Thursday, December 1, 2022

Croissant Cousins


It's been a long time since I last attended an in-person genealogy conference, but when I recently discovered the title of one book published before the pandemic, my mind flew to those awkward feelings about networking. True, those moments between conference sessions or at event meals place conference attendees among strangers who love the very same things we do. Why do we dread them so?

Granted, this is a book I have not yet read, so be forewarned: it is only one glimpse of the book's content which caught my eye. No guarantees about the rest of those two hundred pages. However, here is the thought nugget of Robbie Samuels' Croissants vs. Bagels concerning networking and croissants, as introduced to me through an article published last month at NPR. Author Andee Tagle mentioned eagerly anticipating a post-pandemic networking event—until stepping inside the venue and realizing it was filled with "bagels." 

Bagels? Yes: "the tight clusters of people who gather in seemingly impenetrable circles at networking events." 

So what about croissants? What are they? "If someone opens up their body language and makes space for others to join the circle—voila! Croissant."

"But I'm not in the business of sales," you might be saying. You may not be involved in any networking efforts—at least, that is what you may be thinking. After all, we have all been slow to open up to in-person gatherings post-Covid. But that doesn't mean we don't have opportunities to connect—especially if we are taking cousin connections seriously in our pursuit of family history. Yes, connecting with cousins is important for research—think DNA testing, if nothing else. But when we reach out to connect, we need to model our efforts more like Samuels' croissants than like bagels.

Aim to connect, then include within our already-established circle of cousins. Open up to expand your own research circle on a specific surname or location topic in your family tree. Collaboration certainly helps move our research further along, but it will be the "croissant cousins" among us who will be the instigators and facilitators leading our cousin circles forward.

Don't be a bagel cousin. Take a tip from this networking book's title and aim to become your family's croissant cousin.


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