Family History Entertaining? I Don't THINK So!

Published July 31, 2013 by Steve Watts #

What, if anything, “trips YOUR trigger” about Genealogy? For Julie, it’s detective work, solving puzzles, investigating relevant history, finding evidence, cleaning it up and putting in all in order. I enjoy helping people with research and related technology issues. I’m also very keen on making Genealogies more accessible and enjoyable for a broader audience. Julie and I are also big fans of history, which is a key part of the pursuit of family history.

Many people hear the word Genealogy and joke about having spent their lives breaking free of their family and wondering why they would want to know more and not less. Others complain about the pursuit being centered around names, dates, records, etc. I don’t have the time it would take to learn and sort through enough of it to get to the point where it would be interesting to me, etc., etc.

There is a big emphasis in the industry now centered around finding/putting together the stories in genealogy - recognizing that a bunch of names/dates/places/etc. is of limited interest to some individuals. The current thinking is that these details are key means to understand and attempt to fit past family members into their historical context. We feel pretty strongly about this as well, but if one doesn’t already have the information for their family, then there probably aren’t reasonable shortcuts to gaining it.

Hopefully your family has a historian and you know who that is or you discover him/her/them as you get into the process. This will make the endeavor much simpler, but whether that is a good thing really depends upon what interests and entertains you.

For us, we have a very large family history and trove of information. We also have a large number of collaborators - mostly coming from Julie’s efforts on Ancestry. We have yet to figure out what will make the history more accessible to the bulk of our family members, however. As it stands, it takes engagement to learn your way around Ancestry, and patience not to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.

For some, that’s entertainment. For others, not so much.