The genealogy community is, by and large, a very sociable, caring, and sharing one. While we all enjoy the vast amounts of materials that are out there for us to access electronically (so free and some not-so-free) it is important to remember that we, as genealogists, each need to pay-it-forward every so often.
Recently I started thinking more and more that I needed to expand my efforts to something even broader. I wasn't sure what it might be, but I knew I was developing an itch to take a step up and undertake a project something that would not only meet my interests, but also to make a difference to folks far beyond my direct reach.
Whether you're searching for long-lost family or want more information about your ancestors, you might find lots of scandals and surprises along the way. From bigamy to secret children and even prison sentences, it's amazing what information you can dig up and it can easily become quite addictive. So just how do you get started?
Comedy, like almost everything else in the world, goes through different phases. Inspired by the success of Curb Your Enthusiasm, there's been an increasing number of improvised comedies being produced or in the pipeline. But after distinctly mixed reviews for Jeff Garlin's Dealin' with Idiots and Christopher Guests Family Tree, is this a sustainable format?
Without more respect in the genealogy community the popularity of genealogy will begin to crash and burn, the growth will stop, and the buzz will cease. To me it is simple .... Far more folks in genealogy need to be respectful and accepting of anyone's, and everyone's, reasons for undertaking their genealogy, ancestral studies, and pursuit of their family history.
I have encountered many pundits screaming the demand that all genealogy MUST be shared, open, and available to all (no, it does not). Funny they never care about the quality of what gets shared. I encountered many others just screaming anything in an effort to simply grow the pool of potential money for themselves.
We all love to get tips on how to be better, more effective, efficient, etc. This is sure true for me when I am doing my genealogy and family history work. Unfortunately, I have found that often times the 'tips' are so involved, complex, and time consuming that if I followed them I would never have time to do any real work tracing my family, which is what I love the most!
As the holiday season begins to approach, I offer this advice to anyone who is lucky enough to have a family history buff or genealogist in the family. I suggest you write these down on a 3 x 5 card and stick them in your pocket, purse, or wallet for quick reference. At one party or another you are bound to silently say 'thank you, Scott!