Over a number of years doing professional genealogy research I have discovered and developed strategies that I know work. And I want to describe what I mean this morning.
Before I do that, let me define professional genealogy research–
- Research I have been paid by clients to trace their ancestors
- Research skills learned through experience tracing ancestors in many different localities, whose lives and families represent different cultures and ethnic backgrounds
- Specific standards and techniques required by research as a discipline and recommended by professional credentialing organizations
- 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 to trace hard-to-find ancestors–yours and mine.
There is a fifth item that I want to discuss in greater detail:
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 all the information a student needs to know what will work on specific pedigrees.
If the listener is hearing the information for the first time, having a chance to buy additional instruction 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 purchase of 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 their colleagues then offered questions and 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 hunt for on my own to find.
Some conference planners are so afraid that a commercial comment will be made by the speaker, they threaten the speaker with black listing–with the result that more information on the subject is denied the attendees. These 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 business of genealogy, provide what we know so others coming after us will also know what works!
And it is time that conference planners encourage us to share what we know and where we learned it. Thus aiding their attendees–our students–to become like us.
Stay tuned in–for conferences that meet my criteria for learning and specific strategies that work. I plan to intersperse in this blog those events I choose to speak at and some of my tried and true genealogy research strategies. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS My current speaking schedule is changing–and will be updated shortly. Check it out for the event nearest you and please plan to attend. Remember that even doing a blog every few days, speaking at least once every month, and writing new books on a regular basis–you still don’t have access to all I have learned that works. I’ll give you every chance I can.
PPS My new book on Pennsylvania: Basic Sources for Genealogy Research sold out on the Colorado Circuit–every copy I brought with me I sold. $30.00 per copy–not yet listed in my bookstore, nor on my printed booklist. I will have copies at the Mid-West Family History Expo 29-30 July, Overland Park KS Convention Center. Register at http://familyhistoryexpos.com Or you can order by FAX 435-553-4585.