Things That Sustain

Without going all confessional on you, I will report that the last few weeks were personally … trying. In dealing with situations crowding the plate, one by one, the trick has been to avoid pulling back and looking at the plate in its entirety, never a good idea.

And on those insomniac occasions when the plate threatened to overflow, I was surprised (truthfully? a bit shocked) at how instinctively I turned to family history for comfort. As a refuge, it went beyond the typical hard-luck Olympics I find myself playing with my ancestors, listening to their imaginary voices when I’m in a jam. (“You think you have it bad?! I’ll see your gripes and raise you a Famine!”)

Oddly,  the tasks I usually shun as mind-numbingly boring are the ones that came to the rescue. I edited footnotes. I double-checked FHL call numbers. I looked at long-ago, amateurish notes and spruced them up with upgraded data and decent citations.

Something was being set right.

Something looked a little better for my having been there.

Strange to say, it was comforting.

And I realized that this feeling, sometimes, is why I do this. There are other reasons at other times, lots of them. But as the whirlwind time recedes, it’s nice to see the benefits of dull genealogy housekeeping in the warmth of this unexpected light.

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5 Comments on “Things That Sustain”

  1. Thanks for the positive words, all. I have to say I never thought too much about which genealogy tasks I have chosen to perform when, until the past few weeks. And then I realized I tend to do the genealogy housekeeping tasks when I’m stressed. Now if only I felt that way about my actual housekeeping tasks :)

  2. Penny Wright says:

    Me too. I find that “making” order in any area of one’s life (such as a closet!) can be very calming. Toiling in copper mines (as some of my ancestors did) must have been a challenge, but I am quite undone dealing with a new computer. I’ve reverted to low techy (transferring my favorites one by one) and feel very fortunate to have come to your site first today. I love how you “teach” genealogy and throw in some life lessons too- all with a dollop of humor!

  3. I so appreciate this post. I too went through some sleepless nights a few weeks ago. I found that plugging away at little details in my genealogy work that at other times might seem “boring” felt strangely fulfilling. It occurred to me that ancestors make for pretty good company at times!

  4. Sorry that you are dealing with trying situations – whatever they may be. I just wanted to say that your post made me smile – I too play the “hard-luck Olympics” although I never called it that. I’ll always think of that now!

  5. Penny Wolf says:

    Oh my goodness! I am delighted to read your post. I am forever thinking of my lineage, Irish and American Indian (Seminole is what I am told) and saying to myself “How would you like to walk to Oklahoma?’ when times appear difficult. We are never alone.


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