24 September 2010

Genealogist or Name Collector?

Are you a genealogist or a name collector?  You say you don't know what I am talking about?  Okay, well let me explain. 

A genealogist is a person who RESEARCHES their family history.  You know, they do the research, they dig thru books, periodicals, looks at reels of microfilm and historical materials for leads & information on their ancestors.  They document each step as they dig, always careful to prove the things they find.  These people are able to provide you with where they got the information, volumn, book & page. 

A name collector is a person who believes that if it can be found on the internet and they can click on it, they can claim it.  I call it "click & claim" genealogy.   It doesn't come with sources, in fact most of the time the person has no clue what he has claimed, doesn't know the difference between a pedigree and a family group sheet, and is clueless about what to do with what he just claimed.  He just knows he knows that name and that's really all that matters to him.

Some hints you may be talking to a name collector -
  • His data base has blah blah thousands of names
  • He can't tell you where he got any of it from
  • If he can tell you anything, its somebody's website
  • If he can tell you anything its "so & so's gedcom"
  • He has tons of dates but no places
  • He has no idea who the people named in the notefields are
  • He's never looked at a census record in his life
I'm sure that name collectors are perfectly nice people, I'd just rather not talk genealogy with them. 

Name collecting disguised as a genealogist?  Not a good thing!

Happy Researching!


Dev said...

I'll admit to collecting names - but I am not a name collector. I source everything - I will use the names collected as possible leads, but nothing is solid until I have sources to back it up. That is one of the reasons why I keep my tree private on ancestry - I don't want to purposefully pass on incorrect information.

Anonymous said...

Now I find this interesting because I am a name gatherer but only where the family line emerges as branches.
My motivation in Genealogy is to leave something for my mokopuna(Grandchildren).
There are many interesting individuals who were our Ancestors, no one particularly famous or outstanding) but their stories are our History and I try to make them live.
I also want to show that their siblings entered into their own journey in life.