Why are research and conservation efforts focused on such a small percentage of the population? Why are research tools not readily available to the general public? Why are rare papers at the National Archives only available to those with a “special authority” from the director? Why do people sell their lolo’s old office papers por kilo at the bote-garapa?
Behind my questions is the poor state of interest in history and preservation in the Philippines. Ambeth Ocampo, with his writings, has done a lot to bring the lives of Filipino heroes closer to the the average Pinoy; but so much more needs to get done. I feel that the best way to get kids and young adults today interested in the time before Facebook games and Android phones is to get them researching about something personal — their own families.
Sadly, little has been done to effectively present history research as an interesting personal journey. Aside from the CLDS Family History Centers, their is no repository of data that is conducive to research (my trips to the National Library and National Archives will be the topic of a separate entry — a looong one). So much of the fascinating tales of our lolo‘s and lola‘s, often shared in family reunions, are based on oral histories — which, as some of us have observed, grow grander over time. There is no organized group of genealogy enthusiasts who are championing the preservation of the personal histories of the common tao.
We need a Philippine Genealogical Society.
I am in search of equally passionate Filipino family history researchers to form the nucleus of the organization. I am looking for individuals who have, through first-hand documented research, built their family trees and communicated their findings to their relatives or other interested parties, either through printed materials or digital media. They should be willing to volunteer their time to toward improving genealogy practices and increasing interest in family history in the Philippines.
Please fill out this on-line sign-up sheet (http://bit.ly/pgs-intro-form). It will ask you some contact details as well as three questions on your genealogy experience — you will need about ten minutes to fill it out. You can also join the discussion in this forum.
I know there are not a lot of Pinoy genealogists out there, so I will wait for as long as it takes. Individual invitations will also be extended to historians of note. When a critical mass is achieved, I will call for a start-up meeting, in Metro Manila. I am eager for the sharing of ideas on how to move ancestry and family history research into the mainstream.