August 25, 2012

What Type of Genealogist Are You?

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog: What Type of Genealogist Are You?
My husband and I are very different genealogists. I love research. I love the challenge of the hunt, the mystery waiting to be solved. I'll research anyone's ancestry, it doesn't have to be mine. I just love solving the puzzle. Of course I also love finding my own ancestors!

Hubs however dislikes research. He finds it tedious and a lot of work.  He loves finding an ancestor, or better yet, having someone else find that ancestor for him. He's passionate about his ancestry, but avoids the actual research whenever possible. Family lore is enough for him, he has no need to find sources to verify it. If it's important enough to him, he'll force himself to push through the research but he'd rather I did it for him. As he says, if he were rich, he'd hire someone to do all the research for him.

I'd hate that, and in fact I often feel bad that I'm doing so much that I'm not leaving my grandchildren the fun of the hunt!

It seems to me that there are several types of genealogists -

The Hunter or Detective: This genealogists loves the research. While they want to find their own ancestors, they'll research anyone's ancestry just for the thrill of the hunt. They are easily sidetracked from their own ancestral research by the challenge of solving a stranger's brick wall

The Gatherer or Ancestor Collector: This genealogist loves to know about their ancestors but doesn't really enjoy the hunt. Is happy to have their family tree handed to them

The Ancestor Finder: This genealogist loves it all - doing the actual research and finding that elusive ancestor but they only enjoy researching their own family tree, not the ancestry of strangers.

The Hoarder: This genealogist does lots of research, finds new things about their ancestors but refuses to share any of the information

The Junkyard Collector: This genealogist gets excited over online Family Trees and merges them with his/her own. He/she never verifies anything or checks their facts. Before long they have a mess of unsourced information, conflicting data and facts that don't make sense. They'll have female ancestors having children at the age of 100, or men born 50 years after their spouse or children born before their parents.

The Scholar: This genealogist lives and breathes source citations.  Accuracy is everything to this research. You'll often find this person submitting articles to scholarly journals as the NYGBR. Page after page of red edit marks don't intimidate them, they'll plow through their article drafts, refining and revising and making each more accurate than the last.

The Analyzer: This genealogist finds a new fact, then studies it and analyzes it carefully before moving on to the next bit of research. They use each fact as a stepping stone to more research. They verify every piece of information they find and they view it critically, thinking about what it actually means and what other clues might be gleaned from it.

The Planner: This genealogist is a faithful keeper of research logs. He/she creates research plans and follows them. They are extremely organized in their research and meticulous about planning before they go on a research trip

I'm not judging any specific type as the best or the worst except the junkyard collectors who make me shudder and shake my head in bewilderment.

Some of us may fit more than one category. I am definitely a Hunter-Detective but I'm also a little bit of a Scholar. I don't live and breathe source citations but I have submitted articles to scholarly journals and I've faced the red editing pen with determination. I'm also an Analyzer.  Hubs on the other hand is a Gatherer. He doesn't seem to fit any other categories.

Where do you fit in?

Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

58 comments:

Andrea Kelleher said...

I think currenly, I would fall in the category of ancestor finder. Great post :)

Catherine N said...

Definitely a detective..my avitar is a cartoon of Sherlock Holmes! :-)

Becky Jamison said...

I love your post.....I'm the Hunter or Detective. I LOVE the hunt and will hunt at anyone's request (or slight hint).

BBHetch said...

I'm a combination also, mostly Detective, but also Ancestor Finder and definitely Analyzer.
BBHetch

Shannon Bennett said...

I have been thinking about this subject a lot recently. Thanks for posting your categories, I think I fall into a couple of them. However, I will never give up doing research! Love it too much!

Denise Spurlock said...

A great post! I definitely fall into the hunter/detective category - I will research anybody's family and get just as much enjoyment from it as doing my own.

Rosemary said...

Definitely a Hunter-Detective. I just love digging in the databases unearthing arcane bits of knowledge.

Celia Lewis said...

Definitely the Detective - Everything I have ever done is in the category of "digging deep" - researching, finding, enjoying the hunt, making sense out of clues... family counselling, archeology, geology, genealogy, reading mysteries and history books!! Great post, Lorine!

imagespast said...

I think I'm a Hunter with a good dose of Analyzer chucked in. Lucky for your hubby that you are so keen on research :-) Jo

GailD said...

I like the hunt, almost as much as finding an elusive ancestor. Looking for an ancestor is like working on a difficult jigsaw puzzle or a tough math problem.

Jim S said...

Great post. I'm not sure where I fit in. I love the detective work, but lately, I've been looking to write more about a specific ancestor or two.

Regards, Jim
Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

ScotSue said...

A very different kind of post post and one I enjoyed reading very much. I am definitely the Hunter/Detective and love getting involved in the chase, even if it is not my own family - it is the fascinating stories we unearth that are important. Your Junkyard Collector defintion was so amusing but, oh, how true! I would add another - The Writer (though you can proably come up with a more pithy term). I find I am now writing more than researching, such is the pull of blogging. Thank you for getting us to question our styles.

Tessa said...

This is a great post and should be incorporated into Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!
I am not one type but rather a combination of four:
40% Hunter; 30% Planner; 20% Analyzer; and 10% Scholar.
I would like to be:
25% Planner; 25% Scholar; 25% Hunter; and 25% Analyzer.
How about the rest of you?

Pharmer said...

Definitely a Hunter Detective. Though I try to be a planner and analyzer I don't get to record things as well as I would like and often have to go back and check details.

Jana Last said...

Great post!

I'd say I'm a combination Ancestor Finder and Hunter-Detective. I love the thrill of the hunt!

Yvonne Demoskoff said...

I'm a mix of the Hunter or Detective and the Scholar. I've been researching my family tree for many years and I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Yvonne - We must be twins! I think the hunt is thrilling too.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Andrea -so interesting to read everyone's "fit". Thanks for dropping by!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Catherine - I'm chuckling at the thought of that avatar! Good one

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Becky - That fits you so well! Thanks for going to the extra trouble to post here, I know it was more work for you

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

BB - another twin? It's fun to think about where you fit

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Shannon - I'm actually surprised at how many readers are saying they fit the Detective category! I thought I was alone :-)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Denise - how much fun is that, right?? I can't get enough of that research, it's my vice

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Rosemary, so cool to find a soul sister1

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Celia, I think you fit way more categories than Detective! You are so into it all. Love it. thanks for coming by!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

ImagesPast - would you believe that hubs told me about a year after we'd been together - that I took all the FUN out of genealogy! He hated that I kept asking him "where did you get this info? What's your source?" and he'd say "My grandma told me" and of course I'd gasp and say "Well then we better find out if gramma was right!"

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Ooohhh Gail you hit on two of my fav things - jigsaw puzzles and Math! I love math, loved solving algebra problems in school.... And I am totally with you, that's the same as digging for ancestors

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Jim S - other readers have mentioned another category - The Writer. Strange I didn't think of it as I have written several genealogy and family history books!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi ScotSue - so glad you dropped by! The Writer is one I missed but shouldn't have. Maybe I'll work on a followup post as many readers suggested some really great categories I hadn't thought of

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Tessa, guess what? Randy's going to use it next Saturday! Thanks for thinking of it and letting him know. Wonder how he'll rework it - looking forward to seeing what he does with the idea.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Pharmer - you've given me another idea - what categories are we lacking in and wish we could incorporate a bit into our genealogy routine..... hmmmmm Thanks for the idea!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Jana - yet another twin! Yay! Nice to see your comment, thanks for coming by

Alana said...

I'm a combination of Ancestor Finder, then Analyzer and then Scholar (this one comes last because I'm not very deligent in citing my sources, even though I do have them!)

Alana said...

I'm a combination of Ancestor Finder, then Analyzer and then Scholar (this one comes last because I'm not very deligent in citing my sources, even though I do have them!)

Lynn Palermo said...

I have to agree with Jim- the writer or maybe the storyteller, while I love the research my ultimate love is to write the stories. Great post Lorrine.

Jill Ball said...

I'm definitely a hunter/detective married to a gatherer/ancestor collector who does no research but loves visiting places his ancestors lived,hearing stories about them and collecting stuff related to them. The good news is that he has volunteered to spend the time I am at Rootstech 2013 looking at films in the FHL.

GeneBugGrams said...

Love this item and learning how Cousin Bri approaches his genealogy. *grin* I think I fit 3 of your categories. I constantly tell my hubby that I am a great detective and I love the hunt, so that is category 1. I am also a bit of an Analyzer since I don't want to miss clues to additional research which are found in every bit of data collected. Then I am also a planner. My "2 DO" list is filled with plans for future work in genealogy.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie M said...

Definitely a hunter-detective who very easily gets sidetracked by non-blood-related twigs of my own trees and sometimes strangers' trees. Also mostly an analyzer but wish I was more of a planner. Then there might be fewer scribbles and disorganized notebooks lying around.

Family Historian said...

I really enjoyed this post! I am currently a combination of a hunter-detective and the ancestor finder. I love to get lost in the research, which is typically my own family but will dig for anyone!

mywdfamilies said...

I'm both a hunter-detective and analyser but I'm in need of some planner characteristics...Merron

littlesparrow001 said...

My ex sister in law told me I would make a good detective because I found out her 3rd great grandmother is buried less than five miles from her house, so I guess I kinda fall into that catagory.

JG in MD said...

I'm a Hunter/Detective, would be part Scholar if I could be a better Planner and Analyzer.

Stephanie said...

Love it! I'm a Hunter-Detective who dreams of being a great Planner but tries to at least be a good Analyzer. :)

Thanks for the nice read this morning. It went well with my coffee!

Steph

Wordstock said...

Interesting. I am currently an Ancestor Finder but move freely between the Detective/Hunter, depending on my needs.

www.HungarianFamilyRecord.org said...

I have to admit that at the age of 17 , I became the Hoarder ...........and luckily evolved into the Analyzer . Another type to add : The Uploader . I am always uploading everything I find now so our future generations will find it .

Dorene from Ohio said...

I am definitely a hunter! :)

Mariann Regan said...

I'm an Ancestor Finder, so far. It's all I can do to deal with my own Family Tree. But I really respect Hunters who know all the best strategies! I'm also an Analyzer in my family memoir, a book which is organized by ways to understand what our history of slaveholding has done to our Southern family. And I'm a Hoarder, in part. There are some family secrets that I will never tell anyone. OK, maybe just one or two family members who are fellow Hoarders! Thanks for these classifications, Lorine -- this was fun!

Jenna said...

I am, without a doubt, the Ancestor Finder. It's all about ME, ya know?! :) This is a great list, however, when I think of myself I see one category missing...The Student of Genealogy.

Linda Edwards said...

I'm definitely a hunter& detective. I have spent more hours than I can count pursuing ancestors of a friend of a friend just because of a mystery I couldn't let go of. I'm definitely NOT a planner; but not for a lack of trying. Thanks for a fun post.

shellt said...

Fun post! I think that I am essentially an ancestor finder. I get caught up in the stories of my own family and that pretty well captivates my time. There are more stories than time!

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I really enjoyed this post, thanks Lorine for provoking some thoughts on how we approach our family history. You might want to see my post which is at http://cassmob.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/what-type-of-genealogist-am-i/

Anonymous said...

notice no one is owning up to being a junkyard collector? There are plenty of them out there though..

Anonymous said...

How about a new catagory -teacher.

T J Davis said...

To answer Anonymous at 12:39, I dont think junkyards read geneablogs. To answer the question, I' m about 50/50 Hunter-Detective and Analyzer with a whole dash of another category, Historian. I want to know not just who, but where, when,why and what was the place and time like and even what happened to the siblings, etc., that left here

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting... I am definitely the hunter and detective! Pretty much says it all :)

True Lewis said...

This is was so funny and truthful. Im the Ancestry Finder! Guilty.......Loved the post.

Meladerm said...

definitely a detective..my avitar is a cartoon of Sherlock Holmes.