Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Some Days . . .

There are some days, filled with good intentions, which take a wrong turn somewhere, and land us far from our expected destination. Like days when we—almost, thankfully—get stuck in the elevator (or at least can't access the ground floor so far below us). Or lose a credit card. Or get stuck in the rush hour traffic that wasn't supposed to happen until well after we reached our destination.

If that was the day intended for genealogy research, oh well. Things happen. There will always be another day.

When the unexpected happens, I'm still seeing the value of having a research plan. That way, I can always see my way toward my research destination. When detours knock me off the research track, at least I have a homing sense that allows me to right my course.

For the rest of this week, in my case—at least, if I can actually make my way home from this trip—I will be preparing for the research highlight of my year. I'll be leaving for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy this coming weekend, where I'll be attending the class I've been looking forward to, ever since SLIG registration opened last July: "Virginia from the Colonial Period to the Civil War: Her Records, Her People, Her Laws," with lead instructor Barbara Vines Little.

That is not the only goal for the upcoming week. On those precious free evenings after class is over, less than two blocks away from one of the world's largest genealogical libraries, I will be zeroing in on reference material from the Family History Library's card catalog, looking for my colonial Virginia ancestors.

Of course, I have several items already targeted for my week of research, but I know there are more I have yet to identify. That's where my grumbling about "some days" comes in. I could still use a few more days to check out the library's extensive collection and eliminate holdings which don't look as promising as others. After all, I only have so much time. True confessions: I'm a slow reader. And I generally don't get to the first book's punch line until five minutes before I have to leave for home.

In the meantime, planning does help eliminate some wasted time, and mitigate unexpected roadblocks like losing elevator service in hotels where I've been trapped on the ninth floor. I've learned to laugh about stuff like that. It sure beats the alternative.


  1. Ah....let me introduce you to "point and shoot" research. That's a reference to those simple, old cameras. When you get that promising book, don't spend too much time reading it! Photocopy and move on to the next book. Read those pages later when you are in your motel room and then plot tomorrow's research. You need time to mull over the information anyway. When my daughter was young and only had about ten minutes of patience, if I knew I would be near the library, I pinpointed the book I wanted/needed before I went. Then when I got there, I checked the index for the pages I needed, photocopied them, and got out of dodge. I also did this when traveling through west Texas, and the book I needed was in a library in Amarillo. I have called it "drive by" research because it happens pretty fast. Sometimes I've been in and out of the library in 15 minutes. I would have liked to stay, but it was all the time I had.

    Have fun!

    1. What great terms: Drive-by Research and Point and Shoot technique. I love how you put that! Truth be told, I've relied on my husband and daughter so many times for go-fer service and photocopying, but this time, I'm traveling solo. I imagine I'll be employing a lot of Point and Shoot techniques on those books I'm flagging from the catalog. Not sure I'll get to any Drive-by Research...but then, there is always next May for any damage control :)


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