24 June 2013

Can't We Just Get Along? History and Genealogy Need to Join Up ...

Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic,  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I originally read the article Can't We Just Get Along? History and Genealogy Need to Join Up by Scott Phillips when it was first published in January and it was like he had sat in on some conversations that we’ve held here in Raleigh (NC).

Every time I do genealogy research, I learn some history.  Every bit of history I learn explains what people did and better helps me identify what records to look into that might have relevance.  I can’t imagine doing genealogical research without understanding history and history wouldn’t have happened without people.  They are inextricably intertwined!

That said, though many communities have joint genealogical & historical societies, many communities, including the one where I live have “separate” genealogical and historical societies.  Though we understand that historical context tells us why they were separately established, does that context still have relevance today?  With often shrinking pools of volunteers and money and a clear synergy between these topics, does it make sense to have more genealogical & historical or historical & genealogical societies than stand-alone ones?

What do you think? Is this an artificial divide whose demise should be imminent?  Or, is their greater value to reinforcing the differences between the two disciplines?

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