Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three genealogists, which type are you?

  • (Coffee club genealogists CCG's).Those retired people who join groups for the coffee, chat and listening to interesting speakers.
  • (Take Out genealogists TOG's). Those who get their information largely from the internet and have vast databases of people they don't know.
  • (Detective Superintendent genealogists DSG's). Those who spend years, time and money checking every fact, these people enjoy the chase and can speak and write about their families very well.

I've nothing against any of these groups, they all get enjoyment at their level of participation. But I don't think they understand each other very well, there's a bit of snobbery about it.

A DSG I talked to, divides his database up when it comes to sharing, sending a paper written tree to the TOG's with a small deliberate error so that he can identify it if it comes up on the internet . He only shares fully with his peers in his own group.

I'm trying to emulate the DSG's but even in this group, there are those who delve a lot deeper than I do. I confess to using information I find on the internet without checking it sometimes. Whoops! But I at least buy certificates for all my direct ancestors and some others (there's a bit of snobbery for you....). I know I can do better. How about you?


  1. Hi Lyn,
    I ma unashamedly a TOG with a bit of DSG thrown in.
    When I started my research 11 years ago with 60 odd names I also started a website to try and expand my tree. I have received through the Internet and by snail mail information that was too valuable to discard just because it did not cover immediate family. I made the decision to enter any info received as long as there was a blood or marriage link into my database. It has grown to the point where it is a very large resource containing over 10,000 different family names. My reasoning being that why should researchers have to waste time looking for what is already known when there is still a vast unknown.
    On many occasions information received several years apart suddenly becomes cross linked to existing data and this would not happen if I had placed any restrictions. I have had "best friends" discover they were "cousins" and spouses find that they were distantly related through historical sibling marriages.
    Where possible I then attempt to prove the info is correct by checking alternate sources.
    I would never claim that the database is error free. Genealogy, even for your DSG's, will always contain errors as it is a human activity subject to human frailty i.e. memory, clerical spelling mistakes, transcription errors and dare I say it deliberate manipulation of the true facts to hide skeletons in the closet.
    Even DNA "Y" Chromosone tests as paternity can only be PROVEN one generation at a time by this method.
    Incidentally I also find it annoying when I find BDM information deliberately "hidden" for individuals who are obviously dead i.e born in the 1880's. My rule of thumb is that if I can find it in an official source such as the NZBDM database then it is public information and it gets included.

  2. I'm impressed by your numbers, 10,000 different names in only 11 years of research. I've been doing it twice as long and my database is small. Oh well, you must have 'green fingers' with your tree.
    Errors can happen through plain old typos as well, I'm sure some people see numbers in 3D and I only see them in 2D.
    Thanks for sharing.