Thursday, June 16, 2011

IGHR Samford Day Four: states' opportunity

One highlight of Thursday:

Tom Jones observed that in his view, state-level genealogy journals have an opportunity to fill a big gap in the genealogy literature, by publishing well-documented portions of family histories that are not difficult enough to be of interest to national publications.

This strikes me as a good idea for several reasons:

(1) For the author, it's a lower-cost method of publication than in book format. Publication is a method of preservation.

(2) For the author, it doesn't take as long to see results if you write up two or three generations than if you have to wait until you have done them all.

(3) If the article's title mentions the most relevant surnames, the article will be picked up in the periodical search index PERSI (which does not index every name within a journal) and thus will be much more accessible to future genealogists, perhaps more accessible even than a book.

(4) For the readers, well-researched and documented accounts of other families are likely to be of more interest than abstracts of local records -- which are better placed on line anyway, where they will be more accessible.

I know that the supply of such writings can be a problem. But the genealogical public is growing and genealogical education opportunities are expanding. (See, for instance, Angela McGhie's blog, Adventures in Genealogical Education, and many of Kimberly Powell's posts at So there ought to be more people out there who can do this.

The potential writers need to make writing a priority. And the state editors have to ask, and be willing to select wisely.

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