You may have attended a Family History Discovery Day. You may have visited the Family History Discovery Center in Salt Lake City. You may have gone to your first family history conference or genealogical society meeting. You may have heard a presentation at a social club or watched Who Do You Think You Are? or Genealogy Roadshow. Or you have heard a commercial for Ancestry.com or 23andMe genetic genealogy testing program.
Your heart stirred and you want to know more about your ancestors and your heritage. A small spark ignited. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Soon, your normal life will resume (if it hasn’t already). Soon, you will be thinking about a presentation or deadline at work, a social function at church, a child’s school and extracurricular activity schedule. Soon you’ll be thinking about how you’re going to get through a family crisis or continue caring for a disabled relative (be they young or old). Soon, the things you learned at the family history or genealogical event is behind you and quite possibly forgotten.
The great thing about the event that you attended is there will probably be another one next year near your home. Better yet, there might be another experience opportunity one next month. What’s more, if you don’t have a physical event near you, there are so many resources online or in book format. The opportunity to re-kindle the fire of interest in family history is ever present.
Like most fires, if you only have a small flame and little fuel to burn, it will soon die out. You have to have the right type of wood stacked so that when the flame is lit, there is something it can burn. Then another type of wood to burn. Then something more substantial, until finally, the flames are steadily working through a substantial piece of wood like a log that will burn for hours if conditions are right.
So how do you turn a flame into a fire?
By doing something small and doing it regularly.
Fires rarely can go from spark to burning a log rapidly. There are little pieces of wood that must burn first. And there often needs to be more little pieces of wood than the larger pieces. So, you must figure out what your small, little things are that you can do regularly to keep your single flame reaching for something more.
What is it?
I wish I could tell you what that would be for you, but I can’t. I don’t know you, what you experienced, and what will sustain you. But I do know there was one thing that you heard, felt, or thought about during your family history exposure that you felt drawn to do. It could be something big or something small.
Review your notes or your memories and recall what that was. If it’s something big, how can you break it down into small, achievable steps? If it’s something small, are you able to start working on that tip now? Do you need to learn something before you can follow the small suggestion? Do you need to acquire something to follow the advice?
Evaluate the one thing that you learned or considering doing and start. Start doing that thing. Start preserving that memory. Start learning about that ancestor. Start learning that app or program. Start organizing those files. Start doing whatever it was that you wanted or needed to do. Start.
Beat the odds when it comes to retention of knowledge that these events and experiences stimulate. Be the one that starts becoming more involved and passionate about family history and genealogy. Be the person that doesn’t worry about all the things you’re not doing, but instead focuses on the one thing that you are doing to Find, Take, Teach; Capture and Preserve; Discover, Organize and Share; and so on. Be the one that does something to keep the fire burning. You can do it!