Monday, June 4, 2007

The "G" Word

“Now that you’re graduating, what line of work are you going to pursue?” my friend’s father asked.

“Genealogy,” I answered.

He laughed. “That’s a broad field! Plants, animals or people?”

“People,” I told him, not bothering to explain that genealogists are neither botanists nor zoologists.

Genealogy – its pronunciation is stumbled over and it’s misspelled. And, yes, its meaning is confused with other terms.

The LDS Church addressed this problem several years ago by simply renaming its Genealogical Library – the largest such research center in the world – to the Family History Library. Apparently, the writers of the 1960s gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, also thought it wise to avoid the “g” word. The character of Dr. Julia Hoffman was introduced as a “family historian.”

Sometimes genealogists themselves add to the confusion, albeit unintentionally.

A librarian handed me a flyer for the local genealogical society she helps sponsor, and my eye quickly caught a misprint. I smiled and showed the error to the librarian. Her jaw dropped, disbelieving that she had overlooked the gaffe. “Parker County Genealogical Society” is what it was supposed to read. The close-up above shows what it really said – with my apologies to the society for publicizing this error!

No comments: