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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The First Day -- BYU Family History Technology Workshop

Joseph Shumway, AG at BYU Family History Technology Workshop
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 starts out early with breakfast and a conference at the BYU Convention Center on the Brigham Young University campus. I am here at the BYU Family History Technology Workshop. The keynote is presented by Joseph B. Shumway, AG on "Life of a 21st Century Genealogist: What do they do, and what do then need in the future." Joseph is at ProGenealogists presently owned by As is usual for me in attending conferences, I will be summarizing the presentations as they occur.

Joseph begins by explaining that professional genealogists is a growing profession. Most professionals have no degrees in genealogy. Most professionals work independently and part-time. There are only two accreditation organizations; ICAPGen and BCG. Most clients are new to genealogy and want the work hired or lawyers tracing missing heirs. At ProGenealogists they also work on documentation for television programs on genealogy.

Historically, genealogy has been for older people. Now, Joseph sees a increase in interest among middle-aged, pre-retirees. There is also a significant interest in the younger 25-40 age group who are more tech savvy. This means that people expect more cloud-based, mobile options and better ways to share and collaborate. I certainly agree with this assessment, but I am not seeing quite so many younger people who are involved.

People are looking for fun and interactive and sharing their ancestors' stories. The real stories are what get people interested. I have some very definite ideas about this aspect of genealogy, but on to the presentation.

Joseph analyzes the approach of beginners vs. professionals to genealogy. He spends a lot of time fixing trees. So do I. He observes that beginners are usually stopped in their research when the "easy" records run out. More advanced, i.e. professional researchers spend more time assembling "evidence to build a case." (We are back to law?) Professionals do their research by building a base of family, associates and neighbors, reconstructing neighborhoods and establishing an historical context.

This is a very interesting perspective and concurs with my own very closely. It is always interesting to find out that you agree with a professional. By the way, he talked about having a tree rating system.

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