Claire came in tentatively, clutching her notebook. Kathleen, her sister, was obviously by her side for moral support. We’d played phone tag all day and I was so thrilled to see them walk through the door of my home away from home- the Family History Center.
They talked about Thomas Walsh whose ship’s record and naturalization records were the soup du jour. After an hour of searching I looked at Claire and asked, “What’s the big deal? You know the year he arrived. That’s documented. Why are you stuck on more paperwork to prove it?”
“I just want those pieces of his story,” Claire shrugged.
You have to understand that my body still hasn’t adjusted to staying awake past 7:30 pm in the 6+ months I’ve been doing other things at night, and a telltale sign is how punchy I can get. We had had a blast searching and visiting, opening documents where a few facts matched, but not enough to throw a party.
So we tried different avenues and approaches and I shared how impressed I was with how their minds had shifted into a detective mode. I’d seen it happen. They were excited to be feeling more independent.
Finally I let them in on a secret of mine. My Piles. I like my piles. They are convenient places to put recalcitrant and invisible people who know where they are but don’t want you to find them. I like to leave them there to let them think. They have to come to terms with their responsibility to help people get their story straight.
I suggested to Claire that she put this little family in a “Floating on a Raft in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean” pile for a while. They had to get here somehow. Canoe? There must be a better, more concise name for it. Perhaps you’ll think of it for me and I’ll pass it on. How ’bout the “Life Preserver” pile? I’ll offer both and let them choose.
We reluctantly packed things up and promised to get together on Thursday night to put together a file system for their documents and notes. We chatted about Family Tree Maker and my reluctance to buy more genealogy software. To be honest, I pondered my resistance to it all night and wondered if I was just being stubborn?
Yes. I was. When it comes to stuff that doesn’t do what I want it to do I stand firm against letting it take up space on my computer and calendar. It’s not that I don’t love what it does for you as far as collecting, filing, and creating documents, as well as charts, maps, and books from all of your hard work. They offer beautiful, functional, important things for genealogists and family historians.
I’m on another path. I’ve made the transition to Legacy Stories where you can have a personal family tree website. create and share photo albums, stories and videos, AND link them to FamilySearch all while staying in as much control of it as you want while sharing with family and friends. And at less than $10/mo. the value can’t be matched. Just upload a GEDcom (GEnealogical Data COMmunication) file and you’re up and running!
I’ll tell you more about it another time. It’s really cool and is the newest rage. You at least need to know how fast technology is advancing the genealogy/family history experience!
To me it’s all about using the Internet to share and to connect in meaningful ways. The last thing I need is another site that seems like a coffee table book that has had so much love put into it and has to sit and wait for people to be invited to open it. I like an open-door policy. It’s more fun. And if I can have a quality one-stop-shopping experience I’m happy, too! (No matter what, I always have a paper copy, and a GEDCOM file saved in in my computer and on a CD case of emergency.)
So, until Friday (if good stuff happens Thursday night!), take care and Happy Hunting!
P.S. I’m not on the Internet much anymore except for family history work. But I’m easy to contact by email, and if you need my phone number I’ll give it to you there. See ya!