I invested most of this week in finishing the draft copy of some 31 slides I want to present to the local societies and groups. This presentation is a brief expose on what technology’s impact on family history research has been, is and will be in the distant future. If I spend on average, 2 minutes per slide, that translates to an hour long presentation. What is left for me at this time, other than to edit the slides is to pour over the presentation and fill in my notes and mental musings. My hope in presentating of this review is that of removing the fear and hesitation many have in writing their history, the fear of using contemporary technology in what has been thought of a dry, uninteresting field of research and writing family histories. May be this will provide the recipient a little purpose and drive their work at discovering and reporting family history, the work that usually accompanies the building of a family tree.
The highlighted direction of this presentation is the movement from the tradition of repeating oral history as the only way to maintain lines of royalty; through use of parchments and stone as a method of recording; and onto the high tech methods of research and recording of today and even a glimpse of tomorrow.
I just put in 3 days of coordinating pictures and writing memories from 52 years ago and found it an interesting session with the pen and paper, actually with Microsoft Word. Why do I do this you might ask. Primarily I am whole heartedly in favor of every one writing their own story, because as a family historian I have found the that the personal stories and accounts of events very useful in the writing my ancestor’s stories. Finding the vital information is rather straight forward in today’s world of web databases, but to use only that makes for a dry, usual short accounting of my ancestor’s life. Those that have left behind autobiographies or snippets of their life in diary or journal form provide the family historian insight to the person that can embellish the writing of the stories and enables an opportunity for the writer keep the narrative from becoming a dry read.
This particular memory of mine was about a cherished event in my life. In my mid-twenties I was asked to be one of five chaperones on 50 mile trek to be taken by a troop of Boy Scouts that I did not know. I readily agreed to do it and was paid off in measurable dose of self-esteem. The day by day accounting of this memory hopefully draws images in the reader’s mind as she or he traverse through the story. To read this account click this link.
In 1999 I decided to put my family history on line on a few pages. Eventually it grew to 50 plus pages. Initially, I was in the mood to share my work as I had uncovered a treasure trove of memorabilia, artifacts, documentation, photos, letters, bibles etc in my Grandmother’s and Aunt’s home. I have memories of some of this collection being stored in their attic before they moved to a new home with a spare bedroom to collect it in. Since I inherited the collection and with my interest in family history, I chose to put what I could on the web with the notion that perhaps others out in the world might use this information in their own family history research projects. Over the past 15 years, I have received some 10,000 plus unique hits on the website, been contacted by cousins I didn’t know existed, and shared information between us that enhanced my family history experience. With out knowing it, I was crowdsourcing with a modicum of success, and although my initial intentions were to share information, the presence on the web attracted contact and further information for my efforts.
Now that I am finally in a “retirement mode” of life, my efforts are to stretch into the world of family historians with software, talks and seminars, along with consultations. A lot of this I envision will be through the continued use of the web as a communication and research tool. Retire is a retread; that is not me….. I prefer to be relevant in my work as it is why I can wake in the morning with the attitude of producing and contributing something worthwhile for some one else.
August 16 and the four web pages located at George’s Place,Snyder’s Root Cellar, and George’s Blog are coordinated to navigate between them seamlessly if one remembers the above titles for 1)-George’s Place, my personal website, 2)-Snyder’s Root Cellar, my family history on the web, and 3)-George’s Blog, the place you are reading this at. Additionally, George’s Place Bio page is also linked back to George’s Blog.