he was trying to defend.

I was of course not trying to direct his response - his failure tells us as much as would the opposite.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-18 10:16:04 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Andrew Lancaster
(b) no one is claiming they are the same TYPE (or frequency) of errors as found on MEDLANDS.
"Keats-Rohan's books (which I own and use and like) are similar to MEDLANDS in both their ambitious and often speculative methodology, their tending to miss secondary literature, and their effective error level."
How is that not a claim that Keats-Rohan and Cawley produce a similar rate of errors?
Maybe that wording was too strong indeed. Anyway, I make no claims of statistical studies of either source, nor Richardson, but only meant any and all such comparisons as rough observations for the sake of a discussion which was NOT actually about this. I do still tend to think that Keats-Rohan's books make more errors than Richardson, for what it is worth. But surely we've seen that I do not see it as being as symbolically important as you do. Different types of work lead to different types of errors, and the old saying goes that the easiest way to make no errors is to attempt nothing difficult. I am glad that Keats-Rohan, Richardson and Cawley all attempt difficult things. Of the three, Cawley is obviously the one where it is hardest to feel confident that the confusions created have out-weighed the confusions removed in the genealogical public. All these has been discussed here before. I keep emphasizing that we should most usefully look at what it is about the methods and approaches of such projects which cause such problems. That's really the point for me.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 06:52:03 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
For a extremely large or comprehensive database the best you're going to do is something like Leo's database. He was the only person allowed to put things in it but yet he was very open to having collaborators and very open to listening to experts provide country points of view.
A more rigorous means or process to obtain with Leo has done over the last many decades.... With a larger contributor base... is hard to imagine.
I think there are different types of online genealogy which can be helpful, but Genealogics is not really comparable to the other ones we have been discussing because it always gave very little sourcing, and virtually zero primary sourcing. This reduces its usefulness a lot because all genealogies contain errors or things which are not up to date, but if their sources are not traceable, these can not be spotted. In any case it makes comparison to the Henry project and even MEDLANDS an "apples and pears" comparison, because in these cases the sourcing is a key aim?

I think recreating a skeletal tree which is simple bigger than genealogics is not only easy to imagine but inevitable. It will happen many times, and it will get increasingly easy. I think the real question/hope is whether any such tree will be well sourced. I think the answer is clearly yes, and it is easy to imagine, because we seem to all agree that small projects are possible and a big project can be formed by the interlocking or merging of small projects, just for example.
Post by j***@gmail.com
I think at the root of it more than any other factor is the average competance level of the contributor. A single person or a small handful of experts can end up with a very polished product. Wikipedia works because most of the articles that are good have primary contributors who are experts in that field. People edit what they know and correct problems as they see them.
I do not think that is how Wikipedia works to be honest. Wikis partly work because there are lots of people around who are into small jobs like checking grammar, organizing formats, categorizing, and so on. Editors vary a lot in skills and knowledge but are strongly discouraged from expressing their own opinions, and pushed to source everything from publications. But even if it was a good description, I am not sure I understand the connection being made concerning the possibility of online collaboration for quality medieval genealogy.
Post by j***@gmail.com
Wikitree, by putting process in place, raises the average competence of the contributors. But never quite enough. You can tell this by the discussions that happened on the site using people like keets Rohan or Richardson as external experts. The implication of course is that the average competence of the contributors there must be less than these experts therefore not expert-level themselves. Therefore they will never be as good as Richardson's works by themselves.
Honestly, if you think through the steps in this logic they just don't work. ("you can tell this by", "the implication ... must be", "therefore ... never")
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 07:36:33 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
I do not think that is how Wikipedia works to be honest. Wikis partly work because there are lots of people around who are into small jobs like checking grammar, organizing formats, categorizing, and so on. Editors vary a lot in skills and knowledge but are strongly discouraged from expressing their own opinions, and pushed to source everything from publications. But even if it was a good description, I am not sure I understand the connection being made concerning the possibility of online collaboration for quality medieval genealogy.
I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.

Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.

Repeating a point already made, Wikitree medieval profiles often began life in the early phase when people were allowed to import gedcoms for all periods, which were of course the same types of gedcoms which have been cut and paste together all over the internet. (Wikitree was terrible in that phase. I have been watching online collaborations for a while. It is also true that habits from that period still clash with the push for quality.) So if profiles often look similar to people's gedcoms on geni or ancestry, that's because that is probably how they started. No mystery there.

But this means it is not really a question of anyone holding them that way, but a question of people finding time to clean all those original gedcoms up. It is important to make that distinction. It is all very well to take a sampling and complain, but if we are being constructive we should look at how a problem came about and what can be done, or is being done, to fix it.
wjhonson
2018-04-17 17:04:12 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I do not think that is how Wikipedia works to be honest. Wikis partly work because there are lots of people around who are into small jobs like checking grammar, organizing formats, categorizing, and so on. Editors vary a lot in skills and knowledge but are strongly discouraged from expressing their own opinions, and pushed to source everything from publications. But even if it was a good description, I am not sure I understand the connection being made concerning the possibility of online collaboration for quality medieval genealogy.
I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
Repeating a point already made, Wikitree medieval profiles often began life in the early phase when people were allowed to import gedcoms for all periods, which were of course the same types of gedcoms which have been cut and paste together all over the internet. (Wikitree was terrible in that phase. I have been watching online collaborations for a while. It is also true that habits from that period still clash with the push for quality.) So if profiles often look similar to people's gedcoms on geni or ancestry, that's because that is probably how they started. No mystery there.
But this means it is not really a question of anyone holding them that way, but a question of people finding time to clean all those original gedcoms up. It is important to make that distinction. It is all very well to take a sampling and complain, but if we are being constructive we should look at how a problem came about and what can be done, or is being done, to fix it.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.

OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.

That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-17 17:57:02 UTC
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I think you may be misunderstanding we could P Diaz rule you are not allowed to use original sources to draw conclusions that are not explicitly stated in that text itself. "Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to reach or imply a conclusion not clearly stated by the sources themselves"
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-17 17:58:53 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
Post by Andrew Lancaster
I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.
OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.
That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
Either you do not understand the Wikipedia policy, or there is a misunderstanding of whatever you think in my post shows a misunderstanding of it.

Firstly, on Wikipedia, the term "Original Research" (as used there) also includes any "synthesis" (policy WP:SYNTH), which means you should not even put one well-sourced fact with another and come to a third unless it is absolutely obvious (1+1=2). I am not sure if you realize that anything going beyond this is counted as "creating" on Wikipedia, using your term.

Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Wikitree does NOT discourage original research in any of the ways Wikipedia does discourage "SYNTH". SYNTH is encouraged.

Focusing on your words, maybe you think that the Wikipedia "Original Research" policy means the SAME as demanding that information is based on sources. (Both Wikitree and Wikipedia make that demand, in theory.) In practice and theory it definitely means something different.

On WP, you can not cite a birth certificate and a death certificate and declare that a person lived 70 years for example. The use of primary records is discouraged because that is almost always SYNTH. That would be OR. Where there is a debate between high status sources, on Wikipedia you have to be very neutral and you walk along a razor's edge. In Wikitree you can look at the primary sources yourself and point out that one of the secondary sources used an old edition of the primary source and is clearly wrong. WP editors are researchers and also even part of the story being researched. They can cite their grandparents if they want, and logically they sometimes should. Most people never had any publications about them, and genealogy covers more the middle ages.

Honestly, in any case, the reality is that there is a fundamental difference.
wjhonson
2018-04-19 04:18:30 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.
OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.
That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
Either you do not understand the Wikipedia policy, or there is a misunderstanding of whatever you think in my post shows a misunderstanding of it.
Firstly, on Wikipedia, the term "Original Research" (as used there) also includes any "synthesis" (policy WP:SYNTH), which means you should not even put one well-sourced fact with another and come to a third unless it is absolutely obvious (1+1=2). I am not sure if you realize that anything going beyond this is counted as "creating" on Wikipedia, using your term.
Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Wikitree does NOT discourage original research in any of the ways Wikipedia does discourage "SYNTH". SYNTH is encouraged.
Focusing on your words, maybe you think that the Wikipedia "Original Research" policy means the SAME as demanding that information is based on sources. (Both Wikitree and Wikipedia make that demand, in theory.) In practice and theory it definitely means something different.
On WP, you can not cite a birth certificate and a death certificate and declare that a person lived 70 years for example. The use of primary records is discouraged because that is almost always SYNTH. That would be OR. Where there is a debate between high status sources, on Wikipedia you have to be very neutral and you walk along a razor's edge. In Wikitree you can look at the primary sources yourself and point out that one of the secondary sources used an old edition of the primary source and is clearly wrong. WP editors are researchers and also even part of the story being researched. They can cite their grandparents if they want, and logically they sometimes should. Most people never had any publications about them, and genealogy covers more the middle ages.
Honestly, in any case, the reality is that there is a fundamental difference.
Well since I was a principal involved in *creating* the Wikipedia OR rule I think I do understand it.

On WP you can certainly cite a birth and death certificate and declare how long the person lived. Not that you would because it's stilted to make such a declaration when it can be obviously seen. By the way, WP already have a method of calculating how long a person lived, so there is no need for a person to state it.

Clearly obvious statements are allowed. Such as if we know that a person was born in Chicago, it is of no confusion to also say they were born in Cook County, since Chicago is in that county.

Not sure where you landed that you found such contentious Wikipedians but I would certainly be on-your-side were you to be posting details like that and found someone attacking you for it.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-19 09:44:29 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
Well since I was a principal involved in *creating* the Wikipedia OR rule I think I do understand it.
Many people have been involved in making and changing those policy wordings including me over the years. Of course there is also a kind of "case history" that has developed in practice, about how to interpret them.

To home in on my point: in practice there is a big difference in the amount of originality in research that is encouraged by Wikitree and Wikipedia. I think this is easier to see by looking around yourself, and it all makes sense when you think about it. I did not necessarily mean to be understood as speaking in Wikipedia jargon.
Post by wjhonson
On WP you can certainly cite a birth and death certificate and declare how long the person lived. Not that you would because it's stilted to make such a declaration when it can be obviously seen. By the way, WP already have a method of calculating how long a person lived, so there is no need for a person to state it.
I don't have a handy URL, but I know this subject has come up many times on WP:RSN and the answers have always been the same. It often happens for example when someone starts using the primary records on say ancestry.com in order to fill in details about a person. WP:PRIMARY is often cited, and the sensitivity is always higher if we are talking about a recently living person. A common argument is that official records often need specialist interpretation. For example if you find Winston Churchill's birth certificate and do not find any publication who found the same one, how do you know you have the right one? The answer for a genealogist is that you look at the details, but that is us using a non-obvious skill, and combining information from different sources. We know for example that even genealogists often make mistakes about such things. Always better to find a confirming secondary source. But I think we would agree that there will often be uncontroversial cases where really obvious information can be cited from a primary record. I am sure this happens a lot also. Really each such case should be looked at on its specific merits.
Post by wjhonson
Clearly obvious statements are allowed. Such as if we know that a person was born in Chicago, it is of no confusion to also say they were born in Cook County, since Chicago is in that county.
Sure. But then you are not using the primary sources to come to that conclusion in that specific case.
Post by wjhonson
Not sure where you landed that you found such contentious Wikipedians but I would certainly be on-your-side were you to be posting details like that and found someone attacking you for it.
I've never had a problem with it myself that I recall. For a notable fact about a notable person it is normally possible to find a secondary source, and if not then maybe we do not need that information.
wjhonson
2018-04-19 21:41:32 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
I've never had a problem with it myself that I recall. For a notable fact about a notable person it is normally possible to find a secondary source, and if not then maybe we do not need that information.
Not really true. For the most notable that is the case, however if there is an article say on Gavin Newsom and no published complete biography, then to cite the names of his grandparents, for example, requires research in primary sources.

That research can be cited using those primary sources and it's not really contentious, or should not be at any rate.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-19 21:44:59 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
I've never had a problem with it myself that I recall. For a notable fact about a notable person it is normally possible to find a secondary source, and if not then maybe we do not need that information.
Not really true. For the most notable that is the case, however if there is an article say on Gavin Newsom and no published complete biography, then to cite the names of his grandparents, for example, requires research in primary sources.
That research can be cited using those primary sources and it's not really contentious, or should not be at any rate.
Depends on the case, and there is also the notability aspect. But I doubt we disagree in practice.
Paulo Ricardo Canedo
2018-04-19 21:58:17 UTC
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I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.
OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.
That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
Either you do not understand the Wikipedia policy, or there is a misunderstanding of whatever you think in my post shows a misunderstanding of it.
Firstly, on Wikipedia, the term "Original Research" (as used there) also includes any "synthesis" (policy WP:SYNTH), which means you should not even put one well-sourced fact with another and come to a third unless it is absolutely obvious (1+1=2). I am not sure if you realize that anything going beyond this is counted as "creating" on Wikipedia, using your term.
Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Wikitree does NOT discourage original research in any of the ways Wikipedia does discourage "SYNTH". SYNTH is encouraged.
Focusing on your words, maybe you think that the Wikipedia "Original Research" policy means the SAME as demanding that information is based on sources. (Both Wikitree and Wikipedia make that demand, in theory.) In practice and theory it definitely means something different.
On WP, you can not cite a birth certificate and a death certificate and declare that a person lived 70 years for example. The use of primary records is discouraged because that is almost always SYNTH. That would be OR. Where there is a debate between high status sources, on Wikipedia you have to be very neutral and you walk along a razor's edge. In Wikitree you can look at the primary sources yourself and point out that one of the secondary sources used an old edition of the primary source and is clearly wrong. WP editors are researchers and also even part of the story being researched. They can cite their grandparents if they want, and logically they sometimes should. Most people never had any publications about them, and genealogy covers more the middle ages.
Honestly, in any case, the reality is that there is a fundamental difference.
Well since I was a principal involved in *creating* the Wikipedia OR rule I think I do understand it.
On WP you can certainly cite a birth and death certificate and declare how long the person lived. Not that you would because it's stilted to make such a declaration when it can be obviously seen. By the way, WP already have a method of calculating how long a person lived, so there is no need for a person to state it.
Clearly obvious statements are allowed. Such as if we know that a person was born in Chicago, it is of no confusion to also say they were born in Cook County, since Chicago is in that county.
Not sure where you landed that you found such contentious Wikipedians but I would certainly be on-your-side were you to be posting details like that and found someone attacking you for it.
Sorry for asking but, how were you involved in Wikipedia's creation?
wjhonson
2018-04-20 00:55:46 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.
OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.
That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
Either you do not understand the Wikipedia policy, or there is a misunderstanding of whatever you think in my post shows a misunderstanding of it.
Firstly, on Wikipedia, the term "Original Research" (as used there) also includes any "synthesis" (policy WP:SYNTH), which means you should not even put one well-sourced fact with another and come to a third unless it is absolutely obvious (1+1=2). I am not sure if you realize that anything going beyond this is counted as "creating" on Wikipedia, using your term.
Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Wikitree does NOT discourage original research in any of the ways Wikipedia does discourage "SYNTH". SYNTH is encouraged.
Focusing on your words, maybe you think that the Wikipedia "Original Research" policy means the SAME as demanding that information is based on sources. (Both Wikitree and Wikipedia make that demand, in theory.) In practice and theory it definitely means something different.
On WP, you can not cite a birth certificate and a death certificate and declare that a person lived 70 years for example. The use of primary records is discouraged because that is almost always SYNTH. That would be OR. Where there is a debate between high status sources, on Wikipedia you have to be very neutral and you walk along a razor's edge. In Wikitree you can look at the primary sources yourself and point out that one of the secondary sources used an old edition of the primary source and is clearly wrong. WP editors are researchers and also even part of the story being researched. They can cite their grandparents if they want, and logically they sometimes should. Most people never had any publications about them, and genealogy covers more the middle ages.
Honestly, in any case, the reality is that there is a fundamental difference.
Well since I was a principal involved in *creating* the Wikipedia OR rule I think I do understand it.
On WP you can certainly cite a birth and death certificate and declare how long the person lived. Not that you would because it's stilted to make such a declaration when it can be obviously seen. By the way, WP already have a method of calculating how long a person lived, so there is no need for a person to state it.
Clearly obvious statements are allowed. Such as if we know that a person was born in Chicago, it is of no confusion to also say they were born in Cook County, since Chicago is in that county.
Not sure where you landed that you found such contentious Wikipedians but I would certainly be on-your-side were you to be posting details like that and found someone attacking you for it.
Sorry for asking but, how were you involved in Wikipedia's creation?
Not it's creation
The creation of the specific Wikipedia OR rule about which we've been speaking.
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-19 23:08:42 UTC
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I should nuance this a bit. Wikipedia discourages original research, but Wikitree does not, which is logical if you think about the different aims. Better Wikitree editors routinely choose not to agree with respected publications, and to propose new ideas citing the primary sources and explaining the reasoning. Most editors are happy to use whatever the best source is that they can find, (which might be mistaken, might even be Genealogics or Keats-Rohan) in order to at least get a profile started if it is missing. These days, 99% of the time that is a good thing that moves the project ahead more than it moves it back.
Anyone who has Wikipedia experience will probably expect that this leads to constant conflict and silly personal theories. But actually the main problem on wikitree at this moment is just lots of work to do. The original research, which of course not many editors do, works surprisingly well in my experience, at least in profiles which are say pre-1700. Genealogists when pushed to work together in this format apparently tend to agree when someone's work is well-done.
This is a misunderstanding of what "original research" means on Wikipedia.
OR does not mean, using sources to establish facts.
It means *creating* new facts from your own experimentation and observation.
That is, *you* cannot be the source for any fact, no matter how you obtained it. Each fact must be previously published in some manner, even in a primary source.
Either you do not understand the Wikipedia policy, or there is a misunderstanding of whatever you think in my post shows a misunderstanding of it.
Firstly, on Wikipedia, the term "Original Research" (as used there) also includes any "synthesis" (policy WP:SYNTH), which means you should not even put one well-sourced fact with another and come to a third unless it is absolutely obvious (1+1=2). I am not sure if you realize that anything going beyond this is counted as "creating" on Wikipedia, using your term.
Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Wikitree does NOT discourage original research in any of the ways Wikipedia does discourage "SYNTH". SYNTH is encouraged.
Focusing on your words, maybe you think that the Wikipedia "Original Research" policy means the SAME as demanding that information is based on sources. (Both Wikitree and Wikipedia make that demand, in theory.) In practice and theory it definitely means something different.
On WP, you can not cite a birth certificate and a death certificate and declare that a person lived 70 years for example. The use of primary records is discouraged because that is almost always SYNTH. That would be OR. Where there is a debate between high status sources, on Wikipedia you have to be very neutral and you walk along a razor's edge. In Wikitree you can look at the primary sources yourself and point out that one of the secondary sources used an old edition of the primary source and is clearly wrong. WP editors are researchers and also even part of the story being researched. They can cite their grandparents if they want, and logically they sometimes should. Most people never had any publications about them, and genealogy covers more the middle ages.
Honestly, in any case, the reality is that there is a fundamental difference.
Well since I was a principal involved in *creating* the Wikipedia OR rule I think I do understand it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:No_original_research&dir=prev&action=history
Paulo Ricardo Canedo
2018-04-23 16:43:31 UTC
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It seems neither Andrew nor Peter listened to my advice and request.
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-23 16:56:35 UTC
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Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
It seems neither Andrew nor Peter listened to my advice and request.
I did listen Paulo. I apologize for my part in the failure to follow your advice. I would like to propose now then that anyone who wishes to discuss this thread and the issues raised should, at least for a week or two (until 15 May for example?), write to me and/or Peter directly. If the list managers are able to delete any part of the recent thread and wish to do so, I for one would be happy.

Thanks
taf
2018-04-23 17:16:56 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
If the list managers are able to delete any part of the recent thread
and wish to do so, I for one would be happy.
With the gateway down, this thread is only existing on Usenet/Google Groups, so only the poster can remove their post, and even then it won't make it disappear from all servers. (Or if you would rather look at it from the other perspective, every thread since the gateway went down is gone from the archive, no deletion necessary.)

taf
John Higgins
2018-04-23 18:26:49 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
It seems neither Andrew nor Peter listened to my advice and request.
I did listen Paulo. I apologize for my part in the failure to follow your advice. I would like to propose now then that anyone who wishes to discuss this thread and the issues raised should, at least for a week or two (until 15 May for example?), write to me and/or Peter directly. If the list managers are able to delete any part of the recent thread and wish to do so, I for one would be happy.
Thanks
Andrew, please do follow your own suggestion and continue this conversation with Peter (if a continuation is really needed) off-line in a private conversation. I think we've all had enough of this exchange of views, which has clearly descended to the level of trollery.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-23 23:38:26 UTC
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Post by John Higgins
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
It seems neither Andrew nor Peter listened to my advice and request.
I did listen Paulo. I apologize for my part in the failure to follow your advice. I would like to propose now then that anyone who wishes to discuss this thread and the issues raised should, at least for a week or two (until 15 May for example?), write to me and/or Peter directly. If the list managers are able to delete any part of the recent thread and wish to do so, I for one would be happy.
Thanks
Andrew, please do follow your own suggestion and continue this conversation with Peter (if a continuation is really needed) off-line in a private conversation. I think we've all had enough of this exchange of views, which has clearly descended to the level of trollery.
How is discussion of standards in medieval genealogy not on-topic here?

How is it trolling to point out the imposture when a person asserts that Katharine Keats-Rohan's citations are with some frequency not verifiable, and then can't even follow one of Cawley's; and that their rates of error are comparable, and then can't even find two howlers by Cawley when given the relevant page?

Just because you don't like persistent misrepresentation and/or intense criticism of this doesn't make either side "trolling". That is just another evasion.

As for deleting the thread from the SGM archive, good luck to anyone who tries. When the gateway to Gen-Med is back up, if that happens, I will certainly post a link to the SGM record.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-24 08:03:25 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by John Higgins
Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
It seems neither Andrew nor Peter listened to my advice and request.
I did listen Paulo. I apologize for my part in the failure to follow your advice. I would like to propose now then that anyone who wishes to discuss this thread and the issues raised should, at least for a week or two (until 15 May for example?), write to me and/or Peter directly. If the list managers are able to delete any part of the recent thread and wish to do so, I for one would be happy.
Thanks
Andrew, please do follow your own suggestion and continue this conversation with Peter (if a continuation is really needed) off-line in a private conversation. I think we've all had enough of this exchange of views, which has clearly descended to the level of trollery.
How is discussion of standards in medieval genealogy not on-topic here?
How is it trolling to point out the imposture when a person asserts that Katharine Keats-Rohan's citations are with some frequency not verifiable, and then can't even follow one of Cawley's; and that their rates of error are comparable, and then can't even find two howlers by Cawley when given the relevant page?
Just because you don't like persistent misrepresentation and/or intense criticism of this doesn't make either side "trolling". That is just another evasion.
As for deleting the thread from the SGM archive, good luck to anyone who tries. When the gateway to Gen-Med is back up, if that happens, I will certainly post a link to the SGM record.
Peter Stewart
...So just to be avoid that being a new fake subject, I also have no problem if there are no deletions.
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-25 03:29:21 UTC
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"persistently aggressive dishonesty"
um...
"If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud."
wow... I thought frauds had to do with financial benefit through chicanery. But what do I know. I'm the kind of guy who thinks that Mary Machell wasn't the daughter of Mary Lewknor.

Astrologically speaking, right now (and continuing for the next couple days) there is an exact Mars/Pluto conjunction closely squaring Eris, which is certainly consistent with vitriolic outbursts intermixed with high dudgeon.

But around here personal attacks are doubtless as off-topic as astrological ruminations, or maybe not...
Peter Stewart
2018-04-25 03:53:16 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
"persistently aggressive dishonesty"
um...
"If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud."
wow... I thought frauds had to do with financial benefit through chicanery. But what do I know. I'm the kind of guy who thinks that Mary Machell wasn't the daughter of Mary Lewknor.
Astrologically speaking, right now (and continuing for the next couple days) there is an exact Mars/Pluto conjunction closely squaring Eris, which is certainly consistent with vitriolic outbursts intermixed with high dudgeon.
But around here personal attacks are doubtless as off-topic as astrological ruminations, or maybe not...
It's strange that anyone would make a public post to advertise their own ignorance - try looking up fraud in a dictionary, in private if you don't want to show off your folly.

The OED gives this as a definition: 'One who is not what he appears to be; an impostor, a humbug'.

Any person who deliberately raises an expectation and fails to fulfill it qualifies. This includes pretending to know enough to reach a conclusion that is flatly untenable, then failing to demonstrate the knowledge that would have been required to reach that conclusion fairly in the first place, and yet refusing to acknowledge that it was bogus.

Peter Stewart
j***@gmail.com
2018-04-25 04:34:59 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
It's strange that anyone would make a public post to advertise their own ignorance - try looking up fraud in a dictionary, in private if you don't want to show off your folly.
Everybody gets banged up a bit in the mosh pit -- the trick is to avoid a bloody nose or an elbow in the eye.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-25 06:14:47 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
Post by Peter Stewart
It's strange that anyone would make a public post to advertise their own ignorance - try looking up fraud in a dictionary, in private if you don't want to show off your folly.
Everybody gets banged up a bit in the mosh pit -- the trick is to avoid a bloody nose or an elbow in the eye.
I don't belong to the moshing generation and have no experience of such risky fun, so you have me there.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-25 08:48:54 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by j***@gmail.com
"persistently aggressive dishonesty"
um...
"If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud."
wow... I thought frauds had to do with financial benefit through chicanery. But what do I know. I'm the kind of guy who thinks that Mary Machell wasn't the daughter of Mary Lewknor.
Astrologically speaking, right now (and continuing for the next couple days) there is an exact Mars/Pluto conjunction closely squaring Eris, which is certainly consistent with vitriolic outbursts intermixed with high dudgeon.
But around here personal attacks are doubtless as off-topic as astrological ruminations, or maybe not...
It's strange that anyone would make a public post to advertise their own ignorance - try looking up fraud in a dictionary, in private if you don't want to show off your folly.
The OED gives this as a definition: 'One who is not what he appears to be; an impostor, a humbug'.
Apparently this discussion is going to go longer? The reply to John shows a continuing pattern of surprising misunderstanding.

I had thought, like John, that the practical importance of this type of personal accusation would be obvious to most grown-ups in the internet age. Apparently it is more clear to the "moshing generation"! :)

When posting accusations about people in public, the most relevant definitions of fraud are the legal ones in the relevant countries, because fraud accusations, whether using the word or not, are a potential trigger to action in most legal systems, and those legal systems are currently changing with respect to online discussions, and making actors like google nervous. I am *not* thinking of Peter having a personal risk, but I *am* saying that this is especially important to keep in mind if we care about this forum. A weak and strong point of this forum has been that it is not much managed. But anyone who reads the paper knows that politicians and the public are recently united in making internet platforms more responsible in future for things they allow to be posted on them. Google is already being mentioned as the next big one to come under investigation in America and Europe, where the evolution of new privacy rights etc has been difficult for even specialized lawyers to follow. Sites like Wikipedia and Wikitree think about such things more carefully and constantly, but even they have to be worried and active. (To outsiders, Wikipedia can seem wild. But some of Wikipedia's strictest policies are on such matters. Saying anything about the off-wiki life of another Wikipedian is a fast track off the site.)

Peter's deliberately edgy use of accusations which by his own account are intended to damage people's moral reputation is not a good thing for this community. And obviously it is not genealogy anyway. The fact that he constantly pretends to speak for the forum when doing this on his own, while other people speaking for the forum are rare, is more than just quirky therefore, but adds to the potential risk of having a problem.

If we do not, as a community, stick to some basic standards, we could loose yet another online platform in coming years IMHO (or find the forum crippled, or made less public, pushed towards pay-models etc). We need to stick to genealogy and avoid anything intended to damage any person's reputation, or preferably even anything about people outside this forum. We live in a time when potential bosses, competitors, parents and lovers, google each other, something google (our current main platform) is very aware of, so it is not only professional genealogists who have a right (yes, a real legal right) to be concerned about some of the posts on this forum.
Post by Peter Stewart
Any person who deliberately raises an expectation and fails to fulfill it qualifies. This includes pretending to know enough to reach a conclusion that is flatly untenable, then failing to demonstrate the knowledge that would have been required to reach that conclusion fairly in the first place, and yet refusing to acknowledge that it was bogus.
To remind, Peter, you did *not* want to discuss examples of Keats-Rohan's citation style compared to Richardson's, in terms of its potential usefulness to genealogists working on Wikitree, especially looking at whether the referencing is "point by point" (your words). That was the subject you raised (quite strongly) and I addressed. You turned out not to really be interested in that.

Anyway, I gave links to some relatively detailed discussions which at least touch on it, though they are clearly not written in order to look at this difference specifically. I can fully accept that the differences do not mean Keats-Rohan is a worse scholar or anything like that. I understand Domesday Descendants to be an experimental sketch which tries to use mainly a limited set of primary sources, and so a step in a bigger project. But, concerning whether it is "point by point" and should be used by genealogists instead of Richardson, in the end it's novel conclusions (which are not always noted as novel conclusions) are influenced by a patchy, and imperfectly annotated, use of secondary sources. That is consistent, I think, with the style of the project.

In the example family I mentioned, Richardson's awkward blocks of citations are in contrast relatively "point by point" because the citations often contain excerpts, showing (incompletely) what they were used for. They are also more complete, and I tend to find it easier to see whether Richardson is claiming to have a novel conclusion, or new piece of evidence.

Of course in most cases the reason that it is not true that wikitree editors should use Keats-Rohan instead of Richardson, as you said they are "stupid" not to, is because Keats-Rohan covers less people and less of their family links. This is quite a simple and obvious reason I have also pointed to many times. For myself, I try to check both when they both cover a family, but if I were advising the general community of wikitree I'd say Richardson is normally going to be the easier to use for types of improvements most editors are going to be willing and able to make.

Giving you the benefit of the doubt, you apparently had not thought through your initial statements in the thread, nor carefully read or checked what you agreed with and went beyond. I have no problem with you deciding this was not worth discussing, but the rest of the discussion was frankly about you trying to tell me what else I should write *instead*, so that you could attack a straw man, and raise a smoke screen. Until that moment you have never been so "deliberately rude" (your words) to me personally, but after I disobeyed your commands you have (still) not stopped posting your expressions of annoyance about it, and demands that I should even submit to a testing by you in order to prove my guilt. I kindly once more request that you stop. It would have been easier to say that your initial post about wikitree editors, which you apparently did not even know was about wikitree editors, was a misunderstanding. It takes a strong man to admit they misunderstood something, I guess(?), but trying to turn such a case around and describe it as part of a crusade for more careful reading and "aggressively pursuing" (your words) pretenders etc is untenable and unfair and impractical.

Frankly, the word "Richardson" was apparently just a "red rag" for you that started all this. We all should try to avoid letting ourselves react to things about living people without careful consideration IMHO. Please accept that I say this with good intentions, and will endeavour to apply it to myself also.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-25 10:42:36 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
Post by Peter Stewart
Post by j***@gmail.com
"persistently aggressive dishonesty"
um...
"If you can't fulfill such a simple request then everyone here will realise, as I already do, that you are a fraud."
wow... I thought frauds had to do with financial benefit through chicanery. But what do I know. I'm the kind of guy who thinks that Mary Machell wasn't the daughter of Mary Lewknor.
Astrologically speaking, right now (and continuing for the next couple days) there is an exact Mars/Pluto conjunction closely squaring Eris, which is certainly consistent with vitriolic outbursts intermixed with high dudgeon.
But around here personal attacks are doubtless as off-topic as astrological ruminations, or maybe not...
It's strange that anyone would make a public post to advertise their own ignorance - try looking up fraud in a dictionary, in private if you don't want to show off your folly.
The OED gives this as a definition: 'One who is not what he appears to be; an impostor, a humbug'.
Apparently this discussion is going to go longer? The reply to John shows a continuing pattern of surprising misunderstanding.
I had thought, like John, that the practical importance of this type of personal accusation would be obvious to most grown-ups in the internet age. Apparently it is more clear to the "moshing generation"! :)
When posting accusations about people in public, the most relevant definitions of fraud are the legal ones in the relevant countries, because fraud accusations, whether using the word or not, are a potential trigger to action in most legal systems, and those legal systems are currently changing with respect to online discussions, and making actors like google nervous. I am *not* thinking of Peter having a personal risk, but I *am* saying that this is especially important to keep in mind if we care about this forum. A weak and strong point of this forum has been that it is not much managed. But anyone who reads the paper knows that politicians and the public are recently united in making internet platforms more responsible in future for things they allow to be posted on them. Google is already being mentioned as the next big one to come under investigation in America and Europe, where the evolution of new privacy rights etc has been difficult for even specialized lawyers to follow. Sites like Wikipedia and Wikitree think about such things more carefully and constantly, but even they have to be worried and active. (To outsiders, Wikipedia can seem wild. But some of Wikipedia's strictest policies are on such matters. Saying anything about the off-wiki life of another Wikipedian is a fast track off the site.)
Peter's deliberately edgy use of accusations which by his own account are intended to damage people's moral reputation is not a good thing for this community. And obviously it is not genealogy anyway. The fact that he constantly pretends to speak for the forum when doing this on his own, while other people speaking for the forum are rare, is more than just quirky therefore, but adds to the potential risk of having a problem.
If we do not, as a community, stick to some basic standards, we could loose yet another online platform in coming years IMHO (or find the forum crippled, or made less public, pushed towards pay-models etc). We need to stick to genealogy and avoid anything intended to damage any person's reputation, or preferably even anything about people outside this forum. We live in a time when potential bosses, competitors, parents and lovers, google each other, something google (our current main platform) is very aware of, so it is not only professional genealogists who have a right (yes, a real legal right) to be concerned about some of the posts on this forum.
Post by Peter Stewart
Any person who deliberately raises an expectation and fails to fulfill it qualifies. This includes pretending to know enough to reach a conclusion that is flatly untenable, then failing to demonstrate the knowledge that would have been required to reach that conclusion fairly in the first place, and yet refusing to acknowledge that it was bogus.
To remind, Peter, you did *not* want to discuss examples of Keats-Rohan's citation style compared to Richardson's, in terms of its potential usefulness to genealogists working on Wikitree, especially looking at whether the referencing is "point by point" (your words). That was the subject you raised (quite strongly) and I addressed. You turned out not to really be interested in that.
Anyway, I gave links to some relatively detailed discussions which at least touch on it, though they are clearly not written in order to look at this difference specifically. I can fully accept that the differences do not mean Keats-Rohan is a worse scholar or anything like that. I understand Domesday Descendants to be an experimental sketch which tries to use mainly a limited set of primary sources, and so a step in a bigger project. But, concerning whether it is "point by point" and should be used by genealogists instead of Richardson, in the end it's novel conclusions (which are not always noted as novel conclusions) are influenced by a patchy, and imperfectly annotated, use of secondary sources. That is consistent, I think, with the style of the project.
In the example family I mentioned, Richardson's awkward blocks of citations are in contrast relatively "point by point" because the citations often contain excerpts, showing (incompletely) what they were used for. They are also more complete, and I tend to find it easier to see whether Richardson is claiming to have a novel conclusion, or new piece of evidence.
Of course in most cases the reason that it is not true that wikitree editors should use Keats-Rohan instead of Richardson, as you said they are "stupid" not to, is because Keats-Rohan covers less people and less of their family links. This is quite a simple and obvious reason I have also pointed to many times. For myself, I try to check both when they both cover a family, but if I were advising the general community of wikitree I'd say Richardson is normally going to be the easier to use for types of improvements most editors are going to be willing and able to make.
Giving you the benefit of the doubt, you apparently had not thought through your initial statements in the thread, nor carefully read or checked what you agreed with and went beyond. I have no problem with you deciding this was not worth discussing, but the rest of the discussion was frankly about you trying to tell me what else I should write *instead*, so that you could attack a straw man, and raise a smoke screen. Until that moment you have never been so "deliberately rude" (your words) to me personally, but after I disobeyed your commands you have (still) not stopped posting your expressions of annoyance about it, and demands that I should even submit to a testing by you in order to prove my guilt. I kindly once more request that you stop. It would have been easier to say that your initial post about wikitree editors, which you apparently did not even know was about wikitree editors, was a misunderstanding. It takes a strong man to admit they misunderstood something, I guess(?), but trying to turn such a case around and describe it as part of a crusade for more careful reading and "aggressively pursuing" (your words) pretenders etc is untenable and unfair and impractical.
Frankly, the word "Richardson" was apparently just a "red rag" for you that started all this. We all should try to avoid letting ourselves react to things about living people without careful consideration IMHO. Please accept that I say this with good intentions, and will endeavour to apply it to myself also.
Humbug - pompous, evasive humbug.

The first post I made in this thread about Richardson's works, on 17 April, was an objective remark followed by a comparative observation: "... they [Wikitree compilers] can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters."

The second was about the deep foolishness of unquestioningly trusting a specific type of work: "how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative?"

The latter applies equally to Katharine Keats-Rohan's works. It is only the evidence found by following the citations to primary sources that carries authority. This is easier to do, with more consistent results, via Keats-Rohan's aggregated references than from Richardson's.

Cawley's work is in a different category, as he either provides (or attempts to provide) point-by-point references to sources or admits that he hasn't found these. The issue with his work was the nonsense of claiming an error rate comparable to that of Keats-Rohan or Richardson, whom in this context I compared favourably with Cawley, less so with Keats-Rohan.

Has anyone put forward a cogent argument against that? You certainly have not. You offered links to some disagreements with Keats-Rohan's identifications and proposed relationships. Obviously she is not always right, nor is anyone.

If a poster claimed here that some group took my posts as authoritative and resisted any counter-argument, I would say they are utter fools. More foolish than mentally responsible adults have a right to be. If I did not think this I wouldn't bother taking part in a newsgroup where my posts can be questioned and criticised - instead I would perhaps start a website like Cawley's that is unresponsive to the public.

Richardson to his credit has exposed himself over time to intense criticism here. Sometimes no doubt he has carried his argument, though I can't recall any episodes like this before about the last five years.

Katharine Keats-Rohan has responded to correction by putting out her own addenda to the *Domesday* volumes. Any conscientious seeker after the truth should welcome it when offered. She has responded to disagreements by defending her positions in journals and in person at conferences. I expect she would do the same if presented with compelling evidence where you disagree with her, though I don't suppose she goes looking online for opportunities to engage with any and every critic or axe-grinder.

If you want to discuss standards in medieval genealogy there first needs to be a transparent way to assess these. If you can't or won't even try to prove that you can find elementary errors in Cawley's method and results, then as far as I'm concerned you have nothing useful to contribute on this score.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-25 13:07:31 UTC
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On Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 12:42:38 PM UTC+2, Peter Stewart wrote:

Dear Peter

Thank you for this reply. I find it more clarifying, and less conflict-seeking.
Post by Peter Stewart
The first post I made in this thread about Richardson's works, on 17 April, was an objective remark followed by a comparative observation: "... they [Wikitree compilers] can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters."
The second was about the deep foolishness of unquestioningly trusting a specific type of work: "how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative?"
Instead of dwelling on all the other words and context you've removed, I am going to happily see this summary as your own chosen clarification of which words were the really important ones. I think these points are fine and uncontroversial.
Post by Peter Stewart
The latter applies equally to Katharine Keats-Rohan's works. It is only the evidence found by following the citations to primary sources that carries authority. This is easier to do, with more consistent results, via Keats-Rohan's aggregated references than from Richardson's.
In my opinion, on this fine point, the generalization is debatable. It will sometimes be true. But honestly it does not match most of the cases where I've been through both Richardson and Keats-Rohan, like the examples I mentioned. A typical block of citations, furthermore, will be series of raw entries from the pipe rolls, with no explanation about how a dozen entries all over England were turned into one, two or three people, even if it is clearly being done in a novel way that disagrees with secondary literature that uses more types of primary record. This format is a far more primary and experimental and narrowly focused type of research than Richardson's - research to be built upon by more research. (I believe this also matches Keats-Rohan's own understanding.) But for this reason less "authoritative" for less advanced genealogists working on the mass of basic uncontroversial but poorly made profiles on Wikitree.

On the other hand, there is little overlap. Richardson gets less useful the further back you go of course, whereas your own interests, like Keats-Rohan's tends to be less after about 1250? One part of the overlap, furthermore, would be the Earls and royal families, but for these there are often better or additional sources that we can use, such as CP (also not perfect of course, but generally nicely sourced).
Post by Peter Stewart
Cawley's work is in a different category, as he either provides (or attempts to provide) point-by-point references to sources or admits that he hasn't found these. The issue with his work was the nonsense of claiming an error rate comparable to that of Keats-Rohan or Richardson, whom in this context I compared favourably with Cawley, less so with Keats-Rohan.
I agree of course. I made a wrong comment about error rates, within a longer sentence, and admitted it. I still think it is true that Richardson probably has less errors than the Domesday books, and also that MEDLANDS is inspired by Keats-Rohan's approach and sometimes it shows. (Trying to start from primary records. Ending up using secondary records, but not all of them. Not always knowing when you are saying something novel, and therefore not always noting it.) But I understand and agree with your opinion that MEDLANDS has more important errors of a qualitatively different type, whereas the similarities are less important. That's fine by me.

FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
Post by Peter Stewart
Has anyone put forward a cogent argument against that? You certainly have not. You offered links to some disagreements with Keats-Rohan's identifications and proposed relationships. Obviously she is not always right, nor is anyone.
Right. And we both agreed with Stewart's post which I took to be an attempt to explain what is specifically concerning about MEDLANDS. (Thanks to him.) I also noted at least once that I personally doubt that we have any real major difference of opinion on that.
Post by Peter Stewart
If a poster claimed here that some group took my posts as authoritative and resisted any counter-argument, I would say they are utter fools. More foolish than mentally responsible adults have a right to be. If I did not think this I wouldn't bother taking part in a newsgroup where my posts can be questioned and criticised - instead I would perhaps start a website like Cawley's that is unresponsive to the public.
Richardson to his credit has exposed himself over time to intense criticism here. Sometimes no doubt he has carried his argument, though I can't recall any episodes like this before about the last five years.
Katharine Keats-Rohan has responded to correction by putting out her own addenda to the *Domesday* volumes. Any conscientious seeker after the truth should welcome it when offered. She has responded to disagreements by defending her positions in journals and in person at conferences. I expect she would do the same if presented with compelling evidence where you disagree with her, though I don't suppose she goes looking online for opportunities to engage with any and every critic or axe-grinder.
Seems reasonable to me.

My Hastings comments were used in part of Rosie Bevan's collection, as she mentions, so I can hope indeed that they are part of the on-going dialogue now. Even if Keats-Rohan herself never finds time to reply as such, I would of course not blame her. I do not accuse her of pretending to be perfect. I personally think anyone who dares do something new and valuable, is doing a risky and important thing. This is how the sciences proceed.
Post by Peter Stewart
If you want to discuss standards in medieval genealogy there first needs to be a transparent way to assess these. If you can't or won't even try to prove that you can find elementary errors in Cawley's method and results, then as far as I'm concerned you have nothing useful to contribute on this score.
I've looked through many of Cawley's methods and results, and explained some of what I have found on this forum and others. But I'm afraid I don't intend to accept your challenge, as I think even the way you presented it shows that the ensuing discussion is unlikely to be positive. FWIW I do not claim to be the world's greatest expert in anything. I just try to learn and enjoy.
Peter Stewart
2018-04-25 23:39:28 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
Dear Peter
Thank you for this reply. I find it more clarifying, and less conflict-seeking.
Post by Peter Stewart
The first post I made in this thread about Richardson's works, on 17 April, was an objective remark followed by a comparative observation: "... they [Wikitree compilers] can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters."
The second was about the deep foolishness of unquestioningly trusting a specific type of work: "how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative?"
Instead of dwelling on all the other words and context you've removed, I am going to happily see this summary as your own chosen clarification of which words were the really important ones. I think these points are fine and uncontroversial.
Post by Peter Stewart
The latter applies equally to Katharine Keats-Rohan's works. It is only the evidence found by following the citations to primary sources that carries authority. This is easier to do, with more consistent results, via Keats-Rohan's aggregated references than from Richardson's.
In my opinion, on this fine point, the generalization is debatable. It will sometimes be true. But honestly it does not match most of the cases where I've been through both Richardson and Keats-Rohan, like the examples I mentioned. A typical block of citations, furthermore, will be series of raw entries from the pipe rolls, with no explanation about how a dozen entries all over England were turned into one, two or three people, even if it is clearly being done in a novel way that disagrees with secondary literature that uses more types of primary record. This format is a far more primary and experimental and narrowly focused type of research than Richardson's - research to be built upon by more research. (I believe this also matches Keats-Rohan's own understanding.) But for this reason less "authoritative" for less advanced genealogists working on the mass of basic uncontroversial but poorly made profiles on Wikitree.
On the other hand, there is little overlap. Richardson gets less useful the further back you go of course, whereas your own interests, like Keats-Rohan's tends to be less after about 1250? One part of the overlap, furthermore, would be the Earls and royal families, but for these there are often better or additional sources that we can use, such as CP (also not perfect of course, but generally nicely sourced).
Post by Peter Stewart
Cawley's work is in a different category, as he either provides (or attempts to provide) point-by-point references to sources or admits that he hasn't found these. The issue with his work was the nonsense of claiming an error rate comparable to that of Keats-Rohan or Richardson, whom in this context I compared favourably with Cawley, less so with Keats-Rohan.
I agree of course. I made a wrong comment about error rates, within a longer sentence, and admitted it. I still think it is true that Richardson probably has less errors than the Domesday books, and also that MEDLANDS is inspired by Keats-Rohan's approach and sometimes it shows. (Trying to start from primary records. Ending up using secondary records, but not all of them. Not always knowing when you are saying something novel, and therefore not always noting it.) But I understand and agree with your opinion that MEDLANDS has more important errors of a qualitatively different type, whereas the similarities are less important. That's fine by me.
FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
Post by Peter Stewart
Has anyone put forward a cogent argument against that? You certainly have not. You offered links to some disagreements with Keats-Rohan's identifications and proposed relationships. Obviously she is not always right, nor is anyone.
Right. And we both agreed with Stewart's post which I took to be an attempt to explain what is specifically concerning about MEDLANDS. (Thanks to him.) I also noted at least once that I personally doubt that we have any real major difference of opinion on that.
Post by Peter Stewart
If a poster claimed here that some group took my posts as authoritative and resisted any counter-argument, I would say they are utter fools. More foolish than mentally responsible adults have a right to be. If I did not think this I wouldn't bother taking part in a newsgroup where my posts can be questioned and criticised - instead I would perhaps start a website like Cawley's that is unresponsive to the public.
Richardson to his credit has exposed himself over time to intense criticism here. Sometimes no doubt he has carried his argument, though I can't recall any episodes like this before about the last five years.
Katharine Keats-Rohan has responded to correction by putting out her own addenda to the *Domesday* volumes. Any conscientious seeker after the truth should welcome it when offered. She has responded to disagreements by defending her positions in journals and in person at conferences. I expect she would do the same if presented with compelling evidence where you disagree with her, though I don't suppose she goes looking online for opportunities to engage with any and every critic or axe-grinder.
Seems reasonable to me.
My Hastings comments were used in part of Rosie Bevan's collection, as she mentions, so I can hope indeed that they are part of the on-going dialogue now. Even if Keats-Rohan herself never finds time to reply as such, I would of course not blame her. I do not accuse her of pretending to be perfect. I personally think anyone who dares do something new and valuable, is doing a risky and important thing. This is how the sciences proceed.
Post by Peter Stewart
If you want to discuss standards in medieval genealogy there first needs to be a transparent way to assess these. If you can't or won't even try to prove that you can find elementary errors in Cawley's method and results, then as far as I'm concerned you have nothing useful to contribute on this score.
I've looked through many of Cawley's methods and results, and explained some of what I have found on this forum and others. But I'm afraid I don't intend to accept your challenge, as I think even the way you presented it shows that the ensuing discussion is unlikely to be positive. FWIW I do not claim to be the world's greatest expert in anything. I just try to learn and enjoy.
If you "just try to learn and enjoy" you would not have the presumption to tell me repeatedly what you think I am and am not interested in. This kind of obnoxious know-it-all patronising is offensive, whether you realise and intend it or not.

You seem to understand by association of what you read with what you presuppose the writer is likely to say, rather than by applying the simple courtesy of allowing that the writer actually says exactly what he means.

As for your renewed evasion of the point about transparency in identifying errors, this discussion is clearly going nowhere. I have documented many times over that Cawley very often fails to grasp the meaning of sources he quotes from, and very often fails to find the appropriate source/s in the first place. He skims editions (that are frequently obsolete) in languages he does not know and pulls out a lot of material that he laboriously turns into garbage. From raw product to smelly refuse, with no useful and sensible process along the way.

You purported to be able to gauge his rate of errors. You have failed to substantiate this. You can't do it unless you know how to follow his citations (including ones that he botches by leaving out a volume number, as in the instance where I supplied the page for you) and then understand what the source itself says rather than what he or someone else has represented it to say.

You were offered a very straightforward chance to prove that you can do this. It required no prior knowledge on your part (at least after I supplied the page, but Googling would have done that for you anyway) to find two glaring flaws in Cawley's presentation of a point which I stated in advance to be correct in my opinion.

Without the transparency of showing errors unarguably - not as matters of interpretation depending on other related interpretations or identifications - there is no basis to proceed with a comparison of error rates in the work of Keats-Rohan and that of Cawley, or to place Richardson's somewhere between the two.

These are not unimportant questions for this newsgroup. Keats-Rohan has published some fine scholarly work, including an edition of a Latin cartulary that required skills patently not possessed by the other two. In the *Domesday* volumes she has produced a reference work that is one of the most widely and deeply used since CP in the field of Anglo-Norman studies. Richardson could be said to have done a similar service in the field of US gateway ancestry studies (I am not stating this as definite, because I am not competent to judge). Cawley has done nothing of the sort, for any time, place or social grouping.

Peter Stewart
Andrew Lancaster
2018-04-26 08:19:59 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Post by Peter Howarth
Dear Peter
Thank you for this reply. I find it more clarifying, and less conflict-seeking.
Post by Peter Stewart
The first post I made in this thread about Richardson's works, on 17 April, was an objective remark followed by a comparative observation: "... they [Wikitree compilers] can be as good as Richardson's works just by drawing all their information from these, and just as obviously they will be better than Richardson's works when they draw information from better works. From Keats-Rohan's works, for starters."
The second was about the deep foolishness of unquestioningly trusting a specific type of work: "how could any work that doesn't provide specific, point-by-point references be taken as authoritative?"
Instead of dwelling on all the other words and context you've removed, I am going to happily see this summary as your own chosen clarification of which words were the really important ones. I think these points are fine and uncontroversial.
Post by Peter Stewart
The latter applies equally to Katharine Keats-Rohan's works. It is only the evidence found by following the citations to primary sources that carries authority. This is easier to do, with more consistent results, via Keats-Rohan's aggregated references than from Richardson's.
In my opinion, on this fine point, the generalization is debatable. It will sometimes be true. But honestly it does not match most of the cases where I've been through both Richardson and Keats-Rohan, like the examples I mentioned. A typical block of citations, furthermore, will be series of raw entries from the pipe rolls, with no explanation about how a dozen entries all over England were turned into one, two or three people, even if it is clearly being done in a novel way that disagrees with secondary literature that uses more types of primary record. This format is a far more primary and experimental and narrowly focused type of research than Richardson's - research to be built upon by more research. (I believe this also matches Keats-Rohan's own understanding.) But for this reason less "authoritative" for less advanced genealogists working on the mass of basic uncontroversial but poorly made profiles on Wikitree.
On the other hand, there is little overlap. Richardson gets less useful the further back you go of course, whereas your own interests, like Keats-Rohan's tends to be less after about 1250? One part of the overlap, furthermore, would be the Earls and royal families, but for these there are often better or additional sources that we can use, such as CP (also not perfect of course, but generally nicely sourced).
Post by Peter Stewart
Cawley's work is in a different category, as he either provides (or attempts to provide) point-by-point references to sources or admits that he hasn't found these. The issue with his work was the nonsense of claiming an error rate comparable to that of Keats-Rohan or Richardson, whom in this context I compared favourably with Cawley, less so with Keats-Rohan.
I agree of course. I made a wrong comment about error rates, within a longer sentence, and admitted it. I still think it is true that Richardson probably has less errors than the Domesday books, and also that MEDLANDS is inspired by Keats-Rohan's approach and sometimes it shows. (Trying to start from primary records. Ending up using secondary records, but not all of them. Not always knowing when you are saying something novel, and therefore not always noting it.) But I understand and agree with your opinion that MEDLANDS has more important errors of a qualitatively different type, whereas the similarities are less important. That's fine by me.
FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
Post by Peter Stewart
Has anyone put forward a cogent argument against that? You certainly have not. You offered links to some disagreements with Keats-Rohan's identifications and proposed relationships. Obviously she is not always right, nor is anyone.
Right. And we both agreed with Stewart's post which I took to be an attempt to explain what is specifically concerning about MEDLANDS. (Thanks to him.) I also noted at least once that I personally doubt that we have any real major difference of opinion on that.
Post by Peter Stewart
If a poster claimed here that some group took my posts as authoritative and resisted any counter-argument, I would say they are utter fools. More foolish than mentally responsible adults have a right to be. If I did not think this I wouldn't bother taking part in a newsgroup where my posts can be questioned and criticised - instead I would perhaps start a website like Cawley's that is unresponsive to the public.
Richardson to his credit has exposed himself over time to intense criticism here. Sometimes no doubt he has carried his argument, though I can't recall any episodes like this before about the last five years.
Katharine Keats-Rohan has responded to correction by putting out her own addenda to the *Domesday* volumes. Any conscientious seeker after the truth should welcome it when offered. She has responded to disagreements by defending her positions in journals and in person at conferences. I expect she would do the same if presented with compelling evidence where you disagree with her, though I don't suppose she goes looking online for opportunities to engage with any and every critic or axe-grinder.
Seems reasonable to me.
My Hastings comments were used in part of Rosie Bevan's collection, as she mentions, so I can hope indeed that they are part of the on-going dialogue now. Even if Keats-Rohan herself never finds time to reply as such, I would of course not blame her. I do not accuse her of pretending to be perfect. I personally think anyone who dares do something new and valuable, is doing a risky and important thing. This is how the sciences proceed.
Post by Peter Stewart
If you want to discuss standards in medieval genealogy there first needs to be a transparent way to assess these. If you can't or won't even try to prove that you can find elementary errors in Cawley's method and results, then as far as I'm concerned you have nothing useful to contribute on this score.
I've looked through many of Cawley's methods and results, and explained some of what I have found on this forum and others. But I'm afraid I don't intend to accept your challenge, as I think even the way you presented it shows that the ensuing discussion is unlikely to be positive. FWIW I do not claim to be the world's greatest expert in anything. I just try to learn and enjoy.
If you "just try to learn and enjoy" you would not have the presumption to tell me repeatedly what you think I am and am not interested in. This kind of obnoxious know-it-all patronising is offensive, whether you realise and intend it or not.
You seem to understand by association of what you read with what you presuppose the writer is likely to say, rather than by applying the simple courtesy of allowing that the writer actually says exactly what he means.
I think honestly one thing you can not say about me is that I made no effort to get your own words clarified by you, yourself. :) Concerning the reasons why your original complete wording in context, and your replies to comments about them, had a different meaning, let's not go over it again. Your clarifications now supersede that.
Post by Peter Stewart
As for your renewed evasion of the point about transparency in identifying errors, this discussion is clearly going nowhere.
You mean my refusal to be publicly tested by you? Otherwise I have no idea what you are talking about.
Post by Peter Stewart
I have documented many times over that Cawley very often fails to grasp the meaning of sources he quotes from, and very often fails to find the appropriate source/s in the first place. He skims editions (that are frequently obsolete) in languages he does not know and pulls out a lot of material that he laboriously turns into garbage. From raw product to smelly refuse, with no useful and sensible process along the way.
You purported to be able to gauge his rate of errors. You have failed to substantiate this. You can't do it unless you know how to follow his citations (including ones that he botches by leaving out a volume number, as in the instance where I supplied the page for you) and then understand what the source itself says rather than what he or someone else has represented it to say.
No in this case you are the one mis-stating what I said. I said "I've looked through many of Cawley's methods and results, and explained some of what I have found on this forum and others". It means that if you've got all the normal chances to see what I write just like we do with other genealogists who post anything online.
Post by Peter Stewart
You were offered a very straightforward chance to prove that you can do this. It required no prior knowledge on your part (at least after I supplied the page, but Googling would have done that for you anyway) to find two glaring flaws in Cawley's presentation of a point which I stated in advance to be correct in my opinion.
I propose that you use more conventional reading and writing techniques to communicate points and check what people write.
Post by Peter Stewart
Without the transparency of showing errors unarguably - not as matters of interpretation depending on other related interpretations or identifications - there is no basis to proceed with a comparison of error rates in the work of Keats-Rohan and that of Cawley, or to place Richardson's somewhere between the two.
Actually, I always said that comparison of errors rates is not a good way to compare these very different publications. That was my original point. I was looking at the types of remarks being made and pointing out that they were not very useful or accurate or logically consistent. (These were not mainly about error rate, but mainly about whether the citations are "point by point" - your chosen words and chosen criterium.)

But for the record I did say, and still say, that although I've conducted no specific study I think Richardson has less errors than the other two based on examples I've looked at including examples where there is overlap. But again, I would say I was responding to comments of yours which implied that such comparisons were important. This was not my chosen way of discussing the quality of the publications. I am glad to now see that you agree.
Post by Peter Stewart
These are not unimportant questions for this newsgroup. Keats-Rohan has published some fine scholarly work, including an edition of a Latin cartulary that required skills patently not possessed by the other two. In the *Domesday* volumes she has produced a reference work that is one of the most widely and deeply used since CP in the field of Anglo-Norman studies. Richardson could be said to have done a similar service in the field of US gateway ancestry studies (I am not stating this as definite, because I am not competent to judge).
I have no idea if I've read all her articles, but I've certainly read many, and I have a copy of her CD, not only her two Domesday books. It strikes me from posts like this that you never looked at any of the examples I posted which I thought might help explain my point about her citations. It might have at least dispelled a concern that you seen to have about whether I've actually read her works. Actually, I may even have done more close parallel studies than you of MEDLANDS, CP, K-R, Richardson, Genealogics etc in areas where they overlap (not that the overlap is enormous). (Is such a study even something you claim to have done?)
Post by Peter Stewart
Cawley has done nothing of the sort, for any time, place or social grouping.
It is a debatable but reasonable comment. Why debatable? I am sure everyone will agree that MEDLANDS has had less impact on Anglo Norman studies, but I suppose MEDLANDS has for better or worse had a bigger impact on medieval genealogy generally, which is the topic of this forum.

Finally though, the question I really wanted to raise is whether MEDLANDS sees itself as an experiment, or does it make overblown claims of already being an authority? I don't have a quote in mind but my impression is that both Charles and FMG have swung between these two types of presentation.

IMHO it would be better to post all kinds of warnings on MEDLANDS, that it is intended to be an experimental format or approach. I would also say that it could be improved quickly by changing some of the formatting/style such as using only square brackets to register uncertainty. (I would say that unknown/uncertain relationships should for example not normally be the basis of the indenting style which normally indicates known relationships.)

Also, an obvious problem I think everyone points to, is that it seems MEDLANDS has used secondary sources sometimes to get started with a basic family tree, but then not cited them. In 10th century Lotharingia for example, I think Vanderkindere is often that source. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was a 1902 publication and a lot of his ideas are no longer the standard.
s***@mindspring.com
2018-04-26 01:16:43 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
The following statement is quoted from the introduction to "Medieval Lands":

"Medieval Lands represents a new approach to the presentation of royal and noble families, and the historical context in which they lived. Most existing published works in the field have two important drawbacks. Firstly, the information, even if complete, is usually limited to dates and outline relationships. Secondly, information is copied from previously published secondary works without adequate verification against primary sources: connections which started life as speculative have been transformed into apparent certainty and errors perpetuated."

That statement (or a similarly worded one) has been in the introduction to the Medieval Lands website at least since I first visited the site more than a decade ago. How could this nonsense about a "new approach" be regarded as anything but pretentious? The falseness of this description is made clear by another statement appearing just before it:

"Outline tables on royal and noble families presented in published secondary works, such as the Europäische Stammtafeln series, have provided the basic informational framework into which data from primary sources has been incorporated."

If my memory is correct, that statement was formerly in a much less conspicuous place. In any case, it clearly indicates that at Medieval Lands, "information is copied from previously published secondary works without adequate verification against primary sources" and Medieval Lands is certainly helping to perpetuate previous errors, exactly one of the "drawbacks" that the "new approach" at Medieval Lands was supposed to correct (not to mention the entirely new errors created there which people unwisely using Medieval Lands are now helping to perpetuate).

Stewart Baldwin
Peter Stewart
2018-04-26 05:33:47 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
"Medieval Lands represents a new approach to the presentation of royal and noble families, and the historical context in which they lived. Most existing published works in the field have two important drawbacks. Firstly, the information, even if complete, is usually limited to dates and outline relationships. Secondly, information is copied from previously published secondary works without adequate verification against primary sources: connections which started life as speculative have been transformed into apparent certainty and errors perpetuated."
"Outline tables on royal and noble families presented in published secondary works, such as the Europäische Stammtafeln series, have provided the basic informational framework into which data from primary sources has been incorporated."
If my memory is correct, that statement was formerly in a much less conspicuous place. In any case, it clearly indicates that at Medieval Lands, "information is copied from previously published secondary works without adequate verification against primary sources" and Medieval Lands is certainly helping to perpetuate previous errors, exactly one of the "drawbacks" that the "new approach" at Medieval Lands was supposed to correct (not to mention the entirely new errors created there which people unwisely using Medieval Lands are now helping to perpetuate).
My recollection of the first sighting I had of an extract from Medieval Lands (when this was sent to me for comment before FMG agreed to host it online) is that its compiler claimed to take Europäische Stammtafeln as the starting point and provide primary sources to substantiate or amend information taken from Schwennicke's tables. I thought this could be a helpful exercise, because ES volumes are expensive and inaccessible to many and the standard of accuracy in them in generally higher than in most databases online at the time.

I pointed out then that it was not a work of "prosopography" as Cawley claimed (taking the venerable name of genealogy in vain by using its new-fangled ornamental synonym, apparently...). I also pointed out that he had submitted a sample which had some notable flaws in it yet this was presumably supposed to commend the whole work. It never dawned on me that FMG would promote it - I thought the consideration was over giving space to Cawley as an enthusiastic amateur, the first perhaps among many, rather than as an endorsed work of reference. In my view its continued presence there compromises the declared mission of FMG, and when I saw the full horror show on its initial publication, with absurdly favourable bally-hoo including on Gen-Med by someone who should have known better, I withdrew my membership and co-operation as an adviser immediately.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2018-04-26 06:26:24 UTC
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Post by Andrew Lancaster
FWIW I guess the one thing I find hard to sympathize with in this area are the accusations that MEDLANDS pretends to be something, but your comments about this appear to refer to events in the past which I did not observe myself.
"Medieval Lands represents a new approach to the presentation of royal and noble families, and the historical context in which they lived. Most existing published works in the field have two important drawbacks. Firstly, the information, even if complete, is usually limited to dates and outline relationships. Secondly, information is copied from previously published secondary works without adequate verification against primary sources: connections which started life as speculative have been transformed into apparent certainty and errors perpetuated."
That statement (or a similarly worded one) has been in the introduction to the Medieval Lands website at least since I first visited the site more than a decade ago.
I hadn't looked at the introductory statements since it first appeared - now I see it is said to be in a third edition, that I suppose means a third release of the whole database as it is also said to be an "ongoing" project so that presumably it is being "edited" all the time.

This paragraph struck me (with my comments interspersed in square brackets):

"The process used in compiling Medieval Lands involves extracting and analysing information from a wide variety of primary sources, including contemporary chronicles, cartularies, necrologies and testaments."

[Extracted yes, but analysed I don't think so. For instance, analysing the contents of a published cartulary might start from checking the date or date range ascribed to any charter by its editor, yet Cawley seems to take these almost always on trust. The results can be appalling, as editors sometimes have no clearer idea of chronology than had the original cartularists, and sometimes less.]

"Analysis has been assisted by using Excel spreadsheets for recording and sorting material, which has proved particularly useful for the early charters of Anglo-Saxon England and the Spanish kingdoms, two cases where variations in spelling in a morass of names present obstacles to the correct identification and linking of individuals."

[Two cases out of all cases. I wonder how use of an Excel spreadsheet can assist this process - I assume that sorting is tried alphabetically at least occasionally, but if so how to account for the different initial letters in some name variants? I have never found much use for Excel that didn't involve computation, but I am curious to learn how it can be used for the recognition of individuals.]

"Information extracted from primary sources is presented on a "full text" basis, including in most cases quotes in the original language (mainly Latin, but also, for example, medieval French and German for later sources). Translation has not usually been attempted, to avoid misinterpretation."

[Indeed - and of course to avoid showing that he can't translate accurately from languages he doesn't know. As it is he contrives to misinterpret more than most sentient beings could manage.]

"This systematic approach is fundamental to the reconstruction of the mini-biographies of each individual."

[So is it now billed as a "mini-prosopography"?]

"It also facilitates comparison of different sources consulted, and enables better judgment to be applied before proposing conclusions where information in different sources is contradictory."

[Golly.]

"Where the same facts are repeated in different sources, these have not normally been duplicated unless they help provide corroboration in cases of conflict or a better picture of the chronology of the lives of the individuals concerned."

[This is a euphemistic way of describing what is known in military circles as a "Charlie Foxtrot". The sources chosen are very often derivative ones, and Cawley plainly isn't methodical enough to trace these back to the original or earliest extant version from which they have been copied or paraphrased.]

Peter Stewart
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