Sunday, June 5, 2011

These are the Faces of Genealogy

A child who died young
WWI Doughboys

A mother whose son was a casualty of war

A father who proudly served

Lithuanian immigrants
A gorgeous grandma I never knew

The LAWeekly posted an article written by Skylaire Alfvegren on the Southern California Genealogical Society's 42nd Jamboree which is coming up this June 10th-12th.  It caused quite a stir among many genealogy bloggers, and I would therefore imagine the genealogy community in general.

What was the stir about?  An image that was posted with the story (which has now been replaced).  If you care to see the image that caused the ruckus visit Geneabloggers here.

Many felt that the author of this article used poor judgment in using this picture for this event.  They wrote to the LAWeekly and made their point of view known, resulting in the image being replaced with a logo from the Jamboree's website.

Now here's my 2 cents and it may not sit well with many...I laughed when I saw the picture.

Do I think it was an appropriate image for the Jamboree?  No.

Was it something that I took as personally offensive because I'm a genealogist?  Absolutely not. 

Do I think it was inappropriate for my colleagues to write to the LAWeekly and express their outrage?  Again, no.  

What a wonderful country we live in where people can unite and let someone know that they went too far.  It was juvenile humor (like fart jokes, which I laugh at as well) and while I agree that the editor should never have let it pass, it really was nothing that upset me.  In my opinion, if the LAWeekly wants to portray that kind of image, it damages them more than it ever could damage genealogy and family history as a profession or hobby.

Additionally, the image didn't belong to the LAWeekly and was apparently something found on the internet and used in their story.  Something that far too many people do...if it's on the internet, they feel it's their right to lift it, which is not the case.  I can only hope Skylaire Alfvegren and/or the editor checked with the creator of the image first (although I would be surprised if it played out that way).

As for the "Gene Genie"?  Well, I usually appreciate any reference to a rockin' song by David Bowie and I did appreciate the play on words.

Bottom line...someone posting such an image doesn't make my ancestors any less beautiful than they are to me.  Nor does me getting upset over such an image change the skeletons I've unearthed buried beneath my family tree (but I would hardly use those skeletons as poster children for a event either).