Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview with a 21ster

My husband's success in business directly depends on giving his customers what they want.  He recently shared with me the difference between "Indirect Voice of the Customer" and "Direct Voice of the Customer". “Indirect Voice” is when we assume we know what they need or want.  “Direct Voice" is asking them what they want.  In terms of this blog, I thought it a good idea to get the "Direct Voice of the Customer" -- in this case, a 21ster.  

Marti Kerkhoff Wallace is one of my Facebook friends.  I don't know Marti personally, but we have a mutual friend (Hi, Mike!).  From reading Marti's Facebook status updates, I can tell that she is a 21ster, a modern genealogist.  I asked her if she would share a 21ster viewpoint by answering a few questions.  She readily agreed!  Let's hear what Marti had to say...




When did you get into genealogy research, and why?
I got into genealogy after watching an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" and joined Ancestry.com for 2 free weeks (or so I thought--LOL!). In the beginning, I just had a general interest and no "agenda." After finding an ad for my great grandfather's machinist business in Cincinnati and showing it to my dad, I was hooked. My elderly father started crying as he looked at this ad for his grandpa's business.

Do you belong to a genealogical society?  If so, what attracted you to it? 
I don't belong to any genealogical society. I probably should, but I don't have the time to go to meetings.

(If you answered “yes” to #2 above, then skip this question.)  If not, do you think belonging to a genealogical society would interest you?  How about if they offered historical records for your ancestor’s home town?  How about if they offered webinars on how to do research?   What else might entice you to join?
If I KNEW that a genealogy society would be able to help me with details about my peeps, I'd join in a heartbeat! For example, if I could find a society that could help me with information about hat makers in Cincinnati in the 1880's, I'd be hooked. But my work life and home life are so busy that I can't spend energy on something that isn't a "sure thing." I've thought quite often of joining groups, but I haven't found any that really interest me and my specific areas of research. For example, if there was a society in Cincinnati that focused on Catholic immigrants to Cincinnati, I'd be the first one in the door…  I need specific areas of expertise in order to justify me taking an evening away from my family.

Would a society class or seminar about genealogy be something that you may attend in the future? What kinds of topics would be of interest to you? What isn’t of interest to you?
I would love to find a class or seminar that would be helpful. I would be very interested in Catholic German immigrants and what brought them specifically to Cincinnati. I would also be interested in a seminar concerning their work lives. For example, I have been trying to find info about hat makers in Cincinnati in the late 1800's. I can't find anything. I'd love to find info about the machinist business in Cincinnati in the late 1800's. I've found a little bit, but I'd love to know if there was an organization they would have belonged to.

Does a society’s website (or internet presence in general) influence your opinion of them?  Does it influence your decision on whether or not to become a member?  For example, does the ability of paying for a membership &/or publications on their website (e.g. through PayPal) make or break your decision to join?
A website always makes a HUGE impact on me. How easy is it to navigate. How easy is it to find info? For example, the Hamilton Co. Probate Court archive website is difficult to find info. In many instances, you have to slowly go through and try to figure out which book # you need. Then you have to try and find the page #. I've done this, but it's VERY time consuming. An index would be very helpful. I know that there is information on that site that I haven't found yet, but I can't get to it because I have to figure out the volume # and page #'s I need. As opposed to putting in a name or date and going through the info that way.  

[UPDATED 09.18.12 at 12:40PM EDT:   I would like to make clear (which I didn't in my written response) that I LOVE that the Hamilton Co. Probate Court has their archived records online. Without this, I probably wouldn't have found out (yet) that my great, great grandfather became a naturalized citizen at age 64. I had tears streaming down my face when I stumbled across this info. I also wouldn't have read the "estate" records of my people. :) But it can be time consuming (yet well worth the time) to track down that info as you try to find the volume # or the book # you need and then find the page # with the actual document. When I find a "new" person in my tree and if he/she lived and/or died in Hamilton Co., it's one of the first sites I go to in order to find information.

I'd like to thank those Hamilton Co. employees who took the time and energy to put this information online. It's invaluable to those of us searching for our people.
http://www.probatect.org/courtrecordsarchive/bukcats.aspx] 


I hate to spend money on stuff that's not a "sure thing." So that always holds me back from joining a society or club. I spend so much on genealogy already (my Ancestry monthly payment, my Fold3 payment, etc.), that I can't justify spending more unless I KNOW it will help me find info I need.

Do you have any recommendations for societies that are trying to attract 21sters?
Name Indexes!!! So important. A variety of ways to search: By name (with variations of spelling), by date, by city, by city of birth, etc. Also, links to the actual document. Not just the info of the name and date... I love to see the actual scanned document. [From your keyboard to God's ear, Marti!]  :))   It's amazing what other info you may come across (places of birth, godparents, etc.).



That was the end of my question/answer session with Marti. And guess what?  We did it all online!  *** THANK YOU MARTI *** for taking time out of your busy schedule to give me valuable input.

Also I would like everyone reading this to know that my goal is not to criticize any society.  My motive for this blog post was to learn what 21ster's are looking for.  I'd like this blog to be a safe place to discuss ideas in a very respectful manner. Marti has certainly done that, and I hope I have too. 



A little info about Marti:
Marti Kerkhoff Wallace
Almost all of Marti's ancestors immigrated directly to Cincinnati and were Catholic.  Check out her blog, Marti's Genealogy Adventures.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davis


6 comments:

  1. I love your blog, Jenny!

    I would like to make clear (which I didn't in my written response) that I LOVE that the Hamilton Co. Probate Court has their archived records online. Without this, I probably wouldn't have found out (yet) that my great, great grandfather became a naturalized citizen at age 64. I had tears streaming down my face when I stumbled across this info. I also wouldn't have read the "estate" records of my people. :) But it can be time consuming (yet well worth the time) to track down that info as you try to find the volume # or the book # you need and then find the page # with the actual document. When I find a "new" person in my tree and if he/she lived and/or died in Hamilton Co., it's one of the first sites I go to in order to find information.

    I'd like to thank those Hamilton Co. employees who took the time and energy to put this information online. It's invaluable to those of us searching for our people.

    http://www.probatect.org/courtrecordsarchive/bukcats.aspx

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    1. Marti,
      You may be interested in using some of the online resources of the Blegen Library. They have digitized birth and death records for Cincinnatians from 1865-1912. They also have an index to naturalization records. Read this story about the records at our HCGS blog. http://hcgsohio.blogspot.com/2011/09/cincinnati-birth-and-death-records-1865.html

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    2. Hi Marti, I agree with you -- it truly is wonderful that someone spent all that time and effort to create and put online those wonderful records. I also think it would be a welcome upgrade to have a more versatile search function. Catch ya later.

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  2. Kathy, I love the Blegen Library resources. Through them, I have many of my people's birth and death cards. Before they were available online, I made a trip down to the library (with an appointment), and the very nice person working there had already pulled the cards for me. I also looked at a couple of wills. Now I have to go back and look at my great grandfather's naturalization papers (found in the index book). Thanks for the link to your blog. I'll definitely check it out!

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  3. I found this interview linked from Randy Seaver's Genea-musings. And there's Marti, my Facebook friend! I'm sure Marti must have mentioned on FB that she was being featured but I totally missed it. Nice job, both of you!

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    1. Hi Wendy, small world! Thanks for visiting and commenting. :)

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