Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reasons to Stop Saying "21st Century Genealogist"

Readers who follow me on Facebook over at the Technology for Genealogy group know that I am a big fan of Richard Byrne and his blog Free Technology for Teachers. As a genealogy educator, I find that much of what he shares at his site is applicable to the family history community as much as it applies to grade school teachers.

His recent post "21 Reasons to Stop Saying '21st Century Teacher'" made me consider whether or not the term "21st Century Genealogist" is overused. While I won't actually list 21 reasons, I think that several bullet points do have merit and apply to us as genealogists:
  • We live in the 21st Century. If you're researching genealogy today, you're a 21st Century Genealogist.
  • We live in the 21st Century. Even if you're using older methods (many are and always will be valid methods) you're still a 21st Century Genealogist.
  • No one worth impressing is impressed by "21st Century Genealogist."
  • A century is a long time.
  • Good genealogists have always consulted with other genealogists. Social media didn't invent professional learning networks, personal learning networks, or professional learning groups.
  • Good genealogists have always been life-long learners looking to bring tools into their research. Google didn't invent that.
  • Writing or saying "21st Century Genealogist" is meaningful if you're trying to help someone win at Buzzword Bingo.
As many of us use different tech tools in searching our ancestors and we work to share them with others in the genealogy community, perhaps we need to avoid terms and labels that can be divisive such as "21st Century Genealogist."

I remember when I got started in genealogy: Yes, there were those "Blue Meanies" who could easily have been road blocks to my progress in finding my ancestors.  But I simply ran them over, turned them into "speed bumps" and sought out those giving, helpful souls who shared their wisdom and shared it freely. Those who did it best were those who avoided marginalizing terminology.

So, my fellow genealogists, what good stuff did you find today? And can you share it?

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

No comments: