As a professional genealogist for thirty-five years, I should have a lot of wisdom and advice to impart. Instead, I feel drained emotionally, intellectually, physically. My zest and ambition seem to be gone. Shucks.
Genealogy has been my life, my passion. Ever seen I was a child when mom and dad told me stories about their families, I was bit by the bug compelling me to know more.
Once I when I was about twenty-nine, I was selling toys at toy parties, but I was quick to explain to anyone who'd listen, "It isn't my real job. I'm a genealogist."
One zealous mother of five spoke up, "But isn't genealogy for old people?" The comment stung, but I shrugged it off. Yet from that time forward, I felt my work in family history was less important than the work teachers, nurses or secretaries (jobs available to women in my day).
I used to tell people that if they waited until they were old to do genealogy, they wouldn't be able to read the microfilm. Fading eyes and foggy memories being only two deficits of old age. I know only too well about those deficits now (and other deficits as well).
After years of researching for other people and writing (not purposely) dry research reports, I'd like to have enthusiasm to investigate my own family history. I have compiled two families histories on my father's lines, but can't muster the energy to work on my mother's ancestral history. I had much of it done and I'd collected a trunk full of photos (which I were scanned and saved on my now defunct hard-drive). I wanted to write a wonderful history, but I don't think I can make it into what it deserves to be. Especially now that I have to re-do it all.
Have I waited until I'm too old (nearly 62--when must people get started)?
At my stage of life, I thought things would be much different than they are. With a chronic inflammatory illness (Rheumatoid Arthritis), on immune-suppressant drugs, and continual infections which completely incapacitate me for long periods of time. The drugs and illnesses leave me tired, depressed and without ambition.
A word to the wise:
- Don't wait until it is too late to write your family history
- Keep accurate, organized records--in case something happens to you, others might carry on your work.
- Organize and annotate your photographs, while you still have a memory.
But most important:
Backup your files, so you don't lose everything
when your hard-drive crashes.
Don't be a big dumbo like me!