Fishing for younger genealogists


Flickr photo by kretyn

 

How can genealogy attract more Millennials and Gen X and Yers?  

Is it even possible?  

Yes, but properly snaring them seems to require the right fishing technique. Depending on who you ask, the traditionalist says it’s all in the lure while another claims it’s the casting technique that really matters. Then there are the shoulder-shrugging types who say, “A day off, my lucky hat, and a cooler full of beer—who cares whether I catch any fish?”  

In the past few weeks, more than a few articles have wondered whether the genealogy field might be labeled the laissez-faire fisherman type than the industrious lure and casting trawler.  

High Definition Genealogy goes straight for the jugular by stating several reasons just why people younger than 45 might think this field yanks the welcome carpet out from under their feet. A recent post on Roots and Rambles goes further, observing that conference dates and times often conflict with school and work day commitments while the cost of the conference itself can be prohibitive for families on a budget. One younger enthusiast commented that at a conference, ‘The woman behind me said “Aren’t you too young to be doing genealogy?”  

Welcome, indeed.  

Thankfully, technology is helping to tear all of this down. Between Roots Television, genealogy Twitter lists, genealogy blogs, and countless articles now popping up online, the perceived age gap is finally narrowing.  

However, we believe the best Catch-And-Don’t-Release award goes to John Harris.  

Mr. Harris, a teacher in Somerset, Pennsylvania, came up with an innovative way to snare Millennials through their own tools. His “Hunting History: Discovering Your Hometown” high school class has students using GPS devices to track down old churches and specific cemetery headstone markers from coordinates given out in class.  

Harris says: “When you can offer something that kids can get their hands on – in their backyard – when they go through town, they see historical sites. When you can turn them on to that, word gets out that that’s pretty fun. They discover the history all on their own.”  

He’s on to something because not only did he win a $5,000 award from the History Channel but more importantly, this elective, twice a year class maxing out 30 students per semester, is always full. That’s sixty new history and genealogy enthusiasts caught each year.  

Now that’s a winning fishing technique that gets ‘em while their young.

About these ads

5 Comments

Filed under Static Category - BTG

5 responses to “Fishing for younger genealogists

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Fishing for younger genealogists « Beyond The Ghosts…A Cemetery Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Excellent points! I wonder if starting a History [sort-of] Geocaching game would be a good idea. I say “sort-of” because no one would be hiding the treasure. It’s already there. Kind of a new spin on genealogy research. Do you realize how many play Geocaching? It’s like a cult. [Shrugs] Something to ponder.

    ~Caroline Pointer
    Family Stories

    • G.E. Anderson

      Funny you should mention this. I’m planning on writing an article about geocaching and cemeteries sometime next week!

  3. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/
    Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
    and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”
    http://www.examiner.com/x-53135-Springfield-Genealogy-Examiner
    http://www.examiner.com/x-58285-Ozarks-Cultural-Heritage-Examiner

  4. Pingback: Cemetery geocaching: Has treasure hunting gone too far? « Beyond The Ghosts…A Cemetery Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s