Friday, June 19, 2015

Genealogy Elitism, Shake It Off This Is Your Journey

The elitist, the snob, the know-it-all and those that are just plain rude.


Amy Johnson Crow published a post titled "Genealogy and Elitism: It Isn't What you Say, It's How you Say It." This post resonated with me on many levels, especially when she shared an example of genealogy scolding witnessed first hand in a library.


I understand where some genealogists are coming from. They are extremely passionate about their craft, have knowledge to share and learned from bad experiences along the way. They want to help the rookie researcher avoid the pitfalls they found themselves in.

I've read posts eluding to the elitists in our midst. I never knew who "they" were for sure but the occasional blog or social media post lead me to believe they are alive, well and ticking people off.

Your intentions are good and you mean well. Your delivery, however, could use a little work. 


Are they elitists? Are they geneasnobs? Are they sticklers for following the rules all the time, every time? Could be a little bit of each. In their defense, they do have good intentions, I believe. They want to make our research better for us now and for those that follow behind us. So why they keep putting themselves out there as an authority that is willing to help only to be unhelpful and rude is the question.

Recently I posted a question in a Facebook group. I posted a specific question for a specific reason. The question related to an ancestor I have been researching for close to 14 years now. I will paraphrase the first reply I received: "that's a bad approach, let us know when you are serious about researching this person and we will try to help."

I have a few things to say about that comment.
  1. That's the best you got? Why comment at all?
  2. Was your point to make me look stupid or tick me off?
  3. The only way you could top that answer was to have said "Google It." BTW don't say that to a complete stranger that visits your group asking for help. Ever.
That was a recent experience. There have been other instances in the past and I also witnessed a similar non-helpful, wasted comment directed towards another individual that specifically stated she was a newbie. So, yes it is happening.

Shake it Off


What was my reply to the rudemaster in my example above? Nothing. I saw no point in trying to educate the person in the basics of common courtesy. To be honest, I looked at my laptop screen, pointed at the rudemaster and said "you are a jerk." Then I went about my business. That's what I'm suggesting you do too. Pick your battles folks and shake it off!

Your ancestral quest is your journey, this is your adventure! Don't let someone with misplaced intentions, or a very poor communicator, get to you. Keep moving forward searching and finding those ancestors. Yes, you will have to deal with those that are a bit snooty, but so what. There are plenty of others that will bend over backwards to help you out. Find them and leave the others behind.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Orphan Trains A Missed Part Of My American History


Do you have Train Riders in your family tree?


Christina Baker Kline's novel Orphan Train has captured my undivided attention recently. The book is sad and funny, thoughtful, scary and poignant. However, the emotion that I feel more than anything is disbelief.

An estimated 250,000 thousand children were placed on trains, from the east coast, and sent west to their new home and families. I had no idea so many children were placed and, from what I understand, the orphans would be shocked at that number as well. Their worlds did not extend past the train they were on. They had no knowledge that so many other children were facing the same journey as themselves.





I had seen advertisements for Orphan Train on Amazon and heard snippets of conversations about it here and there and was mildly curious. It wasn't until I heard an interview with the author on the GenealogyGems Podcast that I sat up and took notice. The book is good, very good. It's a novel based on research of actual train rider stories.


Could I have train riders in my family?


I immediately started wondering about my family. Do I have any unknowns? Any individuals that may have simply appeared or were born in a state different from the rest of the family? Do I have any known family members that were said to be adopted during that time frame? I do. 

I have research to do and have found several resources to get me started.



  1. National Orphan Train Complex
  2. Orphan Trains of Nebraska
  3. Kansas Orphan Train Timeline
  4. Orphan Train Bibliographies
  5. A History of the Orphan Trains

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