Reflections Prior to Entering a Genealogical 2020


How do you get the Christmas present that you want? You can provide a list of items but I have found that genealogical ones don’t light up interest in my wife and children. This year I online ordered a genealogical book that I wanted. When it arrived I handed the unopened package to my wife and said that she could wrap it, put her name on as giver of the gift and place it under the tree. She saw no issue with that as it reduced her shopping workload. On Christmas Day I unwrapped my new, used copy of The Phillmore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers. Ironically it was a discard from the County of Hampshire library system-the county from which my Atkeys came.

What gifts have I already given this year? I gifted a draft copy of my Bolton book to the Peel County Archives and to a few fellow Bolton researchers. I gifted a draft copy of my Campbell book to a fellow researcher who has been waiting for years to see it. When a friend asked for a copy of a marriage notice in the Sarnia Observer, I was pleased to be able to pass on a digital image of it to him. His question about a “service” cost, elicited my usual reply about buying me a coffee sometime. I do like wine as well! Actually the last comment allows me to segue into my pitch for donations to our Society, Branches and Special Interest Groups. When an obituary, marriage notice or birth notice is found and emailed or posted on Facebook at no cost by a Branch researcher out of the goodness of their heart, do remember that in some cases this researcher has driven to a library or archive, looked up the item and taken a scan of it. A monetary donation to the Branch helps keep it alive and in this day and age helps to fund electronic equipment needed to scan more content and to create online indexes. The same applies to archives, libraries and museums who gratefully accept monetary donations in order to continue their good work of building collections both paper and digital.

Two emails hit my inbox on Christmas Eve. One was from the daughter of a researcher who also had his YDNA tested at FamilytreeDNA. He and I are at a genetic distance of 1 so I need to learn how to analyse DNA results sooner than later. The other email was from the daughter of a first cousin, once removed, who has taken up where her father left off. With the enthusiasm of youth she has dug deeper into her immediate family’s history. When she noted that my sharing of information helped in her making more connections I felt good. These emails jolted me from the genealogical doldrums that I in was prior to their arrival. The latter email included a picture of my father as a young man, an area of his life that I do not have well documented in pictures. Christmas arrived early!

My reflections will have to include an analysis of how well I accomplished my genealogy goals in 2019. I know that I strayed from the course for one major goal at least. I will not castigate myself for that but will incorporate new deadlines for it in my 2020 goals.

May 2020 be the year that your brick walls crumble!
Alan Campbell
Ontario Ancestors [The Ontario Genealogical Society}


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