Sunday, June 23, 2013

Taking Aim
From the Library of Congress
I have been on Geneablogger auto-pilot for many, many months. Years, even.

But the lovely sharing of her grandmother's photo album by my husband's aunt last month, inspired me to at least pay it forward and share the family photos she let me copy. Grandma Bonnel's photo album is slowly going public. Simple posts. Not much research involved, but it has gotten me back into devoting some time to family history. And doing some very light blog reading. I miss having the time to devote an hour, often more, to reading and examining what other Geneabloggers are producing.

Those posts I have read provoked deep, deep thoughts while editing and shooting Grandma Bonnel's photos into the world. Contemplating my navel, as my father calls it. James Tanner had me in a bit of a snit with his post Time Constraints. Frankly, I agree with most of his points. But Tanner, who seems to operate as a blogger provocateur, did prompt a defensive reaction with his call to action,
"Let's jointly craft museum quality research rather than throw-away, disposable research that will have to be redone in the future by someone else (like me)."
Whatever I am doing here, it ain't museum quality research. I don't have as much constrained time, nor am I as disciplined, as he. And I regret that. That knowledge prompts my educational wish-list (another contemplating my navel blog post). Much of which falls by the wayside when those darling living folks I am related to worm their way back into my consciousness.

An aside to ward off howls from my kin. I adore my family and am blessed to be closely connected to many of them. They are not in any way burdensome. But my brain has a limited capacity. When I am enjoying them, I am not researching, scanning or producing anything worth preserving. Beyond memories.

Saturday I read a post by one of my Hungarian researcher blogger buddies, Zen & the Art of Genealogical Maintenance. Magda took a hard look at her own work and came to three conclusions.
"1 ) Less is more
 2 ) Don't be a genealogical hoarder
 3) Keep it simple."
I'll never be a minimalist anything. But her second and third conclusions resonated with me. And reminded me of why I began blogging and why I returned. I love research. I've done some pretty good bits over the years and am proud of them. But my genealogical mission is not research.

My mission is examining, culling and then sharing the thousands of photographs, letters, documents and earlier research that I have inherited. I have made no attempt to truly research each family. I have had hundreds of families handed down to me. Others will have to do that. I am sharing the research I have been given, after validating it as best I can using online resources. I am scanning and sharing photographs and documents that do not appear to be available elsewhere. That's it. Someone else will have to take the material and turn it into genealogical art. I hope they do. I just want to get it out "there".

Ready. Aim. Fire.


  1. Susan, I am totally with you here. My ancestors don't live in a museum, either--nor does their interpretive historical record.

    My mission is much the same as yours. And that is fine. Not every archaeologist is suited to take her discovery from unearthing the bones to polishing the finishing touches on the museum display.

    You and I may be part of a cadre of researchers breaking new ground by posting online first-line discoveries to which no one else has yet had access. It is okay to be the one who digs it up and puts it out there for others to continue the work.

  2. It comes down to intent and purpose, Susan. No one else can or should dictate the intent of your blog or how you spend your time in family history or any other area of your life. Only you can choose your mission and have it be successful. I say hooray for you to know your area of expertise, your interests, and what you can do with the time and resources you have. I'm just pleased to see you blogging again!

  3. I inherited some detailed notes and some scraps of paper with phrases on them from my family. They proved to be so valuable to me. By that standard, I know the much more detailed records I'm leaving my family will serve as a great basis for them to create "museum quality research." Let them know the pleasure of the hunt.

    Glad to see you enjoying your grandson -- that is his BEST chance of being interested in his family history.


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