01 November 2019

Blogging with a Purpose

My last blog post was many moons ago. Many. And, I've been hesitant to post an update because I didn't want to muddle up the stuff the Universe has been planning for me over the last few years.

So, I'll say this: I will never be a Professional Genealogist. I thought that I'd be able to make it, but the reality is that I don't have the fortitude to stop. When a client has hired me for 2 hours and I'm on the 10th hour, still trying to satisfy my own curiosity, well that's not a good thing. It's not a bad thing either: I'm happy that it didn't take me very long to determine that I wasn't cut out to do that specific work, professionally. My skills are great, it's the inability to stop that was the professional killer.

This blog was started with the intention of recording my journey from "family historian" to "Professional Genealogist". I won't lie: I love writing. And guess what? I discovered that while writing the blog. So it's not a complete loss (LOL). Plus, I've been able to share quite a bit of my archives knowledge along the way, helping people to preserve and manage their own archival collections.

I also learned the value in editing myself and how that taught me about record editing. Now, when I find personal genealogical material for an ancestor of mine, I wonder what they left out. What happened to them that we'll never know because they didn't want anyone to know it? I mean, I deleted entire blog posts because they were written about events or people that I simply didn't want to be associated with or remember. Which, in hindsight, wasn't the smartest decision, but it was done all the same.

Of course, the main reason I wanted to preserve my words in this blog was because I was the last leaf on my branch of my family. That, also, turned out not to be fully accurate. Yes, DNA testing is a tricky thing. And it's not just about you and finding your ancestors; nope, your 3rd and 2nd cousins can be the conduit through which living people can find you. Full disclosure: that can be very disruptive to your immediate relatives. Heh.

It's been 10 months since I worked in an Archive. I did research this summer in a number of repositories, but my work as an Archivist has come to an end after 15 amazing years. I loved my work, and I'm extremely thankful for all the places that allowed me the privilege of processing their archival material. Hopefully, many generations from now, someone will find one or more of their ancestors in a folder with my writing as the label. How cool would that be?

I contemplated deleting the blog since I'm neither "Professional Genealogist" nor "Archivist". But, I decided that it needed to stay, if for no other reason that I hope it'll be cousin bait for my own genealogical work. And I hope that I'll have time to update it about all the wonderful collaborations and genealogical finds I've made over the last few years. Maybe I'll "re-brand" it to something else, we'll see.

In the old Celtic world this is the day to celebrate Samhain. It's an ending...and a beginning...


  1. I have leaned from your blog, hope you post up some more and good luck on this new journey!

  2. Please don't delete your blog, Laura. We all want to leave something of value. I understand completely about research for someone else. Although I have suspended my research to embark on a book (not a genealogy one), I was approached recently by a friend who wanted me to do some research for a eulogy. He had been told by an archive that there was not enough time to perform his research before the eulogy date, but I was a friend rather than a professional so hours don't count (sarcasm there). As you know, it's hard to suppress the curiosity and I became engrossed in putting together a potted history for my friend. When time permitted, I have been guilty of researching an tasty historical lead for my own interest (i.e. not connected with my family or any known friends), and then writing it up as a sort of journalism. I have never tried to be a professional because I'm well aware of the the time that can be taken, not just in looking up references or transcribing but in forming a coherent picture of someone's life in order to help searches, and then the difficulty in accounting for those "lost" hours to a client.


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