Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2016

31 December 2016

Each year (for the last five), at this time of year, my genea-mate Jill Ball (@geniaus) invites genealogists across the world to reflect on their geneayear and rejoice in our successes. She directs our thinking with twenty key statements/questions, with some people responding to all of them and some choosing a selection. I will fall into the latter category….

The most obvious question to start with is about a geneadventure I enjoyed (19) and that has to be my first visit to Salt Lake City to RootsTech in January/February 2016. Prior to planning our adventure (that’s me and my genea-mate, Sylvia Valentine), I had never really locked in to the US genealogy conference scene. Although I had applied to speak at a few, my name was clearly not well-known enough in the States so bookings were not forthcoming. RootsTech was different. With no idea of what to expect and no real plan, I suddenly found myself as an Ambassador to the conference and also a speaker, thanks to Jill, who was running an Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy panel discussion. Without going through the entire experience, chapter and verse, I met up with so many previously ‘online-only’ genealogy connections and founded lasting friendships along with highly productive research relationships! Sylvia and I enjoyed the experience so much that we are heading back to Salt Lake City again in 2017. This time, I will be leading several classes and, once again, taking on the role of Ambassador (the only UK Ambassador, again!!).

The question about a journal/magazine article I had published was (13) one which struck a chord. In years gone by, I was a prolific writer for magazines around the world. 2016 saw a change in focus with less frequent blogging and more time being devoted to research and education, the latter more through lectures/classes, rather than in the written form. I still love writing but the difference I can make to others through research is what I am passionate about…. So, no articles really to speak of, but that’s all fine!

I taught many genea-mates how to (14) use Snipping Tool and Family Historian this year. Although Snipping Tool is not rocket science it has certainly changed the speed at which case notes can be produced when speed is of the essence. No more ‘download – save – open – crop – paste’ required and a simply ‘one-step’ manoeuvre to get what we need. In 2014, I met Jane Taubman on the Unlock The Past cruise from Sydney and she gave several talks on Family Historian. I was not wedded to a family history package at the time and, when Family Historian Version 6 was released, I jumped on the bandwagon and have not looked back. Of course, at some point in the future, I will need to go back into the archives of my research and enter all of my data, as well as disposing of all the paper copies of censuses and such like, which can now be saved more simply in an electronic format. Genealogy Do-Over might occur for me in my retirement!

The final question “I made a new genea-mate who …” (8) is a very challenging one for me. During my career in genealogy, paths have crossed with several ‘grand fromages‘ as well as many people who consider themselves to be ‘minnows‘ in the pond. Everyone has something to offer and, as has been said on a number of occasions this year, the sandpit is big enough for everyone to play in. Some genea-mates paths have taken a different course and we are not as connected as we used to be – that happens – and some people have had challenging years and had to edge out of the genea-arena for various reasons. In my usual non-conformist way, I am going to twist this one slightly and honour all my genea-mates who have had such a big impact on my year. You know who you are.

I am really excited about the year ahead. Lots of plans afoot already (speaking and travel-wise), new friends to meet and friendships to rekindle with genea-colleagues around the world. As Geoff Rasmussen says, “Life is short. Do genealogy first!” I’d highly recommend it!!!!

Best wishes for a Happy Genealogical New Year in 2017!

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