Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's mine; all mine!

Sharing is nice.
Recently, I've been thinking about why we do genealogy. Through a lot of conversations lately with other genealogists, I've begun to realise that we don't all do it for the same reasons. Specifically, I'm interested in how altruistic our motivations are, or aren't!

I think most people want their genealogical research passed down to their descendants. No one wants all their hard work to die with them, right? But what about people other than your direct descendants?

I tend to think of my genealogy as something I want to add to a greater whole. Yes, I want my descendants and other future and current relatives to have it, but I also want it to be out there for the world to see. Imagine if everyone's genealogy was easily accessible; think how much work could be saved!

Of course, it's only really helpful if it's correct and properly sourced. That actually makes me want to share my genealogy even more! All the error-filled trees out there in books and on the net just keep multiplying, because people find them and use them as sources. So my thinking is, every correct, sourced tree that's out there is countering that. If someone finds my correct tree, maybe they'll use that instead of the spurious ones.

One topic that I think really brings out people's levels of altruism in genealogy is one place studies. When I get on this topic I tend to complain about how no one does one place studies in Canada and the US (they're really big in the UK). Recently, someone suggested to me that it's because people are less tied to places here, unlike in the UK where some families have been in the same parish for generations. Therefore, a one place study won't be as useful in one person's genealogy.

The thing is, in my opinion, one place studies aren't about helping myself with my own genealogy. They're about making a contribution to the body of genealogical resources, that will be useful to everyone who's family ever lived in that place.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you put your genealogy out there for the world to see, or do you hide it away on your hard drive or in a private online tree? Do you stick to your own family, or do research that can benefit even people you're not related to? And I want reasons! Let's get a discussion going!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My first genealogy conference: SCGS Jamboree 2012

This past weekend, I was in Burbank, California, for SCGS Jamboree 2012. Travelling so far was exhausting, but so worth it! First of all, I finally got to meet the rest of the WikiTree team (I'm just realising now that I never actually wrote on this blog about how I now work for WikiTree... well now you know!): Chris Whitten (the founder of WikiTree), Tami Osmer (developer of the Relatively Curious Internet Genealogy Toolbar), Elyse Doerflinger (who writes Elyse's Genealogy Blog), and Thomas MacEntee (whom you probably know from GeneaBloggers). It was very cool to meet people (in person!) that I exchange emails with all the time. You really get a better look at people's personalities that way.

Left to right: Tami, Elyse, me, Chris, and Thomas

I spent most of the weekend sitting at the WikiTree table in the vendor hall, talking to people about the site and trying to get people who seemed like they'd be great contributors to sign up. In the process, I had a lot of awesome conversations about the wiki concept, the importance of citing your sources, and a bunch of other things. I also heard a lot of people's genealogy stories, and, in the case of people who were not comfortable signing up for WikiTree, got some insight into the generation of genealogists who did not grow up with the internet, and consequently often have a totally different perspective of online genealogy tools.

I also got to meet some other bloggers, which was exciting, as well as lots of vendors. And I bought some books, and some software, and a decorative fan chart (reviews of all these things to come!).

Overall, the weekend was super fun, and also really inspiring. I feel like I have all these ideas now and can't wait to work on them! This is true for my personal genealogy, as well as for WikiTree. For example, while I was at the conference, I started categorising all my WikiTree profiles by city/town, and this has turned into a potentially huge project! More about that to come, as well!

So, other than the actual flying across the continent part (which was exhausting, uncomfortable, and resulted in me losing my water bottle and breaking my favourite sunglasses), I had a great trip, and can't wait until my next genealogy conference!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

See you at SCGS Jamboree 2012!

I'm going to my first genealogy conference! This weekend is the SCGS Jamboree 2012 conference, in Burbank, California, and I'm going to be there, spending most of my time at the WikiTree booth.

Geneabloggers compiled a list of bloggers who will be at the conference here. Some of them are ones that I follow, and I'm so excited to meet them! So if you're going to the conference, please let me know, and stop by the WikiTree booth when you're there, as I'll be there a lot of the time. I'd love to meet you. :) I can even give you one of my fancy-schmancy new business cards!