Friday, April 12, 2013

Dear Randy - Why Do You Post Your Own Genealogy Stuff?

Email correspondent John asked:  "Why do you post so much of your own genealogy stuff - like the Amanuensis Monday, Wordless Wednesday, Treasure Chest Thursday, and Surname Saturday posts?"

The simple answer is:  Because I can, because it helps me in my genealogy research, because it may help other researchers,  and because it might connect me to cousins who can help me.  Collaboration, education and cooperation are important to me and my genealogy research.

Some explanations about my "theme posts" (see suggested daily genealogy blogging prompts here):

*  The Amanuensis Monday posts (amanuensis means to transcribe) may help other researchers by providing a transcription for a will, deed or other document.  I am contacted occasionally by researchers who share the person for whom I've transcribed a document.  Transcribing the document helps me - I often see details that I missed earlier, and leads to additional research for more family history data and documents. I've created an Amanuensis Monday page to make it easier to find these posts.

*  The Tuesday Tip's post series are to help other researchers investigate genealogy resources that I discover and mention.  I often explore a new genealogy website, or describe a record collection on a free or commercial website.

*  The Wordless Wednesday posts are presentations of my family photographs, and an explanation of them. It seems that some of my readers have a better eye than I do, and tell me of details that I've missed.  At some point, my goal is to collect these posts in family groups and produce digital books of the photos and posts.

*  The Treasure Chest Thursday posts are presentations of heirlooms and documents, and my analysis of them as they pertain to my family history.  When I post and transcribe or extract from them, I often learn something new that I've missed from earlier analysis.  Sometimes, these posts spark a reader comment that provides more pertinent analysis, or tells me that I've helped someone.

*  The Surname Saturday posts are pure "cousin bait" - somebody may do a Google search on an ancestral name and find my post, and either comment or contact me.  I try to add authoritative source listings to these posts.  Other researchers comment on these posts with suggestions for additional resources, or to point out problems or errors in my listings.

*  The Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) posts are intended to add a little levity, challenge and fun to our genealogy week, and often lead readers to check out a new resource, test a software feature, or write a  post on a specific topic.

*  I often write blog posts about my current genealogy research in hopes that readers will comment on my findings, or suggest other research opportunities.  I'll take help from anybody, and appreciate it. I realize that I don't know "everything" about every locality, genealogy subject or record repository collection, but am willing to learn, and  sometimes my readers significantly contribute to my research effort.  Some examples of crowdsourcing my genealogy research include The Whittle Research Compendium and Crowd-Sourcing Cousin Edith.

*  All of these "theme" posts, and the others that fill out the week, keep me busy writing something every day, and I have fun doing them while learning something myself, helping readers with educational or challenging tips and techniques, and keeping me in the Genealogy Cave instead of out roaming the bars, bowling alleys and the mean streets of Chula Vista from early morning to late at night.  Linda usually knows where I am!  I do get out occasionally to genealogy society meetings (once or twice a week), cemetery excursions (rare now), and library visits (rare now), or to seminars and conferences.  

So that's the answer to John's question, and I thank him for asking it.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Diane B said...

Randy, as someone who is bound to be distantly related to you many times over through the Townsend, Massachusetts and Brookline, New Hampshire folks, I can only urge you to write as often as possible about your ancestors. But beyond that, it's my belief that people learn a lot from looking at someone else's sources and strategies. In fact I would say the very idea of approaching a problem through multiple channels and methods is, in itself, eye opening to a lot of readers. Keep up the good work!

Dianne Reuby said...

As someone who certainly isn't related, I enjoy all the posts from genealogists worldwide who post on these themes. Not only are they interesting, but they act as a poke in the ribs to keep me working on my own stuff. Thanks!

Lauri said...

I love all your posts and have learned a lot from them. I keep thinking that if I would have started a Surname Saturday process, I would have a lot of my ancestor's data cleaned up. Yes, I really should start that soon.

Anonymous said...

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Diane Gould Hall said...

Hi Randy - this was a very good explanation. I am finding that writing posts for my blog has caused me to think of things I might have missed before. Made me look at my research with a critical eye and allow me to analyze my reasons for my conclusions, as I write.
I think that writing my blog is making me a better genealogist.
I enjoy reading the posts about your family, even though we aren't related (at least not that we know of yet).
Keep doing what you're doing.
Happy New Year and see you soon,