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Genealogy – Goin’ Green

going green

[This post was written as part of Blog Action Day 2009 with the theme being Climate Change.]

While most genealogy bloggers are putting up posts about how climate change has affected their ancestors, as part of Blog Action Day 2009, here are some ways in which you pursue your genealogy research and activities can affect climate change.

Ways Genealogists Can Go Green

  • Print Less Paper.  Go paperless if you can but for many genealogists this is a challenge.  One option is to try and print two-sided documents (check your printer settings).  Another option is to reuse draft copies you would normally discard – print more drafts on the other side.
  • Do More Online Research.  Before automatically heading down to your local genealogy archive, library or society, consider if that same research can be done online either with free resources or your paid genealogy database subscriptions.  We’re not discouraging folks from visiting their favorite genealogy hang outs, but save the visits for research which can’t be performed online.  Consolidating the research into one trip rather than many small trips will save gas as well as wear and tear on the car.
  • Seek Out Online Educational Opportunities.  If you are looking for classes or ways to expand your genealogy knowledge, don’t forget online options.  Check out the ProGen Study Group, GenClass and others who provide similar services to the genealogy community.
  • Use Social Networking Tools To Connect.  Take advantage of blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with other genealogists.  Easily locate others who research similar geographic or ethnic lines.
  • Volunteer for Indexing Projects.  Genealogical societies and even genealogy vendors have plenty of opportunities available for those who want to lend a hand in indexing data.  Such efforts mean that online databases are made available to other genealogists and can help reduce research trips.
  • Ask Genealogical Societies and Genealogy Vendors To Go Green.  These organizations won’t have an incentive to change the way in which they offer their services if they don’t hear from their members and consumers.  Send an e-mail and offer suggestions on ways in which they can go green and still provide great services to the genealogy community.

Ways Genealogical Societies Can Go Green

  • Provide E-Newsletter and E-Periodicals.  Produce your monthly or quarterly newsletter electronically and eliminating a paper version.  If this isn’t feasible, provide an “electronic only” option when members sign up for communications from the society.  This will help reduce paper and postage costs.  See CGS Is Going Green (via California Genealogical Society and Library blog) for their recent experiences.
  • Produce the Conference Syllabus on CD. While more and more genealogy conferences are providing their syllabi on CD to participants, more can be done in this area.  Point out to attendees that they can easily search for information in the CD.  Another great incentive is to offer the CD version for free and charge for a print version.
  • Hold More Virtual Meetings.  Instead of or in addition to monthly meetings, consider holding on-line chats or webinars to keep members connected and still provide essential services.
  • Take Advantage of Social Networking.  Expand your society’s marketing capability by understanding and leveraging tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with members.
  • Offer a Green Membership.  A membership which does not involve paper communication and perhaps does not even allow someone to attend meetings could be offered at a lower cost and appear more attractive to potential new members.  Many genealogists belong to on-line only genealogical societies in order to access research databases and periodicals.

How Genealogy Vendors Can Go Green

  • Produce Genealogy Magazines and Periodicals in E-book Formats. Many genealogists would be willing to receive these items via email or a link via email even at the same cost as the print version (although a discount for goin’ green is a great incentive).
  • Reduce Product Packaging.  Offer a download-only version of software or other items instead of incurring packaging and shipping costs.
  • Take Advantage of Social Networking.  Expand your company’s marketing capability by understanding and leveraging tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with your customer base and potential customers.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

6 thoughts on “Genealogy – Goin’ Green

  1. Great ideas! I’m trying to go as paperless as possible. When I have to make copies (at the library and such), I scan the documents when I get home and recycle the paper copies.

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