Showing posts with label APG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label APG. Show all posts

20 March 2013


Six years. It's been a road trip. Sometimes it seems like it's been forever, because genealogical problem-solving is endless. But each new problem is fresh and stimulating. The vehicle is more or less familiar now but the scenery and adventures never fail to compel. The detours are just as challenging and rewarding as the main highway. I'm grateful for readers and my followers and the support of the Geneabloggers group.

My blog is not solely focused on my historical families or even on a particular resource area. I've become comfortable with cherry-picking from a sometimes-distracting variety of ancestry-related interests; "eclectic" works for me. Though I moved the camels to anotherfamdamily, there will still be some travel posts here that involve genealogy.

A recent post on the APG-List [Association of Professional Genealogists] aired frustrations with clients who don't appreciate (or understand) the sheer hard work and time their problems normally require. It really struck a nerve with me. In thirty-five years as a genealogist for hire, the overwhelmingly-frequent attitude I met, and still meet, among the basically uninformed―including inexperienced clients―is how far back can you go? That is the measure the general public perceives as "success"―the length of the pedigree chart or the bushiness of the "tree."

It also made me realize that quite often I try to write here about the research process. The details of evidence discussion and negative findings may not always feature in a standard-format family history, and are unwanted on popular genealogy TV programs, but they suit the blogging medium. Even using my own mistakes to illustration a lesson is of benefit to me if no-one else.

Like most Geneabloggers, I regularly read a favourite slew of blogs. Some are for community news; others involve problem-solving methodology and the finer points of analyzing evidence. The Internet has spawned an amazing library of good writers—genealogical and otherwise―who inform and inspire. The only drawback is keeping your reading list trimmed to a reasonable length!

Every blogger pines for comments and I'm no exception. Comments reflect a connection made or a spark shared, or might even generate a healthy dialogue. The slightest remark now and then can be enlightening or encouraging. This year I've had feedback that it's difficult to leave comments here, and I'm having trouble fixing the settings to something satisfactory. If I open up my comment settings to "Anyone" I get a depressing daily pile of web-crawling spambot junk.

I used to get more comments a few years ago before Google started regularly changing its own footprints which made me fool around with my settings. Sigh―who remembers what setting they ticked a few years ago that might have worked for a short time and is no longer an option.

The choices gives me for comment settings:
1. Anyone; includes Anonymous Users (that's the spammy one)
2. Registered User; includes Open ID (whatever that means; requiring a commenter to register with whom??)
3. User with Google Accounts (seems to eliminate non-Google people; I'm fairly sure Google does not own the universe yet)
4. Only members of this blog (I have "members"? when did that happen?)

Currently I'm trying out number three. Realistically speaking, there may be little or nothing to comment on so (cross my heart) I try not to have excessive expectations. No matter the quality or relevance or usefulness herein, blogging seems to be me.

It will always be a road trip.

© 2013 Brenda Dougall Merriman

23 December 2009

Year End 2009

I’m waiting for it. Waiting for lists of earnest resolutions from my fellow Genea-Bloggers. Like the New Year follows Santa, resolutions follow wish lists ... the wish lists for obscure and frustrating ancestors to pop fully formed out of the blue. Resolutions then deal with the reality of finding them ourselves.

Most of said prolific fellows will undoubtedly accomplish most of their projected enterprises, and blog about it to boot. I’m going to take a pass on resolutions since I seem to recycle the same list of projects. See, I’m not in denial.

Come to think of it, I didn’t blog as frequently as most genealogists. What on earth was I doing all year? Some kind of personal 2009 Top Ten list might be more fitting ... Memorable Moments, Genealogical or Otherwise?

■ New correspondents were extremely valuable for me this year. A highly regarded historian in Scotland seriously addressed one of my McFadyen questions. Turns out she’s Canadian and we enjoyed a moment sharing memories of eccentric mutual acquaintances. Other interesting and gratifying Scottish contacts were made. Equally exciting was contact with a truly committed genealogist of Latvian descent who has the multiple language skills I envy.

■ My technical skills improved slightly beyond kindergarten. A major advance was learning to talk tough, without crying, to the ISP techies who messed up my whole system. After numerous expensive surprises, I drew the line at a new keyboard. A local Asian emporium provided me with cunning stick-on letters to cover the worn-off letters (was it the cheese and pickle sandwiches?). I am hot pink.

■ Quebec land records, even at second-hand distance, can be exciting “new” resources (blogged about under Fraser and Dougall).

■ My new publisher, Dundurn Press, kindly invited me to their Christmas open house and I believe it when they say they are Canada’s largest publishing house. Hundreds of authors turned out to drink and chew, each bearing a name badge with their latest book title. The throng was so crushing, who could read them (giving new meaning to in your face). Upon leaving, I was amused to see my latest book is called Details From a Larger Canvas. I wonder who the author of Genealogical Standards of Evidence is. February 2010 will tell. And the sub-title is changed to A Guide for Family Historians.

■ My game cousin-editor is reviewing the last McFadyen Family History draft. Her skills in the literary department are professional and I’m trying not to abuse her but she volunteered without prompting to go to the library to look at Evidence Explained. She might have passed out when the librarian staggered over with the 800-page bible. OK, it’s not a real moment, just my fantasy.

■ The OGS Conference is always an annual highlight and proved that our Ontario Chapter APG comes to the fore when events require (besides contributing a large component to the speakers’ roster). We ran our free consultations at “Ask A Professional” and even squeezed in a meeting. Genea-Blogger Steve Danko from California received his PLCGS from the National Institute; see Steve’s big grin.

Receiving the NGS Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources was a unique thrill for me, a pinnacle in my mind. On the other hand, the news bypassed some of my professional organizations. Reality check: stay humble. Being nominated for Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs was also a pleasant surprise; results to come in their May issue. My breath is not on hold. “Vote early and vote often” takes the edge off.

■ The country’s greatest grand-daughter and future prime minister turned eleven this month. No camels in Vancouver, but I visited regardless. She’s more mature than some alleged adults I know. Since she already appreciates mystery fiction, how far can it be to real-life family history? :-) Granny treads lightly.

■ Adventure-trekker Bruce Kirkby wrote Sand Dance: By Camel Across Arabia’s Southern Desert (McClelland & Stewart, 2000), possibly the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen. He and some companions crossed the long Empty Quarter from Oman through Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi. FABulous photographs. He thanked me for my email thanking him. I’m in love again.

■ Some of the year was consumed with a significant family shift, viz., C3's departure for, and residency in the Netherlands. Mamma Mia has inspected the premises and declares approval of the situation. As does Wimpey, the international cat.

Little of my travel adventures in the above. Oh well, there’s always that New Year beginning soon. I hear Australia is having a problem with wild camels.

Page from seigneurial records of Argenteuil, St. Andrews: citation pending.
Photograph, “Wimpey at Home,” by CDM, 2009.
All other photos by BDM, 2009.

24 November 2008


The Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (OCAPG) quietly passed its tenth anniversary this year. That’s Ontario as in Canada, not as in California :-D
In February of 1998, the president of APG notified us of our official chapter status. From the group I initially called together two years previously, OCAPG joined the worldwide organization that now numbers well over 2,000 members. Our founding members on the application were myself, Sharon Murphy, Barbara Samson-Willis, Louise St Denis and Jeff Stewart.

What are professional genealogists and what do they do? The answer is almost as varied as the individuals and like many professions has specialties within the field. Genealogical research is the bedrock of our profession whether we work as independent business contractors, for commercial companies, for genealogical societies, libraries, publishers or family organizations. Some of the specialty research areas are heir searching, adoption, DNA and genetics, teaching and writing, lineage society applications and ethnic or geographic concentrations. Some members like to apply their expertise to website design, translation of documents, arranging and leading overseas homeland tours, photography of ancestral sites or the indexing of original records.

Mutual goals are outlined in the APG Code of Ethics: The APG mail list, one of the most active genealogy listserves on the Internet, reflects the international nature of our membership and helps provide unique insight to resources not possible ten years ago. The word professional applies not only to those who undertake work for clients. Serious family historian members approach their work with the same dedication to careful scholarship and source citation.

As the first chapter in Canada, OCAPG has seen changes and advancements over the past years. We have expanded our membership to more than 50. Not all can attend regular meetings in Toronto—our chapter mail list exists to stimulate news, information and assistance. Early days saw members who recognized a need and branched out to create the groundbreaking project called APOLROD (Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents) and the online National Institute for Genealogical Studies. We’ve had excellent committees to work on our workshops, seminar events and the essay contest. At the annual conference of the Ontario Genealogical Society, we plan special activities: “Ask A Professional” has been a popular venue for free research consultations. And ... like all genealogical groups ... we have cycles in the numbers of volunteers we can call on.

Why am I writing about this? Because the chapter seems to occupy quite a bit of my time. Because the more experienced among us can mentor the newer members. Because we need to encourage self-directed education and support and yes, even socializing. Because I appreciate the time a handful of people invest for the greater good of the membership and the profession. Because we know the value of family history and its sources and must fight, sometimes, for gaining or maintaining access to historical census returns and vital records. Because some day we will see university degree programs in genealogy and family history studies. It’s coming.