Confessions of a Genealogist

Ok its genealogy confession time …

I am a hobby genealogist, and I have worked in the Australian genealogy industry for over over 20 years now (no, that’s not the confession bit, we’re still coming to that), and while I’ve always had an interest in family history, it was only about 6-7 years ago I took the plunge into researching my own family (confession still coming).

Why the delay? Simple … I knew I’d be totally hooked completely obsessed, and would be frustrated when I don’t get time to do as much research as I’d like (sounds familiar doesn’t it – I can see you agreeing with me), and the other was that much of own family’s research had been done my dad.

Anyway did eventually get over the whole “I shouldn’t start this” thing, and jumped straight on in. And as does happen to everyone, I ended up with SOOOOOOO much paperwork. You know the hand-drawn scribble trees, notes written on scrap paper from when you last visited your grandparents, printouts from websites,  certificates and so on.

So now it is  confession time …
I love the SEARCH, but I’m not so good a the RECORDING or FILING. There you go, I said it! It’s out there, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Yes, I do know better, and it is a case of do as I say, not as I do, when I’m offering advice to customers – although it does allow me to speak from experience, which isn’t entirely a bad thing 😀

I have a large pile of papers in an in-tray on my desk, as well as larger pile of unfiled bits on one of my bookcases which gets added to quicker much than it goes down.

Anyway about a month ago I resolved to not do any new searching (not that I get a lot of time anyway), but rather when I did get time, I was going to focus on getting my paperwork all entered (as most of it isn’t even entered yet – much to my disgust), and filed … one-by-one.

part of the pile of paperwork I still have to sort through and file

Progress report …
Well Week 1 started off really well – I had some marriage notices I found on Trove, so I got them all noted in Legacy together with sources. I even looked further and found the engagement notices as well, and added those in – and filed all into the relevant family folders. Week 2 I didn’t get a chance to do any, on Week 3 somehow I ended up on my favourite family, and have been busy searching online (with results – including a few Happy Dances, just ask Mr lonetester) – and that has flowed on to this week (Week 4) again …

So as you can see I need to refocus back on the recording and filing bit … and I am determined to get the in-tray pile down substantially by the end of the year.

Now I was going finish off by saying wish me luck … but that really should be wish me discipline! 😛


6 Responses to “Confessions of a Genealogist”

  1. Alona, a kitchen timer set for 30 minutes works well.
    It isn’t too impossible an amount of time to devote to filing (even if you hate filing) and then you can reward yourself with more research.

  2. Aillin says:

    Alona, this sounds familiar as I have the same problem. The search is fun, the discipline of recording is not so fun but essential. Wishing you discipline 🙂

  3. Kerryn says:

    Oh how familiar that pile of paperwork looks! Wishing you discipline (and wishing me some too)

  4. Pauleen says:

    Something we can all identify with, it seems. I like Helen’s idea of 30 mins on the timer! My problem is I’m obsessive and once started don’t like to stop.

  5. JM says:

    I started researching my family history about a year ago. I’m not a very organized person and now I have notes written on scraps of paper, two notebooks, a pocket sized notepad, a folder with paperwork in it (unorganized), a digital voice recorder containing interviews with grandparents, a video interview of my grandfather, and multiple duplicate copies of old family photos scattered all over my room. Everything is scattered throughout my room. Sometimes I need to look over some notes and I have a hard time finding my notes.

  6. Alona says:

    JM, organisation does play a key role in genealogy. You need to be able to find info relating to people all the time. I read 3 or 4 books on genealogy organising systems before combining bits of each for my own. I use filing cabinets and ring binders. But it’s really what works for you. My downfall though (as mentioned above) is actually filing, but I’m working on it. Cyndi’s List has 200+ links relating to organising, so that’s a good place to start: if you need some help.

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