Pardon my rant, but here goes for a bit.
Rant mode ON:
Lately I have seen an alarming number of genealogy blogs, newsletters, websites, etc. encouraging the establishment of more and more, different types of genealogy websites, compendiums, etc. on the internet. For instance. WIKIs are a wonderful thing, but does every Society and group need their own? Why not focus on the primary, recognized WIKIs and intigrate your information into that one? Better to be a part of a major, recognized WIKI than a tiny, site that few, if any, folks may find in the future and that will require resources to keep running and keep current. Or this …. someone who is advocating the developement of a website of all the WRONG genealogy information! While I understand this person’s idea, just because it can be done, does not mean it should be! IMNSHO, would it not be better to focus on PROPER and CORRECT genealogy rather than the wrong, bad information? Who is going to keep this up? Who is going to manage it? What about the newbie who accesses this database at some random point, rather than the home page and does not know it is all the BAD information? Why not focus instead on CORRECTING ERRORS rather than REPEATING them someplace else? Harder work? Probably. The right thing to do? Absolutely!
IMNSHO, I think these ‘experts’ should be focusing on IMPROVING genealogy, rather than just promoting the most current fad or idea.
There is SO much poorly done genealogy online, that I truly believe our first calling should be teaching HOW TO DO PROPER GENEALOGY, not about some fad! About showing proper documentation, not about accumulating the bad information to be repeated one more time some place!
I have spoken with dozens of genealogy societies that are struggling with membership, trying to attract new members, build financial resources, etc. I think that often times throwing the lastest fad out there for them might not be the best option for them or for genealogy. Sure they need to get into the new century with their methods, but a lot of that can be done by partnering, not by going solo with some independent effort.
SO just because we can do everything, does not mean we should! We need to make reasoned decisions for the good of genealogy, not just to appear on the cusp of a current fad. We need to really think of the future of our information and not focus on creating numerous extraneous sites that will fall into disrepair and disuse.
Just as I am not a fan of having mulitiple certifications for genealogists based on which organziation does the testing, I am not a fan of multiple sites just so some organization can call it ‘our own’.
I sincerely believe we need to focus, join forces not splinter, and keep GOOD genealogy as our primary mission!
Rant mode off!
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!
Onward To Our Past!

  1. Thomas MacEntee Reply

    Hey Scott

    Rants are good from time to time and cathartic – I have them at my blogs as well.

    My take on wikis: why not have one big wiki? Probably because variety is the spice of life. Also, societies can create specialized wikis for their geographical or ethnic focus. One wiki can't cover everything – even wikipedia. Also, looking at the social media aspect, a wiki is a social media tool that a genealogy society can use to publicize itself and its mission. That is why there are so many different wikis. I don't see wikis as a fad – in fact semantic wikis can provide needed assistance to genealogists in order to make the connections between what seem like disparate points of data.

    As for the the right or proper way to do genealogy – that is always a hot topic and I don't know that it will ever be successfully tackled. But what I do believe is that we as a community need to take an approach of guiding, leading by example and offering help rather than drawing margins and borders and saying "this is the right way and here is where you are in respect to the right way to do genealogy."


  2. Scott Phillips Reply

    Hey Thomas,

    I get your points. My main point is that you can fracture things up too much, making things harder to find.

    I must say, though, I was not promoting a 'right' way to do genealogy, I was simply promoting unity, collaboration, and not multiplication for its' own sake.

    I run across way too many folks who demand things be done only 'the one right way' and that turns me off.

    A good example, to me, is a person who told me that if a citation does not follow the Chicago Style Manual then the person should not cite at all. I said I preferred to have some citation than none and that while Chicago Style might be the ultimate, I was happy with at least some citation. We agreed to disagree.

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