A Professionals View

Are you a conscientious family historian or a casual name gatherer...read on and decide if you are making the grade!

Twenty-first century technology confronts the family historian of today with a bewildering proliferation of information, some of it accurate though sadly much of it is dubious.

If you are researching your family history via the Internet, has it turned you into a "conscientious family historian" or have you been lulled into believing that the on-line data providers are the be all and end all for researching family history and now you are simply a "casual name gatherer" who will accept any family connection because it appears to fit? The following is the view of a Professional Genealogist of 50 years standing who wrote an article for the June 2013 edition (Volume XXVIII - Number 2) of the highly respected journal, the "Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly". One particular section of the article echo's the feeling which many a professional genealogist has about the proliferation of so called "on-line researchers" who believe that their electronically researched and electronically produced family history is reliably sound and that it will stand up to scrutiny. To be fair, he does also extol the virtues of the very on-line genealogical data providers whose excellent services have unfortunately, as a bi-product, given rise to the "armchair researcher". These are the individuals who will never have passed over the threshold of an archival department to conduct any "actual research". Readers will decide for themselves which of the two following paragraphs best describes their contribution to the world of genealogical research! The section of the article is entitled:

Genealogical Production Has Never Been Better and

Quasi-Genealogical Junk is Proliferating:

"Professionalization, heightened standards, ever-present instruction, and electronic availability of resources have engendered some of the highest quality genealogies and family histories ever published. Genealogical journals today, as well as much of the genealogy instruction published both on paper and on-line, evince unprecedented excellence in content, presentation, and scholarship.

Ironically, though, [this same period] of remarkable improvement has also produced a colossal and heretofore unimaginable mass of genealogical misinformation. Slipshod "family trees," electronically assembled and electronically distributed, abound. Imprecise and downright wrong "genealogical instruction" proliferates on-line. Anyone can upload anything. And they do. Today there is a startling disconnect between the conscientious family historian and the casual name gatherer."

So...to which camp do you belong. I'm sure that the above will be food for thought for many but sadly for some, the fact that the second paragraph will most definitely relate to them will do little to persuade them to question their so called 'research'.