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The Genealogy Community Needs More Respect or it Will Destroy Itself!

22/07/2013 11:58 BST | Updated 19/09/2013 10:12 BST
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Blogger after blogger has been writing lately regarding the need for folks in genealogy to 'play nice', 'get along', etc. It seems that the fact that Cyndi Howells, the owner of the website 'Cyndi's List' had very good reasons to sue a thief who stole her intellectual property has some folks crying out that we all need to be 'nicer'. I, for one, heartily applaud Cyndi for the actions she took in protecting the product of her hard work and money. I find it astounding that so many in the genealogy community are bemoaning this legal action and are now espousing how we must act. Sadly, they are,and have for some time now, overlooked the single most critical word in genealogy and that is: RESPECT.

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.

We need to become a 'big tent', which is accepting of everyone who enjoys this undertaking. Our community cannot afford to be overtaken by snobs and others who demand that it be done one particular way, nor as many seem to be doing right now, outrageously and self-righteous espousing that there is only one 'right' reasons for doing your genealogy or some area of it. To these people I respond with bollocks!

There is no right or wrong reason to compile, study, and/or pursue your family history. Period! There is no right or wrong reason to do it at all. If it is right for you, that should be adequate explanation for everyone else! But I find that this is rarely true.

Unfortunately I am finding more and more 'professionals' in genealogy demanding that others undertake their genealogy only one particular way, and for some specifically expressed reason. If am seeing this especially in the realms of privacy and the somewhat newer area of DNA in genealogy. How dare anyone think they can speak for anyone other than themselves? How dare they pass judgment on others' personal motivations? The Native American's had it right when they said "Walk a mile in my moccasins".

I here to say, if our genealogy community truly wants to get along or 'play nice' and flourish, then they need to take to heart a few simple rules. Here they are:

• Respect any reason that led anyone to their decision to undertake their genealogy journey is absolutely legitimate and should not subject to anyone else's judgment.

• Respect that it is as acceptable to make the decision to maintain your privacy in your genealogy work, just as it is in any other function of your life! You want to be private, then that is A-OK!

• Respect that it is totally acceptable to want to, or not want to, to study your DNA in genealogy. Whatever reason you have to do it, or refrain from doing it, is, again A-OK.

• Respect that if you want to share your work in genealogy, DNA genealogy, etc. go ahead and share your work. If you do not want to share your work, do not share your work. Everyone needs to STOP with the insane demands that everyone 'must' share their work.

• You are welcome to your religious beliefs, but if you are undertaking your genealogy for religious purposes, then have the respect to tell me so I can make an informed decision if I want to allow you to use my work used for a purpose that I may not agree with.

• Respect that if I spent my hard earned money on my research, I do not have to give it away for free if I do not want to. Would you give away your home or your car just because someone tells you to? Heck no!

• I don't give a tinker's dam about what you think of the copyright laws, they must be respected and obeyed. The law is the law and stealing is stealing. So don't steal anything that is copyright protected. Just DON'T!

• Go right ahead and debate facts, processes, documentation, etc, but respect and do not argue with anyone about their personal decisions regarding their genealogy.

There you have it.

If you want the genealogy community to thrive and grow, the answer is simple.

We need to conduct ourselves with TOTAL RESPECT!