Friday, October 19, 2012


Last night, as we were sharing our "so what did you do today" round robin over dinner, Walt mentioned that they'd been discussing personality profiles at the office and how understanding someone's profile helped to understand the person.

I like data, so I dug through my old work files and found my results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Dimensions of Behavior Personal Profile System (DiSC) assessments as a comparison.

Before I continue, let me say that between 1994 and 2004 I was profiled not once, but at least five times: the MBTI three times, the DiSC twice, the Keirsey Temperment Sorter II once and two other tools that profiled me in a rainbow of colors and flavors. Seriously. As a matter of fact, the rainbow assessment was required by my manager at JPMorgan Chase for everyone in the team. Upon completion of the assessment, we were to post the results outside of our cube so that upon entering, visitors would be reminded of our communication and processing preferences and adjust their communication style accordingly. I remember a lot of red in the manager next to me. The guy who walked the isles with his coffee cup was yellow. I hid mine in my bottom drawer.

When I worked for LexisNexis, our team was profiled using the MBTI. The facilitator lined each of us up according to how we ranked in each of the dimensions.

The goal of the MBTI is to understand how an individual perceives the world and how they come to a conclusion about what they've perceived. Most people rank somewhere along a sliding scale for each of the dimensions. I do not. This means that I was always at the end of the line and always I'd left the house without my underwear.

Donna Hanson
DiSC: Creative
Keirsey: Counselor
Favorite color: Green
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with genealogy. Actually, quite a lot. I don't just gather birth and death certificates or scan the census records, I look through newspapers and Google town profiles and search through libraries trying to understand why people made the decisions they did. Why they chose their professions. Why they didn't choose other options. Why they didn't have other options from which to choose.

From my mother's stories and everything I've read so far, I feel like I understand my great-grandmother Julia (Pigg) Dudgeon the best. Julia was a collector of facts from how to make library paste to documenting every purchase; every life event. She wrote poetry. She kept scrapbooks. And she wrote the price she paid and location of the purchase on the back of every piece of furniture. She was fastidious in her dress and disciplined in life.

I'll bet that Julia scored a high "I-N-J," but with a very solid "T."

"Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others"


  1. Donna, I agree with you. The more I learn about the history of the place where my relatives lived, the more I understand about their lives. For example, read about Cocke County Tennessee where Laura Jane grew up with her sisters Sarah and Emaline....end of the Civil War through the turn of the century. One wild and scary place to be.
    PS ... You saw that I found evidence besides the family journal that Emaline Woods really was the mother of Lamanda Shults (mother of our great grandmothers Laura and Sarah)?
    I would love to know more about your research methods....maybe I should go back and read your blog from the beginning.

    1. Hi Vickie! Thanks for the post...wonderful idea and great subject for a future post.I sent a separate email as yes, I would love to stop by and meet the two of you next time I go see Courtney. Take care and thanks for reading!

  2. INFP is this girl right here. super high on all of them except the I. at least that's how it was in eighth grade. so. you know.

    wanna do my research for me and tell me about it? ; )

    1. You bet! {{{hugs}}} to you and your beautiful family.

  3. Love it!! Very very well said.