Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to Rekindle the Flame After a Genealogy Burn-Out

I admit it. Sometimes I lack motivation... and not just for laundry and cooking dinner and taking my kids to the park...

Sometimes I even lack the motivation to work on my very favorite hobby. Genealogy. Knowing William.


That's right people, I'm coming clean. Genealogy is like any relationship. You have to put something into it to get something out of it. Sometimes life can distract you, and before long you realize that you never spend real quality time together. Imagine my surprise when I signed in to my blogger account and realized that I had posted only once in the last year to this blog and had not posted a SINGLE blog entry in my other blog Southern Branches in 2014. So, I make a resolution that 2015 will be different. I sit down with William determined to work things out. But honestly, I don't even know where to begin or remember what I'm supposed to do. I walk around looking at various family history notes and googling random things, but I know deep down that I'm just spinning my wheels and it gets more and more depressing. So I stare at my computer...

So here it is January 11th. I've skipped the 10 days of the year that most humans are the most productive and skipped straight to burn-out... and its not even February yet!!! Well, NO MORE! I honestly have no idea if anyone else ever feels this way, but if you do, I've put together MY strategy for bringing back that loving feeling toward my genealogy. Y'all keep me accountable and lets see if this works.

1) A Challenge
Sometimes even just sitting down and trying to make a plan, set goals, or write a to-do list can be enough to make me throw in the towel. Take advantage of the work of other geneabloggers! They've already worked out the goals, tasks, and schedule. All you have to do is get started! Try Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-over or The Book of Me or the Family History Writing Challenge or 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. You can even try something NOT directly genealogy related. Try looking into an organizing challenge, a scrapbooking challenge, or a photography challenge like #photoaday or #captureyour365. There are many ways to move our family story ahead and get it out there. (Obviously you can set your own challenge too, like "Scan 10 photos a day". Just make sure that you specify a cut-off time, like 30 days or whatever, and tell someone else who will know if you give up. Post it on your blog, partner up with someone or join a facebook group.) I am participating in the Genealogy Do-over and continuing to plug away on Book of Me, both over at Southern Branches.

2) Take a Class
There's nothing like learning something new or getting a fresh perspective to really get me itching to do some research. There are SO many free webinars online for genealogists like me on a shoestring budget. There are even more webinars that cost only a few dollars or a minimal subscription. If you haven't already, then join your local genealogy society. If you have then GO TO THE MEETINGS! If you really want to make your genealogy a priority this year, try an institute or a conference. In addition to new information, you'll get the added benefits of exciting networking opportunities and travel! I have turned to Hack Genealogy's Bootcamps, Legacy Family Tree's webinars, and of course Dear Myrtle's Geneawebinars.

3) Just Take a Break!
Stepping away from genealogy for a few weeks or months is nothing to feel guilty about. Your research is not going anywhere. Hang out with some of your LIVING relatives. Maybe give your great-uncle a call. No interview, no agenda. Just chat with him. If you really want to make your sabbatical productive then take some quick notes about what you're working on and set some task-oriented, specific goals for when you get back. That way when you're ready you know right where to jump back in.

OK 2015. Let's see what you've got for me, because I'm ready. William... be patient with me. I'll always come back.