31 May 2019 marked the end of a huge chunk of my life over the past few years. I was at the Society of Genealogists in London for the award of my joint Pharos Tutors and Society of Genealogists Family History Skills and Strategies (Advanced) course certificate.
A bittersweet moment, it was the culmination of a couple of year’s hard work undertaking the various modules, the end of year one exam and a year two project. And even before that I had spent three years completing the Intermediate course.
Yes, submitting my final assignment last autumn and receiving my marks (a Distinction) just before Christmas were phases of the end. But the award ceremony was the moment which finally put a full stop on this period of formal learning
It was also wonderful meeting those who also undertook this learning journey, be it my fellow students or the ever-patient tutors who taught us along the way. I’ve learned so much through these courses and become a better genealogist as a result. They’ve also laid the foundations for my future continuing professional development.
But at the same time it was also a sad moment. Saying goodbye to everyone. Finally recognising that this phase of life was over and that the regular routine of formal learning had ended.
But has it?
Whilst the formal assessed courses are at an end, as part of keeping up-to-date with genealogical developments I will forge on with my personal programme of learning in order to continue to offer the best possible service to those who put their trust in me to research their precious family history.
This is a personal update.
On 1 November I began my three month notice period at work. My 30 year civil service career officially ends on 31 January 2017. I am ready for a change. When the opportunity arose and the Department of Health announced it was shedding a third of staff launching its voluntary exit scheme in the early autumn, my list of reasons for leaving far outweighed the ones for staying. True civil service policy analysis principles there. Weighing up the pluses and minuses to come to a balanced and considered opinion.
A New Family History Chapter – photo by Jane Roberts
But I do have mixed feelings. It’s a huge step after so many years. On the whole I have enjoyed my time with the civil service, to be fair some jobs far more than others. I’ve made some fantastic, lifelong friends. I’ve gained a raft of skills which will be of incredible value going forward. Above all moving from a job with a regular monthly salary into the unknown feels very scary.
But it’s an opportunity I relish. It’s a chance to have more time to concentrate on family history. A chance do the things I enjoy. A chance to do something for me. A chance to share over a decade of family research knowledge and experience. And a chance to put those skills I’ve learned to practice in a new direction. Skills, values and principles which include:
- seeing the bigger picture;
- bringing together multiple data sources to provide a coherent picture;
- time management;
- independent thinking and working, yet also being able to work as part of team;
- project management;
- meeting deadlines;
- following a set remit;
- honesty & integrity;
- computer programme knowledge; and
- providing value for money.
So going forward I will have more time to work on my own family tree and my one-name-study. I will also be able to attend more family history events. I aim to do more continuing professional development. And I will be able to take on more client work. In the coming months I will provide more details.