The reasons any of us started, the reasons we continue, the approaches we take, the families and countries we are researching, the programs and apps we use, the time (or lack of it) we have to devote to this passion we share - these individual threads we have all shared have been interesting to read and make a wonderful tapestry of what this is all about - Worldwide Genealogy.
This month I thought I would write a bit about how I spend my time with genealogy. Whether you have 2 hours or 20 hours a week to spend on genealogy, I do think it is important how you divide your time. We all know people who spend all their time learning but never doing anything with that knowledge. We also know people who spend all their time engaging others (social media can eat up the entire day if you let it!). We know people who spend all their time researching and keep their finds and their family stories to themselves. Others spend so much time volunteering or teaching, that they have little or no time to devote to their own genealogy. When I started (not that long ago) I spent the majority of my time researching my personal family tree and learning how to research - whether that was reading books and magazine articles on the subject, attending a seminar or conference, and trying to learn my genealogy database program. After the first few years, I offered to share what I had learned with others and became a bit more involved in the social media aspects of genealogy. I also decided it was time to "pay it forward" by volunteering my time to the genealogy community - many of us helped index the 1940 Census, some of us volunteer at local libraries or genealogy societies,and some volunteer with online societies and groups.
Last year I blogged about my genealogy pie - because I think it is important to approach genealogy from a number of avenues and not get stuck or too focused on one or two aspects. My genealogy pie has changed over time and each year I take a look at the pie and see about changing it up a bit. Last year, in addition to working on my personal genealogy -
- I met with one of my sister's friends who wanted to learn more (and answer some questions) about her family. Since she had only a few pieces of information and was completely new to genealogy, it gave me the chance to start a family fresh and use what I had learned about methodology to do my research a bit more efficiently and certainly source it better from the outset!
- I volunteered to work on a special project for the Guild of One-Name Studies - I ran the Guild competition to encourage members to submit entries for logos, taglines, stories, ideas, and photographs to use with social media and publicity. This is a project that was completely out of my skill-set and involved a variety of tasks. It proved interesting and educational.
- I helped set up a Google+ Community for a new group, the Society for One-Place Studies. It is always an education to work with others, to edit a newsletter, to set up hangouts (and hope for the best when Google either changes things or the internet decides to mess with you).
- I spent time working on my one-name study and my one-place study. I enjoy the methodology, the statistics, the figuring out how to acquire information and data, as well as what to do with it once I get it. With both of these studies I know that it will be a long-term commitment and that they will come together slowly over the years. I actually like that thought as sometimes we are in such a rush to complete something that we don't take the time to enjoy the process.
- I attended some one day seminars and learned that local genealogy societies still do a terrific job by their members and for their members (and they need our support!). While we enjoy online communities and groups, we cannot forget that in-person activities are a great way to get to know our fellow genealogists.
What will be different this year? Well, I will be blogging at least once a month (thanks for the kick Julie). I plan to attend at least one national conference (I believe I see Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree in my future). I want to help spread the word and encourage genealogists to consider either a one-name study or a one-place study as I think learning more about those who share a surname or studying a community or place through time is a great story to tell. And I am hoping to get more information about my Murphy family this year. I find that I do have to focus on a few families at a time and I plan to pay attention to those Nebraska Murphys who have patiently waited for me to pick up their story.
How about you - what does you pie look like this year? How are you going to slice up your time?
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