This is going in my newsletter tomorrow and sharing here first in my efforts to be more transparent and vulnerable.....

Trying something new this newsletter and sharing some beginning thinking around genealogy and the concept of learning in public. So here goes and scroll down to tell me what you think.

Much of the genealogy research people do is done in private. The work is often one person vs. various genealogy websites, searching for needed records. Genealogists occasionally ask for help in Facebook genealogy groups or in-person genealogical societies, but they always return to researching alone. Once all the research is complete, he or she will announce (with a ta-da!) the answer to the research focus.

For me the joy of genealogy is in the search itself. Of course I want the answer (or else I wouldn't be searching), but its the twists and turns of the journey that sustains me.

Twists and turns like seeing a new connection between people, destroying a preciously held fact with new information, finding archival records that provide new information, learning a new bit of history that unlocks new records to search, and of course getting to meet ancestors previously unknown to me.

I believe that the journey of genealogy research is best done out in the open where others can watch and participate. It involves the core of the Learn in Public philosophy (h/t to Swyx and his post here).

What is the Learn in Public philosophy? As I understand it, it means:

  • Being vulnerable

  • Being transparent

  • Demonstrating that learning is never finished

  • Sharing the process as it is occurring, not just the finished product

What does this look like in PA Ancestors and what I'm doing here? Season 5 of the Your Pennsylvania Ancestors is my toe dipping into the water attempt. I'm still figuring out how to learn in public and I'm still committed to doing it. I guess I could say I'm learning in public about how to learn in public.

I'm curious what you think learn in public means? And is it valuable to genealogy?