The Research Road to an Accurate Pedigree is Always Under Construction!

Have you noticed? The shift to technology–supposed to speed-up the process–in reality, has increased the time commitment and enrolled us all in newly learned skills.  It seems we work harder, spend longer hours to accomplish the same research distance or the same ancestor results.

If the new record matching capability of leading genealogy sites and databases makes the building of a pedigree speedier…where are all the new ancestors? Where are the complete birth dates? How is it we still have estimated marriage dates? And where is the ancient widow buried? Why are we still trying to prove the same ancestors we worked on 25 years ago?

According to other disciplines like medicine and law, the shift to technology has led to increased burnout–you know that feeling: loss of energy, decreased sense of purpose, and zero sense of accomplishment? That sense of malaise that affects your focus, your accuracy, and most significant of all–your actual technical ability. Are you going in the same genealogy circle as the rest of us?

Psychologists now conclude that those most adept at technology and most drawn to the myriad of devices now available, are the very people who have problems already focusing, and accomplishing finished projects. The artificial light through which data is viewed, puts their biological clocks in disarray. Nerds and techies seem upset and angry, unable to put their attention on reality and unwilling to focus.

Schools have integrated technology into the education process, supplying students with yet another computer or tablet. Teaching texting and email with teachers and administrative personnel, rather than face-to-face conversation and learning. Advised to opt-out of technical, extra-curricular programs because of the depression, attention deficit behavior, and additions that may  surface later in life; and, advised to take a prescriptive fast from device dependence–students and their parents alike are frustrated.

Do you recall when the same concerns were voiced about your generation spending too much time in front of the “tube?” Watching television until your eyes turned red?

Well, from the experience of a genealogist who has devoted hours and hours learning and practicing and experimenting with technology to build better and more accurate family trees–get used to it.  Both the work load and the constant attempts to change our behavior.

Genealogy evidence and library access are now technnology-driven disciplines. What you don’t learn and use will sabotage your desired results.

Let’s go back to the concept of burn-out because of sped-up reality.  The road to an accurate pedigree is always under construction. Get used to it. If there were two men by the same names who married wives of the same names, in the same town or county, there were actually three or four or more. Line them all up like ducks on a fence, separated by wires stretched down their roads. Pile up the evidence for each one until you can recognize their differences. Separate out their family members, their kids, their parents, their siblings, their uncles, and their aunts. Not all of these people will match each duck. They will match their own duck.

You will build an incorrect lineage without the relatives. They help to create the genealogy evidence–you don’t live in isolation and neither did your ancestors.

You will build an incorrect lineage without the technology. Your devices can organize, identify, separate, store, and share the genealogy evidence,

In short, what else do you devote leisure time to? Remember when we had leisure time and leisure wardrobes and leisure chairs and tables? Now we have leisure devices!

Be well. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Through the coming weeks, I will share with you, here in this blog, my adventures doing field research across this amazing country of ours.  And introduce you to the many books that I bought along the way in used and new book stores.  Volumes from vast piles of books no longer considered important. And the story of a once-great bookstore that catered to genealogists that, sadly,  is no longer in business. Stay tuned.


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