Shotgun Genealogy

It is amazing how life can change in an instant. I have been a Professional Genealogist for over 12 years now and I thoroughly enjoyed working with and for my various clients. Of course, this did not allow me much time to work on my own genealogy endeavors. Then, about a year and a half ago, a doctors’ negligent actions caused my husband to become disabled. For about the first 7 months I still had time to help clients, but then my husbands condition began to worsen every day, so I gave up working with others as I found myself becoming his full time caregiver.

I suddenly found that I had more time to work on my own trees on a more regular basis. I always had a disciplined method when I worked for others, but I found myself just diving in and following too many rabbit holes. It wasn’t long before I realized, it was more like a shotgun blast. I aimed my focus on one specific ancestor, then metaphorically I pulled the trigger. Next thing I knew, just like a shotgun shell, the pellets from the cartridge exploded and shot pellets everywhere.

So, here I would sit for hours, chasing each pellet, trying to place them back in the casing. I wasted so many hours using this method that I finally decided to just “hire” myself. I knew I had to stop this wasteful behavior quickly before it became ingrained in me. Yes, I should have been more disciplined from the beginning since I had already developed this form of research. It was just harder to maintain because of the times I would have to stop in the middle of something to go take care of my husband.

I finally sat down and wrote out a checklist to help me stay on tract. This method has helped me tremendously. Sometimes I fail to check off something I did, but it makes it so much easier to figure out where I left off. It has helped me be able to stay focused, and I am once again enjoying the search!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Shotgun Genealogy

  1. I like that concept of “hiring myself.” I do wonder at times if I would get more accomplished in a day of someone was paying me to do it. Probably so! Getting my head into that working-for-others frame of mind is my mantra for the new year.

  2. Your research story appealed to me, as often I feel I lacked focus, darting between research in my mother’s side, that of my father and that of my husband’s. For a brief period I worked to a self imposed prompt of Focus Friday, devoting myself that day to one family line. Now I try to focus on a week at a time on one specific family line.

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