Tips for Professionals – Don’t Procrastinate

And by that I mean, don’t put off your genealogy research.

When I began my life as a professional genealogist, I was told by my first mentor that I wouldn’t be doing my own research anymore; I wouldn’t have time.

I have a message to any other professionals who have heard such “advice” and basically stopped doing their own research.

Get Back To Work On Your Own Family

I’ve made it a goal to finally work on my own family research this year, after many years of just doing tiny bits, and though I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, I have so much more to do. Mostly, I’m catching up on years of information collected and not organized into my database. I’m rescanning old documents because I did pretty wimpy scans in the past. I’m rescanning photos in my possession that I didn’t bother to make good scans of before, because I owned them. And I’m sifting through everything that isn’t completely OCD-approved organized.

I got it in my head this evening to work on a certain family again and went looking for records that I knew I already had somewhere. I spent a couple hours going through folders, figuring out what was in them, getting worried if I’d thoroughly copied all of the data I was seeing into my database, until I finally searched enough folders to find the documents.

Along the way, I found a couple of nice yet unscanned photos tucked into a file, paper documents that were half re-organized but never completed, one folder that was newly scanned but not marked so I had to double check it, and a newsletter from a distant alleged cousin that I believe I finally have the documents to prove we are related.

I haven’t finished translating the documents, but it was on my list of things to do sooner rather than later in this getting-back-to-my-own-family-research kick. So I skimmed through his old newsletter again and decided to look him up so I could contact him. I found two things. In 2005, he moved from Queens to Orlando, and in 2009, he died.

I guess he wasn’t working very hard on the research either; I’m sure he had my contact information. The good news is that his surname is really rare, there are only three people on Facebook with the name, and they all know each other. Hopefully they’re in touch with the cousins that he had contact with 15 years earlier.

I have three main genealogy goals right now: do my clients’ research, do my own research, and write to my blog. The blogging I’ve been doing pretty well. My client work is moving ahead. My own research was stalled for a couple weeks but is moving once again.

Sometimes we need an extra reminder of the reason to keep working. This was my wake-up call. Have you gotten yours?

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