May 4, 2009
Genealogy Objective 4 – Education
Now that I have listed my seven genealogy objectives, I am setting actionable goals for each objective.
Objective 4: Ccntinually expand knowledge of genealogy methods and records through both formal and informal education.
Continuing education in the field of genealogy is critical if the work that we produce is to stand the test of time. While I will very likely never become a professional genealogist, I believe I owe myself and my descendants the same care and expertise a professional genealogist would bring to my research.
Education comes in two flavors, each having its own important contribution to make. Formal education is available through classes, conferences, and lectures. Informal education can be gained by reading books, magazines, and journals as well as accessing well written web sites and blogs.
I, by nature, love to learn, which means I must make sure that I do not spend somuch time learning about genealogy that I leave myself no time to perform my research.
Goal 4a: Complete Disc 2 of the National Genealogy Home Study Course by April 2010. This excellent course has long been considered one of three premier “basic” educational opportunities. I completed the first CD of six lessons in 2008, then took a break to concentrate on my daughter’s wedding. It is time to order, and then complete the second of the three disk course. A time line for this significant goal: May – Order disk; June/July – Lesson 7, August/September – Lesson 8, October/November – Lesson 9, January/February – Lesson 10, March/April – Lesson 11. (Notice how I cleverly skipped over the always hectic month of December.)
Goal 4b: Complete the 18-month Professional Genealogy 2 study.A group of roughly 36 professional, professional-wanna-be’s, and serious amateur genealogist are working together to methodically read, discuss, and learn from a collaborative work, Professional Genealogy, edited by Elizabeth Shawn Mills. Each month one or more chapters are assigned for reading, with supplemental reading sometimes assigned as well. A homework assignment is given, which is to be turned into one’s peer group. The month’s topic concludes with a moderated online chat where members of the discussion group share thoughts on a series of predefined questions. May begins Lesson 8. The course will conclude in April 2010.
Goal 4c: Selectively read incoming and backlog of genealogy magazines and journals. Genealogy magazines contain a mixture of how-to articles, news on new online and paper resources, and suggestions of how to share what we learn. Journals, more scholarly in nature, usually have three to five articles detailing the research and anlysis performed to solve a tricky problem. Just as I love to learn, I love to read – so I subscribe to several periodicals, but don’t get them read quickly enough. I am currently subscribing to Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, and Discovering Family History. As a member of NGS I also receive two publications. I also receive two publications form the Indiana Historical Society. I use to subscribe to other magazines and journals as well, but I am trying to cut back. (Really – I AM!) To make this goal manageable I am going to read one periodical a week, only allowing myslef to read no more than half of the articles. It is time for me to learn to be selective here.
Goal 4d: Read well-written genealogy blogs. This is probably written a little generically. Here too I need to learn to be selective. It isvaluable to keep up on current happenings and discussions in the genealogy community, so I am glad I have subscribed to several blogs. (Ironically even though I have written my blog for about 18 months – I have only recently begun to methodically subscribe to other blogs, using Google Reader to manage them.) I currently subscribe to 44 blogs (a reduction from my peak of 60), which has brought 1300 messages to my door in the last 30 days. That is 43 messages a day. Even if it only took 1 minute to read each posting, that is almost 22 HOURS each month to read. Egad!!!! While I work full time I don’t think I can devote almost an hour a day to blog reading. SO – for May I will spend 30 minutes each evening reading blogs (this is a good night time, low energy activity for me.) I will “Star” the post I find useful (easy to do in Google Reader.) At the end of May I will cut my blog subscription list down to 30. (I probably need to pare it further – but at least this is a good start.)
Goal 4e: Register and attend May lecture on using DNA to research genealogy.Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (no, that is not a typo) will be in Indiana giving an all day DNA seminar. This is a exploding sub-area in genealogy and Megan is one of the most dynamic lecturers I have heard. It is just too good of an opportunity to pass up, even if this Education Objective is much too full already.