Thursday, October 15, 2009

The REAL Genealogist

Occasionally I hear people comment on how addictive genealogical research can be. Is it the research or the simple urge to keep looking and collecting names? Maybe the research is addictive, but is it fun and interesting? It can be time consuming and that's where all the problems arise. Genealogy gets put on the back burner for things like children, grandchildren, spouses, vacations (I like mine with genealogy!), activities, jobs ... and then we say that someday when we retire we'll do family history research. Unfortunately, the older family members are gone by then ... or did you realize that when you procrastinated?

A REAL genealogist is one who is dedicated to the research. They will have obstacles and occasionally procrastinate, but overall they continue to study and learn genealogy research methods. When they run into a brickwall (Don't we all?) they don't give up. They keep trying, they look for answers elsewhere and sometimes they ask other genealogists for advise.

This advise can also be in the form of conferences, seminars and workshops. When I am lecturing, whether in a conference setting or in genealogy classes, I tell my students that the word "can't" is not in the genealogist's vocabulary. Maybe you think you can't locate something, but if you get rid of the negative word and negative attitude, you will be surprised at what will happen.

If you spend your money for seminars or conferences, do you put it to use? Or do you come back home and throw the syllabus and notes in the corner to collect dust? If the presenter recommends something, do you try it? How many times do you have to be told about how to locate free genealogical data online, before you decide to try it? A REAL genealogist will try these things, study the notes and syllabus and form their own opinion as to what works. Don't leave your problems in a heap with the notes until next year's conference or seminar.

How much time does it take to do this? It does take time. Why not start a schedule. See how much you can get done in one hour ... explore one Internet web page, such as FamilySearch. Learn all of the features. It won't take that long but you will soon master the skills and be able to search like a pro. The next hour you have available, try out another Internet database, or review your research for ideas on how to progress even further. You don't have to spend an entire day doing it, even though I do find that to be rather exciting!

Have confidence in yourself. Think like a REAL genealogist. Don't give up. Genealogy takes time. You may have to wait for a year before an online query is noticed an answered, or maybe two or more years. Keep telling yourself that you can do it ... and that you will do it.

Next week You Go Genealogy Girl #2 is coming for a visit. With the two of us it's always a genealogy visit! She has asked for a "free" session with me on ways to effectively research databases. It's free to a point ... she may have to buy us lunch! Girl #2 is a REAL genealogist. I know she'll go back home and put to use what she has learned and keep trying.

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 --- Ruby

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Ruby, you took exactly what has been on my mind and said right here. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me (and I know for others), I have been a bit all over the place since I retired. Thank you so much!



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