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Grandpa Needham Dierlam and Beverly Dierlam, 1932

Grandpa Need­ham Dier­lam and Bev­erly Dier­lam, 1932


From time to time, I have some­one offer to “sign up” on this site, or ask what the user name and pass­word are. There isn’t one! Every­thing on this site is pub­lic. As the Web­mas­ter I have a pass­word for site admin­is­tra­tion. Beyond that, we have no pass­words or spe­cial mem­bers areas!

That’s my mother in the photo, being held by her grand­fa­ther in 1932.

Splitting our Historian 2: Genealogical Information

This arti­cle is con­tin­ued from Split­ting our His­to­rian 1: Peo­ple.

The other side of the coin is our vast trove of genealog­i­cal infor­ma­tion. Our five pub­lished Strong Fam­ily Updates vol­umes are only a small por­tion of the infor­ma­tion we have col­lected and organized.

The SFAA is a genealog­i­cal soci­ety. One of the best ways to serve our mem­ber­ship and poten­tial mem­ber­ship is to pro­vide author­i­ta­tive infor­ma­tion regard­ing the Strong fam­ily and descen­dants. We have the infor­ma­tion to be shared, but it’s just not that simple!

This is the quandary that I’ve been strug­gling with for years.

The Offi­cial Geneal­ogy Database

Elisha and Mary A. (Strong) Richards

Elisha and Mary A. (Strong) Richards

I remain con­vinced that our ideal sit­u­a­tion would be to have one or more “offi­cial” geneal­ogy data­bases, such as with Fam­ily Tree Maker. At any point in time, we can click a but­ton and gen­er­ate a new book with the lat­est infor­ma­tion received. This book is in elec­tronic form. It can be pur­chased and mailed out on CD, or even be put up for sale on Ama­zon, Barnes & Noble, EBay, etc. EBook pub­lish­ing is def­i­nitely the way of the future AND it’s what the younger gen­er­a­tion has come to expect.

The huge advan­tage of ebooks is that we don’t need to deeply cut our mate­r­ial. Our cur­rent pub­lished books, the five Strong Fam­ily Updates vol­umes, were very heav­ily con­densed to keep the num­ber of pages down. With ebooks, adding another dozen pages just does not mat­ter. There is no addi­tional cost!

With ebooks, we can (in the­ory) add any num­ber of pho­tographs and other research doc­u­men­ta­tion. We can add sto­ries and essays just as with the pub­lished vol­umes. We could include spe­cific essays, for exam­ple, on Northamp­ton and the Deer­field Raid of 1704.

The dif­fi­culty is that we do NOT have such a geneal­ogy data­base. We need to cre­ate it, one name at a time, by hand. I’ve tried a num­ber of ways to scan our mate­r­ial by com­puter and cre­ate the data­base, but the result is just not 100% accu­rate. That means the result is NOT accept­able! In short, we need to tran­scribe our thou­sands of printed pages, by hand, in to Fam­ily Tree Maker. Ulti­mately we need to do this… I don’t see any way around it.

Look­ing for­ward over the next 10, 20, or 50 years, our geneal­ogy data­base allows us to enter new infor­ma­tion as it is received. We can turn around and imme­di­ately pub­lish the updated mate­r­ial for our membership.

To be sure, merely adding facts to Fam­ily Tree Maker is not the same as cre­at­ing a pub­lish­able book. How­ever, just get­ting the facts out in book form is a great start. We may have to leave the proper edit­ing of those facts to a future gen­er­a­tion! Our part is to ensure our future gen­er­a­tion has those facts to edit.

Our Unpub­lished but Orga­nized Material

We already have a lot of mate­r­ial which has not been published.

First, we have the “man­u­scripts in progress.” After pub­lish­ing our Strong Fam­ily Updates books, we received addi­tional infor­ma­tion from our read­ers and new mem­bers. Our prior his­to­ri­ans turned these into updated Updates man­u­scripts but they were never published.

Sec­ond, I have about 24 shelf feet of paper mate­ri­als sub­mit­ted by our mem­ber­ship over the decades. Much of this was orig­i­nal source mate­r­ial for the Strong Fam­ily Updates books. How­ever, the mate­r­ial was very highly con­densed to fit in the pub­lished books. It would there­fore ben­e­fit our future to work through this mate­r­ial, folder by folder, glean­ing all infor­ma­tion suit­able to be pub­lished. With elec­tronic pub­lish­ing there is no con­cern over the length of a book, or the length of a person’s bio. I, for one, would like access to all the infor­ma­tion available!

Third, we have infor­ma­tion sit­ting in the base­ments of our mem­ber­ship, par­tic­u­larly with our mem­bers who wrote the Strong Fam­ily Updates books.

Finally, we have the more recent infor­ma­tion submitted.

We obvi­ously can’t just dump this hap­haz­ardly upon our read­ing pub­lic. This is the quandary. Con­tinue read­ing

Splitting our Historian 1: People

The role of His­to­rian is too much for any sin­gle per­son. We have vol­un­teers avail­able, but nobody wants to take on every­thing. Nor should they!

As you per­haps take on a small role, time per­mit­ting, match­ing your inter­ests, your small help becomes an impor­tant part of the whole. Let’s take a look.

The Cor­re­spond­ing Historian

Corresponding Historian

Cor­re­spond­ing Historian

I see this as the most impor­tant role of all over the next few years. What we need is a “peo­ple per­son” who loves to have con­ver­sa­tions! We’re not look­ing for a genealog­i­cal expert. We don’t need this per­son to research inquiries, do look-ups, check through the archives. As you’ll see, we have other peo­ple for that!

What we need is some­one to keep the con­ver­sa­tion going. Think about it. Remem­ber when you were first start­ing out and dis­cov­ered a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to the Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica. You per­haps needed some guid­ance. In my case, the con­nec­tion was to Strong Updates Vol­ume III. More impor­tantly, my con­nec­tion was to Dr. Walther Barnard, also of the Sarah (Strong) Barnard line.

Our Cor­re­spond­ing Historian’s role, then, is to con­nect peo­ple to peo­ple. Our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian is the face of the Asso­ci­a­tion for things genealog­i­cal, in the same way as is our Cor­re­spond­ing Sec­re­tary for every­thing else.

When things come down to actual research, a spe­cific inquiry, etc., our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian can hand the ques­tion over to one of our researchers. Because our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian is also keep­ing in touch with our researchers, our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian will know who’s the best avail­able per­son to take on the inquiry. Our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian will still be respon­si­ble for ensur­ing follow-ups hap­pen as expected.

We often receive a vague inquiry, some­thing like “My grand­fa­ther was George Strong. Are we related?” With­out a bit more infor­ma­tion, or even the rel­a­tive age of the per­son ask­ing the ques­tion, that’s not some­thing we can answer! That’s where our Cor­re­spond­ing His­to­rian takes up the ques­tion. Ask more ques­tions. When we have a con­crete inquiry (spe­cific names, fam­ily mem­bers, dates prior to 1920 or so, etc.), we can hand it off to one of our researchers. Con­tinue read­ing