Friday, August 17, 2007

Split Personality?

Recently Jasia of Creative Gene wrote a post on Genealogist vs Family Historian, Who Are You?, following the lead of Schelly and Chris who had also discussed the subject. All the opinions shared are extremely interesting as are the comments added to Jasia's post.

After giving it some thought, I would like to give you my opinion of what I call the work I do. And it is work, hard work - a professional calling.

I am a family historian; I am the chronicler of my family history, the storyteller. That designation requires genealogical research, be it done by me or someone else. As a family historian, I research and examine the concept of social history (immigration, ethnicity, social structure, demographic changes, and history of person and place) as they impact or are the family.

I use vital records, documents, oral histories, interviews, photographs and more to analyze my specific family history.

To me a genealogist is a fact finder. Whether that fact is the name of an ancestor, the land they owned at a specific time and place, or when and where they served in the military, etc. An analysis of that ancestor's place in history and the concept of social history play no part in the findings of fact.

Facts can be told without history, history can't be told without facts.

I am also the repository for family memorabilia. As the one member of the family that has a demonstrated interest in our history, my family sends me their documents, photographs, and stories to be analyzed and added to the telling of our family history.

So, I don’t divide my title by time allotted to genealogy or history. I am a family historian. Genealogy is one of my many tools as is preservation, history, research and writing.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Jasia said...

Another great post Maven. Bravo! You make a good case for the umbrella label of "family historian", and if that's the title you choose to use then that's how I'll think of you :-) I'm with you in choosing the title of family historian even if I got there through a little different line of reasoning. So nice to have one more thing in common with you!

August 17, 2007 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger The footnoteMaven said...

Different thought process - same conclusion - two heads are always better than one (particularly if it's as intelligent as yours)!

fM aka familyHistorian

August 17, 2007 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Nikki-ann said...

I consider myself a family historian too. (On a side note, it's easier to day than Genealogist!).

August 19, 2007 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger The footnoteMaven said...

Easier to say and spell!

August 21, 2007 at 11:14 PM  

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