The following is re-post from my former blog cedartree.blog.com.
For quite some time now in my profile I have had the following line: Kassie actively encourages the genealogy community to find innovative ways to spark the interest of the next generation. As of late I have been re-evaluating how I go about doing this. Sure I’m on Twitter, keep a blog, talk about it a lot on both my personal and business Facebook pages, and I like to think my presence as local chapter President of the APG helps. Every now and again I am told that I have helped spark interest in someone. Despite all of this I feel like there is more I could do.
I rejoiced when one of the reoccurring themes at this year’s RootsTech conference was ‘the Next Generation’ but saddened when yet another blog post bashing the abilities of my generation was published. This blogger is just one person, but, unfortunately this one person is a part of an apparent growing trend. For every person who speaks in this manner there has been at least one member of my generation who provides a rebuttal. This has all left me wondering– is it time for my generation to create a place of our own?
Some may be quick to say aren’t there enough genealogy resources and communities out there to support the younger generation? Surely one or two bad apples aren’t enough to ruin the whole barrel? Or won’t creating a separate place for the younger genealogists only exasperate the problems? My answer to this is everyone needs a place to call home. A safe place they can go, a safe place where there are others like them and where they can voice their opinions without fear of having them dismissed without merit. No matter how friendly a genealogy society/organization is, when the majority of the members are old enough to be my parents some part of me will always feel out of place. Gathering with others who not only share your interests but your age bracket is a basic social need, particularly when a group such as ours is consistently and erroneously attacked. In a place my generation can call our own, we can have open conversations about the future of genealogy, the role we want to take in dictating that future, how we want to go about achieving those goals, support one another in our endeavors, and ask for help without fear of being talked to like we are two years old. It is a way to help my generation go from talking to doing.
I am inviting all members of my generation regardless of your experience level, whether you started researching your family tree a day ago, a year ago or when you were still a kid to join a Facebook group page I started called the Next Generation of Genealogists. This group is only for members of my generation commonly referred to as Gen Y, Millennials or the ‘Next Generation.’ My hope is that this Facebook group page will explore the option of creating a formal genealogy society….I hope I am not the only one who thinks this is a good idea!
UPDATE 6/28/2016: Please note that the original vision I discussed here evolved and culminated in the founding of the Rogue Genealogist in 2016. The link to the aforementioned Facebook group has been removed as I am no longer affiliated with nor support the group.