Monday, February 28, 2011

Back From London: A General Summary of WDYTYA Live 2011

Hello All -

Well, I am back from my WDYTYA Live experience in London over the weekend. I must say that I had a fantastic time over the three days. There was so much to see and so many lectures to attend. I didn't really get a chance to see as much as I would have liked, but nevertheless I had a great time. From a professional point of view, I was able to network with my fellow colleagues and meet those who I have known about but not met before.

It was real treat to me Dick Eastman, Chris Paton, Jan Gow (of NZ), Ian Marson (AGRA Chairman), Eileen O'Duill (APG Intl. Exec. Comm. from Ireland but American expat like myself), Kathy Hinckley (APG Executive Director), Laura Prescott (APG President), Alvie Davidson (APG Exec. Comm. from Florida), just to name a few.
Everyone was just very nice and friendly.

I spent most of my three days volunteering on the stands of ASGRA and APG. I got to speak with quite a few folks that wanted some advice on Scottish genealogy, and giving information about the APG and ASGRA for those that were interested. The time went by quickly, and at the end of the day nursing sore feet from standing and walking about all day. I probably shed a couple pounds during the three days.

This year was the first year that ASGRA had a booth. They were sharing it with AGRA and Origins. ASGRA is the credential organization of Scotland for those in professional genealogy. They are similar to AGRA in their aims and goals, but more for the Scottish professional and also that the records and research required is a bit different. There were 5 in total that came from ASGRA, including myself, down to London. We gave alot of help and advice for those who have Scottish ancestors, and also helped to promote the organization to a wider audience.

Also, making their debut this year was the Association of Professional Genealogist (APG) who are headquartered in Colorado, USA. The APG is a professional organization for those in the genealogical field or industry. It is not a credentialing body, but they do hold their members to a code of ethics and standards. Also, they are worldwide in their membership. There are over
2, 200 members from all over the globe - USA, Canada, NZ, Australia, UK, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, even Japan and South Africa. I think that they were very popular if the steady flow of people visiting their stand gives any indication. I think that those who came from US and those from the Administration were very pleased with their reception.

On Saturday evening the APG had a dinner/get together for their members at the Pizza Express after that day's show was over. It was a great time had by all, and it was great to chat with colleagues from all over Britain, US, Europe, Canada, Ireland, etc.

The lectures were all day long for the three days. From what I could observe they were very well attended. Some of the more popular ones had folks standing outside the barriers to listen.
I am sure many people learned alot, and also got those who were thinking about genealogy to get started in it on their own family.

Sunday was fairly quiet compared to Friday and Saturday. Many commented on this, but I think that overall the event was well attended even if the numbers were a bit down from previous years. One theory could be for the lighter turnout is that the WDYTYA series in UK has not had a new season yet, but this is just my opinion. Usually whenever a new series of WDYTYA the ratings do very well, and there tends to be a increase in interest in family history.
Don't know really, I am sure that the event people will figure it out for next year.

Overall, I thought that the event was great and I had a enjoyable time. I hope that those of you who weren't able to go this year can make it in 2012.

Until next time ....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

WDYTYA Live coming to London in 2 Weeks Time

Hello All -

Just received my WDYTYA Live tickets in the mail today. I have never been before, so this will be something to look forward to. I am not too sure how much I will get to see while there as far as the talks and vendor stands go. I will be volunteering at the APG and the AGRA/ASGRA stands at various times while there. It will be an exciting time. I am hoping to network with my fellow professional colleagues during my time there. Being a professional genealogist can be a solitary pursuit at times, so it will be great to meet up with others in the profession.

If you are planning to come please stop by for a chat. It should be a great three days of genealogical indulgence, as well as possibly turning newbies into genealogy junkies which tends to happen once the "bug" bites.

See you all there hopefully. It is a event not to be missed. It seems to get bigger and better each year.

Daily Telegraph & Sun. Telegraph 19 and 20 Feb. Issues

Hello All -

Be sure to get a copy of the Daily Telegraph or the Sunday Telegraph (19 and 20 Februrary) because they are going to have a FREE, yes FREE, Tracing Your Family History: The Essential Step-By-Step Guide with CD-Rom in these two days issues.

This is a special promotion in conjunction with the upcoming Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London on the last weekend of Feb. (25-27). I don't normally read the Telegraph, but I will make sure that I get a copy this next week end.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Need A Genealogist? Hire Locally

Hello All -

With all the hub-bub surrounding the termination of Ancestry's Expert Connect service early this month (known to be happening in last week of Jan.) it got me to thinking about the things to look for when hiring a professional genealogist.

Anyone interested in becoming a provider could have signed up to be on Expert Connect, whether an amateur or professional doing research for a living. There is nothing wrong with a amateur researcher doing work for someone, but it is important that they know what they are doing and have had some experience themselves at doing genealogical research. This post really isn't about delving into the topic of professional vs. amateur genealogist, but rather the importance of hiring a local genealogist for perform work for people.

Natalie Cottrill in 2004 wrote a very good article about hiring a professional genealogist and in one of the paragraphs says, "when selecting a professional genealogist, make sure that he or she has the special research skills needed to accomplish your goals. For instance, if your research is in France, then it is important to hire a professional genealogist with experience researching within the French culture, language, and records. You don't necessarily need to hire someone who lives in France."

I would definitely agree with most all of this, but where I differ in the statement is "you don't necessarily need to hire someone who lives in France." In my opinion I think it is important to hire someone who lives locally in the country or state that you need research done. It may not be completely necessary, but it definitely helps. I know that it may not be always feasible for one reason or another, but having a localized research performed by a local genealogist should be one of the things to look for when deciding to hire someone to do a project.

Don't get me wrong I know that there is a lot of information that can be accessed via online, FHL in Salt Lake City, etc. However, you can't replace having a person in the actual location that information is needed from. I know that there are folks living in places that know and understand cultures and histories of other countries that they don't reside in. However, that doesn't mean that they are readily able to access all the records for that place. Not everything is online or at the FHL. When things are online, how accurate are they if they are not the original document image? Many types of information found online can be incomplete abstractions or inaccurate transcriptions.

When the case does arise that a person is hired to work on a family history project for a specific area and from the research it is discovered that the person or family is from another place (state, country, etc.) most likely the hired genealogist will get help from another genealogist located in the place needing to obtain information from. For example, a genealogist is working on a family in California and through the research investigation comes to find that the family ancestors were originally from New York. The genealogist in California will need to ask a genealogist in New York to obtain original documents for them if they are not able to obtain them themselves. There isn't really any way around this. You need to go where the records are. In the end, a local researcher will always be needed one way or another.

There is a load of competition out there for genealogy research for hire. There are professional genealogists all over the world, almost every state in the US, most every province in Canada, etc. When making the big decision to hire a genealogist there are many things to think about -competency, professionalism, adhereing to codes of conduct, knowledge and skills of specialist area, analysis, experience, etc. One of them should also be the location of the genealogist to where the research is needed.

Until Next Time