Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Handy Occupations

If any of my previous jobs prepared me for family research, there were three.

1. Medical records clerk. Taught me to read diagnoses. I actually attended a community college to become a Medical Librarian. It got kind of boring, I ran out of money and found my next job, which was number 2.

2. Medical transcriptionist/pathology secretary. This has probably been one of the most useful occupations in preparing me to read old records. I read doctors' handwriting for a living. I read and transcribed pathology reports and autopsies and had to call doctors' offices with results of laboratory tests. It gave me a boost when looking at old records.

3. Library clerk. This was useful in a different way. I was fortunate to live in a city with a population of 100,000 that operates four libraries and that was a participant in the interlibrary loan system. If I found a branch of the family was mentioned in a book that was available somewhere, I requested an interloan. You didn't have to be a library employee to interloan, but it sure helped when you had a weird request and the branch librarian would manage to get it through the system. (Gee, I miss you TLP.) I know one of my cousins/friends is really grateful for this too!


  1. It is amazing how certain jobs prep us for genealogy no? Mine were computer trainer, typist (120 wpm+) and decipherer of lawyer handwriting.

  2. Are lawyers as bad as doctors? I felt good about the 100 wpm doing transcription. Unfortunately two of the doctors talked faster than that! But it was better than reading their writing most of the times!

  3. Yes, that cousin did appreciate it, and she misses that sweet side benefit to "cousin-hood".

  4. There's a prescription here that O.V. Keuhn(sp?) wrote for dad, for one stroke off per hole. And yes, I remember the story about "obviously, variously."

  5. Really, he was Ned Neal Kuehn (N.N.) but he used obviously and variously a lot. We joked about that a lot. Somewhere I had a copy of an evaluation he did on me - the joke one - where he said I typed really well for someone with 10 thumbs! He was one of the two best bosses I ever had. He also had the worst handwriting!Can you scan the script? I'd love a copy.