Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What Sort of Genealogist Are You?

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

Thomas MacEntee wrote Careers in Genealogy -- a 2012 Update three years ago.  Jill Ball referred to it this week in her post,  What Sort of Genealogist Am I?  

1)  For SNGF this week, please answer the question - What Sort of Genealogist Am I? - using Thomas's categories (or make up one or more of your own).  Provide some career background if you want.

2)  Share your answers with us in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine (edited from 2012):

My genealogy "career" started back in 1988 after I read Roots by Alex Haley (I know, I was 12 years late!) and I asked my mother if "we have 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 wrote for 25 years to share family history with the extended 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 (generally after dinner and weekends), and genealogy seemed to fit the bill very well. 

Then came the service, and I found a collaborative community of like-minded enthusiasts who really helped me, and it was a lot of fun.  I started using Personal Ancestral File software, and eventually "graduated" to Family Tree Maker 8 in 1998.  Prodigy went away for me, and several other boards popped up and I was on the About: Genealogy and Delphi boards for awhile.  Then along came the Internet and everything changed!  I was hooked!  RootsWeb, USGenWeb, Eastman, Cyndi, Leland, Kimberly, Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, MyHeritage, ad infinitum.  

I started speaking about my research experiences in 1993 at my local Chula Vista Genealogical Society and have continued with the society to the present day.  I branched out to speaking to other Southern California societies over the years, and at service groups, senior adult education centers,  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 (Jamboree, NGS, FGS, RootsTech) and genealogy cruises.

Genea-Musings was started in April 2006, and has snowballed from 30 minutes a day to 2 to 3 hours a day in order 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 now at age 71, 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 had the Genealogy 2.0 column in the quarterly FGS FORUM magazine for four years, and have edited the CVGS Newsletter for six years, and write monthly articles for SDGS, but I haven't published any articles in genealogy magazines.  Then there's blogging, with almost 8,900 Genea-Musings posts, 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 I haven't done that for awhile.  But not full-time. I speak about 20-25 times a year to audiences.  I participate in some of DearMYRTLE's and Cousin Russ's Hangouts on Air on a weekly basis.  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 press releases, 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 (a genea-vangelist?) - one who loudly, consistently and passionately works to promote genealogy and family history, while proclaiming that Genealogy IS least for me!

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


William L. Smith said...

A very modest assessment, but thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration, to many of us, and will continue to be! Keep up the great work! ;-)

Michigan Girl said...

You inspire us all Randy. When it stops being fun, then I'll quit. But, I don't see that happening any time soon.
Thanks for the post.

Dorene from Ohio said...

Randy - I am a bit late, but I am category 5 - librarian.
Though I do not have my MLS, I have worked in a library for
over 30 years. I accidentally became a genealogist while
helping long distance cousins and library patrons.

Linda Stufflebean said...

Randy, I love your Saturday night fun jobs, but in this case, I had already read Jill Ball's post and had written my own response for Empty Branches on Saturday afternoon before I saw this week's challenge! It posted this morning. Thanks for issuing weekly fun tasks.

Lynn David said...

I've been at this since 1986, two years after I was diagnosed with cancer. I think it was that illness and my mother's family stories about both her and my father's ancestors that prodded me into starting work on my family's history. At the time I was living away from my Indiana home in Oklahoma City. It was there that I quickly came to find the local LDS-FHL and I went into full-on research mode. It suited me at the time as I was a geologist and investigating a problem always has given me enjoyment. Over the next 5 years in Oklahoma City I conducted enough research to take several family lines across the pond into Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

I even spent two separate weeks in Salt Lake City going through more microfilms than anyone should shake a stick at trying to find two of my mother's immigrant ancestors. The family name of one led me to research a great number of published family histories in classical Belgian works. Unfortunately, I was to find that my ancestor (and even his wife after his death) lied to his children and everyone else about his true surname and point of origin. That I cracked in 2012. I finally just found the final of my immigrant ancestors just in the last few months using fragmentary information about the family she was from on the Internet. Proof should come soon once I discover the marriage of her sister who emigrated with both her sister and new husband. That is if that marriage happened close-by the homes I now know they lived in Haute-Saone, France.

I've been in author mode a few times in my life, primarily writing a few articles on genealogy for a local (Northwest Territory Genealogical Society) monthly column in the local newspaper. And there have been some articles for the local journal and Belgian Laces (one of which I found that Ancestry used as a reference for my own ancestors!). Once I get a little more research done on the fraud case that caused my one ancestor to change his name I hope to go into author mode again and tell his tale, it might be a teaching moment. Which I guess would put me in educator mode and I've been there a few times in conjuction with the NTGS.

I guess you could say I was a librarian for a scant year. I volunteered at the OKC LDS-FHL for a while, even though I was not an LDS member.

I'd like to add one other category, maybe it could be called "administrator." I have spent a couple of stints as both president and vice-president of the local society.

Amy Archibald said...

Here is my post on this topic - with my addition of 6 more categories: