Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Seasons of my Genealogy Research

The topic for this month's Carnival of Genealogy is "The Seasons of Genealogy." The challenge is:  "Do you spend more time on genealogy research in the summer or in the winter, or maybe spring or fall? How does the amount of time you put into research and blogging differ from season to season? Or perhaps you'd like to think of things metaphorically... which season is your genealogy research in? Write up your thoughts and observations and submit your articles to the next edition of the COG."

There are two questions here...

1)  I spend about the same amount of time on my genealogy research, my genealogy society work, and on my writing and speaking in each season.  I do very little onsite research these days (I know, I should do more!), and the society support, learning, writing, teaching and speaking is constant throughout the year.  The one difference is vacations and conference going - which seems concentrated in the spring and summer (SCGS Jamboree, NGS, FGS).  RootsTech in February will change this dynamic some for me.  I seem to spend 60 to 70 hours a week doing what I do, whether spring, summer, autumn or winter.  Unfortunately, onsite research has suffered as the hours devoted to the other activities have increased.  I sit in front of my tube and keyboard too much these days, but it is fun!

2)  If I define the "seasons" of genealogy activity as:

*  Spring - excitement in a new interest, searching for family information, searching for ancestral families in published material (print, microfilm or digital), learning new skills and subjects.

*  Summer - performing original research to add content, finding family history in a reasonably exhaustive search, putting the collected information together, drawing conclusions, broadening the genealogy knowledge base.

*  Autumn - maintaining and adding to the genealogy and family history collection, preparing for publication (online or in print), becoming expert in one or more areas, doing research for others (free or paid), speaking and writing (free or paid), continuous learning through study groups, society programs and seminars, attending conferences and learning institutes.

*  Winter - being a genealogy resource for others in research, publishing, writing and presenting, with one or more areas of recognized expertise, teaching and speaking at conferences and learning institutes.

 Each of us go through these "seasons" and we retain the knowledge and experience that we gained. Indeed, it is not unusual to be in two or three seasons at once - being excited with new things, performing research, adding to the database, and being a genealogy resource for others.

Those are my definitions - they describe a recognizable progression from an excited beginner to a seasoned professional.  I welcome comments about them.  What would you add or delete from them?

Where am I?  Well, I think that I'm usually in the Autumn phase.  In recent years, I've been: 

*  Updating and adding to my genealogy software database by adding source citations and editing research notes.

*  Finding new historical records in print, microfilm and online collections.

*  All of that will lead me creating books about my ancestry, my wife's ancestry and several one-name studies.  I'm thinking about it...online or in print?

*  I am currently teaching three "Beginning Computer Genealogy" classes (8 hours over 4 weeks) each year to senior adults, one "Genealogy 101" class (8 hours over 4 weeks) to my society new members each year, and a monthly research group to my society members.

*  Writing efforts include being the Genealogy 2.0 columnist in the quarterly FGS FORUM Magazine, being newsletter editor for one local genealogy society and a writer for another local society, and writing over 900 posts for the Genea-Musings blog each year.

*  Speaking involves 8 to 10 programs each year to Southern California area societies and to several local service groups (Kiwanis, PEO, church groups, etc.).

*  Continuous learning through society programs, online courses, webinars, study groups, radio shows and podcasts, local seminars, regional and national conferences, reading books, magazines, websites and blogs.

*  I am not a certified, accredited. or professional genealogist.  I chose not to follow that path because it is a lot of work and my lifespan is now relatively short.  I would rather enjoy what I do with my own genealogy interests, with complete freedom to add or eliminate commitments, than run a small business, do extensive research for other persons, or have to plan and execute conference presentations months in advance.

My motto is "life is short - do genealogy first" these days.  Genealogy is fun for me, and I'm doing what I want to do in this stage of my life.  I try to avoid stress, and try to help other persons with their genealogical education, while trying to add to and improve my own research.

The URL of this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2011/06/seasons-of-my-genealogy-research.html

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.


Jasia said...

No doubt about it, you're a busy guy. And you have quite a broad definition of genealogy, incorporating teaching, conferences, etc. I think by your definitions I'm in my summer season but by my definitions I'm in my winter season. I love reading other perspectives on the topic. Thanks for sharing!

FranE said...

Very busy guy, and one who is much appreciated because of it. Enjoyed reading your post.