Saturday, June 2, 2012
3 Side Benefits of Being a Genealogist
Being a genealogist makes me more patient.Nearly everything I have researched has happened in the past. There is no urgent need for immediacy (though sometimes we would like it). The two things that taught me patience in genealogy were surname boards and requesting information.
I can post a query to a surname board and then walk away. It may be answered in a week or in five years. I'm in no rush. My main goal is that somebody, someday will see it and answer it. Likewise for information requests. Genealogy has taught me not to get my hopes up when writing to a cemetery for information about my ancestors. They may get back to me in a month or in a year. I simply mail the letter and forget about it (with a note in the log, of course). When it arrives it's a pleasant surprise that I had probably forgotten about.
2) Friends of All Ages
The funny thing about being a genealogist is that you are more interested in what people know and can share than you are about how old they are. In a kind of funny way being a genealogist has made me oblivious to age. My friends range in ages from the 20s to the 80s. And these are genuine friends. Most of them I can't tell you how old they are. I've just stopped bothering to even wonder. One of my friends in 86. We try to meet for coffee several times a month. She makes me appreciate life, her example teaches me how to grow older with grace and she makes me laugh. I feel the tension from the normal work day slip away during that one hour.
3) We Can Find Anything
Our fine-tuned research skills are good for much more than historical research. Need to find that long lost high school friend that you haven't spoken to in 25 years? Ask a genealogist! They'll likely find him quicker than anyone.
At Christmas-time when I'm stuck with a friend or family member without a current address - no problem! I check the local registry of deeds for where they are supposed to live and get the address there. How many regular people know to do that?!!
Most non-genealogists are unaware of how much information is freely and publicly available on the internet. Having the skills to find the information we need for everyday life makes the daily grind so much easier.
I'm sure you must have some other side benefits of your own. What's on your list?
Photo credit: Photo by jfleischmann and used under the creative commons license
Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis at 11:25 AM