The blessing and curse of genealogy is that, well, there’s a lot of it. Each additional generation researched doubles the amount of ancestors. That’s not even including the various cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters of your ancestors!
So how can you enjoy working on your family history without feeling genealogy burnout? Try these 5 ways:
Set a Goal
It’s sadly impossible to complete all of your family history in one evening. There’s a lot of research to do. Don’t let yourself get so caught up on the focus of “finishing” your family history that you forget to enjoy the journey. Instead of skimming over five different branches of your tree, pick one to focus on. Research this line deeply. Professional Genealogist, Amy Johnson Crow, gives this examples: “Rather than saying, ‘I’m going to do genealogy tonight,’ say ‘I’m going to look for George Debolt’s parents.'” Doing so can help you maintain focus, and feel more accomplished.
Set Aside Time
Much like setting a genealogy goal, it’s imperative to set aside time for family history. Whether once a week or once a day, provide yourself with a time to focus on genealogy without worrying about how you “should” be cleaning the house or running to the supermarket. This will help you feel more relaxed while researching, and you’ll get more done. Except in the event of an emergency, don’t let this time be interrupted.
It’s hard to use time efficiently if you’re constantly digging through mounds of unorganized notes. If you’re just beginning your genealogy journey, create an organizational system early, and stick with it! If you’re a little further along, it isn’t too late to make a method that works right for you! What’s important is to stay organized so you don’t have to stress while researching. Whatever your method, remember to cite your sources immediately. Otherwise, sources can be lost, and amusing genealogy mistakes may occur.
There are a plethora of different ways to research your family tree, from a one name study guide, to making a family history book. Don’t feel pressured into changing the direction of your research just because your friend is researching their family tree differently. Focus on the aspects of your family history that you are most passionate about, and you’ll get more work accomplished (and feel happier) by not second guessing yourself every step of the way.
Connect with Fellow Genealogists
Remember, you don’t have to do genealogy alone! Even if other members of your family aren’t passionate about family history, you can surround yourself with a family of genealogists. Genealogy friends can help you stay motivated, focused, and provide advice when you hit a brick wall. Meet fellow genealogists online through Facebook or Twitter, or through family history conferences or family history workshops. Looking for an upcoming workshop to attend? Genealogist Lynn Palermo will be teaching a course that overviews the process of how to turn your genealogy research into a MyCanvas Legacy book. Her course includes guidelines on making time, staying organized, and much much more. Sign up here.