Sea Genes

Family History & Genealogy Research

What I’ve been up to

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After a hiatus of almost four months, I’m contemplating writing here again. Maybe a couple more months of break? Hmmm.

In the meantime I’ve been working on an off-line project called GenealogicNG, a replacement for my current genealogy program. It is being written in Java so will work on all the major platforms (Windows, Macintosh, Linux). It’s an interesting exercise for someone who isn’t really a programmer. 🙂

NPM

Written by N. P. Maling

26 January 2013 at 11:30

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2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by N. P. Maling

31 December 2012 at 13:24

Posted in Genealogy

Using Off-beat Record Sources in Genealogy

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One of the points the National Genealogical Society makes in its “Standards for Sound Genealogical Research” publication is to:

“seek original records, or reproduced images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not been altered, as the basis for their research conclusions”.

is a good one. One of the major sources of genealogical information is Ancestry.com. They offer a huge amount “reproduced images” of “original records.” The images however, have sometimes been altered to show ownership of that record. This is an improper practice given that the original has been modified in ways that sometimes cut their validity and use as primary sources of information.

Notwithstanding the policy of Ancestry, Inc. to give accurate records, they are claiming ownership of materials that are in the public domain and/or not eligible for copyright protection. These records have become compilations, according to the NGS’s standards.

“use compilations, communications and published works, whether paper or electronic, primarily for their value as guides to locating the original records … ”.

By citing directly to the record compilation as provided by Ancestry.com, one is effectively using a secondary source. Even though Ancestry does offer a clue about the original source, it remains a fact that their records are only “guides to locating the original records”.

Many genealogists find that the records provided by Ancestry.com to be enough for their purposes. This is unfortunate, however, as using this record group is only one step in the research process. Finding the record closest to the original is the next step.

Using the census as an example, one would best go to the nearest National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility to view the record on microfilm. This is what I do for my research and I cite the record as such. I also do this research professionally for those researchers who prefer the best sources available.

The records from Ancestry.com are useful only as “contributions to the critical analysis of the evidence discussed in them”. This analysis aspect is good for all records found online as the majority of records we use as genealogists are not found online. The originals are found in repositories such as the NARA facility in Seattle, Washington where I do my research.

As a genealogist for hire, I find an obligation to do this type of research not only for myself, but also for others. It is one way to give back to the community. Although I do ask that my expenses be covered, as a professional ought to, it is a business transaction of the simplest sort. You can contact me and arrange for lookups in a number of primary records available through NARA or another repository in the Pacific Northwest region.

NPM

© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes Family History & Genealogy Research

 

Written by N. P. Maling

25 September 2012 at 00:01

Alaska Genealogical Resources

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Written by N. P. Maling

20 September 2012 at 11:32

Staying Relevant in the Online World

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[Fish market, Bergen, Norway] (LOC)

[Fish market, Bergen, Norway] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Note: This piece is opinion and you may or may not agree with the points raised.

 

Several genealogists have questioned the value of social media as a means of getting business for themselves. Does it work? Is it worthwhile to do constant social marketing? I answer, no, not really. Social marketing only turns us into social butterflies flitting from one thing to the next, searching for relevance. That doesn’t mean that with a little focus, we can’t be more effective in our own patches.

 

We all have our own niches where we are relevant and effective. Where are we most useful in the largest scheme of things? At home in our own patches. Where is your patch? It might be New England, the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South, or elsewhere. This answers the question of using social media effectively in one respect: locality.

 

Do we have always to go outside of our own patch to find clients and customers? No. The thing is, we need to focus on what we know and keep it up at a level and longevity that makes sense for us. The simple answer is that clients will come to us, looking for us; we don’t have to go to them anymore. That’s the value of the Internet. Push marketing is outdated. Pull marketing is the way things are now.

 

What attracts clients in the first place? Pull marketing. Pull marketing is the goodwill we generate in our own niche markets. Do you have an effective website? Do you focus on what you know in your area? Are these items present in your marketing online? Speaking of which, this is what social marketers (all of us, really) need to focus on, not plugging something from someone else; that’s giving away your time for no or little gain. Focus on your own gain, in your own market niche and you’ll be fine.

 

Does that mean that you can’t market outside of your niche market? No, but does the effectiveness of such marketing show? Not really; especially if there’s no response at all most of the time, which is what you’ll find when you do venture in that direction. It’s just less effective in the long-term and in the short-term a waste of time.

 

The majority of social marketing we do, plugging, liking, and linking to products is all that we can do. It’s socializing with others, seeking their approval and approving things we like. As far as I’m concerned, this sort of marketing is not business marketing, but marketing others’ products for them. It’s a time-consuming effort to constantly do such things and because of the low return on investment of your time, worthless.

 

Just focus on the who, what, where, when, and how of what you specialize in and you will be more effective in getting clients.

 

NPM

 

© 2012 N. P. Maling – Sea Genes Family History & Genealogy Research

 

 

 

English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Written by N. P. Maling

18 September 2012 at 00:01

Ruminations on Genealogy: Part 3

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English: The stemma of the kings of Lazica acc...

English: The stemma of the kings of Lazica according to Toumanoff, Cyril. “How Many Kings Named Opsites?”, p. 82. A Tribute to John Insley Coddington on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the American Society of Genealogists. Association for the Promotion of Scholarship in Genealogy, 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A while ago, someone posted on Fb an infographic, part of which read ‘comparisons are clichĂ©’. It should have read ‘comparisons are passĂ©’. The writer, reader, and re-poster got it wrong as far as genealogy goes.

 

Comparisons are not passé as far as genealogy goes. We do comparisons as part of our basic research. We compare others’ recollections to known facts to prove or disprove what is the truth of a matter about our ancestors. The only thing that is passé about comparison in this way is that it becomes old hat after a while and we don’t bother thinking such things.

 

As far as writing clichés, that’s a different thing. There are only so many ways to write a birth, death, marriage sequence of sentences in a well-defined format. Indeed, all genealogists use clichéd formulas because they work. Most genealogy programs use hackneyed phrases (The Master Genealogist is an exception) to pass off their data and genealogists need to change them to something unique.

 

These hackneyed phrases, however, are usually the best way to portray compared data. Yes, they are passé but only in the sense that they work. The writer and reader have only to let their eyes see beyond these phrases to get to the real meaning and the underlying data. Doing this allows one to create a better proof statement and research report.

 

The writer is responsible for not making the reader’s eyes glaze over with too many redundant statements of the same form.

 

NPM

 

 

 

Written by N. P. Maling

17 September 2012 at 00:01

Facebook Page for Sea Genes

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Written by N. P. Maling

15 September 2012 at 11:40

Posted in Family History, Genealogy

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