Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Time for a Slice of Pie - Genealogy Pie That Is!

May was an incredibly busy "volunteer" month as I did a number of projects for three groups to which I belong. Whether it was writing posts at a Google+ Community, hosting Google+ hangouts where I am either in technical or presentation mode (and sometimes both!), putting together submissions on behalf of two groups for the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree 2014 mobile app, meeting and planning for 2014 and beyond with fellow regional representatives in the Guild of One-Name Studies, or putting together the quarterly newsletter for the Society for One-Place Studies, May's volunteer activities (which spilled into the first days of June) took some serious time away from my own genealogical pursuits and my real life. And that reminded me that we genealogists and family historians need to put a value on our time and effort and keep track of the time we devote to all aspects of our genealogy life.

I wrote a post about my genealogy pie in February and have given it a bit more thought and found the video that I wanted to share with you about this very topic. But first back to the pie!

I often refer to decisions about how to divide my time as similar to making a pie. Why? First, because I love to cook and bake. Second, I have found that coming up with the correct recipe for my genealogy time is very much like making a pie. If you want your pie to taste great, you need to follow a recipe, add the right number and amount of ingredients (don't overload it), and watch that pie when it is in the oven (no one enjoys an under-baked or over-baked pie - okay I take that back, my brothers will eat pretty much anything). Last, you have to be a bit creative and, once you understand your recipe, be willing to tweak it from time to time to keep things interesting.

I have seven ingredients in my genealogy pie. They are:
  • education
  • research
  • data entry
  • social media
  • organization
  • volunteerism, and
  • sharing
Your genealogy pie might have different ingredients from mine, we might change up the order and amount of ingredients, or we might decide to add something totally new to the mix. The important thing is to make conscious decisions about how you spend your time and be willing to step back, give it some thought, and tweak your genealogy pie from time to time.  

I did a short video about this genealogy pie concept and it is linked above (you can also find it on my YouTube channel, TessaWatch). 

Have a great June (and here's hoping all those volunteer projects slow down for us and we get some time to work on our own genealogy projects - now where did I put my personal family history to-do list?)


  1. I'd say most of my time is spent in education. I am preparing to get myself professionally certified. However I still make time for all the other ingredients too. My volunteer work is with my DAR chapter as lineage research volunteer

  2. Thank you for these reminders. I found your video so helpful in reinforcing what I should be doing. I am very aware at the moment I spend most of my time writing and blogging rather than researching so need to "cut my pie" differently . .

  3. A great reminder for me to bring some balance back to my research and writing. At present I am a little guilty of collecting so much information, that I am having trouble keeping up with the sorting and filing, and my writing is really suffering at the moment. Not enough hours in the day. Retirement might be a good answer :)

  4. Tessa, thank you! I think creating my own pie is the answer to managing my time better. What a great idea.

  5. I'm with Diane. I need to retire! Your list of ingredients made me realize I have some things missing from my genealogy pie that really should be there. This year I have started going to conferences and have really enjoyed the personal education aspects. So helpful!


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World Wide Genealogy Team