Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Which Research Path To Follow?

RootsTech 2015 once again focused on investing much of our genealogy related
Path rightPath left
time in adding photos, histories and stories about our ancestors to our records.  I agree that they bring our ancestors to life or at least more real in our imaginations.

I've explored spreading my genealogy related activities to include more time for photos and stories during the past year wondering if it is time well spent.   It certainly is when I’m sharing information about our ancestors with our children and grandchildren.  At least, it holds their interest for a little while.

Is that investment of time as valuable as just focusing on genealogy research though?  In my case, maybe not.  I’ve been very fortunate in research success over the decades, finding information about our lineage that has eluded everyone else for generations.  The blessing of that success is unabated to date.  I’ve found more information that I dreamed possible.  It truly is a blessing for our family.

This discussion leads to a decision I have to make in the near future.  Friends and family my age and younger are graduating from mortality with an ever increasing frequency.  Shall I ask our younger generations to mine my files for the stories and photos and post them on sites that will probably survive for the long term leaving me to employ the research skills that I’ve acquired over the decades or should I split my efforts to do both research and the posting of images and stories?

Which route will produce the longest lived success in the quest to find the lineage of our ancestors?  Even though interested in the photos and stories I share, will my descendants engage in our ancestral research themselves based on that interest? 

Is my time best spent doing research using the skills I've acquired at great effort, or should I let them invest a significant amount of time acquiring skills that will help them gain success?  Will any of them be willing to spend the currency of time in their lifelines to acquire the skills?  Will they be interested in their lineage if I haven’t shared enough stories and photos of their ancestors to ignite a deep interest about their ancestry?

In my case, I started looking for information about my ancestors at the age of five.  My mother was interested and as the caboose in the family, I was taken to the libraries with her.  It only took one exposure before I was hooked.   Her interest continued throughout my formative years and although my life became very busy, I never lost interest in ancestral research.  After a relatively brief period of time, associated with college and early married life, I couldn't deny the pull to engage in research any longer.  That pull hasn't abated to date.

Did I similarly invest enough time and opportunities to be infected with this wonderful quest in the lives our our children and grandchildren? 

The answer is yes and no, for all of the typical reasons.

Will those early exposures and shared successes come back to the surface as their lives evolve?

Which brings me back to the original questions.  Is the currency of my remaining life better spent in research or in a combination of research and finding and posting photos and stories about our ancestors?   Which has the largest ROI over time for our family?  Which path has the best chance of long term interest in family history in my descendants?

Whatever path I choose, I need to make the decision before long.  Even though I think I have many more years in this body, the clock is ticking and unexpected events can change everything you’ve envisioned in short order.

What path or paths have you chosen in the quest for your own family?  Have you found a way to not only share your research with your descendants but also enlist their interest in the long term?

Posted 18 February 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog