Interest in genealogy is at an all-time high across the United States and around the world. Multiple companies and organizations - Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and many more - advertise both free and paid services to the general public on TV and the Internet, and there are multiple reality TV shows portraying both celebrities and ordinary folks learning more about their progenitors. The field has expanded broadly from being seen as a niche hobby just a couple decades ago.
The way most approach genealogy has changed along with this evolution. The Internet has become the dominant tool for genealogical research. Almost every genealogical search now begins on the Internet, although it may well lead to a dusty book in a distant parish.
The Purcell Family of America is in a time of similar transition. Our over four decades of journals and newsletters hold invaluable genealogical research - but very few ever see it. Similarly, our members have vast stores of knowledge and experience, but our old methods of sharing that expertise no longer reach a large audience.
In this environment, the PFA website needs to evolve to play a larger role in fulfilling its mission, which has always been to facilitate communication around the genealogy and history of the Purcell families. Our primary organ for that communication in the past has been our journals and newsletters. It now needs to move online. We are making that change and you’ll see the beginnings of it if you visit www.pfaroots.org today (and please do!) here’s what you’ll see already:
A new Forum for questions, stories, and requests for advice right on the website itself - no need to exit to Google Groups or Facebook as we’ve done in the past
A new blog with periodic articles from the past and present; it can be subscribed to via email or visited whenever the fancy strikes
Journals and indexes more easily accessible, now viewable directly on the site as well as easily downloadable
A new area offering access to member submissions of Purcell genealogical interest beyond journals and indexes
A new format for the entire website which now works not only on desktop computers, but also on phones and tablets
We have further plans. Among our most important, we are working to make journals and indexes easily searchable across the entire 40+ year history of the PFA, with the goal to allow easy access to this priceless resource gathered across decades by loyal members.
We are confident that the PFA remains as critical and ever; we aim to become the starting place for anyone researching their Purcell genealogy as well as the haven of last resort for those who are up against the proverbial brick wall investigating a thorny ancestral mystery. What you see now is a start. Please visit www.pfaroots.org, start posting comments and questions on the Forum, and check out the blog - this is the first article!
We look forward to exciting years ahead as we transition our deep knowledge of the past into the tools and networks of the future. Thank you for your continued and longstanding support of the mission of the Purcell Family of America!