Monday, January 19, 2009

WRITING: Just for a few friends?

First you do it just for love, then you do it only for a few friends, but finally you end up just doing it for money. I notice George G. Morgan and Michael John Neill who used to write free columns are now available only in the plus edition of
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. When will you be migrating to the third stage?


Ol’ Myrt here is sure that you voiced this question with only the kindest intentions when it comes to describing the fine work of my colleagues. But, your comment does bear consideration and discussion.

Supporting oneself in the field if genealogy isn’t something many of us are likely to accomplish as independent researchers, lecturers, podcasters or authors in this economy. Speaking strictly as an author, there are only a few venues for our work, and Dick’s offer is a good one. He manages to collect the best of the best in this manner.

As for my personal journey, my alter-ego DearMYRTLE began writing for a large group -- the Genealogy Forum on AOL -- where my articles were freely viewable. Ol' Myrt's move to the Internet marked a change in the information super highway. In the olden days (1984-85) we could only send email to those on the same service provider, as the internet hadn't been invented yet.

Who knows what the future will bring?

Ol' Myrt's intention is to maintain objectivity and impartiality. Dick invited me to participate as a guest author in his blog last year as he considered this new element of his work. It was something I'd like to have done, since our views about objectivity and impartiality are similar. At that time, I declined his offer due to constraints that are no longer a consideration.

The majority of Myrt's work will always be available to the public, though I do wish that copyright would be considered by blog scrapers and those who wish to cross-post in their local genealogy society newsletters.

I cannot imagine that any of the genealogy writers would say we only do this work for financial considerations.

It has been Ol' Myrt's honor to come to know many of the leading professionals in our field. Just yesterday, I participated in a conversation where a professional researcher admitted using his/her frequent flyer miles to get to a research facility without charging the client for travel expenses. Each professional that I've come to know personally is found to have both highly-tuned research skills and high ethical standards. Yet, I think most of what is done in the 'ethical department' isn't immediately evident. It just happens that yesterday's discussion was unusually candid.

If truth be told, there isn't a single genealogist worth his salt who doesn't do this work for the LOVE of it. I think hang gliding might be a delightful alternative, but I am just too curious about my ancestors to make the switch.

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


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© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to . Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.