Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Are You a Genealogist?
Surely in this profession there are those who consider many of us only to be amateurs, not yet worthy to wear the title of genealogist and indeed many of us are just that...amateurs, but calling oneself a genealogist does not come lightly to most of us who seek those family connections of the past. It is my personal belief that anyone who strives to pursue his goals or trade can carry the title of that trade. Being an apprentice shoemaker or a young chemist in the lab still makes that person deserved of his title of cobbler or scientist. A "rock-hound" can hold his title whether he seeks that precious gemstone once a week or digs in the dirt for it everyday. Of course there are exceptions i.e. the medical Doctor and many other titles reserved for those who have attained a degree of higher learning and those of professional standing.
I recently had an older gentleman in my circle of friends from our fledgling genealogy society ask if I was a genealogist. My answer to that question was "yes...while I am not a professional genealogist, I am one just the same and so are you. You are here every week, working hard to bring your family history to light so don't be afraid to call yourself a genealogist."He was excited at the aspect of being part of the family of genealogists. If you love family history and care enough to find and honor your ancestors--you too are a genealogist!
No matter if you are a newbie to the group, wear your title proudly as you strive to ascend the ladder to perfection with your research goals. Two great people in my life also wear the title of Genealogist. One is the You Go Genealogy Girl #1, Ruby...she is an official Professional Genealogist; the other is my mother-in-law, Kathleen, while not a professional in title she has been doing genealogy research for over 50 years and I value equally the knowledge and help that both have given me. You can learn from those around you, both the professionals and those who are not. Value all the genealogists that you become acquainted with as new and different ideas are what keeps us all moving forward. Stuck in a rut? I bet that asking anyone you know who is a "genealogist" will help to get the answer. I've never met a more caring and sharing group of people than those who proudly admit that they are a genealogist whether they are just beginners or seasoned veterans in the field.
One of the best speeches that I have heard in a long time was given recently by Curt Witcher at the RootsTech Conference. Most of us did not get to attend but his wonderful presentation is offered online and should not be missed by any "genealogist." You can find his video here and I highly recommend that if you have not seen it, take an hour, grab a refreshing drink and listen in. One important area (among several others) was when he eluded to the fact that the often overlooked aspects of the genealogy profession today is to have fun while finding your family roots. The operable idea here is to have fun and ultimately to be able to leave a legacy for our own family to share and enjoy.
That brings us back to the title of "genealogist"....be proud of adding that title to your own name. Don't worry about getting everything just perfect when it comes to researching and record keeping. Perfection usually only comes along to a select few in real life, no matter the profession, but that should not keep anyone from trying. Research your family history, strive to do it correctly, but most of all you should love the hunt and the rewards that come along the way. If we show our children and grandchildren what fun it can be to search for our ancestors, even if it isn't the perceived perfect way then maybe they too will want to take up where we leave off and become the next generation, the next genealogist in our family.
You Go Genealogy Girl #2--Cheri
Lady and boy element in the scrap page is from the designs of "Idgie's Heartsong" of Heritage Scrap
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