A family historian is very similar to a genealogist. There are several kinds of family historians. However, there is one who may be completely oblivious to their hidden passion. Read more to find out if you might be an unidentified family historian!
The Family Historian Collector
“How many names do you have in your family tree,” excitedly asks the Family Historian Collector. They find great satisfaction and enjoyment in collecting names and dates. The Collector has an affinity to details. Exact dates of events, exact places of burial – the Collector thrives on these specifics.
They may be a collector of other items, too. Photographs, obituaries, or numerous types of family charts, are just a few of their favorite things to collect. The Family Historian Collector might be identified by their extensive notebook or binder collections. They know lots of stories, have conducted many interviews, and may be interested in things like scrapbooks, family books, and family reunions. They may be outgoing and love to share with great enthusiasm.
So, what do you think…do you see yourself in the Family Historian Collector.
The Family Historian Detective
Most like a traditional genealogist, the Family Historian Detective asks with true sincerity, “What has been your biggest brick wall?” They are eager to see if they have suggestions to help you in your research problems.
The Family Historian Detective may not have tens of thousands of names and exact dates in their family tree. In fact, they may only have dedicated their research to one surname. They have likely dispelled many family rumors and dug deep into the most unusual document collections. These persons are likely to be teachers and educators in the field of family history.
You will recognize the Family Historian Detective as the kind of person that seeks intensive education, enjoys attending conferences, but may or may not be a social butterfly. They think scientifically. They do not rely on only documents (hard facts), but see the “bigger picture” and analyze what’s not there as much as what is there.
So, are you a Family Historian Detective?
The Family Historian Creator
The Family Historian Creator is often unidentified, even to themselves. If asked, “Do you enjoy family history,” they might answer, “Oh no! Not me!” Or they may say with indifference, “Family history? Not really. I just haven’t made the time. Maybe someday.”
It is these amazing, unrecognized family historians who I want to focus on. I know many of them. They are my sisters, my aged father, the young mother at church with 5 little ones hanging from her every limb, and those that may have little-to-no computer literacy. They think family history is a hobby they don’t have the time or discipline for.
However, you will recognize these individuals as the most committed family members. They will sacrifice their time and energy for any need the family has. Their greatest joys are found in talking and spending time with their family members. (Do you know an exceptional grandparent? Yep, that’s a Family Historian Creator!)
As a young person, the Family Historian Creator looks for ways to create new traditions for their children or nieces and nephews, and they may incorporate traditions from their own childhood, too. They are die-hards about yearly family pictures, family vacations, baby books, and making memories. Typically, women make up most of the younger Family Historian Creator group.
As a middle aged person, whether single or a parent, male or female, the Family Historian Creator may begin to feel a pull toward traditional genealogy or family history. They are not obsessed with the hobby, but may occasionally wonder about their roots. They are sometimes put-off by the genealogy over achievers and are discouraged from participating fully because they have only seemingly passive interest. But, the seed has been planted in their hearts.
The elder Family Historian Creator, again whether single or married, parent or not, male or female, this person starts to seriously reflect on their past. They find wisdom in the good and the bad and are inclined to share stories with their close family members when impressed to do so. They want to leave a legacy and may do so by sharing their talents and interests with the next generation.
They may be put-off from traditional genealogy research for many, many reasons. They may feel they are too old or not computer savvy enough. They may have tried family history or genealogy conferences while now in their retirement, only to find they are overwhelmed.
The Next Step for the Previously Unidentified Family Historian
Are you the unidentified family historian of your family? If yes, it’s time to accept who you are! Though the field of family history and genealogy has not always been geared toward you Family Historian Creators, that is changing.
The most significant and recent change is the announcement of a new event at RootsTech called Light Keepers. This event was made for the Family Historian Creator. If you saw yourself in the description above, then you will find this event the most beneficial and inspirational. Read our follow-up post regarding all the details of the RootsTech Light Keepers all-day event, here.
Additionally, a natural next step for the Family Historian Creator is to begin recording your life. Whether young or old, start keeping a journal or post regularly to a social media account. You might also wish to jot down a few favorite memories in a notebook and most importantly, keep sharing and keep creating family history with your loved ones! You are the unsung heroes of family history!