Principles of Genealogical Research
Accuracy and honesty of all personal research and of work published, promoted or distributed to others.
Provision of clear evidence from primary sources to support all conclusions and statements of fact.
Use of original sources and records (or surrogate images of originals) to gather key information.
Citation and recording of sources used so that others may also evaluate the evidence.
Logical and reasoned development of family links with each step proved from valid evidence before further deductions are made.
Investigation and analysis of all possible solutions and of contradictory evidence with each alternative hypothesis examined and tested.
Qualification of less certain conclusions as probable or possible so that others are not misled
Acceptance of the possibility that a solution may not be found and acknowledgement of circumstances in which this occurs
Awareness of gaps in the availability of and information from sources at all levels.
Receptiveness to new information and to informed comment which may challenge earlier conclusions.
Acknowledgement and attribution of research done by others and use of such work as a secondary source only.
Evidence only becomes proof through a reasoned and logical analysis and argument capable of convincing others that the conclusion is valid.
Genealogy or Family History?
While is common for people to use the terms 'genealogy' and 'family history' interchangeably, they actually have a subtle but different meaning. Genealogy, the study of ancestry and descent, refers more to the actual search for ancestors, while family history, the narrative of the events in your ancestors' lives, denotes the telling of your family's story. Family history is genealogy come alive.
To experience the difference between genealogy and family history, place yourself in the world of an ancestor. For the best experience, select one for which you only have a few dull, dry facts such as birth date, hometown, marriage, children and burial location. Then try to learn the circumstances of his/her life - what he did to put food on the table, how he spent his leisure time, his position in the town or community, the cost of living in effect at the time, the types of food he ate, the clothes he wore, diseases which were prevalent for the time period, the traditions he followed...
To dig up the answers to these questions, you can turn to a variety of historical resources: timelines, social histories, community histories, newspaper accounts, biographies, etc. The records which gave you the names and dates for your ancestors are also a source for potential clues. Census records may be able to tell you about your ancestor's neighborhood, occupations, educational background, and financial situation. Wills may provide insight into your ancestor's feelings, friends, and possessions. Immigration and naturalization records may offer a look at your ancestor's motivations for moving to a new country.
In your quest to learn more about where you came from, don't limit yourself to the 'genealogy' search. Flesh out the lives of your ancestors, tell the stories of your living family members, and bring your family history to life.
Source : http://genealogy.about.com