Sunday, November 4, 2018

After the Holiday Season,
Learning Begins in Earnest

It seems almost mind boggling that the rush of the holiday season is nearly upon us. I remember safely evading the Christmas shopping madness in the past by completing my own shopping duties during Veterans Day, so I could have everything wrapped, packed and mailed back east to family before Black Friday even got here. Getting even close to that date triggers the flashback of getting sucked into the shopping vortex. I do everything in my power to avoid that irresistible pull of the holiday shopping vacuum.

And when it is all over? That's when I hastily pack away all vestiges of holiday decorations so I can pull out my suitcase and pack for SLIG. Don't blink; it will be here soon enough!

This time at SLIG, I signed up to attend an intensive week learning the ins and outs of southern genealogical research. The reason is mainly to tackle the neglected southern lines in my mother's family tree. I've been putting that task off for far too long, and I may as well set myself to diligently attend to that task.

Ever since I registered for that class at SLIGwhich, thankfully, didn't fill up quite as fast as the six minutes it took to close registration to Thomas Jones' classI've been devoting all my research effort to filling in the blanks in my mother's family tree. And for every biweekly progress report since that decision point, the numbers on my mother's tree have headed steadily upward, at the cost of neglecting all the other trees I've worked on. But that's just fine: after all, if those holiday weeks are going to fly by, it's a good thing I've been taking half the summer and all of the fall to work on that line.

In the past two weeks, I've added another 267 documented names to my mother's tree. Now, that tree includes records for 15,662 individuals in total. A great many of them are concentrated in Floridaeven before the official start of statehood. But others have spread to other southern states. And some lines, reaching back into the 1700s, lead me to the states where these Floridian families lived before their migration to the new territory in Florida. Bit by bit, while picking up the documents to confirm these family members' places in my mother's tree, I'm also absorbing the local history where they have settled. It makes me want to go there and see the places for myselfto explore and confirm the local history as well as the family history.

Meanwhile, that concentrated effort doesn't preclude any work on the other trees in my family. A distant relative's obituary found in these past two weeks required me to do some updating in my mother-in-law's tree, so her count advanced by seven to total 15,737. At other times, I've also added to my father's tree and my father-in-law's treethough not this time.

I also know that I have a lot of work to catch up on for those additional DNA matches that keep coming in. For now, that number increases by a mere trickle every two weeksnineteen more at Family Tree DNA and four from 23andMe, this timebut I know, come the holiday DNA sales (which have already started), the avalanche of new matches will show up in my paperwork just about the time I return home from Salt Lake City toward the end of January.

As much as I yearn to get back to working on the trees for the other branches in my family, I know it's important to stick to this research goal for the time being. With the blur of the calendar that comes upon us with the holiday rush, I also realize it all will be over before I know it. Come January, when I'm in my seat at SLIG, I'll be glad I opted for the long-term approach of steadily working on my research goal as soon as I could get started.

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