Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Genealogy Journey

There's an interesting discussion post over at the Genea-Blogger's Group on Facebook by a member wondering what her next steps should be in the field of genealogy. She wonders if she should become certified, take courses, etc.

Knowing that a description of my own genealogy journey might be too large for a discussion post, I thought I'd share where I've been and the direction in which I am headed in terms of my genealogy.

My journey began around 1995 when my mother handed me a copy of a printed genealogy for my Putman line. Entitled Genealogy of David Putman and His Ancestors, only 100 copies were printed and I had my hands on one! The book was a real eye-opener then as to who my ancestors were. And it intrigues me even now since my cousin did all the research by mailing letters to the postmasters of small New York towns and asking for a list of Putman names to correspond with.

Soon thereafter I took Mom on many genealogy trips. One was to Lowville, New York where my Austin, Dence and Putman ancestors had lived. Another was to North Kingstown, Rhode Island to visit Austin graveyards since I descend from Robert Austin (b. 1638 in Kingstown, Rhode Island).

In 2006 I started this blog, Destionation: Austin Family as a means of documenting my family history and sharing it with my family and others. Creating this blog (and the ten others since then) has been very therapeutic as I deal with my mother's early onset Alzheimer's and her care. I don't know what I would have done without the encouragement and support of many of my geneablogger friends. They were unafraid to speak about issues besides genealogy and make me realize that we have more in common than that which separates us.

In 2008 I was suddenly terminated - along with 1200 co-workers - from a global law firm as it decided to dissolve. How did I deal with the fact that I was not paid back wages? Create a blog about it - of course! But how was I going to deal with the lack of desire to work in the legal technology field after 20+ years? And how was I going to deal with the strong desire to share my talents and expertise with the genealogy community?

In early 2009 I polled - via email - some of my closest geneablogger friends and asked them for recommendations on certification in the field of genealogy. In a post this week I will reveal the information I gathered and my choice as to certification.

What I can say is this: each day as I interact more and more with the genealogy community, I feel this "pull" towards making it my calling, my profession. So I have a 5-year plan in place which will allow me to transition from my current field to that of genealogy. More on that in a bit.

copyright 2009 Thomas MacEntee


Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I'm glad you're sharing your "journey" with us, Thomas.
I think you're own unique professional background are going to make you a great asset to the genealogical community.
Evelyn in Montreal

Gini said...

I truly admire your drive and commitment. We are all so much richer for having you and your help, support, and knowledge. For me, I am very grateful for you and support you all the way Thomas. Thank you for being here.

Terri O'Connell said...

Thomas, thanks for sharing your story. I definitely have the same urge to make this more than a hobby. I look forward to your follow up post and to see what your 5 year plan is.
Personally, I am glad to have found GeneaBloggers, I have made many connections here in the short time I have been around. So many thanks to you!

rootsfinder said...

You've done a tremendous job with your blogging - 11 you say? I'm impressed! I live in hope that I can successfully combine my old day job (web design) with genealogy. :)

Good luck to you!

Kris said...

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us Thomas! I hope to learn alot about it!