Several years ago now, when I was asked to become a Family History Consultant for the branch of the Family History Library in my LDS ward, a new service was just being introduced. This was New Family Search, which is now being integrated with the Family Tree on the Family Search site. As I began attempting to merge duplicates, I found that there were numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies in information that had been submitted. One day i sat and looked at my family tree and thought “I don’t know these people. These are only names to me. I need….story. ” Since that time, I have begun trying to compile histories of the families, not only the individuals, but their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so forth, where and when they lived, moved, worked, who their neighbors were, and so on.
This applies also to my work on the knowledge base. I need more than an skeleton outline of subjects. In order to develop a subject, I need its history, and to do that effectively, I need to put the story back in history.