Monday, July 15, 2013

Type 1 and Type 2 genealogists

There are three kinds of genealogists: those who are good at math, and those who aren't.

Seriously, some days I do think there might be two kinds. I define them this way. Suppose you're in a group of genealogists, and someone suggests that members of the group might need to learn something, or attend an institute or national conference, or test themselves against a standard of some kind. What is the immediate response (overt or otherwise)?

Type 1: "I've been researching for 20 (or 30, or 40) years and I think I'm pretty good. All my friends say so. Anyway, I don't have time. I feel insulted that you would suggest doing X; it makes me want to quit this group."

Type 2: "Where can I get me some of that?"

I would like to be Type 2 always. But I am more likely to sound like a Type 1 when I'm asked to learn Russian, or Bayesian probability, or advanced DNA analysis.

I'm pretty sure of three other things:

* Type 1 responders may in fact be competent genealogists.

* But they don't actually know whether they are or not.

* The more often I find myself responding as Type 1 rather than Type 2, the closer I am to being done with genealogy, if not life itself.

Harold Henderson, "Type 1 and Type 2 genealogists," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 15 June 2013 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Eric Stroschein said...

Maybe it is not so black and white and you are a type 1.57 genealogist. Working on new iterations of yourself and striving for perfection (2.0), I would argue is the goal. Progress not perfection I feel could be the mantra.

Harold Henderson said...

Thanks, Eric. I think you are right but I'm glad I didn't think of that first because it would have ruined my "joke."