Friday, May 24, 2013

Is THIS what keeps younger folks away from genealogy?

Prompted by a post in the UK's Guardian "The cost of historical research: why archives need to move with the times" I posed a question on Facebook about Nell Darby's comments "The variable fees charged to access original documents risk putting archival research out of general reach."

What developed  is a conversation about how it's not only young folks, but older folks on fixed incomes who face challenges when doing genealogy research. Younger folks may have more energy, and older folks have more time, particularly if they are retired. Yet, both groups face financial considerations.

"When I have to make the decision between groceries and a trip to the archives.... well, the answer is obvious," says NextGen coordinator Jen Baldwin. I know if it weren't for Mr. Myrt's good health insurance, my monthly medication bill would be staggering.
NextGen is a Facebook group created for "to foster the next generation’s interest in family history and engagement in our community through digital channels which virtually connect members throughout the world." They're also on Twitter @nextgennetwrk.

My friend Tom Sluder says "Timing is a big factor for me. I work all week and most places are not open on the weekends for research. I'd have to take a day off just to hit a courthouse or something - IF it's withing driving distance that is."

Elsewhere on Facebook, our friend Bill West reminds us worthwhile, FREE, original documents research that can be done online.
"I know some folks look askance at people who research genealogy online, and I agree there are things that can only be learned or found by a trip to a courthouse or a records archive. But for people who for one reason or another can't get to those places, online research is getting better and better as more records are digitized and put online. case in point, the new FamilySearch Massachusetts Land Records 1620-1986 collection. This has got to be great for people living on the other side of the country with Massachusetts ancestors. and even if you do have the means to go to the archives and courthouses, the time & money saved doing it at home is another plus!" [Used with Bill's permission.]
Maybe the younger set AND the older genealogists benefit by sharing:
  • off-line research facilities
  • experiences with online records access
  • organization techniques
  • use of emerging technology
These conversations can be built on a free platform, like FamilySearch Wiki, where the info is not corporate owned and is freely searchable.

I don't think there is a "genealogy generation gap" at all. 

Genealogy researchers of all ages have more in common than perhaps we realize.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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