HomeThoughts and MusingsFixing Your Genealogy Jalopy: A Metaphor


Fixing Your Genealogy Jalopy: A Metaphor — 12 Comments

  1. I loved this, Chris. It’s a guy metaphor, but so true. You just gotta get your hands dirty in original records. Oh, wait, genealogists do that with white gloves on. But it’s a metaphor so that doesn’t matter. :- )

  2. One of the best posts I’ve read in YEARS.

    If you traded in your old car for a newer one it would have had similar parts, but certainly some new ones. The same is true when we follow an ancestor’s migration to an earlier residence in another state our country.

    In both cases, you’d have to study up.

  3. Wow, Myrt, thank you!
    And Cathi, If I can swag curtains, you can put on new rotors and brake pads! Some things are the exclusive domain of one gender or the other, though. Like doilies. I’ve never had a discussion about doilies- what makes a good one, how you make them, proper placement…I think only women worry about things like that. 🙂

    Thank you both!

  4. What’s with this gender-specific typing here? This is a really powerful metaphor that can apply to all of us. When my husband taught computer programmer trainees (and I got some promising one to work with me) they inevitably made mistakes. He told them that was part of their job as trainees. But that they needed to learn from those mistakes so as not to make them again. We also found that teaching or mentoring them was a good way to learn more ourselves as they found really novel ways to mess up. So for sure, helping genealogists in need of a little assistance can benefit both sides.

    • Jean, that’s why I like speaking (when I get there on time and the computer works!). It’s a great opportunity to expand what you know while you’re developing the program. It’s an even better opportunity to expand what you know, or find new ways to use what you know – based on questions and discussions with those in attendance. Talking to other people with different perspectives is a HUGE learning tool.

      I remember my Grandma Staats telling me the story of my dad asking her to show him how to cook when he was little. My grandma responded, “But Terry, I’m always happy to make your meals for you.” My dad replied, “Yes, but there might be a day when you’re not here, and I want to know how to take care of myself.”

      I never heard that story until well after I’d pretty much adopted the same philosophy.

      So I do know how to cook, clean, sew, and yes, I can make pretty curtain displays – all things that require learning and then doing, followed by more doing and thereby learning. And all gender-neutral as far as I’m concerned. I do draw the line at doilies, though. Anything lace, really. 🙂

  5. Oh you are soooooooooo right on this! Not to mention how much fun it is to get out there and get your hands dirty! I was a happy kid when I came in from outdoors covered in mud. I’m a happy genealogist when I come out of a courthouse or archives covered in dust.

  6. Great post, Chris. I object to Cathi’s characterization as to this being a guy thing. I too could not afford mechanics’s bills and learned to do things. I moved on to doing the same with computer stuff, construction stuff, and genealogy stuff. I was teaching a group in our gs how to work on a project. One person commented that she’d never taken any computer classes. She was surprised when I told her I’d never had any computer classes.

    In my opinion the biggest factor is a willingness to work hard at learning and determine that you CAN figure it out.

    • > In my opinion the biggest factor is a willingness to work hard at learning and determine that you CAN figure it out.

      I couldn’t agree more. When I was young I learned to change the oil in my car, the spark plugs and wires, the distributor cap, and a few other things. Some things I left to my brother and cousins, but I could do the basics. My son learned to cook and do laundry; me daughters learned to take care of their cars. I was flabbergasted when my sixteen year-old nephew told me he didn’t know how to do laundry. Teaching kids the basics of home and car acre is important and helping them learn to read to teach themselves new things is even more important. I’m always surprised at people who don’t head to the library (or nowadays the Internet) when they need to learn something new.

      Great post, Chris, and right on the mark. I spent several years reading about how to do genealogical research when I couldn’t get much time from work to “do” research. But once I had the time to practice what I had been studying I realized now much I still had to learn. I’m still learning every day.

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