I give myself permission to let them go...

I have a confession to make. I'm a not super woman. Ahh! Shocking. I know. Also, I am a little nuts. Truth be told, most genealogist are and it is okay. If you're anything like me, when you find someone connected to someone on your tree that no one is researching, you have the urge to include them on your tree. You want someone to remember them. Since you found them, it should be you, right?

Compound this by the adage that you want to trace the neighbors in a particular area of your ancestor so you can see the 'social network' of family members. You can easily see how I get lost in other people's trees.

Well... after months of trying to connect Family Search records to the Family Tree for over 1,000 people in my RootsMagic database, I give up. This crazed urge to make sure that Family Search has everything I have (source/record wise) has been debilitating. I haven't progressed in the writing projects that I set for myself. All I have cared about is getting the 1,000 number to zero. I have been a slave to this goal.

While attempting to achieve this goal, I have noticed how Family Search and RootsMagic have greatly improved the process of attaching records and sources. My favorite improvement is that I no longer have to save the record to the source box and then save it to the family tree. I can save the record straight to my family tree individual in one step. Woo-hoo!

I want applaud FamilySearch for the efforts they have made in the last year. Good job guys. However, the process of taking the records I've already found and saved painstakingly into RootsMagic and attaching these records to the Family Tree members isn't easy for those with hundreds, or thousands of names. Will we ever get everything we have connected? 

I just wish the record citations I have in RootsMagic (complete with url in the source form, would upload and somehow magically connect the record without me having to search for it again. (I know. It pays to double check. But for many people, I have checked and rechecked. I want to upload and move on.) I don't know if what I wish will ever be possible.

My goals this year were to work my way back through the family tree of my father and my mother and turn the facts I've found into stories. I would switch sides between the branches as my interest waned on one line rather than the other. I started the year off great, but didn't keep up. Additionally, I have a host of other writing and craft projects that I've neglected, not to mention house work. All because I wanted to turn 1,000 to 0.

So... I declare that there are about 400 names of my 1,000 who I will not be connecting the sources I have found to the Family Search Family Tree. If I come to their name while achieving my primary goals, then I'll connect their sources. Otherwise, I have to let it be.

I'm unshackling myself from the responsibility of 'other people's relatives.' I'm going to stop researching collateral lines beyond what I need to tell the story of my family members. I am going to recommit to doing
 my primary family history goals and housework. (Okay, I might not commit to the housework.) As I focus on my primary goals, I will evaluate what I like to do with family history and what I don't like to do. I'm going to focus on my strengths. And, I'm going to leave some folks for others to find. (Gosh that is heart wrenching. Why?)

I hope by opening up, others will be inspired to do the free themselves from unrealistic exceptions and rededicate themselves to their real proprieties. Perhaps, I have given a great chuckle or head sake to more experiences genealogy community members for my amateurish nature. Yet, I think we learn by discussing, so I have a few questions.

Dear readers... what unrealistic goals have you unshackled yourself from in your family history research? Did you feel a sense of relief after so doing?

Also... what guidelines do you have for not going 'too far' on the collateral branches? How do you stand to find someone and leave them for someone else to research?  


  1. You mean people are actually successful in unshackling? I am in awe of those who have succeeded at this ;) I tend to get off on genealogical tangents and eventually wander my way back but I get distracted very easily. I guess my goal should be to learn to be more focused on my direct line, huh? LOL

    1. Danni, Thanks for the chuckles. It's pretty amazing once you recognize that you're impossibly burdened and you cast it off. I am only one person so I need to learn what is practical and what's a wee bit insane. Thanks for making me not feel too alone in getting lost in tangent world. Happens far too often.

      I am trying to be more focused on my direct lines. The maiden name line is stuck. But there are openings throughout the tree extending backwards to research that are not often neglected in favor of my maiden name line.

  2. How timely this post is. I've "trimmed" my family tree because I had several unverified lines going back to the Middle Ages-- so time to cut 'em and focus on more recent, verified ancestors. My rule with collateral relatives in my tree is that I include siblings of direct ancestors (not their children though) only up to 3rd greats... unless there's a sibling of a direct ancestor who's notable. Spouses of family member are included, but not their families... my brother-in-law (sister's hubbie) has his own family tree that I started working on.

    1. Thanks Karen. I think those suggestions are wonderful


Powered by Blogger.