02 April 2014

Attributes of a serious genealogist?

Here are the results of the survey "Which of these attributes of a serious genealogist apply to you?" based on 98 responses. The attributes are those suggested in a blog post by Helen Osborn of Pharos Teaching and Tutoring.

100% -  Interested in finding out more than just names and dates
99% -  Does not follow just one ancestral line or surname
99% - Wants to improve their research methods
97% - Recognizes the need to find out about more obscure sources
94% - Has a small library of books on genealogy
91% - Talks of the addictive nature of genealogy
88% - Has more than one website subscription
85% - Member of a family history society
82% - Visits record offices in person

74% - Takes courses to improve their knowledge
72% - Wants to work to an agreed standard
71% - Volunteers time to genealogy

64% - Writes about their research, or writes up their research

54% - Spends money engaging others to help their research

33% - Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy

19% - Wants to turn professional or is already professional

The most negative responses were for "Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy" (65%) and "Wants to turn professional or is already professional" (64%). It would be a big mistake to assume that serious genealogists aspire to be professionals.

Ten respondents left comments:

  • I chose "unsure" for some of these, because I don't do them as much as I would like to, and/or not up to the point of a whole-hearted "yes". 
  • I hope to get better at them!
  • I attend conferences and have taken courses in the past but not recently.
  • Haven't got the confidence or the skill to write up my stories. I plan on taking the steps to do so.
  • I've been at it for 47 years, originally all pre-computers, now using the Internet as a resource & tool. It was and continues to be a hobby spent when time was and is available (through university, family and work obligations). Does that make me a "serious" genealogist? Started with a focus on filing slots with names, now much more interested in understanding how these people managed to live in their days physically and emotionally, particularly without all the modern conveniences of homes and healthcare, for example, we have today.
  • As regards being a professional, I feel one can achieve professional status without working as a paid professional.
  • I haven't yet hired a researcher yet but recognize that at some point I may have to. I have counted workshops at conferences as courses. I have also done day courses offered by various societies but have not yet taken courses like those offered by Pharos. I've always thought of myself as a "serious" genealogist right from the start - but then I started back in the day when there was no internet to turn to.
  • bloody thing drives me foolish.
  • I do not have a small library - I have a large library of over 5,000 volumes of genealogy and local history. Also I spend over $1,000 a year for online access to records ....
  • My answer to the library question should really be 'no' as mine is a large home collection, and, of course, I have access to a very large genealogical socity library.

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