Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP)

In my search for more history on Mary Curtis, I found that the DUP held "something" about her in their archives. The DUP collects histories written about people who came to Utah, or were born in Utah, prior to the advent of the railroad. And Mary Curtis was no exception. So I sent off for what ever they had. Of course I had no way of knowing what it was. So I told them to limit the expense to $25 (at 25 cents a page).
It arrived on earlier this week. I was to some degree pleased but I was also disappointed. There were about half a dozen "histories", each about 2-3 pages long, claiming to be written by different people. After reading all of them I found a few tidbits I didn't know before, but by and large, they repeated most of the same stories word for word. So I have put together a list of requests for people who submit histories to organizations like the DUP.

1)Please fill out the form they give you to fill out and send it with your history. That form was included some of the histories, but not all of them. It tells the future reader things they should know when judging the validity of your history.
2)Please indicate your source. It doesn't have to match the official citation styles, but I can't tell who the original source was of the six versions of the story.
3)If you add something not in your source, note why you added it or where you got the idea. Poetic imaginations are nice to read, (never let the truth get in the way of a good story) but I want to know that that is what I am reading before I waste time trying to find proof that something really happened.
4)If you are not going to add something, why bother. The original author probably knew your subject better. So unless you have something new to add, or at least collect into one spot, why muddy the waters with another history?

I am grateful for the availability of the histories and to the DUP for collecting them and making them available to others, even if the do add some restrictions of who they will let see them. They make it possible for people like me with little or no real history credentials to get started.

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