I’d like to blame Dean Hunter, Past President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies for planting the doubts that led to changes in my thinking, but to be honest, the doubt was percolating on the back burners of my mind for some time. It was at the National Genealogical Society conference in Milwaukee in 2002. Dean and I shared a room. One evening he told me about a conversation with his friend David Rencher, about what they were taught in their beginning genealogy classes. We were on our way to dinner with David in a great seafood restaurant. “What were you taught?” David and Dean asked. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: October 2006
When I was a young man about town, in my rock and roll days, promoting rock concert the success of press releases I’d written was determined by how many journalists deemed the releases worthy of their time and attention. And though I knew thed editors of both newspaers, and radio station managers and djs, they often had no time for my media releases Continue reading
Recently, on the Genealogical Speakers Guild list I posed some questions about speakers fees. I was curious about how flexible speakers were on their fees, knowing that a good one hour lecture represents and investment of 50 hours work -time that could be used serving paying clients. And thus a four lecture seminar means a 200 hour investment. At $25 per hour thats a $5000 investment. Speakers were asked if they would barter for part of the fee. I was surprised at the large number of respondants who reduced fees, and how few mentioned bartering for some of the fee. But its the desenters, the speakers who would not budge on fees that made most sense to me. Continue reading
When I was younger I was proud of the fact that I never let school interfere with my education. Libraries would entice me from classrooms for hours of self directed learning and I immersed myself in arcane studies like solar energy, ancient Roman Britain, World War 2 history, railroad history and expansion, history of photography, etc. No time really for calculus or physics, the libraries called. I was once locked in a research library in Saudi Arabia after closing, totally absorbed in research. But its was in the Social Sciences Library at the University of British Columbia where I learned to follow citations- the backtrail of ideas. Let me explain Continue reading
Before moving to my present home I initiated an interesting networking opportunity at a restaurant across from the public library. Every month I would send out an e-mail invitation to the city archivist, a couple of librarians, a half dozen professional genealogists, a podiatrist, and a couple of lawyers to join me for lunch. No one knew for sure but me who was coming. Sometimes just three of us, sometimes a dozen. But the result was generally an opportunity to network between professionals with an interest in records and genealogy. The event was dutch treat. The conversation was lively and interesting. And very educational. Here we are at a costumed event, in the courtyard. The waitresses wearing parlour maids outfits and caps, astpu would guess, felt the caps were demeaning. Self-directed learning at its best with onion soup, garlic bread, and a group discussion topic.
I spotted a notice in a British genealogical publication that some noted professional genealogist was holding a surgery at a certain time or place. I smiled. My English cousins speak as peculiar a language as my American nieces and nephews, just not the same language. A surgery is an event where you can visit a specialist and discuss a problem or issue. In North American English we often use the term “clinic” the same way. So what is a Genealogy Clinic and how could it be used?
Meet Marsh William Hambrook (1805-1874) my immigrant ancestor, and by necessity, a pretty fair hand at negotiating a deal, especially to obtain a good horse. Those bargaining skills are often neglected in our credit card society but are very useful if you are shopping for talented speakers, workshop leaders etc for your library or genealogical society. Here’s what I mean. Continue reading
Recently I encountered a professional seminar speaker who called himself an “independent information entrepreneur”. So I Googled the term. What intrigued me was the fact this speaker was not trained in library and information sciences. In the library world the term refers to librarians who contract to do research. Although few librarians are interested and success may be dificult, those with strong reference and research experience and skills may become an independent information entrepreneur. Continue reading
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.
Here’s a piece of advice for genealogy speakers that may surpise you. When you find a column, article, or blog in an area similar to your expertise, you should write to the author and compliment them. one speaker reports that she begun doing this in earnest and was astounded at the results. The key, apparently, is to sincerely compliment them on something they’ve said, and offer to be a resource for them. However, you need to remain humble. Don’t promote yourself, your book, Web site or blog. Continue reading