Who needs a staycation?

nostaycationWeek before last, I blogged at my excitement over the prospect taking this week off to devote to genealogy research. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

I ended up having to schedule clients Thursday and Friday and yesterday was occupied with details surrounding moving back into our newly renovated kitchen (hooray!). So my staycation shrunk to two days.

My first thought was to abandon the idea and try to find another week to take off. But then I realized that (a) that week would probably never come and (b) I don’t need huge blocks of time to accomplish research. As I documented during my first 30 x 30 challenge, I can get a whole lot done by doing just a little every day.

I have other business- and kitchen-related things I need to do today and tomorrow, so I’m going to commit to grabbing at least two hours each day to do research. That’s four hours more than I did last week.

I have the week-long NGS research trip to the Allen County Public Library to look forward to in August. So I know I’ll get that intensive research time I crave. But in the meantime, I’m going to try to devote at least four hours a week during the eight weeks leading up the trip–taking time where I can find it–to get some research done.

This is an important reminder that, as appealing as a staycation is,  I don’t need a big chunk of time to get work done!

My genealogy staycation!

staycationThis morning I looked at my calendar and realized that, at this moment in time, I have a free week in a couple of weeks. That is, I have no organizing appointments scheduled for the week of June 20 (well, a tentative one on Friday the 24th). Thankfully, I’ve been in business long enough to see that as the blessing it is, rather than freaking out that my business is failing (which it certainly isn’t).

A few years, I wrote a post here about my dream genealogy staycation. I fantasized about what I’d do if I had a week to devote to genealogy research. When I looked at that gloriously empty week on my calendar this morning, I realized that I could make that dream a reality! So I’m going to block out the week and start making plans about how I’ll spend it. Lucky for me, that blog post is a great starting point.

I’m getting another amazing opportunity when I go on the NGS research trip to the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in August. I think my staycation will be a great precursor to that. The work I do this month should help make that trip even more productive.

How about you? Have you ever taken a chunk of time off to work on your genealogy? Did it meet your expectations? And do you have any suggestions for me?

Reigniting the spark

Reigniting the sparkI hit the genealogical doldrums in the first quarter of 2016. There were a variety of reasons, the top of the list being our standard poodle puppy, Bix, whom we brought home mid-December 2015. But there were other competing obligations, including my business and my home and family.

Bix is now five months old and doesn’t require constant supervision. Things have settled back into routines and I have time again to do some research. But I find myself unexcited and it’s feeling hard to get started again.

This morning I sat down and thought about what it would take to reignite that spark. I started by making a little list of what I love about genealogy research:

  • Playing detective
  • The thrill the hunt
  • The reward of making discoveries
  • The stimulation of my curiosity constantly being tweaked

But so much time has gone by that I’ve lost the itch and I’m having trouble remembering what I’m curious about. I have a genealogy to-do list, but nothing’s exciting me.

Then I realized what always sparks action for me: A deadline. I’m going to visit my father in Washington state in two weeks. He’s always interested in what I can tell him about his family history. So I’m going to try to come up with some sort of discovery to share with him or create some sort of narrative or timeline that he might find interesting.

With that in mind, I’m going to set aside time on my calendar to do some genealogy research in an effort to come up with some sort of gift to share with my dad when I see him in two short weeks.

Suddenly there’s some urgency and my imagination is starting to spark a little. Hooray!

Some other strategies I came up with to reignite the spark include:

  • Read genealogy blogs to get my creative juices flowing.
  • Focus on some genealogy Facebook groups to see what others are reading about.
  • Do another 30 x 30 challenge so I do something at least daily. Or maybe I need to set myself up for success and make it 15 x 15. (Fifteen minutes of research for 15 days straight.)
  • Let doing genealogy research be a reward for working on my still-unfinished income taxes.

Now I’m feeling like I’m going to get some research done in the next few days. That feels so much better! I’ll report back next week and let you know how it goes.

Have you ever had the doldrums with your research? How did you reignite your spark?

Photo by Shivenis via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Allen County Public Library, here I come!

I just registered for the August research trip to the Allen County Public Library, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana sponsored by the National Genealogical Society. After a couple weeks of contemplation, this morning I pulled the trigger on investing $750 on this opportunity to further my research. (I blogged a couple of weeks ago about how tempted I was.)

I’m really excited and I know I’m going to enjoy planning this. I definitely want to make the most out of the opportunity to research at this renowned library. I’m particularly thrilled about getting the help of professional genealogists who are part of the trip.

I would love any advice any of you have for me. What should I do in advance? What should I bring along? It seems to me that having a clear idea of my research goals is paramount; I’m already thinking about that.

Please share any advice you might have in the comments.

Thanks in advance!