Monday, July 22, 2019

Finding New Directions

There are two research lives led by the genealogy-guinea-pig-turned-blogger. One, of course, is the observed life of the writer, the research conquests documented as they occur, unfolding on the virtual page, warts and all, in real time. This can make for the thrill of what-happens-next, a by-product of not knowing what to expect at each research turn—but it can also make for some dull, repetitious, and-then-I-tried-this flops as posts.

That is what inspires the second life of such a blogger: the undercover role of the secret research agent, doggedly pursuing the unfindable, while all the while not saying a peep about any discoveries because, well, minutiae can make for a boring read.

While those now-multiple second-life pursuits are silently grinding away in the background, we need to set a new course for the public discussion of what's next on the research menu. I thought I'd take a cue from my dilemma about this time last year, just after I had signed up for SLIG 2019 and the course on Southern Research.

Back then, knowing I had been remiss at researching anything on my mother's southern roots, I was virtually staring at a blank page when it came to deciding how to make amends. So, last year in July, I figured it would take me nearly the rest of the year to get the running start I'd need to at least ask knowledgeable questions in class, so that's when I started working on those maternal southern lines.

Well, it's July. Again. And I've just signed up for another SLIG class on a topic about which I know very little. Perhaps it's high time to follow my own lead from last year, and start researching my Virginia roots, since it is Barbara Vines Little's course on Virginia research I'm about to take next January.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if I start work right now, I'll have enough time to get a running start before the beginning of that new year.

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