Your Family History Research: What’s Holding You Back? | The Armchair Genealogist
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Your Family History Research: What’s Holding You Back?

"What have you been putting off and what is holding you back in your family history research?"

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons for putting things off – timing is important and you can’t do everything at once however if you’re anything like me there are things that you know you probably should be doing that you’re simply procrastinating about.

One of the biggest procrastinations for me, up until last week, was ordering some German records through the Family History Centre as well as ordering some microfilms from the Ontario Archives. Now I know some of you who have been doing this much longer than me are scratching your heads... Why?

Answer: Because I’m an armchair genealogist and the majority of my research and the majority of my learning has taken place online. I believe I am part of the newest generation of family historians, who turn to online databases as our first and sometimes only source of information; archives are unchartered ground for us. Believe it or not confession time, I have never used a microfilm reader (I can hear you all gasping now). I believe this just speaks to the incredible amount of information that is available online, with records being digitized by the boatloads, there has been little call for me up until this point to seek out a document from an archive. Well there has, but either I wait for them to be digitized or I get myself into the archives and learn.

I knew there were records available for my ancestor’s church in Germany, but I was not familiar with the Family History Centre, so I procrastinated, until last week when I took the plunge. (I will keep you posted on how I made out)

Why didn’t I do it earlier? Was it laziness…. or busyness….? If I’m honest about it, I’m sure it would be a bit of both of those things, however I suspect it was also partly fear that held me back.

Fear that I didn’t know what I was looking at, fear that nobody would help me, fear that people would critique me for calling myself a family historian but not being really very savvy with non digitized archives.

Actually, saying I was too busy sounds a bit better because the latter makes me sound very insecure.

In the end, I knew that if I didn’t order these records and take the plunge I couldn’t move past the brick wall. I’d be kicking myself later. The time came for me to draw a line in the sand and just do it. I didn’t have any secret strategies for taking the plunge other than an attitude adjustment.

I did tell a couple of others that I was doing it....can’t turn back now. I did some homework before going in so I could tell them specifically what I was looking for....try to at least give the impression I knew what I was talking about. All of that helped get me going. In addition, when I arrived at the family history centre I pleaded ignorance and all was good.

They were warm, inviting, helpful, Thanks Jim! (And know they didn’t try to get me to join their church) I paid my $6.50 and now I wait for my microfilm to arrive from Salt Lake City. I ‘m not even sure I’m going to be able to read it, but Jim tells me, he will be able to help me with that as well.

what’s one thing that you have been putting off that would improve your family history research? (what’s stopping you from tearing down a brick wall?)”


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