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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Genealogical Nightmares

Naturally you would be thinking that I am going to talk about difficult patrons or impossible research issues, but really, I'm talking about complicated bad dreams while I am asleep about genealogy and family relationships. I have decided this is one way to know whether or not what you are doing really matters to you, deep down inside. Oh, nothing particularly scary or enough to wake me up, but doing research figures prominently along with trying to find the right meeting room at conferences. Trying to explain the transition from New.FamilySearch.org to FamilySearch Family Tree will likely start making an impact also.

Sorry, I am sharing such a "delicate" topic, but there are things about doing genealogical research that are as frustrating as a bad dream, now that I have broached this subject. For some examples, just to pick one or two, how about the disappearing relative; the person (or sometimes a whole family) that is obviously supposed to be living in a particular location with thousands of records, and for some unknown reason just refuses to surface? That can make you wake up in a cold sweat, especially if you fall asleep in the library while researching.

Or what about, the relative that threatens (or actually does) burn all of the family records because of some family squabble? That ranks pretty high on the nightmare ratings also.

Relatives that won't talk to you at all may be blessing in disguise. I can't really put them in the nightmare category because you may find out that talking to them is worse than the alternative. So that unresponsive aunt or the taciturn uncle may be better left alone.

I am forever finding things I put in a pile to remember and forgot. The nightmare here is doing the research over again and then realizing that it is too familiar and you already did it once. Computers are helpful here, but only if you remember and are diligent in entering in your research.

Oh, yes, the inevitable hard disk or computer crash. This long ago became such a common occurrence to me it is more like trying to find a parking space downtown during rush hour, just another fact of life you have to endure. My lack of sympathy in the area of losing data is well known. I have often told people to think of benefits of doing all that research over again with newer and more powerful tools. (I know not much comfort, but true). They might get it right the second time.

Well, I guess I could go on for a long time but it is time to travel to Atlanta to the Family History Expo. See you there.


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