Monday, February 12, 2007

My Turn to Rant

If you've been following the brouhaha blowing through the genealogical world during the past 24 hours, you'll know that Lee had a bad day, Chris jumped in to cheer her up, as did Jasia and many others. I'm proud of them and proud of us for supporting her through her crisis. I know that when it's my turn to fall to pieces, they'll have my back. I have to thank Jasia and Susan for kick-starting the "Five Things About Me" meme last month which created a closeness in our genea-blogger community that was so evident today.

I made a comment at the end of Chris's blog that I would like to expand upon for clarification. Some might get the idea that this was all about the "amateur" genealogist versus the "professional;" that amateurs think that professional, accredited, or otherwise certified genealogists are arrogant so-and-sos; or that professionals believe that amateurs have no standards and make up their family history as they go. Some may even believe that I think that anyone with a degree or who is a professional is a snob. Not so.

To address that last point: I have met many wonderful people with multiple degrees and accreditations in both the education and the genealogical fields (as well as other fields), whose education has allowed for tremendous opportunities for them,which they have been very generous in sharing with myself and others. Many of them have gladly mentored and encouraged me in my endeavors, both in my career of education and in my hobby of genealogy. Many are family members and close friends.

I am also grateful for the standards that are in place for the genealogical world, and am striving to educate myself on the finer points and redo my work (a painfully slow process) to reflect those standards. I didn't know anyone who was "into" genealogy the way I was when I started 20 years ago, and the few how-to books I read simply said to write down where I got my information. So I did, in very simple, unofficial citations. Now I am going back and doing it the "right" way, not because I feel pressured to do so, but because I know better, and I want my work to be of high quality. I do enjoy reading blogs, articles and books by professionals in this field, such as Arlene H. Eakle, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Roger Joslyn, Karen Clifford, Myra Vanderpool Gormley, to name a few, and I respect their education and experience.

What really ticked me off was the slamming that Lee got from certain individuals after she posted her blog. You see, the point of a blog is that it is a journal. A blog is not a genealogy quarterly with every statement cited and sourced, nor is it a mailing list in which one must stay on topic and be appropriate. It is a place of opinion, passion, and emotion, and it is personal in that it is "owned" by the author, who has complete freedom to express his or her opinions, passions and emotions. Lee didn't write an inappropriate message on the APG mailing list putting them down for their standards. She was simply having a meltdown--on her own personal blog--about not knowing what direction she needed to go in her life. Been there, done that, even got the T-shirt from it. (And speaking of T-shirts...!)

(I have removed two paragraphs from the post that I had originally written here. It takes a lot for me to lose my temper, and it is usually ignited when I perceive someone being the target of injustice. The person to whom the original paragraphs were directed to very rightly pointed out that I should have approached her privately with my concerns before publishing. While I regret things I said in a moment of anger, I don't for a moment regret standing up for a friend. I also don't want Lee to regret my standing up for her!)

SO! Now that I have taken the time to be opinionated, passionate and emotional here, I'll move on and go about doing what I love most...hunting my ancestors, piecing their lives together, blogging, writing, and giving and taking with my genie buddies all over the 'Net.

Until next time,
Miriam

(I believe that this issue should be laid to rest. It has the potential of dividing the genealogical community into two camps--pro and amateur--and we need each other too much to continue in this. I appreciate the cooler and wiser heads on both sides of this situation. Comments on this particular post will not be published. I am always available at my e-mail address, kidmiff at gmail dot com.)
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