I have been struggling with my writing of the Kinship Determination Project or KDP. First, I procrastinated. Now, the struggle is with multiple issues but this post is about my conversations with certified genealogists at the Northwest Genealogical Conference (NwGC) and their KDP.
Who was the audience for your KDP? Said a different way, for whom did you write the KDP?
The KDP can be written for any number of audiences including BCG, other certified genealogists, for family or for the author. The recommendation of others is that you have a lot more “fun” and write much more genuinely, if you write the KDP for yourself or your family. There are several specific requirements by BCG (see the application guide) and these have to be dealt with directly. These inclusions may not be appreciated by your relatives.
If the KDP theme is discordant with the thoughts today, e.g. slavery, Naziism, how does one prevent a personal perspective or opinion from creeping unknowingly in the story?
Most respondents commented about how important it was to not mistake the moral standards of today with the standards or pressures on our ancestors, something ESM describes as “present-ism”. The writer needs to be objective, even dispassionate while telling the story. The commonly held belief was that the answer was “yes” — one could, even must, remain dispassionate about the topic. It was also mentioned that if your ancestor was slow to make the change or even strategized against the change at a time when knowledge was available contrary to their commonly held belief, then that is part of the story as well. Our ancestors were not perfect people. The story still needs to be told in a way that can enlighten the reader perhaps even pointing out this inability to accept the change.
Do I have to be a super expert about the theme–or context of the writing?
The only reasonable answer is “It depends.” If your context is “World Peace,” no one is the expert and you cannot convey all you know into 150 pages! 🙂 If your context is local, then, yes, you do have to be the expert illustrating exhaustive research. For those in the middle–you have to decide when enough is enough to tell your story truthfully. But remember, you are the expert of your family.
I want to thank all the generous genealogists that I quizzed throughout the day at the Northwest Genealogical Conference 2015 and who shared their thoughts and advice.
My next “KDP Writer’s Weekend” was scheduled for Labor Day weekend. It appears that it will shift to the following weekend. Doesn’t mean that I won’t be working on the document in-between. I will be speaking next at Skagit Valley GS with Mary Kathryn Kozy on 19 September on “Just Do It! Writing Your Family History” and “My Top Ten Tech Tools I Really Use–Really.”
What I have been doing since the last posting: Attended the NwGC. Congratulations to Stillaguamish Genealogical Society and Karen and Eric Stroshein for developing this significant NW conference. I continue to educate myself on my theme of my KDP. I am putting together a workshop on “An Overview of Scandinavian Records” so I am reading the materials that Kathy Meade handed out at her sessions she gave on ArkivDigital at NwGC.