RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Genealogical Hotspots -- Reactions from Blog Posts

Over the past few years as I write blog posts, I have noticed that there are certain subjects that get an immediate and usually, negative, reaction from certain segments to the genealogical community. I am not necessarily talking about comments from those who disagree with me, I mean topics that the comments to these posts have the attitude that I have no business writing about these subjects.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) those types of comments only inspire me to write more on the same subject. Here is the short list of topics that seem guaranteed to get an adverse reaction:

  • Any comments that appear to cast a negative light on the certification or accreditation entities or processes
  • Any comment that condemns the present copyright law, especially if I disparage the whole copyright process in any way. 
  • Any post where I suggest that the youth have a long way to go before they have the qualifications to become competent genealogists
  • Comments in a post either in support of online family trees or against online family trees
  • Obvious (to me) problems with the genealogical community
  • The difference (if there is any) between family history and genealogy
  • Privacy in any context
  • The qualifications of becoming a genealogist 

Now, I can assure you that I have never decided not to post about a topic merely because it might cause some controversy (that is an understatement). But do any of these topics really matter?

I think the biggest challenge facing the genealogical community today involves the proliferation of online family trees to the point where it is almost impossible to determine if there is an adequate basis for anything online. Next, I would suggest that we are in a quandary over digital records. There is such a flood of new records, that it is easy to begin to believe the "every ancestral issue" can be resolved from online sources.

13 comments:

  1. If every ancestral issue could be resolved from online sources, I would be done with my family tree!

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    1. Well, what is online is a moving target. I don't think any one person could comprehend everything online even about a limited topic like genealogy.

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  2. James, your list of hottest topics gave me a chuckle.

    But here I go, inquiring as to your statement, "I think the biggest challenge facing the genealogical community today involves the proliferation of online family trees to the point where it is almost impossible to determine if there is an adequate basis for anything online."

    There are misconceptions and lies posted on every conceivable topic on the web. Why should genealogical accounts be an exception? And why should this be a challenge to "the genealogical community" other than in the very longstanding requirement to patiently explain where there are mistakes and how to correct them? As in any endeavor there will always be people unwilling or unable to learn skills or do exacting work, and many who post stuff on the web for their own reasons.

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    1. Yeah, but we are talking about genealogy and that is what I view as the challenge. It is like diluting the subject to the point where you can't find it anymore.

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    2. I understand that you have a special interest in the FamilySearch Family Tree, which presently is a large morass. And you have noted the many problems there as to some of your ancestral lineage. I can see how you find that site frustrating. But I doubt that it is really affecting the genealogical community as a whole.

      But not everyone tries to make entries there, and no one really needs to spend time in the Sea of Despond that is the majority of internet-hosted trees (unless hoping for a clue for solving a problem).

      Internet-hosted tree wrongness does not affect the research I do, and plenty of excellent work is being produced by others. Some venues promote collaboration a little, which should be a good thing.

      I just have no actual need to heed what is going on with trees that I have not myself created -- unless I want to take the time to look up entries for one or more relatives who are subject to Widely Held Mistaken Beliefs, for an ironic chuckle and possibly to contribute some constructive pointers.

      So I just urge a smile on the face, and refusal to be frustrated by what one cannot change.

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    3. I am not talking about any particular research effort, neither was I referring to just FamilySearch Family Tree, the issue does not go away simply because some choose to ignore it.

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    4. Yes, the wrongness in treedom does not go away if ignored. It will not go away if not ignored, either.

      Can you please explain what you mean in particular by "diluting the subject to the point where you can't find it anymore."

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    5. Hmm. Another good idea for a blog post. See my response soon.

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  3. In my estimation anyone that going to being doing much genealogy should just go through the new BCG Genealogy Standards Manual. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00INGE1CG/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_sims_2 It's a quick read and the kindle version is only $7. At least you get an overview of the underpinnings of genealogical research and we don't have keep going in circles on some of these issues.

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    1. I found the book, but there is not a Kindle edition.

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    2. Here it is
      http://www.amazon.com/Genealogy-Standards-Fiftieth-Anniversary-Edition-ebook/dp/B00INGE1CG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1397191303&sr=8-2&keywords=Board+certification+genealogy

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