Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, May 14, 2012

What if the National Weather Service was in to genealogy?

I have always wished that as an attorney, I could have the percentage of correct predictions of the Weather Bureau and stay in business. Last week was classic example, we had a less than 10% chance of rain and it poured. A couple of weeks before we had well over 80% chance of rain at it came, but a day or so later than predicted. I know, the weather is terribly unpredictable. But it seems that if you are in the business of predicting the unpredictable you should be a little more accurate or find a new line of work.

So what would happen if the Weather guys were genealogists?

14 May 2012
Genealogy Prediction for Mesa, Arizona. James Tanner.

Tonight: Heavy parish records in German, with a 10% possibility of finding the ancestor.

Tuesday: Clear copies of genealogy records from the 1920s with a small chance of uncovering a lost ancestor.

Wednesday: Increasing chance of finding a third generation ancestor with light copies of old records possible.

Thursday: 50% chance of finding your ancestor in increasing to 60% if you look in

One of the things that is attractive about doing genealogical research rather than trying to predict the weather is that in genealogy there is no predicting what will happen or where you might find your ancestors. It is just this unpredictability that attracts, you can really never get bored of genealogy because you may find what you are looking for with the next turn of the page or click of the mouse.

If you live in Mesa, Arizona the weather is highly predictable, 99% of the time. For example, the next week can be summarized in three words: Clear and Sunny. We know what the temperature will be tomorrow and what it will be next week and the week after that: hot. How how is not really that important once the temperature gets over 100 degrees.

But every time I walk into the Mesa Family History Center I have no idea what I will be doing. Not even a vague idea. I could be looking for a small town in the Ukraine or a farmer in Mississippi. I could be trying to figure out why a program doesn't seem to do what the patron expected or why the computers can't connect to the Internet. I might spend hours looking at census records or helping decipher Old Spanish.

One thing I do know is that I will "win" more often than I lose. When I practiced law, the judges and the juries decided my cases. Now, in genealogy, I have a completely different life. I no longer have to worry about winning or losing. I always win. Almost without fail, every time I help someone it is positive experience. I guess there is way to predict some things, like a 90% plus chance of good experiences in genealogy!

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