Sunday, January 9, 2011

...Now What, Post 2

So with that rather long run-down of what I've done, what I'm doing, and other options to possibly take in the future, I'm left with the question of "Now What?" I've done the conferences and the societies, I'm working on the indexing project and the Always a Hoosier project in Indiana, I've completed ProGen and the NGS Home Course, and I've been to a session at IGHR and plan to attend again this June (P.S., the registration for the 2011 session opens up on Jan. 18th!). So what's left? Actually, a lot. I can't really afford the Boston University course. It's over $2000 and that's including the discount from being a member of APG and/or NGS. It's too much for me. There is the Toronto program, NIGS, but that too is a certificate program and at this point I'm not sold that a full fledged program is the right fit for me anymore. NIGR, or the National Institute of Genealogical Research through the National Archives, would be wonderful to take, being familiar with and knowing how to use the records available at the National Archives is an essential tool. I really think the NIGR should be a requirement for those seeking certification just because of how important it is to know those records. And it works logistically for me because it's in the summer, when my son is out of school and can stay with family while I'm away. And the price is affordable; tuition is $350 for a week-long course. So that's a good possibility.

Beyond that, I feel like what I need most at this point is more field work and more client work. Because of how often I move, thanks to my husband's job with the Navy, I don't have enough experience with the local community to attempt to get work wherever we might be living so my client experience is extremely limited. That makes a big difference to how close I may be to getting a portfolio together for certification because an example of client work is a requirement. Without it, I'm not ready to start the certification process. The question really, is how to find people who might need work to be done in a geographic area that I feel comfortable with. Either that, or get myself comfortable enough with Illinois records so that I can do the work. I do have some IL experience since it's the state I'm from, but I would definitely need to bone up on things before I could feel comfortable doing work for someone else. It would absolutely need to be pro bono but it would be worth it to get the experience.

So right now, the best thing for me to do is keep researching the dark corners and mysteries in my own family lines and those of my family and who ever will let me work on them. I need work! And I need to be diligent about it. I'm thinking maybe I'll open up another project while trying to find someone for whom I can do a project for. I'm thinking I may also take my final NGS course assignment, the narrative biography, and turn it into something that I could submit to a few places as an article. While having a published article is not a requirement for certification, it certainly doesn't hurt.

So I'm going to start with picking a new mysterious project to work on, and I have a few options for that.....


  1. One suggestion I heard for finding pro bono clients was to jump on a message board for the area you are interested in, and be helpful. And eventually you might run across someone who needs your help.

  2. Definitely check out NIGR. I attended last year, and it was a wonderful experience!

  3. Another idea is to take on projects as an "intern" or "mentee" [not a proper word, but meaning one who is mentored] from another researcher, or assisting another researcher.. Your enthusiasm and determination is great. Learn when and wherever you can!

  4. You're absolutely right, Craig. That's almost exactly what I've been looking for but I have found it fairly difficult to find someone willing to do that. Time is at such a premium to those whose experience and knowledge would be ideal for a mentor-"mentee" relationship. You're absolutely right though in keeping a mindset open to learn "when and wherever you can" and that's something I try to do.