Every year, about this time, I start whining about how I don’t have time to do my genealogy the way that I do during the summer. But I started thinking about how the majority of genealogists have more traditional, year round jobs and I realized that I’m quite lucky! So I’ve been contemplating how I usually do my research during the school year vs. the summer time. During the school year, I usually spend a couple of hours at the library each week – usually on a Saturday. I spend that time scanning microfilm records. I don’t take the time to read anything, I just scan and scan so that I can analyze things little by little during the week. Sometimes I find time to “analyze” and sometimes I don’t. What I generally end up with is tons of scans that I’m behind in actually reading. In the summer time, it’s “full steam ahead” on my lines plus traveling to different locations that I can’t get to in the summer.
For example, last week, I made a list of page numbers from a Deed book that my surnames were listed in. I scanned those records whether they were my direct line or not. My intention is to read each of them, looking for clues to fill in family group sheets. But I spent my free time this week working on transcribing the entire index because I can do those in “chunks” and so that I can decide which microfilm to order next. I usually get just a little obsessive compulsive over the transcribing and I end up trying to transcribe everything rather than just my surnames. After all, you never know when a NEW surname will be added to my list! (At least, that’s my reasoning.)
So am I short changing myself with this approach? Is it worth my limited time to upload every photo from a cemetery onto Findagrave.com? Is it worth my time to transcribe the entire index rather than indexing my surnames only? I have a great desire to add information to the web that other genealogists can access. But am I shortchanging my own research? As I do work on uploading the transcribed index for the Russell County Deeds, I can see that I might not be finished with this by this time next year! It’s great to have something I can work on in fits and starts and I love adding the info for others, but perhaps I need to take the time over this holiday week-end and come up with a better plan for my specific research.
My gut reaction to this is that I’m not ready to make a plan. How sad is that? Who would I start with? Do I have everything up to date? I almost feel like I would spend so much time figuring out where I left off, that I want to run right back to my transcribing! Sometimes, I believe I have “genealogy ADD”. I read an article in a magazine and think “that’s a great resource!” and off I run! Or I read a blog that mentions a web page that mentions a book and off I run! I have got to have better focus – which probably means a better research log – which I’ve always had trouble keeping.
So, what’s the answer? Concentrate on my own lines? Concentrate on adding web information during the school year and leave my personal research for holidays and summer breaks?
I wish I knew the answer.