Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jasia's Christmas Wish

Dear Santa,

I'm not sure if you can make my Christmas wish come true but I'm going to ask for your help anyway. You see, there are a lot of people like myself who really want to learn about their family history. We all put in countless hours searching databases, courthouse records, libraries, microfilms, and just about anything else we can get our hands on in hopes of learning more about our ancestors. We're always looking for more information but it's hard to find the sources we need.

The thing is, Santa, genealogical and historical societies have been collecting and publishing lots and lots of great source information in their journals and bulletins for many years now. All this information is sitting on dusty bookshelves in private homes, local libraries, and at the occasional Family History Center library. Many genealogists can't access these wonderful sources of information because they are not published, indexed, or even excerpted online.

Here's where you come in, Santa. My wish is for all the genealogical and historical societies the world over to open their hearts and their bookshelves to genealogists everywhere. I'm wishing they would share generously and freely the information in their own archives. Please help them to understand that blogs are free, simple to use, and all you have to know to be able to share a journal article with the rest of the world is how to type. If each society could get just one volunteer to type just one article (that was previous published in their journal) per week on a blog, that would amount to 52 articles a year times a jillion societies! Just think Santa, it could be the biggest coordinated genealogical publishing effort ever! And all it would take is one person from each society typing one article once a week.

I know I'm asking a lot, Santa. I don't know how to reason with the genealogical society board members who are only comfortable doing things the way they've always been done and are resistant to change. I think they must be afraid of learning new ways of doing things. That is very sad. Can you help them find the joy in learning, please?

And Santa, can you please remind them that the articles that appeared in their journals were written free of charge for the benefit of others doing genealogical research? I think many board members forget that and seek to generate revenue for their organizations from the voluntary writing efforts of their members. I don't think that's right, do you Santa?

Well, that's it. That's my Christmas wish. I know this is a tremendous thing to ask of you, Santa, so please don't feel like you have to accomplish it all by this Christmas. But my friends the Genea-Bloggers and I would be happy if you could start with the genealogical and historical societies here in America first :-) And since I'm doing the wishing here, could you please make the genealogical and historical societies of Poland next?!

Thanks for your generous spirit, Santa.

Your Friend and Biggest Fan,

Jasia

[The graphics used in this post were part of a scrapbooking mini kit created by Sonia Harvy.]

4 comments:

  1. Jasia,
    I too hope Santa reads your request for Polish information to be available online - and I'm trusting he can organise for it to also be available in English, please.

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  2. Jasia,

    I hope that your Christmas wish is answered. How sad that many societies won't publish their information online, mistakenly believing that doing so will keep visitors and members AWAY. This is because most historical societies do not have anyone with a marketing degree on their staff, who will tell them quite the opposite.

    J

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  3. You are so right, Janice. If only they understood how much it would benefit them to share...

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