Doing the research vs. organizing the research

doing research vs organizing researchI suspect that most genealogy enthusiasts prefer doing research to organizing the results. A large part of the fun (for me, anyway) is playing detective and making discoveries. That’s thrilling. But if we don’t process our finds, what good do they do us?

I was thinking about that today as I thought about whether to do some genealogy research or spend the time working on organizing my research. I feel I’ve been so out of touch with my research (still blaming my puppy, Bix, and my long work hours) that I don’t even know where I stand with anything. That makes me feel a bit paralyzed.

I could jump right back into the research and maybe have some fun, but I think I’d be better off taking stock of where things stand organization-wise. And for me that means:

  • Looking over my genealogy to-do list
  • Looking at my progress tracker and updating it if necessary
  • Looking on my hard drive for electronic files related to the Adams family (this quarter’s family) and filing them
  • Pulling out my backlog box marked “genealogy stuff to read” that I didn’t even remember I had and going through the contents. I just peeked in it and it contains documents picked up at genealogy conferences in 2015. I suspect I’ll be able to pretty swiftly dispatch a lot of it. If not, I’ll add items to my genealogy task list (like I described in my blog post, Banishing the stubborn pile).
  • Updating my task list with the tasks that will inevitably result from this activity.

That’s a pretty long list, but it shouldn’t take too long. And, I remind myself, I don’t have to do all of it. Any effort here will be beneficial. Once I have a better handle on what I’m doing and what steps I need to do to improve my organization, I’ll have a clearer head. And I’ll have more direction when it comes to doing actual research. Something tells me it will be much easier to get started researching then!

Competing priorities

IMG_4877 (1)I’m happy to announce a new family member, but not one who will show up on my family tree. It’s our eight-week-old standard poodle puppy, Bix, who comes with his own impressive pedigree. (We got him from Dianne Janczewski of Clifton Standard Poodles.)

What does this have to do with organizing your genealogy? Well, Bix has proven to be an adorable distraction. Thanks to the constant vigilance I keep over him (house training is an all-encompassing activity), not to mention all the playing, training and socializing we’re doing, I’m not finding much time to blog, let alone conduct family history research. Or, really, do anything else. (Somehow I do find time to post pictures of Bix on Facebook and read all the comments about his cuteness.)

I should mention that my husband works from home, so I share the puppy duties. But Barry sleeps later than I, so my precious early morning hours–the time I ordinarily devote to things like blogging–is eaten up with puppy care. Bix is in his pen chewing on a chewy as I type this morning. He’s a good boy.

Bix’s time as a puppy is precious and socialization is critical. My genealogy’s not going anywhere. So I’m going to cut myself some slack and probably just satisfy myself with thinking about genealogy, rather than doing research, for a little while. I will keep blogging, of course, but I’ll ask your forgiveness if my blog posts are shorter or less meaty than you might hope.

A tangible gift idea for genealogists

A beautiful gift for a genealogy enthusiastLast week I wrote about giving clutter-free gifts for genealogists and had a list of suggestions, mostly of non-tangible items. But today, I can’t resist telling you about one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry, one that think would make a great gift for a genealogist.

It’s the Family Tree Necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. I blogged about mine in September 2014. The necklace, I think, is intended to be worn by moms whose children’s first names are stamped on it. The one I ordered one for myself had my grandparents’ surnames on it instead. I love the connection to my ancestors I feel when I wear it. And I think it’s a pretty piece of jewelry.

My Family Tree Necklace, purchased in 2014, was made of pewter. I see that the current offering is i sterling silver. If you have a pendant-wearing genealogy enthusiast on your list, you might consider this lovely gift. Since the item is hand-stamped, I’m not sure if it will be ready in time for Christmas. But I’m sure it would be appreciated, even if the gift arrived in January.

Hint: If you sign up for Lisa Leonard’s email newsletter, you’ll be send a 15% off coupon (or at least that was the case when I signed up!).

Genealogy gratitude

genealogy gratitudeI love Thanksgiving. I think it’s wonderful that we have a national holiday here in the U.S. dedicated to giving thanks for all those things we are fortunate to have in our lives.

On my organizing blog, I wrote a post about what I’m thankful for this year in my personal and organizing life. Here, I want to write about some of the things I’m grateful for in my genealogy life. The genealogy community is so rich and there is much to be thankful for.

Here’s my genealogy gratitude list.

  • Civil War pension files. I am so grateful that I was able to order the pension files for my three Union soldier ancestors as well as my one Confederate soldier ancestor. (The latter came via Fold3.) And that I figured out how to process them.
  • My blog readers. I love the comments you leave and I’m so happy and grateful to have met some of you in person at the various conferences I’ve attended!
  • A famous cousin. I was tickled to death to go to a talk by big-name genealogist Josh Taylor and discover that we are cousins!
  • My 30 x 30 challenge. Making the commitment to spend 30 minutes a day on genealogy research for 30 days was a huge boost for me. I need to start another one. January 1 might be a good time!
  • Transpose.com. This web app has allowed me to create genealogy forms online that have made my genealogy life easier. I’ve also used it to create other forms for other aspects of my life.
  • Genealogy conferences. In 2015, I attended RootsTech, the National Genealogical Society conference, the SCGS Jamboree, and the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois conference. I learned a lot from each and absolutely loved the connections I made. With a new puppy coming into my life in a couple of weeks (squee!) I think I may not be able to attend as many this year. But I look forward to going to at least one or two.
  • The growth of this blog. I’m on track to hit 100,000 pageviews in 2015, which will be twice what I had in 2014. (And five times as many pageviews as in 2013.) I am so grateful that so many people are interested in what I have to say!

I look forward to another year of genealogy research and exploration. I know that I will continue to have much to be grateful for.

What’s on your genealogy gratitude list?

Illustration by Julie Jordan Scott via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.