Prehistoric people began as gatherers, scouting out food and shelter to sustain them. Over time, they learned that they had to adjust their techniques for obtaining their food by hunting, fishing, and trapping. Their very survival in an often harsh environment depended on it. They developed tools, hunting skills, and farming methods, and moved from place to place to take advantage of the available resources, often returning on a regular basis to the locations that consistently provided what they needed.
Thousands of years later, mankind continues to use the hunter-gatherer approach in almost every facet of life. A trip to the grocery store is both a hunt for foodstuffs and value pricing and a gathering experience as products are placed in the shopping cart. Funds that have been “gathered” (cash or credit card) are used as one of the tools necessary to “capture” the targets of our search.
Genealogy also uses the techniques of hunting or gathering, often in combination with one another, to acquire evidence from different environments. Over time, we expand our knowledge or lore, develop the skills and methodologies for research, and learn about the environments that are most likely to yield success. Are you a hunter or a gatherer or both?
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