I've recently received a comment to this post on my brick wall Deborah (---) Wallis. Some of this information was augmented in this post on the genealogical proof of Deborah's proposed granddaughter, Mary Chamberlain Wallis.
I've written two serialized and large articles on New Hampshire families. I would like to say that the effort was worth it, but I would be lying. I spent over 10 years on or off researching the Yeaton family and producing these two articles:
- Who Were the Parents of Hopley Yeaton, New Hampshire Genealogical Record, Vol. 20 (2003):49-56.
- A Chronological Framework for the Yeaton Family of Newcastle, NH, New Hampshire Genealogical Record, Vol. 21 (2004):27-40, 65-76, 113-21, 170-81. Corrections/Additions at NHGR 22 (2005): 67.
I was not paid, but did it because no one had done a decent Yeaton genealogy and one person had published a dreadful, incorrect, and incompetent Yeaton genealogy. I don't even want to think about how much I spent to do the two articles (not counting my time). Likewise, I spent closer to twenty years on or off to produce this article on the Pinkhams:
- The Pinkhams of Strafford County, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Genealogical Record, Vol. 22 (2005):1-7, 63-67, 115-25, 164-71, 23 (2006):27-76.
Within the last week someone posted on Genforum (Pinkham Family forum) about Abijah's parents which prompted me to do my posting. These two events have left me wondering why bother publishing? What is the point? No one reads your work. The commenter is a genealogist in New Hampshire who runs this rather impressive town-level genealogical site on Epsom. Are you telling me he doesn't subscribe to the New Hampshire Genealogical Record? Well, I guess not since his Yeatons in Epsom have not been affected by my article.
Last year I ran several google search results on journal penetration on the web and it was clear that only a very small minority of genealogists read scholarly journals. All of which brings me back to the Wallis family of New Hampshire. It was to be my third such project. Very much like the first two families with the exception that there was absolutely no genealogy done for them at all. None. Zero. Nada. I have a mountain of information I've been collecting for the last ten years on them. I've even started to write them up, but I've stopped, because: why bother?
This family is going to be as difficult as the Yeatons, if not more so. I've already had to re-assemble one other family that descends from them: the Scaggels/Scadgels in order to place certain people in the proper place in the Wallis family. In any case, the kind commenter has sent me things I've had in my files for 10-15 years at least. You see when I say Brick Wall, I mean it. Other people, sorry to say, not so much.
So, there used to be a point to publishing your work. However, having done it so many times, I can't find the energy anymore for such a sisyphean task. I'm at the end of writing up the first two (three at some points) generations of the Barrows family. And I'm ready to punt on this one too--after ten pages so far and 82 footnotes. Again, way too hard. No pay, long hours, no one reads or cares, and it's hardly feeding the world now is it?