I know, I know: the coast has been clear for quite some time now. But I live among the cautious ones.
Our genealogical society had only last month hosted our first hybrid meeting, hauling out all the "broadcasting" equipment so as to not leave our newly-acquired out-of-state members out in the dark. For the coming months, we'll be doing a hybrid of hybrids, mixing in-person daytime meetings with online-only evening events. That gives us the advantage of gleaning some great speakers from around the country for those online-only events.
This week, for instance, we were privileged to host "The Archive Lady," Melissa Barker, from Tennessee, thanks to the same technology that enabled us to conduct meetings throughout the entire pandemic. For a society based in California, that's not something we could have done quite as easily, before Covid-19 changed life for everyone.
Still, face to face is vital for the ongoing vitality of an organization. We need to see each other's faces. In person. While it is understandable that, despite prudent health precautions, some society members hesitate to congregate, for those of us who can, we are tentatively stepping out into the post-pandemic air. Think summertime coffee meetings al fresco. Lunch gatherings. Field trips.
Yesterday, I met with one society member to discuss DNA research, and to put our heads together for some research problem-solving. It was good to get together again. As often happens in social settings, our conversation wandered, evolving from DNA to the archives presentation from the other night's meeting, to a wistful yearning to get back to "genealogy vacations" where we combine travel and research.
Since several members of our local society claim roots in Tennessee, perhaps our Tennessee archivist speaker has inspired us. A group field trip to research at the archives mentioned during our meeting might be a big undertaking for such a small group. On the other hand, why not plans something like that?
In one way, the pandemic may have caused us to be more cautious, and thus more short-sighted. True, there are still many lingering threats to consider. But for those who can get out, we need to grab those opportunities. Plan with prudence.
If we don't make that plan, the dream will never become reality—whether it is a group trip to research at our own state's archives, or a grand adventure to explore the roots of our relatives who lived farther away. I'm ready to take off those pandemic blinders and peer into some future possibilities, whether it is encouraging more face-to-face interaction here at home with fellow family historians, or reaching out to take our genealogy research on the road.