Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My So-Called "Career" in Genealogy - Genealogy Evangelist

Thomas MacEntee wrote Careers in Genealogy - a 2012 Update yesterday on the Geneabloggers blog, including a description of several "types" of genealogy "careers."  I thought that I would add my own career summary for my readers.

My genealogy career started back in 1988 after I read Roots by Alex Haley (I know, I was 12 years late!) and asked my mother if we had any family material?  Of course we did - boxes of it covering four generations of her ancestry, and quite a few pictures and papers from my father's Massachusetts family.  Before long, I was going down to the Family History Center every Saturday adding persons to my pedigree chart, copying published material, reading census and other microfilms, and eventually obtaining land and probate records on microfilm.  Before long, we took trips to Massachusetts to meet the cousins, aunts and uncles, and I encouraged them to provide information about the family.  This resulted in the yearly "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal" that I write to share family history with the extended family, and still send to the family at Christmas time.

At the time, I was employed as a technical manager in an aerospace company, had a wife and two teenage daughters, and I needed a "research outlet" for my down time, and genealogy seemed to fit the bill very well.

Then came the service, and I found a collaborating community of like-minded enthusiasts who really helped me.  I started using Personal Ancestral File software, and eventually "graduated" to Family Tree Maker 8 in 1998.  Prodigy went down, and several other boards popped up and I was on the About: Genealogy and Delphi boards for awhile.  And along came the Internet and everything changed!

I started speaking about my research experiences in 1993 at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society and have continued with the society to the present day.  I have branched out to speaking to other Southern California societies over the years, and at service groups and public library venues.

I retired from my "real" job in 2002, and was able to expand my genealogy efforts to essentially full time - speaking more often to local societies, joining the CVGS Board, and doing much more research online and at the FHC.  I added a teaching element in 2009 with the "Beginning Computer Genealogy" class at OASIS and CVGS Genealogy 101 classes.  We took more vacation trips with family history content, and then started going to conferences.

Genea-Musings was started in April 2006, and has snowballed from 30 minutes a day to 2 to 3 hours a day to keep up with the genealogy world.  I seem to spend 8 to 12 hours a day doing something with genealogy - writing, presenting, teaching, society work, conferences, and researching.

So which of Thomas MacEntee's "genealogy career" categories do I fit into?

1)  Researcher.  But only for myself and selected friends that ask me for help.  I considered doing research for clients, but figured that I might get really bored doing research on families that I do not care about.  I am not certified or accredited, and determined that I didn't want to spend the time and effort to become certified or accredited.  I did determine to act professionally in my genealogy activities.  I do try to do some research (either online or at a repository) for 10 to 20 hours a week on my own family history.

2)  Author.  Well, maybe.  I do have the Genealogy 2.0 column in the quarterly FGS FORUM magazine, and edit the CVGS Newsletter, and write articles for SDGS, but I haven't published any articles in genealogy magazines.  Then there's blogging, so maybe I can be considered an author.

3)  Educator.  Well, maybe.  The OASIS class is three times a year (4 sessions for each class) and I get paid for it (a bit).  Genealogy 101 at CVGS (freely offered) too.  But not full-time.  I guess Genea-Musings is at least educational in part.

4)  Curator.  Well, maybe.  I guess the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" is curation, as are my research and software compendiums on Genea-Musings.

5)  Librarian.  Not really...

6)  Analyst.  I do try to analyze websites, software and industry trends on occasion on Genea-Musings.

7)  Marketer.  Not really.  Some book reviews, some website and software reviews, but not really.

8)  Retailer.  Nope.

In summary - I'm really just a genealogy semi-professional who loves doing what he does, has the time and interest to do it, and enjoy everything I do and all of the people I converse and commune with while doing it.

In essence, I'm a genealogy evangelist - one who loudly, consistently and passionately proclaims that Genealogy IS least for me!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Lynne Carothers said...

Keep on spreading the word, Randy! Many of us follow you and learn from you.

GeniAus said...

Love the term Evangelist, Randy. It's a perfect descriptor for. Your passion for genealogy certainly shines through in your work.