So day two of the 2013 show at Olympia is over. Being Saturday it was expected to be much busier than Friday and we were not disappointed. It was wall-to-wall, minute-to-minute, query after query until about the last 30 minutes or so. Today’s queries made me think even more about the reasons that we were at the show and also more about why genealogy and family history societies are still relevant in a world where it seems possible do do everything by yourself from your computer. The questions asked by people at our stand showed that there was still an enormous need for a dialogue between people to enable clearer understanding of the finer details of Jewish genealogy and also of genealogy in general. With Jewish genealogy there are many special nuances that have to be understood, otherwise mistakes can be made. These include where Jewish families originated from, names used at different times and places, occupations, entitlements to occuptations, broader political and historical issues, etc.
Societies such as ours provide an often needed reality check for assumptions . Also a much required support network for individual researchers. Researchers being able to ask questions of the hundreds of members of a society means that they can get the right answers or several different interpretations that open up more research avenues. These answers and views don’t just help the individual but also gived food for thought to the rest of the membership. A collective approach to genealogy has a multiplying effect. This is one of the reasons why we read genealogy magazines, subsrcribe to blogs and discussion lists and so many other places where like-minded people gather.
The genealogy society still has a place in the world and can add enormous value. No one can know everything about a subject and we can all continue to learn from each other. I learn at each event I attend, someone mentions a fact or a resource that I didn’t know about andI can then pass that on to another person.
Being involved in a society definitely helps, be a supporter, an expert and a learner at the same time.