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 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.


Filed under Ancestry, Blogging, Dilemma, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Research, Uncategorized

6 responses to “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.

  3. Pingback: Shotgun Genealogy | GeneaDictionary

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