Wednesday, August 1, 2012
7. Promote the welfare of the genealogical community.
This seems to be a good code for all of us to live by. But, first, what is the “genealogical community”? Is it just those who make a living finding dead people (and the related activities involved)? Can it include amateurs who climb the branches of their family trees in their spare time? Does it include those who operate websites and blogs? And would that also include on-line as well as hard-copy magazines and journals on the subject?
Yes. And more.
It includes the staff and patrons of the Family History Centers, National Archives, Museums, Libraries, etc. And the community of people who serve us in Court Houses, Land Records Repositories, Historical Societies, etc. In fact, anyone who in anyway touches the work of us, as professional (and budding professional) genealogists is part of the “genealogical community).
Now that we know who they are, how do we “promote their welfare”? I can think of a number of things.
Donate to the continuance of their services. This would include helping webmasters who are providing their services free to the public with donations to keep those services free and, more importantly, available. And when you get copies at a library or other repository, give a big bill and refuse change (or write out a check to help cover some of those expenses you know aren’t included in the copy costs). Join societies in the areas where you do research, even if you never get to attend a meeting: your donation of membership fees might just make the difference between a society that keeps going another year and one that has to close its doors.
Offer your services: Volunteer to “man” a table at a conference or seminar; offer to give an hour of your time for an “Ask the Expert” program; do some free classes for the local library, Family History Center, or senior center; run for an office for your local society, a regional organization, or APG!
Be courteous: Let people know that you are a professional genealogist and then show, by conduct and attitude, that you are a person others would like to know. We are all examples of the genealogy community: are we making our fellow community members look good? Rudeness, inappropriate language, condescending communication all make us appear to be someone to steer clear of. Help give all genealogists a good name by being an emissary to everyone in the genealogy community and those who have not yet entered our gates (we don’t want them to stay away because we appear to be snobs or worse).