[APG Public List] Who Are We, Really?

hhsh at earthlink.net hhsh at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 2 13:41:02 MDT 2009

> where are
> we as a "profession" if the Genealogical Proof Standard isn't even widely
> accepted or even known? That underlying common stringent methodology for
> evaluation and thesis-testing is missing from the repertoire of many
> conference attendees.

Thank you for putting up a lightning rod, Barbara! This is a great question. My 
worm's-eye view is that most professionals know the GPS, and most non-
professionals don't. The phrase never appears in the state and regional 
periodicals I follow, and only occasionally does the content of the periodicals 
suggest that anything like it is in use.

The comparisons we use -- cross-stitch on one hand, history/anthropology on the 
other -- may not be exact enough. Genealogy, unlike most academic disciplines, 
will always be an activity with a huge base of self-educated do-it-yourselfers. 
The question is, how much can the top-level expertise percolate down? 

Some other disciplines may resemble genealogy a bit in this respect. Astronomy 
is or has been an area where amateurs sometimes do function quasi-
professionally. Others may have better examples of "popular" disciplines that 
face unending challenges and opportunities in raising the standard of grass-
roots practice. Perhaps (I really don't know) we can learn something from them.


Harold Henderson
Research and Writing from Northwest Indiana
hhsh at earthlink.net
home office 219/324-2620

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