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March 9, 2013

The Anticipation of Snail Mail!

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog: The Anticipation of Snail Mail!
There's something very satisfying about receiving genealogy info and documents via snail mail. You wait expectantly (and eagerly) for weeks. Then one day as you are shuffling through the half-dozen pieces of mail that arrived, the envelope you've been longing for appears.

That is SUCH an exciting moment! The records on great-grandmother Harriet that you've been waiting for is here at last! I'm such a nerdy geek that my heart starts racing a bit and my hands shake. The anticipation is overwhelming but I don't rip open the envelope. 

I make tea, sit down and open the envelope at my leisure. There's something so satisfying about the whole process! Prolonging it extends the enjoyment, just like Christmas. Some people rip the wrapping paper off a present in two seconds and dig right into the gift. Me, I like to unwrap it carefully, savouring every moment of anticipation, wondering what lies within. 

I admit that I miss the mounds of genealogy snail mail I used to get. Remember those days? Before there was so much data online? When we all wrote queries and answered queries in genealogy newsletters? When we ordered records from libraries and archives that were far afield? Don't get me wrong, I love that genealogy records are now at our fingertips! But I miss the buildup of excitement and anticipation one can only get with the sound of mail delivery, the clang of the mail slot on your front door or hearing the mail carrier's car at your mailbox.

And yes, I did receive  some exciting pieces of info over the last week. Documents and newspaper clippings I requested over a month ago finally arrived. The next stage is almost as much fun as the wait. First, a quick glance and read of all the documents. I can't force myself to read and analyze one at a time, that's too slow!

After I read them all quickly, I choose one and read it more carefully. At this stage I might open my genealogy program Family Tree Maker, and find the individual that goes with the document. But I don't enter the information yet. That comes later after I've slowly read and re-read all the documents in the pile. 

Then, and only then, do I enter the information in each document in my genealogy program. Next step is to scan every piece of paper and file it digitally as well as physically. That's where I fall down. I don't always get that paper filed right away. So what I've started doing is labeling it on the back with the name of the person and the source if it's not already noted. I've been burned too many times with finding a document in an old stack of papers on my desk, reading it, and not being quite sure why I have it! Lesson learned.

What about you? Do you have snail mail longings?


Celia Lewis said...

I absolutely am with you on this, Lorine. I waited and waited and waited some more for 7 GRO certificates... 3 marriages, 4 births, all in one family over the generations. Yes!! I laughed and did a little happy dance as I opened the envelope very carefully checking each one. Yes!! Lovely anticipation, careful checking, triumphant results as I entered them in detail. Cheers.

Mariann Regan said...

I must confess that I rip open the envelope right off the bat! But then I proceed as you do -- I gobble up all the information in a fast read, and then I go back and enter it slowly on my Family Tree Maker, checking everything out.

Even now, I find surprises in old stacks that I thought I had looked at -- the other day, the marriage certificate of my paternal grandparents, tucked in the back of their wedding register!! Straight to Family Tree Maker, and then to ancestry leaves, many of which took me to city directories . . . and I discovered my paternal grandmother was an orphan at 3.

But yes, a new document is like a holiday present!!

jleesimons said...

I long for the days when I could write a query to the Clerk of the Court and actually receive a response. The majority no longer respond even when a stamped, self-addressed envelope is provided. Or if they do respond, it is with a form letter (note) saying they are too busy to help with genealogy queries.