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jee-nee-ol-uh-jee NOT jee-ol-uh-jee OR gahy-ni-kol-uh-jee

As a Genealogist (jee-nee-ol-uh-jist), I research family ancestries and histories, recording the ancestry and descent of my clients as well as my own family. Pronunciation in my chosen field is very important for many reasons:

1) I specialize in Polish and Italian immigrant ancestry. Names were often pronounced in the mother tongue and transliterated into English by someone unfamiliar with the original language and its alphabet.

For example, my maiden name in Polish is spelled Olecke. According to Going Home: A Guide To Polish-American Family History Research, the c sounds similar to the ts in the English word "cats", so it seems reasonable to imagine the enumerator or city directory salesman wrote the 'c' as a 'ts' and my last name became Oletski. Completely Coloradoized. (Olecke's in Pennsylvania as well as Poland, still spell their name the original way.)

2) Regularly, I hear friends, acquaintances, relatives (you know who you are 🙄) introducing me as a Geologist (jee-ol-uh-jist), a person who specializes in geologic research and study. Geology is "the science that deals with the dynamics and physical history of the earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the physical, chemical, and biological changes that the earth has undergone or is undergoing." (Thanks!)

While I vaguely remember taking geology in college, I cringe when I see someone get excited that I study rocks. Not that rocks are cool, they are very cool. And there is a lot of history there.

3) Lastly, I understand that I may speak fast at times, but under no circumstance, have I ever introduced myself as a Gynecologist (gahy-ni-kol-uh-jist). And yet, I have been misunderstood on several occasions (yes, more than once).

Again, shout out to all those who spent countless hours in medical school so they could put those extra special letters after their name, OBGYN or GYN. Medicine wasn't my thing, nor was staying longer in school.

Networking is a large part of a small business owner's job. I will continue to high air five, fist bump, and elbow bump when I meet new people, handing them a business card (that states Genealogical Research), take a deep breath, and annunciate. Nice to meet you, my name is Sara Dawson and I am a professional jee-nee-ol-uh-jist.

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