Now this seems to be a topic I’m getting very used to writing about! Now with the question “how do we get young people in to genealogy” — I did a presentation all about genealogy from a young person’s perspective. Click here to see it on YouTube. Anyway, just thought I’d mention that. Now to business.
So now after my initial FindaGrave post, I had an extra good look at what people were saying to make sure I didn’t miss or forgot to respond to and I knew that during the time when the post was being shared by someone every few minutes, I just knew that there were going to be some sort of negative comments thrown at me, that was a given but some seemed to have a problem with the fact that the info was coming from me. Now I will not be naming and shaming the people who shared these comments (so please don’t ask me to share them) and I’m not just doing this to target anyone at all, I’m doing this to show an all too real issue. [note, if you follow me on Twitter, you would’ve seen most of this.]
So one comment I got was criticising that “Now the 17 year old genealogist is making you go offsite to read this crap”. So one thing that I’ll say is that my age should not make one piece of difference to my content or things that I do. As I said in my thread, there’s a reason I use my #GenZGenealogist ‘badge’ (as I like to call it!) because I feel that I need to show that there are young people into genealogy and that I am only one of many that are getting into genealogy and getting out there to engage with the community. And on my point regarding the irrelevance of the age of the person in the community whether they are 17 or 71, I want to share this tweet from a good friend and The Hidden Branch colleague of mine: Katharine Andrew
Another comment I received was that a lot of people were “putting a lot of stock in someone [me] who got something from FindaGrave”. For this — to me it seems that I may have been accused of not publishing truthful information. If you know me, if I make a mistake I make sure to correct myself. But I’m also not the kind of person that concocts false made up stories and shares them. There’s enough false information in the world for things [not necessarily genealogy related] so I’d never want to add to it.
Now you may be able to guess at what platform this happened on. Yeah, it was Facebook. However, in one instance I got a not so complimentary remark on Instagram (although for me it was primarily Facebook) from someone in Irish (I am learning Irish in school as you have to in Ireland!) and I was able to understand and translate it. It essentially translated as “this man Daniel does not know what he’s talking about”, this was during my very *first* live interview, conducted by Vito Giovannetti of Treasured. And that was my first interview and as you can imagine, I was nervous. Looking back on it, it did stand out that I was a bit nervous and hesitated sometimes when talking about things. This wasn’t because I didn’t know my stuff. I just wanted to ensure I *did* know my stuff. Now, you probably know that there has been someone questioning how you can get young people into genealogy. In a line from me, connect with them where they spend their time. Social media! So we need to make sure that the community is as welcoming and supportive as possible. One thing I’d get you to think about is, what is a possible contributor as to why there aren’t many. It’s because of potential run in’s with people who give out to young people and some young people might take that run in and generalise it with the whole community with it, just a bitter battlefield of toxicity.
So my plea to you, the reader is that if you see anyone who is not being so kind to a young genealogist — speak up. I’m usually nervous to speak up [just the way I am] as I don’t want to cause an argument. So help that young genealogist and help them out and if needs be, tell them about me and send them my way! I’m on multiple platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or they can email me [email can be found here]
And that’s that. It’s sad that I hear of experiences of this with young genealogists and people in general. And I’ve heard about these negative experiences from people on other platforms, so if you think there’s nothing wrong with it. Word travels. Fast. It’s getting to the point where the community should be brought closer together with social media making it easier to communicate and share information, not tearing it apart. And if you’ve read this far, [thank you!] — if you take nothing else from this, remember this. Age. Doesn’t. Matter. So don’t make it a barrier in communication and respect towards researchers. People deserve respect regardless of experience. It’s common decency and it shouldn’t have to be reiterated.