March 24, 2017

Adapting Boy Scout Law To Your Genealogy

 

 

A Boy Scout is:

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Excerpted from page 47-54, Boy Scout Handbook, 11th Edition,
(#33105), copyright 1998 by BSA, ISBN 0-8395-3105-2

 

A Genealogist is:

Trustworthy – Some of the information you obtain may be about persons still living.  Be careful what you share. Privatize that GEDCOM before you upload it anywhere.

Loyal – You may be tempted to blab about some family tidbit you heard, or overhear or see someone being disrespectful of your genealogy friends.  Don’t lower yourself to that level, please.

Helpful – Try to spend some time each day, week…whenever you can, helping someone to learn more about genealogy. Pay it forward!

Friendly – Being friendly goes a long way towards helping yourself and others find the information you’re looking for. Librarians and court house employees should always be greeted with a friendly smile and not regaled with your family history.  They have other responsibilities.

Courteous – As you probably already know a sincere “thank you” goes a long way.  Say please, excuse me, and write a letter of appreciation if someone goes out of their way to help you.

Kind – Don’t leave a mess where you’ve been sitting.  Refill the copier if it needs paper.  Stop by a blog you’ve never visited before and leave a positive on-topic comment.  Do something nice, even if you don’t have to.

Obedient –  Obey the rules of the genealogy road. Please don’t download or copy someone else’s lifetime of research and then claim it as your own.  If you’ve been told to turn off your cell phone, do it.  There are times when you need to follow the rules.

Cheerful – There isn’t a one of us who is cheerful all the time.  If you’re in a bad mood, or having a bad day, please don’t take it out on everyone else.  Having a positive attitude and being cheerful will make doing research fun.

Thrifty – This is a hard one, but it’s do-able.  You don’t have to have every single genealogy reference book that you see advertised.  When you’re on a free website for a location, look to see if there are volunteers doing free lookups.  If you don’t have to print something off to save it, just don’t.  Save it as a file and then back it up!

Brave – Bravery? How could that enter into genealogy? I can think of one way: making calls to ‘cousins’ that you’ve never met.  Try to prepare your information and have it handy for reference as you begin speaking.  It’s difficult making cold calls to strangers, but can be very rewarding too if you can handle it calmly.

Clean – As I look around at my messy desk, I can attest to the need for cleanliness.  Put books away when you’re done with them. Vacuum your computer innards before they resemble the Great American Dust Bunny Farm.  If your work area is somewhat tidy it clears your mind for more important things, like finding dead people.

Reverent – Shouldn’t we all strive to be respectful and reverent of our family histories?  You may not have any use for the knickknacks and do-dads that belonged to your grandma, but your children and grandchildren might like to have them someday.  Think before you discard something.  That “piece of junk” could be a priceless memento 100 years from now.

 

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