Sunday, February 7, 2010

Differences Between Men and Women Genealogists/Family Historians?

I have had a few discussions with men and women working on their genealogy/family history which have lead me to wonder if there is a difference between the way men and women approach the subject.

I'm not saying this is so. This is just an observation I've made among several others who are also searching for family:

Men want to go in a direct line back to the oldest forefather they can find, generally branching out to collatoral lines only if it helps them go back in their direct line.

Women want to go back to their oldest living foreparents but try to find all the children/siblings in each family as they go back.

Is this generally true? Have you noticed differences in the way men and women approach genealogy and family history? What is your experience with this? If you are a guy, what is your approach? If you are a female, what is your approach?

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier.

12 comments:

  1. I mentioned you in my SNGF post! :) http://herstoryan.blogspot.com/2010/02/sngf-super-bowl-of-genealogy.html

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  2. Interesting post! When I started doing genealogy I was more in the "men's" approach, just wanting to follow my direct lines as far as they could take me. But once I got more experienced doing genealogy I guess I moved over to the "women's" approach because I started caring more about living relatives and collateral lines. Then again, I started doing genealogy at 11 so I think my age has had more to do with my changing approach to genealogy than my gender. You provide some interesting food for thought, I'll be interested in what your other responses are.

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  3. I never thought of it as a men vs. women thing. I did attend a society meeting once where a gentleman was giving a talk on FTM and stated that we only needed to enter our direct lines. I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor.

    I tend to look for everybody as the inter-family relationships fascinate me. While I do want to keep knocking down brick walls and taking my lines back further I spend much more time search for collateral lines and tidbits of family lore.

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  4. Well, I definitely fit the women's pattern. I try to check out all the siblings and even do a "descendants of" for the gg-grandparent level (and in a couple of cases for the ggg-grandparent level). Those branching lines are awfully interesting, and some of my favorite research subjects are aunts/uncles. Intriguing post!

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  5. Nancy, I am male and will state categorically that the most interesting people and their adventures will come from the wives of our grandfathers, their husbands, and so on up the tree. The blog www.genealogyhowto.com on October 5, 2009 addresses this issue as do other postings there.

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  6. Nancy, I've always fit the women's pattern. I have an strange fascination with marriage between cousins and LOVE seeing in my reports how people can be related in more than one way. So, I've spent a lot of time following up on all those siblings and their children!! :-)

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  7. Nancy, being a storytell,er first and foremost, I go where the stories are -- and much of the time, where they lead me, wasn't where I thought I was going. So I dinna know just where that puts me -- besides in chaos much of the time.

    An interesting question --- makes me want to ponder upon it.

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  8. I'm similar to Leah. When I started, I had more of the men's approach but has I've matured I care just as much about the siblings that simply disappeared, etc.

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  9. I have concentrated on my own direct line but I am just now starting to branch out to include siblings, etc. I think branching out to include others helps you to find your "cousins" online. I also have found some neat stories. I will have to write about one some time as she held a patent for a dishwasher!

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  10. Thanks, all, for weighing in on this discussion. Interesting thoughts you've shared. Perhaps it's just as much immature/mature as it is male/female family historian/genealogist....

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  11. It could be an inexperienced/experienced thing. I started out male, but as I gained more genealogy knowledge I realized how much I was missing and reconnected with my feminine side! *lol*

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  12. Jenna, you make me laugh. Thanks!

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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