Lost in the Genealogy Wilderness

Ever have that feeling where you don’t know where you are, or which direction to turn? Or even what to do next? I’m sure some of you have, while others have never experienced that feeling.

Of course I’m talking about this in relation to your genealogy research. And that is where unfortunately, (and unexpectedly), I’ve found myself at.

I’m not a professional researcher, and I don’t claim to be, but I have been researching for a number of years. However my research these days tends to consist of me seeing new sets  records released, so I’ll go check for so-and-so … or hear a tidbit from another relative about this other person, or something they did, so I’ll go see what I can find.

In otherwords it’s very piecemeal. Very unfocussed, very unstructured, and without an exact goal in mind. More like dabbling if you like.

So now when I find that I have a free weekend (not that it happens often, but it’s nice when it does), and I want to settle in to doing some research – I am unable to just get into it, as I have no idea which line or person to get going on.

So I’m rather lost in the genealogy wilderness, and I really just need to set myself some research goals and FOLLOW them … Or even better, get entering the piles of stuff I have collected that I “STILL” haven’t entered.  (Is anyone else like that? You love finding stuff, but hate entering it, or is it just me?)

Actually I really, REALLY should do that entering stuff first. Sort out what I have, note it, file it … then get back the fun part of the searching!

So while I’m a little lost with my research at present, I have found some awesome stuff along the way, but I’ll find my way back.  I just might be buried under the paperwork pile for a while though.

10 Responses to “Lost in the Genealogy Wilderness”

  1. Jane says:

    Goals are the things, I recently set out to review all my core ancestors, updating the parish register information, as now here in the UK, the parish registers are hitting the main data providers with images.

    I also, as usual ended up on a tangent when I found one of those direct ancestors had gone to Debtors prison.

    • Alona says:

      So many interesting things to check out … but yes goals, focus and determination is what I need now. And I totally understand getting sidetracked with the debtors prison records. I mean who wouldn’t?

  2. Pauleen says:

    Totally empathise Alona…I have been thinking about this for quite a while. I think it’s the downside of the proliferation of digitised sources. Kinda takes the fun, and focus, out of it. Good luck with your plan.

  3. DebB says:

    I hope to get back on track after I move. I really need to get all these paper copies organized before going down the digital rabbit trails anymore…

  4. Anna Graves says:

    It is very hard to avoid the BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects). Maybe allow yourself some time to indulge and then get back to the B&Ws (Black and Whites).

  5. Cate Pearce says:

    I totally empathise with you, Alona.
    That glossy box of genie chocolates has been binged on but now it’s time to get back to the wholesomeness of the plain spuds and greens of data entry and organising information…there’ll time again for those choccies later 🙂
    I don’t think a structured plan is something you look for in these down points – I have found that when I start to put order back into my notes and files and commit myself to the slog of data entry and backup, then the next project emerges naturally out of that process.

  6. Barb says:

    My goals are weird – determining which line will allow me to join various descendants groups. Not that I actually join them, just more out of curiosity if I were ever really interested in joining. I spent MANY years trying to prove Grandma’s statement “we came over on the Mayflower” that when I finally proved it with documentation and all, I had to join. I really thought grandma was exaggerating the tale of migration.

  7. GenieJen says:

    I’m not so sure about a plan (heresy, I know) when you have been researching for decades. I think it’s more about exploring the newest databases as they become available and adding that data to your tree. But it still leaves us with the pile of paper and or digital images to extract info from to add to our database. It’s the boring part of genealogy but so rewarding when you next print out a tree for that family. I admit I’ve been procrastinating all week on that task.

  8. crissouli says:

    I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at


    Thank you, Chris

    You have reminded me that I still haven’t cleared all my SORT and MUST ENTER files…now just to find a few hours/days…

  9. Teresa says:

    I think we’ve all been there…I know that I tend to jump from search to search, often without focus. However, I never have problems getting stuck-in on those rare free weekends – just ask my husband! I have found that if I form a goal at the beginning of the day, it helps. And then I force myself to stick to it and make note of any BSOs along the way, so I can return to them at another time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *