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

Monday, September 11, 2023

Growing Old in Genealogy


Once you get to a certain part of your life, you realize that there are no rationalizations that you are still in middle age or anything remotely resembling middle age; you are definitely old. When I started doing genealogical research about 41 years ago, I thought that everyone who did genealogy was "old." Now I realize that many of the people who are doing genealogical research are not old but there are quite a few of us who qualify for my early impression. When you get to this stage, you must admit that no excuses exist that a qualify you for any other category. 

Here are a few of symptoms of what it is like to be old and trying to do genealogical research. 

First of all, I realize that I can no longer work for 10 to 12 hours straight without a nap. There are also other physical reasons that long duration work does not happen so much any more. I also find that after working all day writing, creating presentations, answering questions, and either presenting the same presentations I create or acting as a consultant for the Salt Lake City, Utah FamilySearch Library all make me useless after about 8:00 pm. 

I also have come to depend on an extra pair of glasses for computer use. 

I find that my hearing aids must be in use all day, every day. 

I also seemed to have joined the pain-of-the day club. 

All this leads to a prioritizing of projects and an overall decrease in productivity. It also answers the question I am frequently asked about whether I ever sleep. Yes, I do. 

From time to time, I might comment on my experiences in growing old as a genealogist. Fortunately, I have access to a lot of electronic devices that me writing easier. Here is a short explanation about what it is like to grow old from our friend ChatGPT. 

Growing old as a genealogist can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. Here's a glimpse into what it might be like:

Accumulated Knowledge: One advantage of growing old as a genealogist is the accumulation of extensive knowledge and expertise in family history research. Years of experience can make you an invaluable resource for younger generations interested in their roots.

Family Legacy: Being a genealogist allows you to create a rich family legacy for your descendants. You can leave behind meticulously researched family trees and detailed histories that future generations can cherish.

Technology Changes: As you age, you may witness significant changes in genealogy research techniques and technology. Staying up-to-date with new tools and digital resources can be a challenge, but it's essential for the field's continued growth.

Preservation: Preserving historical documents, photographs, and artifacts becomes more critical as you age. You might dedicate more time to organizing and digitizing your collections to ensure they are accessible to future genealogists.

Community Involvement: Growing old as a genealogist can provide a strong sense of community. You may belong to genealogy societies or online forums where you can share your knowledge and connect with others who share your passion.

Health Considerations: Like anyone else, aging can bring health challenges. It's important to maintain your physical and mental health to continue your genealogy work. You might adapt your research methods to accommodate any physical limitations.

Teaching and Mentoring: Many older genealogists find joy in mentoring younger enthusiasts. Passing down your knowledge and skills to the next generation can be a fulfilling way to ensure your legacy lives on.

Reflecting on Ancestry: As you age, you may find yourself reflecting more on your own ancestry and family history. This introspection can add depth to your genealogical research and provide a personal connection to the past.

Legacy Planning: Planning for the future of your genealogy research is crucial. Consider documenting your methods, organizing your research materials, and designating a successor to carry on your work when you're no longer able.

In summary, growing old as a genealogist offers the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy, share your knowledge, and connect with a vibrant community. However, it also requires adapting to technological changes, preserving your research, and planning for the future to ensure your work continues to benefit future generations.

Well, I have to agree with the entire list. It is about as good a summary as I could write in less than a minute. 

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