There was a post last week by a genealogist who stirred up a lot of discussion on the blogs about the paradigm shift in genealogy and the blogger’s role in this shift. Marian Pierre-Louis wrote a two part follow-up to this post. You can read Part I here and Part II here. Be sure to read the comments in all three posts.
In discussing my thoughts on the posts with a few people I interact with online and looking at a genealogy society newsletter I just received in the mail, I had a few things I wanted to share.
After reading the original post I walked away feeling like bloggers are being blamed for genealogy societies falling apart or shutting their doors. I felt like bloggers were being told we were not doing enough to keep societies running. I felt like bloggers were being told how we should run our blogs – put more research out there, cite all the sources on the blog, publish articles, talk about the genealogy societies, be professional (and get certified). I was a little offended when I finished reading the entire post.
I feel that perhaps the author hasn’t really read a variety of other genealogy blogs because it seems that all the things he says we should be doing, we more or less are. Most of the blogs I read, and the ones I write, include information on genealogical resources. We talk about research we are doing and what we find. We discuss genealogy societies and meetings. Do we cite the sources? Some choose to do this within the posts, others do not. It is personal preference.
Are we publishing? Many of us are, although not on our blogs. Blogs are meant to have short posts. Not long articles. In the last year I have had an article in the National Genealogical Society Magazine; the last four quarterly Koreny journals through the Czech and Slovak American Genealogical Society of Illinois; I published a book about my cousin the Flying Tiger; I’m waiting for an article to appear on Archives.com in their Expert Series; and I submitted an article for the Webster County Missouri Historical Society journal that will be published in 2012. I also just finished eight family history books for a client. I think I’m doing my part.
That brings me back to the genealogy societies. I belong to several. Only two are local. I guess three if you count the Schaumburg Library group which is free. I volunteer on a couple of committees in my local society. I try to give back to those societies that have helped me. The Webster County Missouri Historical Society is a good example. I don’t live there. Have no roots there. But the friend I do research for when I have time has some roots there.
Because of the research I did at the Webster County Missouri Historical Society in May, I have a new friend named Jo who I cherish. I joined the society and wrote an article for their journal sharing what I had learned because of all the help she gave me. I’m donating copies of the information I found outside of their society to their family files. Someone else will benefit from the information I donated. Being a member of this society really doesn’t have a lot of benefit for me since I don’t live there and have no roots there. If I start making more connections and have clients in that area there will be more of a benefit. But I continue to contribute because of the assistance they gave me.
As I thought more and re-read the original post I was a little less irritated. Bloggers have a voice and we may be teachers but it isn’t up to one person to tell us how to do things. It isn’t up to one person to tell us how we should help genealogy and historical societies. It is up to us, as individuals, to decide what works for us and what we are able to give back. And I don’t think that just because the vast majority of us are not certified by the BCG, that makes us less of a professional than the author.
- Follow Friday – Missouri Genealogy Research (generationsbiz.com)
- Online Genealogy Forms from David Haas (examiner.com)
- DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society 2012 Conference (examiner.com)