Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm a genealogy nerd!

Family Tree by Norman Rockwell
Family Tree

I admit it. I am a bonafide, certified, true genealogy nerd.

If I had time alone in the evening, I would happily spend it :

*searching through 19th century Swedish census records online. A pretty time-consuming process since I don't speak a lick of Swedish and they are scanned in copies with old handwriting and abbreviations. I have a Swedish dictionary though and it sounds like a fun challenge to me!

*reading through old newspaper articles to find obituaries or local gossip on my ancestors. Old newspapers make for such interesting reading material (Truly)! It's neat to see the old advertisements and to see what the headlines were during their lifetimes.

If I could go on a vacation anywhere in the world, it wouldn't be to a tropical island in the Pacific. I could be happy:

*traipsing through an old cemetery in Iowa or Kansas

*spending a week at the National Archives in D.C. or the genealogical library in Salt Lake City

*attending a conference on probate records or using DNA in family history research

*going to Sweden, Norway, Spain, Ireland, or Germany to visit the towns my ancestors are from

*visiting the Civil War battle sites where my ancestors fought

*searching through musty-smelling record books in the county courthouse of a tiny town

If I was able to go back to college (which I just might if I find the time!) I would most likely try to study genealogy. I would love to help other people research their family trees.

Someday when we build our own house and settle down from our nomadic lifestyle, I plan to paint a huge tree on one of our walls and write our family tree on it for all to see.
(Okay, since I'm artistically challenged, I probably won't be the one doing the actual painting. I will commission someone who is talented to do the work!)

I have felt so lost since we moved here, because I haven't had any time to devote to my favorite pastime. I really enjoy the research and the challenge. In the absence of work or school, it has been a way to keep my brain going.

When Ellie and Kate were babies, I worked on genealogy for hours at a time. I got really good at nursing a baby while researching on the computer. I didn't have a whole lot to do during the day at that time though. They were too young for school and classes. We were homebodies.

It's so hard to find the time now. Between taking care of all 5 kids (especially a very active 2 yr old and a baby) and trying to homeschool the older three and chauffeur them around town every day, there is very little time left to do anything but fall into bed at night.

I know that my time will come. They won't be little forever.

Someday I will have time to devote to myself and my interests without feeling guilty for spending time away (even if it's just holed up in the basement on the computer!)

A few years from now, my ancestors will still be waiting for me. My kids need me now. So, for now I guess I need to be content with working on it as I find a bit of time here and there.


Christina said...

We occasionally go a a spree trying to find some genealogical info on our families. I would love to be able to devote some time and find out more. Mark is actually the buff though. I get bummed at a dead end and in my family that is early on both sides. My mom doesn't know much about my grandparents' families and there is no one else who does and on my dad's side, they disappear into Mexico with my great grandmas. It would be really cool to find out though. My grandpa was born on a reservation. I would fun to surprise the kids with some of that history especially the Mexican/Native American side. I don't think they'll ever realize they have that without me pointing it out.

Lepidoptera said...

My dad is the genealogist in our family and has inspired my appreciation for our family history. Though I won't have a tree painted on a wall in our home, I am hoping to some day have a couples' family tree chart displayed.