Friday, March 13, 2015

Everyone Has A Story & Why NERGC Is A "Must Attend" Event

Photo courtesy of
I had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS. This interview is part of a series of interviews conducted by New England geneabloggers promoting the New England Regional Genealogy Conference. You may have seen Josh on the NBC & TLC series, Who Do You Think You Are? or the PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. He is also the president of the Federation of Genealogical Studies and works for the Preserve the Pensions - War of 1812 Project. At NERGC, he is offering a variety of presentations including using social media, the westward migration from New England, making sense of compiled genealogies, and encouraging future family historians. Here are my questions and his answers. 

Because I work with many students about to go off to college, I hear them discussing career choices. I don't think most even know that a career in genealogy is an option. What attracted you to the field of genealogy as a career choice? 

For me, it was the chance to combine a passion with a career. There is always something new to learn in family history (which is one reason that I love attending conferences like NERGC). I also always loved history and love the chance that I have to see history through the lens of real people on a daily basis. 

Your biography says that you have degrees in library science and history. What skills did you gain from your education that help you the most in your day-to-day work? 
The ability to analyze records and interpret sources through the historical viewpoint is something I find myself doing on a day-to-day basis. From the library perspective, the ability to catalog (and understand the cataloging process) helps me to tackle online library catalogs and finding aids in ways I didn't realize was possible. 

What part of your work do you enjoy the most? 
Everyone has a story - and you never really know what you are going to find. In the morning, I might find myself working with records from Rhode Island and by the afternoon am knee-deep in church records from Italy, you just never know!

What part of your work do you find the most challenging or difficult? 
Well..that everyone has a story! There isn't any one single way to "do genealogy" and we all hit roadblocks as research progresses. It can be discouraging to have the empty spaces on the family tree and even more frustrating when they remain empty after a great deal of research. 

One of your sessions is about attracting the next generation of genealogists using technology. As a history teacher and genealogist, I am very interested in this topic. Could you share one important reason for a young person to start researching their genealogy or family history? 
One reason? We don't talk about it enough - and that is the chance to discover more about yourself and your place within the world. We are part of a much longer history than most realize. Understanding where you came from is a great way to help determine where you want to go. 

I'm curious whether you find time for your own personal genealogy or do you find that you are like the cobbler's shoeless child and never get to work on something specifically for you? 
It gets harder and harder, but I try and make it a goal to still work on my own projects. When we are filming and working on Genealogy Roadshow that time quickly slips away (but I have found there is always a way to spend an hour or two hunting down a cemetery). 

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or about the New England Regional Genealogy Conference? 
I have loved going to NERGC for a few years now. The unique combination of societies from around the New England area makes it a "must-attend" event for anyone who has New England roots. 

No comments:

Post a Comment