Apprentice Adventures #6


Spent almost three hours with the apprentice on Wednesday. She’s really pumped up from her reading and studies. She’s been finishing an excellent course, “Researching in the Family history Center” developed by Dr. Penny Christensen for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and has come back every day excited by new discoveries. And while this was great, she was excited to tell me about reading Helen F.M. Leary’s “Problem Analyses and Research Plans” chapter 14 in Elizabeth Shown Mills, Professional Genealogy: A manual for researchers, writers, editors, lecturers and librarians. (Genealogical Publishing, 2001) .  Let me tell you a bit about what she experienced.

As Barb worked her way through the section on “Detailed Analysis” starting on page 262 every brick-wall problem she has encountered in recent years came surging to mind.  And ass she read through Helen’s four tests, she kept interrupting the reading to pull out the problems and scribble down fresh ideas to overcome them.

And by the time she arrived on page 269, “Plan Development” ” she was ready to to put action plans together.  She confessed that the other reading assignments were abandoned, and she put her energy into some new directions in her research.

It is wonderful to see the lights go on!

This week she’s catching up on reading. There’s a Connie Lenzen case study, and Christine Rose’s book on the Genealogical Proof Standard.  And a David Dilts article on using research logs
She keeps wondering when she starts on my projects. So I gave her a copy of Reassembling Female Lives. A Special Issue of The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ Vol. 88, No.3 Sep 2000) and assigned Kay Ingalls article “Cherchez la femme! Looking for Female Ancestors” pages 165-178. We are going to build a series of workshop kits on researching female ancestors.
As a sidelight, my apprentice suddenly asked me, “Do you know Helen Leary?” So I told her about hearing Helen speak at the National Genealogical Society conference in Milwaukee and later having lunch with her twice in Toronto. Those who know Helen’s work can imagine how impressed I was with these encounters and others. Helen is a great teacher. She’s one of my genealogy heroes.


One response to “Apprentice Adventures #6

  1. Barbara Schenck

    Helen Leary is one of my heroes, too, Ken. I want to be like her when I grow up. At the very least I want to be able to approach a brick wall with the array of tools and insights she has learned and developed over her career.

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