Thursday, August 12, 2010

The state of play in genealogy

"Most genealogical research and compilation is done badly. Objective reviewers regularly criticize the accuracy of genealogical books, and the Internet makes voluminous genealogical errors available to all. Many family historians, including some with professional standing, base their conclusions on inadequate indexes, haphazard and incomplete research, and poorly documented compilations and databases. They do not recognize that their results sometimes are erroneous and often partial or unnecessarily tentative. Many thorough researchers using reliable sources lack the expertise to recognize clues that could reveal generations beyond those that records specify directly. Many have no glimmer of what they do not know."

Ouch! That's Tom Jones, writing in the Jewish genealogy journal Avotaynu 23 (Fall 2007): 17-23. His whole article, titled "Post-secondary Study of Genealogy: Curriculum and Its Contexts," is available on line (PDF with formatting quirks), and proposes what a professional genealogy curriculum could look like, and needs to look like in order to remedy the condition of the field.

For free genealogy education, it's hard to beat the Transitional Genealogists Forum, where I first learned of this article.

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