11 June 2012

Peaceful Enterprises and Lovely Surprises - Part Two

Family history has become a major industry in the 21st century.  What are the statistics?  What sorts of businesses make a profit from assisting family historians?  Do you run some sort of associated business yourself?

As you may know, I'm contacted quite often by representatives of companies, many of whom propose that I promote their products on this blog.  How can I know that an email from a stranger is something to trust?

In an effort to gain a small income from this blog, I have sometimes displayed a few adverts through Google, but I've found that they only clutter up the screen.  The ads hardly provide enough income even to cover the cost of a cup of coffee, so there appears little point in me having ads here, especially if they are not of products or services I would personally choose to use.

A little bird told me

There are, of course, many non-financial rewards from writing a blog about family history, which is why I began this one.  You may also be aware that I consider myself to be a social entrepreneur in the broader sphere of existence, so I examine businesses from several perspectives.

If you have found any lovely surprises in this or my other blogs I'd really like to know.  I'd also like to know what you consider to be the qualities of a peaceful enterprise.

If you have not yet seen the first part of this occasional series of blog posts, you may like to read it now.

I've recently come across a few interesting articles about family history as an industry:

Ancestry buys Archives.com to expand family history industry

Online Researchers Spur Growth of Genealogy Industry, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Genealogy Industry Metrics

I know that Mr Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers has a few interesting things to say the family history industry, too, as do the people who comment on that site.

My concerns about the accumulation of personal information online have been known to readers of my blogs for some time now.  It is worrying that so many people reveal sensitive details about themselves, and others, to people who may be more interested in profit than peace.  This especially applies when data has been collected from family history websites, blogs and social networks.

So, how do you really know when an enterprise is safe and peaceful to use when you explore your family history, whether physically and digitally?  How can a person find out if someone in their family, or even a complete stranger, is revealing too much about them online?

09 June 2012

Lucky of Fateful Encounters - Part Three

Is there ever anything lucky about mistaken identity, especially in the area of family history?  Sometimes, I am contacted by people who think they are related to me when I know they are not.  It is often the case that a similar name in a completely irrelevant location is the cause of confusion in the minds of the people contacting me.

Sometimes, however, a person who might be unrelated can help us in other ways.  Perhaps they had relatives who had the same surname and lived in the same area as a family member, or even in the same street.  It is something I have found from my own experience.

Being in contact with someone who has an insight into an environment a family member would have experienced can reveal some interesting snippets of information.  I can vaguely recollect my grandmother mentioning a sweetshop near to where she lived as a child, and I think she mentioned the shop was owned by a relative.

Someone with the same surname as my grandmother's maiden name did indeed own a sweetshop in the street where my grandmother grew up, as I discovered while exploring my Shropshire family history and heritage.  The person I contacted by email was very pleasant and informative, though we could not work out if there actually was a family connection anywhere.

It is always important never to jump to premature conclusions when researching anything. I hope you will find some of my other investigations into identity to be of interest.  They are from my By Any Other Name blog:

Unfortunate connotations

Mistaken identity and identity confusion

Entertainment, friendship and identity

Most of my luck with family history has come as a consequence of my research online, of emails I have sent or received enquiring about all sorts of historical matters, and from distant relatives who have been looking at this blog.  

And mentioning a sweetshop reminded me that I have some very nice chocolates in my kitchen...  Now that is lucky!