Greetings to my worldwide kin, near and far in time and place. It appears we are all pilgrims on the same genealogical journey.
I dream of the day you will know me enough to love me. You will identify me, document my life, and share my story in its genealogical and historical context. You will celebrate our connections. We are everyday people who nevertheless have a noteworthy personal and family history. You will find a reward in the chase itself as you pursue my basic genealogical facts, and a relevant and fulfilling world in my history. We will both be happy when you first verify my tale with the best sources, and again when you humanize the raw data. Ultimately, linking me accurately into my historical family is the goal. I will be forever grateful to FamilyLink if it helps you create correct links.
Only 50 years ago you had limited resources:
- no genealogical software or word processing programs
- none of the 4,500 free Family History Centers around the world
- no databases of linked family trees
- no automated indexes to key records
- no instantaneous networking around the globe where my family has scattered.
Fifty years ago, what is now the world’s largest genealogical library -then called the Genealogical Library, in Salt Lake City- hosted between 150 and 250 patrons each day, and patrons could peruse about 50,000 books and 80,000 microfilms from a dozen countries. Now you are truly in the Age of Information.
First Impressions. Today GenealogyWise reminds me of the romantic comedy The Apartment.
Will GenyWise help me in 2009 and beyond, “efficiency wise”?
How will it differ from Geni – Everyone’s Related and all of the other sites who want to be the One Site, the Best Site, or the Biggest Site (and these are not necessarily the common goal of each site)?
Maybe GenealogyWise should be viewed as a preparatory tool. Use this site to find living relatives who will cooperate with you in using the forthcoming GenSeek and the new WorldHistory sites. You will therefore be better equipped to enhance your genealogy until you create a family history.
Note that of the ten executives profiled as the FamilyLink Team, none have academic training or later credentials in the occupations of biography, genealogy, family history or history. Whizzes and even young whippersnappers with commendable expertise in computing, marketing, managing and more. That is one reason why those in the trenches of genealogy need to marshal their talents in an organized way to sustain GenealogyWise.
I am cautious at the start. I have already seen too many Internet sites perpetuating inaccurate information about me, stealing my educational content, taking freely volunteered DNA samples and pedigrees and turning them into a fee site, and regularly duplicating the effort of creating my family history.
Visuals. Like a panel moderator, I hope to motivate groups and discussions on important methods. As a teacher, I plan to use as many visuals as possible since so many are visual learners. Whether it is a significant reference book such as The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy or an extensive site such as the Learning Center at Genealogy.com, we all need images of documents and archives to urge us onward.
What does the array of naturalization applications papers look like over time?
Are there alternate sources?
If naturalization documents exist in over 5,000 archives, where do you begin to locate them?
If you are seeking parentage, for example, how does their content vary from a county court to a district court?
How does a declaration of intention compare to an application for a passport, an application for a marriage license, or an application for a military pension?
I need to see the evidence.
Viewpoints. Perhaps you can teach me and reach me while I act as a mentor and coach. If the feedback is appropriate, I can try to coach you or be your cheerleader. I can give occasional consulting where I think it will benefit more than one member. In the spirit of critical inquiry I may share analysis, opinions, and commentary from several viewpoints: genealogist, family historian, indexer, librarian, professional researcher, teacher.
In many cases I am unknown simply because many genealogists, from novice hobbyist to paid researchers, are distracted by technology from the skills of locating and evaluating original sources. Last I heard, computers are still stupid machines. I plead for you to search beyond readily-available census databases and undocumented family tree sites. I need you to learn how to locate original sources of historical information. Maybe you are already using primary sources in a courthouse, on a microfilm, or as part of an online archive. Next I need you to gain the skills required to use the source to make correct linkages.
P.S. If I do some late-night proofreading or editing of your post, please don’t take it personally. Attention to detail and accuracy is one of the best habits for every genealogist. Correcting misinformation would be a continuous challenge even as GenealogyWise is in its infancy. I will try to be selective.
For now, Good Hunting!
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