Predictions are a sure thing for 2010 if we state we predict more of the same. More digital images, more Internet resources, more communications and social networking. It could go on and on.
Will there be improvements and advancements? I predict not all in 2010, but throughout the next decade we will most certainly see advancements in the scientific and technological areas that allow us to perform genealogical research. While the days of placing a stamp on an envelope and sending it off to obtain research are not over, they certainly are not part of our daily routine of genealogical research.
Visit with people who are not doing genealogical research and they will ask you how much time you spend on Internet or where on Internet you find genealogical information. Two decades ago they would ask if you spent time in libraries and courthouses. Digital images and Internet have changed or will change the actual source which is located in some repository just waiting to be located. Again, it's a balancing act of the source and how it is applied, along with locating it.
Recently I purchased an iPod Touch. The only reason I thought I needed it was because it would make travel, particularly flying, easier. While I can wheel my laptop around and still will, this small creature that responds to the touch of a finger, allows me to hold my genealogy files, thousands of ancestors and relatives, in the palm of my hand. Now where was the crystal ball two decades ago? Would I have believed a prediction that I would use something that small in my hand and yet be able to view not only genealogy files, but photographs and sources as well as communicate with it? Nope!
For the year 2010 I believe we will see more databases on Internet, hopefully accompanied by actual images. The quality of images has gotten better and will continue to improve. Social networking will continue, perhaps not at a leap and bound pace. DNA will become more and more acceptable and useable by the genealogist.
Cut to the chase, we want actual records. Isn't that what keeps many genealogists from joining genealogical societies? That along with employment and family commitments doesn't fit a society meeting into the agenda. So, in the pajamas after everybody is in bed, tiptoe to the computer and see what lurks therein regarding your fifth great grandfather.
Within the next year and also the next decade, we will all become more of a collaborative network. This is only possible if we share. The sharing isn't necessarily placing all your years of research on Internet, but the willingness to help others through indexing projects, locating records and collections, as well as informing people of resource existence.
We have seen vast improvements in the area of genealogical software and yet it could become even greater. What makes one product better than another? How do you keep up with changes and costs of making the leap from one upgrade to another? We all need to strike a happy medium and be content, hoping that the software developers will advance in the areas of allowing us to share between platforms.
The key to our success and the advancement in genealogy lies in education. Knowledge will allow us to improve our skills, our methods of research and in the long run break down brick walls. We cannot educate every genealogist in the world. Self-help is available through many resources such as conferences, lectures, workshops, and yes, at genealogical society meetings. There is also a lot of educational resources available on Internet in the form of videos and articles.
Looking into that imaginary crystal ball, I see you. Yes, I see you, the genealogist who will make it all possible. We don't exactly know what "it" is, but we do know that genealogy fields will continue to improve and advance. It is up to you to follow suit ... learn, study, and most of all DO. Apply what you have learned. Apply what you have found and then start over. That's a good resolution for 2010!