Progress Happens

I wanted to chime in on something I’m seeing on the genealogical forums and blogs – resentment. There are some people whom, having researched for years (or even generations) the old-fashioned blood sweat and tears way, are very very VERY upset at the ease modern day genealogists can enjoy in their research.

I’ve read comments, on online sites like, declaring that all forms of online research are useless and incorrect (wonder why they are on there then?). I’ve seen bloggers claim that anyone who hasn’t eyeballed the original document in person isn’t a serious researcher. I even read one person who went so far as to say that you shouldn’t even take major collections, like the National Archives, as accurate, that you should go get the original in your hands and verify it in person. Sounds like snobbery, but is definitely rooted in some resentment.

Talk like this isn’t exactly flattering to these stubborn people who have been doing things the old-fashioned way and are now insisting that progress be shunned for continuance of their way. I’m sorry, but to suggest that I (or anyone else) spend a small fortune traveling the world, staying in hotels for however long it takes to track down documents, paying for document copies, in order to eyeball every single document original ever written about my family? It’s the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard. Apparently you’d have to be independently wealthy, with no employer to report to, no children or relatives to care for, and generally able to live and breathe travel for research only purposes. If that were truly the way it was done, this hobby would’ve died out ages ago.

I keep running across comments like this everywhere I read about genealogy and it’s quite annoying. I think it’s realistic to assume that since these comments are so rampant, and yet such a small percentage of the world population is independently wealthy enough to do what they are suggesting, that it’s highly likely they’re just being hypocrites anyway.

I’m done listening to the pompous anti-technology ramblings of people who feel like their research effort is now greatly diminished. I’m sure I’d be grumpy if I spent 2 years on something people can now do in 2 minutes, but hey, embrace it and maybe you’ll actually make more progress in your lifetime. Taking advantage of research already done, and work archived online is only going to save time and energy in the long run. There really is no reason to re-invent the wheel every time… progress happens for a reason.

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