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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If I Ruled The Genealogy World...

I was trying to visualize myself as the Queen of Genealogy Land. I tried to see my silk gown, my fur cape, my scepter, and a sparkling Tiara. But every time I close my eyes, the tiara is sliding off my head. I think I'll leave the tiara wearing to Footnote Maven, she pulls it off way better than I do. Guess I'll just stick to being "me" with my blue jeans, t-shirt, and baseball cap, and be happy to be the tomboy that I am.

Gosh, I thought I hated labels and wanted to talk about those labels, and I start my first paragraph with 2 of them, "Queen" and "tomboy". Oh boy, I'm going to have to work on that! I think I'll start over.

Hi, I'm Skip and I'm a genealogist! Sometimes my life takes me almost completely away from genealogy and my only involvement with my genealogy family is via facebook. I am so honored to have those people in my life. They are a huge group of talented, loving, supportive, and very funny people. It doesn't matter what mood I'm in when I turn on the computer, because within minutes, somebody's post has me at least smiling, if not laughing out loud. On a bad day, my genealogy family collectively spreads their arms and gives me the biggest, warmest, fuzziest online group hug. When I have time for genealogy, it consumes me. I eat while doing genealogy, I dream about genealogy, my family has permanently glazed over eyes because I talk about genealogy so much. I don't know if passionate gives enough credit to how my genealogy family and I feel about genealogy. I am very OK with the genealogy label. Yes, <shouting from the mountain tops!> I AM a genealogist. 

Now that I've let go of the queen thing, I do wish I could work some magic. Genealogy is a good thing, from a hobby to a profession, it has so many rewards. I do feel that even a good thing can be even better. I think I'll wander off to the kitchen, grab my big wooden spoon, pretend it's a magic wand, close my eyes, click my heels 3 times, and say "I want to be a genealogy magician". 

As I wave my magic wand, I see groups of genealogists gathering together to share their passion. Be it a virtual gathering online or a large banquet hall at a major conference, I do not see individual tables. I see one huge, long continuous table snaking its way back and forth around the room. There is no "cool kids" table. We are all sitting together, chatting pleasantly. Everyone is sitting by an old friend and a new friend they just met. Sometimes our conversations are on serious topics and we all share our views in a friendly, open minded fashion. Sometimes, one of us will do or say something goofy and the room is filled with joyous laughter. We have no labels in this room, we are just genealogists. We are not pro vs amateur, there is no regards to our level of experience, the color of our skin, if we are male or female, our income, nothing. We are just like any other family, from the Sr. Citizens to the babies, we all have a common bond. 

Like any family gathering, we can not all sit at the same table forever, we need to break off in small groups to pursue specific interests. As the children run out in the yard to play a game of baseball, the genealogy newbies will branch off to work on a basic skill. Just as we can not learn to play baseball without someone teaching and coaching us, we also can not learn to be good genealogists without mentors and coaches. In my magic world, all those who choose to fill the mentor shoes will be good, positive mentors. Picture yourself grooming in the morning and looking in the mirror. I want each of us every day to look into our own eyes, and make sure we remind ourselves to be positive and welcoming to all who wish to share our passion with us.

There is always a need to break off into other groups to share on specific topics. From learning how to advocate for our rights, to location specific or surname or ethnic specific research, we will sooner or later need to move to a smaller table. So will the society leaders, the writers, the speakers, ones with military work, or ones who function in the legal community. Let's be sure that as we move to those smaller tables, there is always room for a new face. We need to remember that not all people are bold enough to walk up to a table and just sit right down. If we always add an extra chair and look around that room and invite people to join us, we will always appear to be the friendly, welcoming people we are.

In my magic world, no one would consider themselves better than anyone else. We are all people, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Does not make any of us better than anyone else. None of us would be more important than anyone else. We are all members of the same genealogy family. If my powers are not strong enough to keep someone from putting their nose up in the air at others, I would wave my magic wand and have a bird fly over. That bird's poop would land in the nostrils of the person with their nose in the air, to remind them that that is not where their nose belongs. Kinda nasty, but it's how I roll. I really have a hard time with people not being nice to each other.

I'm now handing my wooden spoon on to you. Please feel free to use it and work a little magic. What would you do to make life in the genealogy world even better than it is? No cheating now, you can't use it on your own brick walls. If my wand worked for that, I'd already know if all Katzungs are related, and my personal genealogy mission in life would be complete!

Wishing you love and peace,
~ Skip

P.S. I think these words are so wise:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. " ~ Margaret Mead

1 comment:

Donna Peterson said...

Thanks Skip for the gentle reminder of how we can make our world better. I love your "Perfect Genealogy World"!