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September 18, 2010

A Month Without a Genealogy Day is Like a Day Without Sunshine

Do you take time to work on your own personal genealogy? If you're like me, you're involved in so many projects and daily family life that you don't seem to get around to it.

It's been months since I did any research on my ancestors. I miss it! But like many other genealogists, I have my blogs, my websites, my mailing lists, my Olive Tree Genealogy newsletter, the family history books I write, articles I'm working on... and a whole slew of other genealogy projects - none of which are specifically about *my* ancestors!

And that doesn't include family life - cooking (which is my second favorite activity after genealogy!), antiquing (next favorite after genealogy), spending time with kids, grandkids, hubby and friends. Wow I'm exhausted just writing this all out!

Oh yeah and I'm not retired so I have to engage in that dreadful 4-letter activity - (W O R K).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. As I always say to hubs, it's not a complaint, it's a statement of fact. I love what I do. But it fills my days.

So today I decided I need to take time for my own ancestor research. With that in mind I've set aside one day a month - marked on my calendar so I can't pass it by in favor of "more important" or "more urgent" things.... That one day is designated GENEALOGY DAY. Now, every day is Genealogy Day for me, but this one is to be spent only on my ancestors.

On Genealogy Day hubs and I will make field trips to various archives, libraries, museums - the places we keep meaning to get to (but never do) to look up our ancestors. Some are near, most are a fair distance.

For example I have been needing to get to Erie Pennsylvania for years now! I need to have a look in the Archives there for my PEER family who lived in Northeast Pennsylvania and just across the border in Ripley New York from about 1817-1835.

I am convinced that in 1830-1831 my Levi Peer filed a will. I won't rest easy until I go there and have a hunt for any information on Levi, his brother Edward or their wives or children. (or hire someone on my behalf - anyone want the job?)

We might forgo a field trip in favor of staying home and organizing a family line, sorting documents for one individual or family group. Then we can construct a plan of attack - what do we have and what do we need? Taking the time to decide on what is needed and finding out if it has survived and is available, then doing some checking to find out where it is held will be invaluable as we plan our field trips.

I'm looking forward to our first Genealogy Day at the end of this month! We haven't decided where we'll go but I suspect to the new Ontario Archives. For that we'll need a really good plan of what we each want to find, as both of us are at the challenging part of our Ontario ancestors research.

I'm finding that it's too easy to let my own genealogy research slip in favor of other projects. And while I love working on all these other things (they're mostly genealogy, just not my own!), I miss the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of the find. Time to recapture that moment of absolute delight when you finally find that little tidbit of information that gives you the maiden name of your great-great-great grandmother... or the will of your 3rd great grandfather.

So watch out Levi Peer, I'm coming to find you!


Jen said...

I hear you on this topic. I have been busy with my blogs, writing my book, starting my business, etc., that my research has fallen to thers wayside for over a month. I did take time two days ago to get into the city and research my ancestors. It was great. I plan to try to get out every two weeks for part of or an entire day just for me.

Great post! It reminds us all to stop, re-evaulate and then move forward again.

Mary said...

GREAT 'Plan of Action' you've got me motivated to be more organized and set time aside. It's nice your hubby is into genealogy also...great to have someone go with you on 'field trips'!

Greta Koehl said...

Great idea - I think I'm going to have to do something like this. My recent genealogy research trip just brought home to me how much I am missing when other things push my own genealogy research out of the way all the time.

Geniaus said...

Just last week I decided to make Wednesday my Genaalogy Day each week. Already the wheels have fallen offas I need to W O R K this week on Wednesday. I think your day a month is more manageable. I might follow your lead and try for that.