Thursday, January 02, 2014

As the pendulum swings

Are you having fun with your genealogy research, or are you bogged down with esoteric definitions of proof and evidence? Improving analysis and correlation skills is necessary, but have we forgotten to have fun in our ancestral quest?

This topic has weighed Ol' Myrt down for the past three weeks or so. Just today George Geder published a delightful and well-grounded post in the Family History and/or Genealogy blog, described on Facebook "For those just starting their journey in 2014..."
George has done it up right. No bullet points, no bold or italics, just a few simple suggestions. Thank-you George for telling it like it is, calmly. And then, every-so-gently, planting seeds of good research practices. Thank-you for not overwhelming folks. Ol' Myrt here particularly liked:
"There are more rules but enough already; use common sense in your research and you’ll do just fine."

Is the genea-pendulum swinging back to our "common sense" roots? Are we realizing that we're frightening off beginners tossing around post-graduate theories, when beginners are young freshmen in the world of genealogy? In efforts to refine research skills are we channeling Poe?

Could we better inspire fulfilling and accurate research employing gentle suggestions as George has done?

Me thinks so.

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

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  1. "We're frightening off beginners tossing around post-graduate theories"

    Sure sounds like a bad idea to me, Pat. When and where did this happen? What was said, and by whom -- to beginners?

  2. I'm sure you are aware of the genealogy blog and mailing list discussions of genealogical proof standards, mastering genealogical proof, just what is proof, etc.

  3. Oh, yes -- but are those discussions directed at beginners? As a beginner I attended NGS 2006 in Chicago, where the high-level stuff just went right over my head. Most folks seem able to figure out what works for them, assuming they ever see these discussions at all. And if they do see them, aren't they as likely to learn a little something as they are to be scared away?

  4. And perfect citations. And excellent organization, when you don't yet know what the heck you are organizing....
    I think that it is less that people are being told this, Harold, than that many new people go out and explore how-tos online. And if they are looking for the best instead of the fluff, they quickly end up auditing the grad courses.
    It's good that they bump into some of the 'grad-level' concepts to know that they exist. They will see these a lot.
    It's also *great* that they can also run into pieces like George's (thanks, Myrt for promoting). Gentle advice for new people used to be simple, via locality or surname maillists. Fewer people. Lots of help. Now, the newly-interested are searching-reading instead of asking a question on a smallish maillist. May be overwhelmed before they start....