Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Plight of The Intuitive Genealogist

As I sit here at my computer, I am surrounded by piles of FAMILY BINDERS (about 38, to be exact), filled with family group sheets, Census, birth, marriage and death records, land deeds and court documents, photographs, family letters, email correspondence, printouts of digitized historical books . . .

 . . . BOXES of family archival materials, 
including five binders of 35mm slides 
which need to be converted to DVD . . .

 . . . BOXES of loose papers collected in rapid-fire printing sessions when on Family Reunion Committee assignments, which still need to be filed in FAMILY  BINDERS
many of which still need to have the gaps filled in to see where they fit into the family history puzzle . . .

 . . . not to mention the two filing cabinets and 
twelve plastic file boxes . . .

<< Sigh! >>

A good friend of mine, Julie Bartlett, Archivist of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum , recently sent me a copy of Wide Open Spaces (Rick Crume, Family Tree Magazine, November 2010, pp. 16-21). Rick shares “10 space-saving ways to get organized.” I came away with a few new ideas, but it all takes T-I-M-E no matter what you decide to do. I decided I was on the right path, just needed to keep at it and eventually I’ll be done . . .
. . .well, you’re NEVER done, but at least organized.

Yesterday I was reading through some of the blogs I follow and came across a topic that peeked my curiosity. Tonia Kendrick, of Tonia’s Roots, wrote: “Starting the NGS Home Study Course.  One of my unwritten genealogy goals has been to enroll in a formal course of study. . . .” 

. . . and that got me thinking.

Several times over the past few years I had contemplated certification through the Board for Certification for Genealogists. In the past, I had completed the Test Your Skills and Skillbuilding sections of the website, looked at the Work Samples and Educational Preparation sections. . . . For the most part, I was ready then, but the cost was prohibitive considering how “ready” I was to make a career shift of that nature. That’s a big step. I went back to those pages yesterday after reading Tonia’s blog post and downloaded BCG’s new Certification Seminar Video from the Become Certified page. That gave me something to think on overnight.

When I awoke this morning, I began thinking about certification once more, just as Tonia says she had looked at the educational programs several times before making a decision.

As I checked my emails, I noticed a message from Legacy News--Tips & Tricks, stating that Evidence Analysis with Karen Clifford was now available at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. 

I viewed the webinar and made the not so startling discovery of what kind of genealogist I am. Let's call it "The Intuitive Genealogist." For years now I have known about ranking evidence and the status of records, but have glossed over research calendars, timelines, drafting tables, creating To Do Lists, and keeping updated research journals recording the process and evaluating as I worked. It just seemed too time consuming.

Instead, I worked intuitively, keeping either mental notes or scribblings on emailed research requests, easily forgotten or mislaid months or years later, and which now require precious time trying to recapture those thought processes to make any sense of them.

Yes, now I could kick myself. . .

. . . but as my grandfather, Mark Silverman used to say,
"Better late than never, but better never late."

I guess that could be applied here as well. All I can do is laugh, shake my head, and determine to move on in the RIGHT direction from here on out.

I did learn one other thing from the webinar, though. BCG is not the only genealogist credentialing body out there. The other one is The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized as ICAPGen.

Well, I guess that just gives me 
one more thought to chew on. . .

. . . until then, I guess I'll work on getting ORGANIZED!


  1. I fall in the "Intuitive Genealogist" camp as well. I'm diligently trying to incorporate research logs into my work process, but. . .it's more work! I continually have to remind myself to record my work in the log. Nevertheless, I'm determined to make it a habit.

    Good luck as you look into certification/accreditation!

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