Family History: An Industry Full of “Lovecats”

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Milton Mayeroff said, “Love is the selfless promotion of the growth of the other.” This thought ties directly to one of the books that Paul Allen, CEO, World Vital Records, recommends that all of his employees read: Love is the Killer App. This book is about becoming a “lovecat” in which you freely share your knowledge, networks, and compassion with others, without expecting anything in return. I think this is an excellent concept that really changes people for the better.

Paul expressed his passion for the ideas in this book by saying,

This book has changed my life more than any other business book that I have ever read. Tim Sanders is my hero: he has finally helped me to feel completely whole as a business person. He has taught me how to find joy and happiness at work as well as in my personal life. There are three keys. First, gain abundant knowledge (mostly through reading and marking up great books) and share it freely with everyone who needs it. Second, build your network and share it freely with everyone who needs to know someone you know. And third, show love and compassion in the workplace. Treat people with respect. Look them in the eyes. Shake hands warmly. Genuinely care about others. I have tried to follow Sander’s advice since my friend Jim Ericson recommended this book to me and I read it intensely. I gave away 10 copies of this book in April and will continue to recommend this book and give copies away to people I meet whose lives I hope to touch in a positive way. Highly Recommended!”

One thing I love about the family history industry is that people who perform this work have already latched onto these ideas about love, sharing, and caring. They are willing to share their genealogy and family history knowledge with others and do it without expecting anything in return. When I attended the Genealogy and Family History Conference at BYU, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church Historian and Recorder and Executive Director of the Family and Church History Department, gave the keynote address and discussed this very topic. He said the following:

Equally important is for you actively to seek out opportunities to share with others what you have learned and to assist them to master the basic technological and genealogical skills. I know in today’s world those who possess something of worth, tend to guard it carefully. They seek copyright, patent, and other legal protections and often attempt to profit financially from their knowledge or skills. Remember, however, that in the gospel of Jesus Christ to truly possess something, we have to share it with others. Becoming a friend, a mentor, a guide or in family history parlance, a consultant, for someone navigating the shoals of family history research for the first time is a Christian act indeed.”

I’m grateful to be working for and within an industry that is full of “lovecats”. I know that if we all adopt a similar attitude of sharing knowledge, networks, and compassion we will be able to connect more individuals to their families and move this great work forward.

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