05 December 2012

Why Aren't You Having Fun with Your Family History Research?

Image Source: http://www.promoslogos.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/Smiley%20Faces.jpg

I don’t know about you and I do know that sometimes genealogy and family history research stop becoming fun!

You feel like you are banging your head against a wall or you are obsessed (and not in the healthy way) with solving the puzzle of your ancestors.

For me, when genealogy stops becoming fun, I do one of three things – I either stop doing genealogy for a while, I switch the focus of my research, or I “produce” something to share what I have learned.  

When I got “tired and frustrated” with researching my dad’s side, I then switched to my mom’s side, then my husband’s family and then back to my dad’s side, etc. Never mind, shifting my focus from researching the oldest ancestors to then working on learning more about my mother and grandparents through records. 

Shifting what I was researching on re-energized me tremendously and I also “learned” so much more about my mother and her parents than I had ever learned while they were alive.  I was able to document where they lived, churches they attended, community theatre production involvement, career information (my grandfather worked in banking), military service and so much more!

And, being frustrated was always a great opportunity to feel “good” by creating something I could share with my extended family.  Sometimes it was binders summarizing known information, a short publication focusing on one person (e.g. my mom) or the stories of my Auntie Edith, or scanning collected non-digital images to share, converting old 8mm film to VHS film (with conversion to a DVD next!), using artscow to create pillows, notepads, mugs, xmas ornaments and so much more!

Basically, I switch from what I have been doing to something more “fun!”  I find this so important – after all, genealogy research is really a journey and not just a destination and I do want to enjoy that journey.  I am not adverse to hard work and sometimes, working harder will not make what we do fun.


Along these lines, Kenneth R Marks of The Ancestor Hunt website posted a piece with the title “Why Aren't You Having Fun with Your Family History Research?  In it, he poses a few questions to ask yourself about your research and why it’s no longer fun and then he suggests ...

Stop focusing on the ancestors you don't know and start focusing on the
ancestors you do know

Do read the full post.

When you stop having fun with your genealogy research, what do you do?

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  1. Bet that many can relate to this... At the moment I am taking a break from the standard research and collecting / scanning / re-touching & cataloging old photos. Along the way I've been able to bring back to life and share the personalities I've discovered. It's creative and sweet and a good escape from the facts and figures.

  2. Thank you for referring and linking to my article of the same title that I published back in November. I appreciate it. I guess you liked the Happy Faces also!

  3. Happy to do so! yes, I have a long tradition with smiley faces (ask my sisters) and I think if we aren't having fun with our genealogy/family history research (or anything we don't have to do), it's time to follow your suggestions or take a break!

  4. Diane, Again thanks for the shout out - but in the future could you maybe choose a different title than using the same as mine exactly? This can create a problem with Google search crawlers and possible duplication - which they frown upon. Thanks

  5. Definitely -- I hadn't even thought of that "issue" ... apologies and I'll definitely do better in the future ;-)

  6. This is exactly how I do my research! When I hit a brick wall on one branch, I move on to another. When I finally get back to the original brick wall, it's like greeting old friends. And sometimes I'm lucky, new databases have become available online and I can break through the brick wall.

  7. When I get fed up with genealogical problems, I quilt.

    Mary Clement Douglass
    Transcribing & publishing Kansas genealogical records
    Have lectures, Will travel!
    URL: www.historical-matters.com