[APG Public List] Who Are We, Really?

jfonkert at aol.com jfonkert at aol.com
Fri Oct 2 13:54:53 MDT 2009

Obviously, awareness of the GPS drops off sharply among beginners and hobbyists.? But again, speaking from my Minnesota perespective, we have a cadre of genealogical educators that talk about evidence, analysis and the GPS is almost every talk they give.? Our rank and file genealogists have been exposed to the most important concepts.? Does it always sink in?? Of course not.? But, the solution is not professionals talking to professionals, it is professionals mixing with and talking to the broader genealogical community.? I think we are doing a good job of that in Minnesota.

Jay Fonkert, CG

Saint Paul, MN

-----Original Message-----
From: hhsh at earthlink.net
To: Barbara Mathews <bmathews at gis.net>; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Sent: Fri, Oct 2, 2009 2:41 pm
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Who Are We, Really?

> 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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