[APG Public List] Who Are We, Really?

Amy Larner Giroux CG CGL agiroux at nyfamilyhistory.com
Fri Oct 2 12:14:44 MDT 2009

Barbara Mathews said:

> We are talking about very different beasts. <

I agree with Barbara. All genealogical conferences/seminars that I have
attended have been educational venues, not a showcase of current,
cutting-edge research. These conferences are a necessary and vital piece
of our education. I look at genealogical conferences as an opportunity for
CEUs (continuing education units) that many professions, such as nursing,
require for continuing to practice in their field.

The anthropological conferences I have been involved with during the past
2 1/2 years, while working on my Master’s in Anthropology, are in a
specific format. For podium presentations, the researcher has 10-15
minutes to present an overview of their current research and conclusions,
followed by a 5 minute Q&A period. The conferences also have poster
presentations, where researchers display a 4 ft x 3ft poster showcasing
their research and conclusions and the researcher is there to answer
questions from those folks who stop by. It is a whirlwind tour of research
methods that can give you a great set of tips to apply to your own
research. There are published abstracts for both the presentations and the
posters that will give the attendee the gist of all the research.

Barbara Mathews said:
> I sometimes think that it's not the History Departments we should be trying to engage at the college level, but the Anthropology Departments as domestic (i.e., home-based) anthropologists. We could all go for Ph.D.'s in kinship determination if only we were doing it in Bora Bora. <

Foreign research is no longer a prerequisite for anthropological study. We
have plenty of opportunities to study our immigrants and kin in America
via anthropological and genealogical methods. One of the main reasons I
decided to pursue a degree in anthropology was because of the broad array
of theory and methods available in anthropology that is specifically
applicable to genealogical research. It is not just names and dates that
we are after. History gives you what was happening during those times,
while anthropological study can help you find the reasons why. While many
in my cohort are delving into current cultural trends or Maya archaeology,
there are others, like myself, who are studying broader trends in U.S.

My thesis involves an analysis of burial attributes (e.g. grave marker
type/size/motif) by ethnic group. I have found trends for various European
immigrant groups (Northern, Central, Southern) along with trends for
families that have been in the U.S. for more than three generations. I
also look at the acculturation of the immigrants into local society by
tracking the changes in their burial attributes. Understanding the
anthropological influences on immigrants can help us as genealogists to
better grasp why our ancestors did what they did.


Amy Larner Giroux, CG, CGL
Orlando, Florida

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are 
service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under 
license by board certificants after periodic evaluation

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