Over a number of years doing professional genealogy research I have discovered and developed genealogy research strategies for hard-to-find ancestors that I know work:
- Easier ways to evaluate evidence.
- Search techniques that yield more proof of relationship.
- Where to look for data.
- How to compare and distinguish two people who carry the same names.
- And on, and on…And I want to share what I have learned with you–
Before I do that, let me define professional genealogy research–
1. Actual research paid for by clients to trace their ancestors
2. Research skills learned through experience tracing ancestors in many different localities, whose lives and families represent different cultures and ethnic backgrounds
3. Specific standards and techniques required by research as a discipline and recommended by professional credentialing organizations
4. Research strategies demonstrated by other genealogists as they trace both their own and others’ pedigrees and publish their results
All of these elements fit into what professional genealogy research is all about. And I am still learning: new research facts, new genealogy techniques, new technical skills so I can teach and apply these new learnings to trace hard-to-find ancestors–yours and mine.
There is a 5th consideration to look at:
5. There is a correlation between my speaking and my selling of genealogy information that I have compiled–it is impossible to tell, to show, or to write down in a prepared syllabus or handout all I know about the research subject at hand. Or, for that matter, all the information a student needs to know about what will work on specific pedigrees.
If the student is hearing the information for the first time, having a chance to buy additional instructional materials to take home and study, is in my opinion very valuable. And if the attendee at a conference is an experienced researcher already, who has come to learn more, the ability to purchase additional knowledge is like a gift.
Some years ago, I was invited to attend a Holocaust Conference sponsored by the University of Washington (Seattle WA). Key speakers presented their topics individually. A panel of colleagues then posed questions and offered comments. Speakers, who were also authors, were invited to have their books available for sale in sufficient quantity to meet the demands of the audience. The attendees were furnished with a list of books written by the speaker and available for purchase as part of the syllabus. And the speakers circulated among the attendees to answer questions during the day.
It was an incredible conference!
What I learned in the formal sessions was amplified by my interaction with the speakers and by the books and white papers I bought to take home with me for further study. Research materials I would have had to spend a great deal of time finding on my own. Instead, I could take some time to determine what aspects of the Holocaust I wanted more data on–what records were generated by individuals and governments. And which authors I wanted to follow up with. When I left for home, I left with a box filled almost to the top–autographed books, special white papers, notes taken in formal sessions as well as generated in personal conversations with speakers, authors, publishers. What a wonderful conference!
Some genealogy conference planners are so afraid that a commercial comment will be made by the speaker; they threaten speakers with black listing–with the result that more information on the subject is denied the attendees. Conference attendees are the losers.
How can we justify denying those we teach the right to learn more? Especially when we are training a whole new generation of genealogy experts with each workshop, seminar, conference, and expo we stage. Its time those of us who are professionals, in this genealogy industry, require the right to share what we know works! In handouts, books (both online and offline), tapes and CD’s, webinars, white papers, and personal conversations. Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS This blog includes these learnings of mine–installments of knowledge presented for your use ad sometimes, entertainment. Enjoy! And please share. Your comments. Your successes. Your questions.