Genealogy or Personal Historian?

  • By admin
  • 1 December, 2012
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Genealogy or Personal Historian?

Just what is the difference between genealogy, family tree research and being a historian?

Genealogy is the factual account of the descent of a person, or their family or ancestor.  It is the proof of the lineage that follows the lines from son to parent, to grandparent, to great grandparent, and so on.

Family Tree Research is more or less a synonym for genealogy research.  The family tree itself is the charting of the lineage lines.

Personal Historian is someone that compiles the memoirs or stories in some form.  This can be a simple one topic report, a full book, audio or video recordings, CD’s, DVD’s and more.  A Personal Historian doesn’t usually delve deeply into the genealogy aspect.  They may help briefly with the research but their main concern is to preserve the stories.

Family Historian is an expansion of the facts.  To be a family historian you not only chart the lineage but you research the background, location, local history, world history, family stories, lifestyles, politics and more.  You add substance to the facts.  You discover the why’s and how’s.  Recreating the time your ancestor lived you infuse that information through narrative into your research.

Most of us are interested in both aspects of these definitions.  I know I’m thrilled when I find another name to add to my tree.  As soon as the name is put in print I start to wonder about that person and what kind of life they lived.  The family historian in me goes to work to fill in all of the blanks.  Both are satisfying but to me the family historian is by far the most interesting part of doing the research.

What do you think?  What are your goals?  Are you more interested in getting the facts and lineage or do you strive to be more of the historian?

Check out my Kindle book:  Jumpstart Your Genealogy Research 

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