Do you have the patience for genealogy?

Have you ever been around a three-year-old who is anxious to have something put together but is having trouble waiting for that thing to be assembled?

Not too many years ago, my daughter waited impatiently for her daddy to put together a tricycle. She helped him get the parts out of the box. She attempted to help him select the right tools for the job. In with naive aplomb, she put screws into what resembled the correct holes. Soon, her patience and excitement ran out. She laid on the carpet certain daddy would never build her tricycle.

Genealogy takes too long!
In the words of a three year-old, “This take too long!”

Are you like a three-year-old awaiting their tricycle when you research your family tree?

We want the discoveries now!

We try to lay cousin bait and want to hook a new connection by the end o the week.

The effort we spend contacting family members, archives, and repositories help us clean up our trees and find new ancestors and documents supporting detailing their lives. And yet, it sometimes feels like we’ll never finish our work. We’ll never have time to write “The Book.” We’ll never find the answer to who is grandmother’s grandfather. And so on.

Just like a daddy assembling the tricycle part by part, there are many elements that have to come into play in order to build our family tree.

Be patient with others when doing genealogy

We need patience when waiting for others to share the things they promise to share. Be it photos, diaries, letters, or information. These things could be the handlebars and seat for the tricycle. Or perhaps they are the decorative elements. It’s hard to wait for these pieces of our genealogical tricycle to be built.

Be patient with ourselves when doing genealogy

We need patience with ourselves. I have two lines, the Gordons and the  Hedricks, that I need to answer emails on and make some changes to my tree for. I keep meaning to work on those lines but the Geiszlers and Townsends keep attracting my attention. In the meantime, I’m facing deadlines and raising my children.

Developing patience with myself seems equivalent to waiting for the nuts and bolts to fit together as tightly as they should. Do we have the patience to keep working the handle of the socket wrench until the fitting holds?

Be patient with record access when doing genealogy

We need patience with record sets. I would love to have more records from Howard County, Missouri available for my grandmother’s birth mother whose brick wall has recently begun to crack open.

I had to have patience as I awaited the digitizing and making available of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper from Columbus, Ohio. For years, the newspapers were not accessible. They are now, but I still have to wait. The Columbus Metropolitan Library has made the collection available to library cardholders. I am patiently awaiting my aunt to grant me access to her library card so I can research this collect.

Waiting for newspaper access feels like a frustrated three-year-old when the tricycle part list comes up short, and her daddy has to run out to the hardware store to find a substitution!

Be patient with genetic genealogy

We need patience with genetic genealogy. For five years, my DNA results lacked excitement. In fact, I made a video about it.

I did not make cousin connections until recently. Things changed last year.

Andy discovered my grandmother’s biological father!!!!

This spring we also discovered new 3rd cousins to me but closer relations to my cousins. The DNA discoveries are making things interesting on the Brown/Anderson side of my family tree. I’m still waiting to make discoveries on the Geiszler/Zumstein/Townley lines.

Waiting for more DNA data to become available is much like my daughter laying on the carpet thinking daddy will never finish. Sometimes, we need to lay down on the floor and wait for others to take DNA tests so connections can be made.

Patience in Genealogy is like waiting for a tricycle
Daddy did it. Our daughter actually said, “My bike! My bike!”

Patience in genealogy pays off

Much like the building of a tricycle, genealogy and family history takes patience. Thankfully there is much we can do while we’re waiting and working to assemble our family tree. And ultimately, we eventually get a tricycle that’s super fun to ride. And we beam, just like my daughter did when it was finally assembled!

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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