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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Tuesday
    Jun282011

    The Seasons of Genealogy: Content to be Stuck in a Genealogy Groundhog Day

    Ring o rosies web

    It’s difficult to think about the seasons of genealogical research without considering the sober image of the seasons of life – birth of spring, flowering summer, harvest in autumn, and then the long “little death” of winter.

    I remember the first thrill that piqued my interest in family stories – and the “aha” moment when I discovered that history was much more interesting when it included my own blood relations. My grandmother’s moldering trunk filled with letters, papers, and photos was a Nancy Drew mystery come to life. That was many years ago, when I was a high school and college student. The fact that I wanted to research my grandmother for School legitimized my curiosity and opened doors to memories that might not have been recalled otherwise. I am grateful now to have that thesis, complete with non-exhaustive search, and those cassette taped interviews with family who have since died.

    But it seems the season never ended. Instead, it’s become a long, slow Spring often teasing with the promise of full-blown answers, flowering hypothesis, and rampant vines leading to new branches of research to explore. Each time it seemed to be time to move forward, more weeds sprout, more maintenance is required. I think I am stuck in the genealogical version of the movie Groundhog Day, set in spring instead of winter.

    Within this long season of Eternal Spring, little cycles through the seasons occur – with small rewards of watching information grow, harvesting results, and turning what I’ve learned into bedtime stories to share with others. Wonder, surprise, and serendipity are the watchwords of Spring, and my research continues to pose more questions than answers. I have yet to explore the history of my paternal ancestors, yet to document my husband’s family, yet to pull together the stories in a way that holds the interest of other family members.

    One day, the summer solstice of my research may arrive, but for now I am quite content to hunt for wild strawberries in the tangle.

    This article was written for the Carnival of Genealogy, July issue hosted by West in New England. (Thinking about things metaphorically.)

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    Reader Comments (7)

    I love your imagery - and it's not such a bad thing to be stuck in Groundhog Day if it's for genealogy!

    June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreta Koehl

    Not a bad thing at all, Greta, to be enjoySpring for a while longer. This was a great carnival theme; I enjoyed thinking and writing about it.

    Thanks for your note.

    June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    Being rooted in spring also anchors you in optimism, I think. Spring is a season that's holds such promise after the long winter and Is generally thought of in positive ways. So not only is it a forward-looking time but a time of positive anticipation too. Bravo! I'm really enjoying reading all the perspectives on this topic. Thanks for sharing yours!

    June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJasia

    What a very nice expression... To be "anchored in optimism." thank you, Jasia. I will.

    June 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    Just realized that what this post was for. I had read it when you posted it and totally did not associate. Maybe I am getting old timers disease.
    You do have a way with words. Can see the content to be stuck in the Genealogy Groundhog Day.

    July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFranEllsworth

    Thanks, Fran. I do admit that sometimes I wish for more progress, but the thrill of the 'aha moment' is wonderful. Thanks for returning to leave your comment.

    July 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    "A long slow spring" of genealogy. . .who could wish for more?

    Lovely, lovely post.

    July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTonia Kendrick

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