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The Young Genealogist

Posted by on October 17, 2012

A few things that prompted this post. 1) When I attended my local genealogical society much of the time spent was on how to save files (right click ->save) or how to navigate websites etc. For me, basic computer skills. and 2) I was listening to some genealogy blogs and they discussed how great blogs are for sharing our family research – which I want to extend to creating whole websites like webtrees.

I’m a 26 year old male amateur genealogist. Most definitely not the norm. From my observations and hearing things through the grapevine, the “typical” genealogist is a female over the age of 50. This didn’t really hit me until I attended a meeting at my local genealogical society – and saw this demographic in person.

I want to stress this point, I was in no way put off by this generational difference. I think much of this population, those who’ve been doing the genealogy thing for awhile especially, have much to offer in terms of advice, tips and tricks. And I’d also like to stress that there’s still so much genealogical research that is done in person, in court houses and libraries etc.

However, I’d also like to point out that there’s a huge movement towards knowing computer skills for genealogical purposes. It’s great that so many people are learning how to navigate websites, save files and use the oh-so-important genealogy software that helps us organize our family history. The younger genealogists out there, or the more computer savvy ones of any age, are able to fully utilize computers to not only research and record family history but take that a step further to create family websites, blogs, communities for sharing, video compilations and even DNA research.


So, I have a proposal. A combination of generational differences. Perhaps I’m bias because I’m of the younger generation but this message is for societies – if you get an interested younger person….USE THEM! I could have easily been recruited to provide a basic computer skills class so the precious 1x/month genealogy component could have focused on just that, genealogy.

And of course, having the older generation teach their research methods and techniques to the younger generation. I could have saved so much time and so many headaches if I knew about citing sources & rubber-meets-pavement genealogy. There’s so many stories that the community has that can help those just starting their search.

Also a quick message to Family History Centers – not everyone who does genealogy is retired, please open your availability!

And lastly, a quick message to “young” genealogists – be patient with others who don’t have all the tech skills you have. Don’t brush them aside, they are full of genealogical advice and knowledge that you lack – they’ve been doing this awhile! And lastly, unite! Let’s stick together because I’m sure you may know something I don’t, genealogy related or technically related! No matter what generation, we all have a common interest and can work together for common goals.



6 Responses to The Young Genealogist

  1. Fred Barden

    Jeff –
    Great point of your post. I too am hoping to increase the computer skills of genealogists. Here in San Diego there is a group called the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego who meets specifically looking at digital research. Keep up the good work.

  2. Jenny Davis

    I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing. I agree: each generation has much to offer the other. I’d love it if we could all work together more effectively.

  3. Kenneth Marks


    Excellent article. Although I am 66, I have been in the computer business since “dirt” and am extremely computer savvy. I wrote an article that matches up a bit with your extremely well thought out post. I think the world of genealogy needs to change and change fast to accommodate 24/7 connected young folks who may have a different view than most current researchers.

    Below is the link. I would be very much interested in your comments.

    The Ancestor Hunt – I Don’t Wanna Be a Genealogist



  4. Polo Ralph Lauren Uk

    Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  5. Heather Collins

    Hey, my name is Heather. I’m making my way through genealogy blogs trying to connect with other young genealogists. A friend of mine and I have started a new community on Google+ called Young and Savvy Genealogists. Anyone under 30 who loves genealogy is welcome to take part. Also check out our group blog for and about young genealogists, We’d love to have you stop by!


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