21 April 2011

What Do You Mean It Isn't Free?

The blog article by this title gives us some food for thought as you head into what will be a long weekend for many. 

There is a cost for everything we do as genealogists – whether in money or time.  And, time is often money.  Though the blog piece focuses on “tangible” genealogy research assets, it’s just as true with regards to time. 

Whether you do genealogy as a hobby or as a professional, we are always making choices about how much time and money we have to devote to our genealogy research.  I can travel 4+ hours round trip to Richmond to do research or hire a local researcher or I can pay to access a database instead of hiring a local researcher or traveling to the repository (assuming that is feasible), etc.

Something that is “free” for us to access did cost time and money (e.g. internet server space is not free, someone is footing the bill, genealogy journals required countless hours of volunteers transcribing, abstracting and indexing data, etc.). 

And, genealogy societies, such as your National Genealogical Society (NGS), are built, survive and thrive based on financial resources and volunteer efforts. 

As one big genealogy community, we might put effort and money into one society and reap the benefits via another.  If you do benefit from genealogy resources that are “free” see if you can “pay back” with putting some of your time or money back into the genealogy community at large.

I know that NGS, your state society, local county genealogy or history society, repository, archive, etc will always be appreciative of your involvement!  And, your involvement is essential – no society can survive without members.  Without volunteers, conferences and workshops can’t be held, publications won’t be produced, strong and unified voices advocating document preservation and conservation will be silenced.

We are a community based on volunteers whose time is truly not “free” and yet freely given.

Do consider reading “What Do You Mean It Isn’t Free?




Editors Note: Thanks to Michael Grant Hait Jr for posting on FB

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