Monday, 3 March 2014

The genealogical rat!

Lab experiments demonstrate random reinforcement is a powerful motivator.  Rats will push a lever more times if you reward randomly rather than regularly. Hope springs eternal.

There's also the genealogical rat. We optimistically buy magazines, read blog and mailing list posts, listen to webinars and attend meetings and conferences in the hope of latching on to something we can use to further our search.

These thoughts came to me as I was contemplating the four conferences that I will be going to in the next few months including the one I, with colleagues, am organizing in September for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

The first conference is Gene-O-Rama, the usually-annual conference organized by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, this year held on 21-22 March. It's a local event so the speakers are local. The exception is Jane MacNamara. Jane's depth of knowledge and clear presentation style placed her in the top 10 Canadian Rockstar Genealogists of 2013 as voted by Canadians. Even though she will be speaking on Ontario topics, of limited interest to me, I will want to hear at least one of her three presentations. Also ranked in the top ten Canadian Rockstar Genealogists are Gene-O-Rama speakers Lesley Anderson and Glenn Wright.

The family history search journey is different for each of us. What may be old hat to me could be new to you as you find yourself researching a branch of your tree from an area, geographic, religious or occupational, you have not looked at previously. And pay attention for something new, even if its outside your normal ambit. You may just be there to witness the emergence of something innovative.

If you find yourself having to choose between presentations consider the Rockstars first, they appear regularly on conference programs and in print for a reason. Or use the time at a conference to scurry around browsing the marketplace, making new connections and renewing friendships.

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