Genealogical Burnout Strikes Again!

I experienced this same phenomenon after our week-long trip in the summer of 2013 tracking our western Pennsylvania relatives; a total aversion to anything genealogy related. Last year it lasted for months but this time it has only been since I returned from the NGS conference in Richmond earlier this month (May 2014). I think it has something to do with realizing what a gargantuan task it is to fully document and provide source references for each fact about an ancestor. It seems overwhelming and just not as much fun as it usually is.

The difference this year is that I have a blog and I promised myself I would post regularly. So here’s a quick wrap-up on the rest of the conference, after the overwhelming first day. I did learn my way around and by the fourth day I knew how to get wherever I wanted to go. Unfortunately by the second day I realized my allergies were actually the beginning of bronchitis and I felt pretty miserable. On top of that I was up until 1:30 am Saturday morning playing cards with my mother, my former girl scout leader, and two family friends one of whom happened to be in town on her annual visit from Hawaii.  I definitely need more sleep than my 80-year old mother. I wonder if that will change when I’m 80?

So enough of my whining – the conference was good, but I probably won’t make it an annual event. I still have so much I can learn on my own and online in order to get the most out of an event like that. In some of the sessions I was fascinated and excited to learn new things and in others I felt like I already knew most of what they were talking about. The number of choices at each time slot (sessions were at 8:00; 9:30; 11:00; 2:30 and 4:00) made it hard to choose which session to go to. Sometimes there were three or four sessions at the same time I wanted to attend and sometimes there were none. All in all I’m glad I went and will probably go again in a few years.

Fortunately the Library of Virginia was just a few blocks away so I got to do more family history research. I even found out by viewing my great great grandmother’s death certificate (Sarah Elizabeth Jenkins Hubbard) that my family tree on Ancestry.com had the wrong county for where she was born and the wrong maiden name for her mother.

This is how I learned Sarah was born in Cumberland County and her mother's maiden name was Warner not George.

This is how I learned she was born in Cumberland County and her mother’s maiden name was Warner.

To me it is always satisfying to pin down a fact from a source document, even if it disproves some assumptions.  In this case the new information forced me to prune a whole branch of my tree but it’s growing back nicely. I’m using some of the new skills I learned at the conference to be more strategic in my searches by limiting my search to a particular county and year for the US Census. This avoids the tendency to get too many names to sort through and makes it much easier to find who I’m looking for. Of course, you’ve got to be sure you’re searching in the right county or you could easily end up with the wrong Sarah Elizabeth Jenkins. As they mentioned at one of the sessions – we all have “former ancestors” and it is important to cut them loose.

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