Thursday, June 11, 2009

Are you part of a genealogical support group?

No, not a 12 step program, although those of us who are truly addicted to family research frequently say we could use one. Maybe someone has even written up a Genealogist 12 Step, if you have a copy, please forward!

No, what I am referring to is a group, small or large, of friends who are addicted as you are. I am part of such a group, the WO's. Several gals, related, distantly, although we did not discover all the relationships for years. OK, we are still discovering relationships.

We chat continuously via email, we get together several times a year, dinners out, picnics, trips to research facilities, funerals, weddings of our children, baby showers for same children. Great stuff, but here is the power of our support group:

We share war stories, success stories, research tips.

We compare research approaches, how we prepare for research trips, new data bases on line, books that help us learn and grow as researchers.

We compare our data bases - the programs, the ins and outs, the strengths and weakness, what we like and don't like. We share the different ways we record data, record sources, record documents (do you scan or transcribe, why?), how we handle photos, anything that has to do with data bases, we chat about.

We compare how we name computer files, and how we organize them. We talk about ways to back up our computer files, how often, what media, where we store the back ups. We discuss scanning techniques and photo digital enhancement, how to and should we??

We share organization tips, how we organize our hard copy files, as well as the computer files.

Now, we are all individuals, we approach this differently, for different reasons, and that is the power of the WO's. No, I don't source exactly the same as the other gals. Some of use are strictly "by the book" ("Evidence"), some of us do the book and do other ways of sourcing. Some of us want only the 3 best sources, some of us will list as many sources for an event as we can find. All different, NONE wrong.

The power of the group is that we share, discuss, sometimes rant and rave. We compare!!! By looking at the different ways we approach our sport and its tools, we sometimes "tweak" our approach. After some discussions, we find we really do like the way we have been doing things and that sure improves the "satisfaction" factor in our work. The sharing process is an "eye-opening" event for each of us.

Sharing, a very good thing. A support group, to share with, even better!

*Did a quick google on 12 steps, here is the first, I have changed one word!
We admitted we were powerless over genealogy—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Maybe that should read, our FILES have become unmanageable?? OK, WO's, lets discuss unmanageable files!


Greta Koehl said...

I have some cousins I share research with, but not a regular group to compare notes with - this is a good idea.

Karen said...

The WO group is a unique group. We laugh, we cry and we share ALOT. We've been thru birthing grandbabies, burying grandparents, illness & more.. I'm glad I'm a part of the WO's mentioned in this note....