RootsTech 2012 – US vs UK Genealogy Magazines

Just got back from dinner with 6 Genea-Bloggers, part of the 90+ Unofficial Genea-Bloggers at Roots Tech 2012. We all got checked in, had a warm up of the Genea-Blogger BUMP, spend time meeting each other, sharing stories. Were all hungry so we went out for food.

One of the first Genea-Bloggers that I really wanted to met was the footnoteMavin (fM, sometimes referred to on FaceBook). She encouraged me to create, and actually helped me name my Headstone Collection Blog. Well, what an honor to meet her in person.

We were chit-chatting at dinner, when she asked a question: Why does the US have so few Genealogy Magazines, while the UK had quite a number (16, is what I remember her mentioning)? Interesting question for a bunch of seasoned and not so seasoned Genea-Bloggers waiting for RootsTech 2012 to start.

Pause a moment – I am not staying down town. My choice of hotel was not a good one, but it will work, but it involved a 20 minute train ride.

My quick response to fM’s question was – we are in too much of a hurry. As there were a couple of folks who had been to England, had family in England mentioned the difference between how we get from one place to another.

The train ride back to the hotel was a great example of what we were talking about. SmartPhone, hand held devices, things hanging out of one’s ears were all on the train but one person. That one person, actually had a book. No one on the train when I went down town had a book. The electronic devices were being used by everyone (but me, I hadn’t ridden that train before, had no clue where I was, only hints on where I wanted to get off of the train).

The England observation was that everyone was reading a book or a magazine.

Thinking of how many of us get to and from work, it is mostly by automobile vs train. Of the 35 years that I worked, 33 of those years the commute was by car. No books or magazines there. The 2 other years, I did ride a train, but my Laptop was running for 2 hours on the train, getting work done.

Probably that last 10 years that I drove to get to and from work, I did have books, but they were Books on Tape. (now CD).

So, for me, one of the reasons for the lack of Genealogy Magazines is due to how we get to and from work. We are in cars and not trains.

Next, has to be how busy we all are. Even being retired, I rarely will sit down and read a book or a magazine.

Having said the, I will also admit that I am not a reader to begin with, but others may have the same experience. Guess you can’t read and drive a car at the same time. (we’ll not talk about Jersey drivers here.

Next, what did everyone at the diner table have, and referred to a couple of time, Electronic Devices. If “it”, in this case a magazine, isn’t on the hand held device some readers won’t read. It was great to see my oldest granddaughter show me her kindle last night to show me how many books she had read and was lined up to read. I am guess that a number of Magazine Readers are reading information on these hand held devices. The train ride to and from Salt Lake City reflected this non-scientific study.

Still not a good reason for not having Genealogy Magazines here in the US.

But wait, we are getting ready for Roots Tech 2012, right. Has technology for family researchers / family historians changed how we learn information that might have been in those magazines? I wonder.

I can only tell of my experience. I have learned most of what I know about doing Family Research, not from Magazines, but from those options that have been available to me over the past 15 years.

I learned so much information on the Train by listening to Genealogy PodCasts. DearMYRTLE, Lisa Louise Cook, the GenealogGuys, just to mention a few. Learning on the train, was so much easier my listening to the podcast, then it would have been to read a magazine.

OK, not riding the train, but still not reading Magazines, now it’s Google Reader for the 2,000+ Genea-Bloggers that are around. Several hundred blog posts a day, they are free, they come to me, I read what I want, I have the option to go to the Blog post, have the option to post a comment on that blog post, skip over those blog posts that may not be of interest at the moment. But, many time, I have gone back to a Blog to read an earlier message that I remembered that I wanted to re-read.

If I am done with a magazine, it’s out the door. The Blog Post remains. Having said that, I have ripped pages our of Magazines, to read later, or I want to hold on to this for later, but I never get back to them. With Blogs, however, I can usually get back to That Blog Post that had what I am looking for now, when I need it.

So, for me, the “magazines” that I used to subscribe to, are now information that is available online, AND in many cases, been updated based on current technology.

Finally, where is your local newsstand where you could buy a Genealogy Magazine. The US magazines that we mentioned were sold, in many cases, by the local newsstand / book store, that doesn’t exist any longer. Those stores that sell magazines at all, aren’t going to sell a Genealogy Magazine, at least where I live. I used to have one, 30 minutes drive away, but it’s closed.

The Technology that we have today, the way we travel, our busy schedules, the availability of Genealogy Articles, written by the best, are not sold on a newsstand, and only a few are available by a subscription. I have a subscription to ONE printed genealogy magazine. At this point if others were available, I am not sure that I would send the money for a physical magazine to come to my mail box.

(didn’t even talk about getting rid of that magazine when I was done with it)

Rambling thoughts based on a question “around” an unofficial Genea-Blogger’s dinner table.

Any thoughts or comments? I’ll pass them along to fM.

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2 Responses to RootsTech 2012 – US vs UK Genealogy Magazines

  1. Nice job! Really great observations. I must be very careful from now on, as it appears someone was actually listening to me.

    And i “loved” meeting you! -fM

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