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Archiver > APG > 2009-02 > 1234798837

From: "Peggy Baldwin at Family Passages" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Working in Archives - Blog series
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 07:40:37 -0800
References: <c12.4c4e373f.36ca51c0@aol.com>
In-Reply-To: <c12.4c4e373f.36ca51c0@aol.com>

That's a very good point that it has to do with the "triviality of our
pursuits." I quite love your turn of words. But, I also think that there is
also the fact that for many genealogy is a casual hobby, and they come into
an archives not knowing how to use or what to expect. The more that we
express to the casual hobbiest the value of educating themselves, the less
of that we will see.

Dress also makes a difference. I talked to a genealogist the other day who
said that she would like to be a professional genealogist, because she could
dress the way she was dressed that day; in a worn white sweat shirt and
jeans. I suggested that if she was professional she would need to dress much
more like she was going to the office, but dress just the way she was
dressed if she were working at home, if she wanted to be taken seriously and
get the kind of service she needed.

I am a medical librarian during the day, and we had one particular
pharmaceutical representative who used our library. He was the only one I
ever met who dressed like a doctor - slacks and a sports jacket. All of the
other male representative dressed in three piece suits, automatically
showing that they were pharmaceutical reps. It was actually quite a while
before I realized that he was not a doctor. I'll bet the doctors felt more
comfortable with him, and may not have even known why.


Peggy Baldwin, MLS
Family Passages LLC

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:] On Behalf
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 9:21 PM
Subject: Re: [APG] Working in Archives - Blog series

The problem, I believe, is not our qualifications so much as the perceived
triviality of our pursuits, compared to broad, world-shaking historic
trends, or
the large sums of money that motivate forensic searching.

It is definitely a prejudice, and like all prejudices, it imposes its own
constraints on the effectiveness of its holders. Knowledgeable archivists
days recognize that genealogists provide their largest base of support,
whatever the prejudices of other archives users.

Donn Devine, CG, CGL
Wilmington DE

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are
service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under
license by
board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is
registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.


In a message dated 2/15/2009 2:47:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, Harold
Henderson weites:

I do agree that being well prepared, properly dressed, and reasonably
are absolute musts for genealogists in any context. (David McDonald on
courthouses: dress like a lawyer, and you'll be treated like one.)

But it is hard to deduce from Ms. Kadens' comments why we are sometimes
unwelcome. Is it because we don't know enough? Or know too much? Or
occasionally have conversations with other researchers? It's hard to know
way to jump. I would love to hear her explicit assessment on this point, but

doesn't seem quite appropriate to throw that into the comments in that

* * * *
At the end of the day, though, it's hard not to suspect a bedrock of
against genealogy and genealogists per se. Like other (and much more
forms of prejudice, it would seem to be self-defeating in the long run for
historians and archivists. In a country where "that's history" is a routine
dismissive term, to have a never-ending flow of newcomers who have
reason to take an interest in history ought to be a wonderful opportunity

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