I have enjoyed reading the blog conversation discussing the paradigm shift taking place in genealogy in the last couple of weeks. Michael Hait began the discussion with The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new "experts"?. There was a wonderful discussion that followed in the comments section. Marian Pierre-Louis wrote a great reply in Are Bloggers Really the New Experts? , Are Bloggers Really the New Experts Part 2 and Genre and Genealogy
The discussion really got me to thinking about how I fit into this picture. I am a thirty three year old mother of two young children. I have been researching my family since my junior year of college. I am a member of my local genealogy society. And I have been writing this blog for about 10 months.
I consider myself to be an intermediate level researcher. I do not have aspirations to become a professional genealogist. I am just as comfortable on the internet as in an courthouse or archive library. I have taken a genealogy vacation and believe in the importance of correctly citing your sources.
One of the biggest points I have taken away from the discussion is the importance to be aware that others are reading my blog. I know that the list of people on my blog as followers are not my family so I am assuming that you are a fellow genealogist. I do not know why you have chosen to read my blog but I would like to keep you as a reader. I do not plan on my blog being written at a professional level. My style of writing is basically the conversation I have with myself in my head. If you want to know more about my research, including citations, I would love for you to email me.
I have mentioned several times this year how this blog has changed my research. Some of the changes have come from the focus writing brings. Other changes have come from being a part of the blogging community and reading other genealogy blogs. Genealogy blogs have opened my eyes to the educational opportunities out there. In the last year, I have learned from individual blog posts, watched genealogy webinars, listened to genealogy radio and to genealogy pod casts, and read case studies that are posted online.
I do not consider myself perfect by any means. In fact, I have a dirty little genealogy secret. While I am careful to cite everything, I have never really kept a research log. I have kept some to-do lists but they in no way cut it. Over the years I have read over and over that research logs are one of the fundamentals of genealogy research. I have always looked at a research log as an extra step that just takes too much time and impeds any forward momentum when pausing to document the steps. I am learning this is not so.
I have recently watched Research Logs: Part 1 and Research Logs: Part 2 available on FamilySearch.org. I have also looked at the research logs available on Google Docs in the forms section. I have taken parts of each to create my own digital research log in excel.
So by this time I am sure that you are wondering how on earth this is all going to tie in to my New Year's Resolution. I just want to say that I am listening to the call to "lead by example" as Marian Pierre-Louis says or "put your best face forward" as Michael Hait commented. I am going to start keeping a detailed research log as my New Year's resolution. I am going to be a better genealogist and hopefully help influence someone else who is reading my blog to be a better researcher too.