Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three adjectives to be used with the word genealogist.

I do think that the field of genealogy has shown a desire to draw distinctions within genealogy as to how each individual is practicing it. My offering to this discussion is to define three adjectives used with the term genealogist. They are not mutually exclusive adjectives.

A scholarly genealogist is one to endeavors to be careful in his or her research and writing, following genealogical standards and participating in continuing educational opportunities.

An avocational genealogist is one who follows it as a hobby. An avocational genealogist is unpaid. An avocational genealogist could well be a scholarly genealogist in his or her genealogy work. Newcomers to genealogy have many avenues open to them for learning and expanding their skills sets, from meetings of local societies to online training and educational resources (both free and paid) to college-level formal education.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In genealogy, all roads are good.

I’ve been noodling around the internet, searching on blog postings that discuss professionalism and genealogy. I’ve found some interesting postings that are worth considering in our discussion of professionalism and genealogy. I hope you get a chance to read and consider them as we go forward in our discussion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What does the word “professional” mean in genealogy?

Jacobus, in writing his “Preface” to the first issue under the title The American Genealogist, noted that the the editorial staff of the journal consisted of both amateur and professional genealogists.[1] In so doing, he drew a line between those who do genealogy for gain and those who do not. He also set them into one group of equal colleagues.

If any term can be seen to create furor on a genealogy email list, it would be the word “professional.”[5] Mail-list readers bring to the discussion their own understandings. Underwriting much of the discussion is the concern: is it elitist? Does it exclude genealogists who simply don’t work for others?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whoever started the idea that a genealogist could be demanding?

Donald Lines Jacobus is widely recognized as the father of modern genealogy. As such, he was the first person inducted into the Genealogy Hall of Fame by the National Genealogical Society:

Donald Lines Jacobus, FASG (1887–1970), of New Haven, Connecticut, was the first person elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. He was nominated for this honor by the American Society of Genealogists, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society. During his lifetime, Jacobus was widely regarded as the dean of American genealogists, and he is recognized as the founder of the modern school of genealogy in the United States. He was the editor and publisher of The American Genealogist for forty-three years, and he may have been the most prolific genealogical writer of any generation. His writings include the classic, Genealogy as Pastime and Profession. On his death, he was described by his colleague Milton Rubincam, as "the man who more than any other single individual elevated genealogy to the high degree of scholarship it now occupies." [1]

The first eight issues of the journal Jacobus began were devoted to the genealogy of the earliest families in New Haven, Connecticut. As this topic ended, Jacobus renamed the journal The American Genealogist. The first paragraph of his “Preface” to that edition gave his goals: