Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Rung on the ProGen Ladder

Today was monthly chat day for my Pro Gen 3 peer group. On the first Monday of each month, we get together in a closed chat room and talk about the assignment we worked on for the month.

September's assignment was on the transcribing (fancy genealogy talk for copying something word-for-word) and abstracting (fancy genealogy talk for copying only certain important parts) of wills. I don't have a lot of experience in these areas. I do transcribe documents when necessary, especially for this blog. Abstracting, though, I just don't do unless asked to for an assignment. I prefer the whole document, and am too afraid I'll leave out something important.

My assignment turned out ok. I transcribed the will of my great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Lenertz.** The handwriting on this document is easy easy easy to read, so transcribing was a breeze. Peer feedback on my abstract for the most part was pretty good, but it's clear this task wasn't my most shining moment in genealogy to date.

In chat, while everyone else talked about the different ways they abstracted wills, the symbols the used, etc., I just sat there. Since I don't have a big ol' client base that demands this service, and since I just make photocopies/scans of handwritten wills, I didn't have a lot to add to the conversation. I kind of felt like a doofus. Oh well, next month I'll have more to say.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know there is at least one blog reader out there that would love to advance his/her genealogy education (through ProGen, the NGS course, institutes, etc), but is worried that he or she doesn't know enough. My answer is this: you know plenty. And what you don't know, you'll learn through the process.

In ProGen, nobody fails. Everyone in the group moves together. Nobody gets left behind. This was my month to learn while others led the way. Another time, I'll do the leading. To the person(s) that are on the fence about your qualifications for ProGen--or any other genealogy education opportunity, your times to shine and learn will come as well. You just need to take the first step and sign up.

[**I have digital images of the will of Alexander Lenertz. Family members / descendants who want a copy, just email me and I'll get it to you.]


  1. I felt the same way last month (we had the same assignment). I've got some very experienced researchers, lecturers, and all-around professionals in my group, too. But like you said, all are helpful and friendly, not intimidating. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed.

    You can't say that about many professions.

    P.S. This month, we had to write up our "genealogical resume." Looks like I'll be twiddling my thumbs again at our chat on Friday.

  2. I am in ProGen 4 and this was my first discussion today. I think your post really is accurate as to how ProGen works and how beneficial the interaction is. I am enjoying every minute of ProGen and I just wish I had done this earlier!

  3. I very much wanted to do this last summer, but my computer was down. Perhaps next summer...