Friday, November 21, 2008

Balance between genealogy and personal life

I have been answering a lot of e-mail lately, some of which is quite old. I used to be really good about responding to everyone, almost immediately, but I have gotten slower in my "old" age. It might take me a month or two before I get up the initiative to respond to certain e-mail. I get so many requests for help that I have to put some off or else I would never get anything done in my personal life. I love reading what you all send, and I will do my best to help out, but forgive me if I am slow.

I also tend to lose interest in genealogy once in awhile. It is almost like a sanity to drop everything and do other stuff. I love this hobby but I cannot let it rule my life. If you notice in my posting archive, you will see some months that I post every day and others where I drag along. It is not that I run out of things to say, I just have nothing interesting enough on my mind at that moment to bother writing about. Unlike some genealogy blogs, I do not try to keep you informed off all the industry news. I do pass along items from time to time but this blog is pretty much about me and what I find interesting. I try to keep it fun to publish and/or do things that I like and that I use in my own research.

I do not tend to devote a lot of time talking about non-Ancestry/Family Tree Maker products. Those are the ones that I have used for years and that I find most helpful. I have tried other programs, such as The Master Genealogist, but they are either too involved or too simple. My focus is keeping genealogy fun. The day it stops being fun for me is the day that I quit all together. This is not my job. It is something I like to do and I am glad that you guys care enough to read what I write and respond with your comments and questions. That is what it is all about...sharing and communicating for fun.

I have seen people get into literal fist-fights over who was right about a name or date. I used to be like that but now I do not care so much. I respect the passion that people feel for their research, right or wrong, but I am not going to argue with anyone. You might say that I have found genealogical peace. I go with the flow, say please and thank you, and simply enjoy what I am doing. In the words for Forrest Gump, "When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went." I get hot and heavy when I am on the trail of a long-lost ancestor but I can also set it all aside, take my kids to Disney World, and never check my e-mail for two weeks. I have found balance.

I will eventually respond to every e-mail that I receive but the time has to be right for me. Do not take it personal but the more interesting I find your inquiry, the more quickly I will respond. Sometimes it takes awhile to respond because I am think up the right answer or checking into a source for you...and you do not even know it. You think I am blowing you off when I am really doing some leg work. I tend to not respond until I have an answer, decreasing the number of back-and-forth e-mail between us. I try to answer the question directly but I honestly do not want to do the whole project for you.

I used to do research for money but that is miserable. I spend the whole time that I am at the archives wishing that I was working on my own family. I will do some paid stuff, mostly just making copies of known documents, but those days are pretty much gone. You can always ask because, if money is tight, I might take on a project or never know.

Anyway, I just felt like rambling a bit today. There is nothing in here that is going to help you find your great-great-grandmother's maiden name but maybe you still learned something of value.


Kent Northcross said...

Please know you are much appreciated. For me I wish my children and grandchildren to know and realize the great contributions our ancestor's have made and their sacrifices to this great country of ours and to give them a sense of pride to carry on our rich heritage.
Kent Northcross

Steve Campbell said...

Your posts have been an inspiration to me and have helped me get back to doing genealogical research. I also have a full-time job and genealogy is a few hours a week hobby. I find that I like doing the research the best, but don't enjoy the data entry and sourcing as much. And, I feel like there's always a lot more I want to research and document, but I won't have time until retirement.
Keep up the great work! Since most of my ancestors are from Virginia, I really find your blog and others, like Arlene Eakle's very helpful.