I is for the Formidable Researcher

Family History AlphabetAlona Tester from Gould Genealogy has proposed a Family History through the Alphabet series over the coming 26 weeks. I decided that my theme would be the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents you bring to your research. This week’s focus is on the letter I.

I is for Inquisitiveness, Intelligence and Imagination: An Inquiring mind and your Intelligence are among the most Important attributes you will bring to your research. It will help you critique information you’re given and details you’ve discovered and guide you on the way to further research possibilities. Your Imagination will let you mentally free-range and think about influences on your ancestors’ lives, hypothesise about new possibilities and develop avenues for research to break down those stumbling blocks we all encounter.

I is for Investigative: I’m willing to bet that this one is why most of us get so absorbed in family history. We love the thrill of the chase, the sleuthing to find that pivotal piece of information about our ancestor or how to find out what happened to a disappearing aunt, or a “swimmer” who appears in a foreign land having left no trace in the migration records.  But a word of warning, at some stage we need to stop investigating and start writing/recording if we’re to leave a viable history for our descendants.

I is for IT savvy: In 2012 it’s pretty difficult to do family history research without using IT, meaning we need to become progressively more IT savvy. You can use other’s blog posts and general IT reading to expand your knowledge of these wondrous techie toys we use daily. Look at it this way, not only are we learning more about our family, we’re keeping our minds sharp and up to date with current technical trends. As we age we won’t be left behind in the technological slow-lane.

I is for Innovative: Not only do we need to be IT savvy, but we need to be Innovative in how we approach our research, using new strategies, learning new skills and thinking about our research from new angles. Innovation combined with all these other “I” skills will make for a formidable researcher.

I is for Individuality:  You will bring your own individuality to your family story, how you draw the stories together and what focus you shine on those stories.

What “I” words would you add to this list of attributes?

16 thoughts on “I is for the Formidable Researcher

  1. Well said! As for ‘Investigative’… it seems to me that most enthusiastic family historians also read ‘detective’ stories and watch TV shows like ‘Midsomer Murders’. 🙂


  2. I didn’t used to read detective stories but I always liked puzzles. I think you got all the “I” words, at least I can’t think of another one!


  3. I for Irritations at times, I for Imitation… where someone simply copies from other trees, without I for Investigation… I for Incredible, where someone has written that their ancestor fathered a child at 12… happened in one of my lot…, but most of all, and the one that means the most to me,

    I for Inspiration… lots of times, and often from fellow family historians… especially when their blogs are I… for Interesting…


    1. Oh yes, How could I have forgotten that particular irritation! Such great additions to the I list, Chris….thank you. Love them…but a bit startled by that 12 year old.


  4. Another good list of words. IT savvy certainly helps and it is amazing to see just how much more research material is now available on line compared with even just a couple of years ago.


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