• Colleen Murray

Genealogy & Positivity


If you’re like me, you are staying home as much as possible right now, to social-distance and help “flatten the curve”. It’s easy to get stuck in a newsfeed loop, watching or reading stressful pandemic stories, that we can’t do much to help fix- except to stay home. Genealogy is a good distraction for your brain, and a good way to keep yourself busy at home. We can also find ways, through genealogy, to help and stay connected with others.



1. Work on an indexing project

Indexing makes you feel good because you know you are helping someone else with every keystroke. Additionally, indexing is a bit addictive, and definitely distracting. There are lots of available projects on the go, allowing you to pick the one that best fits your interest and experience. Some places to look for projects:

FamilySearch

BillionGraves

Library and Archives Canada Co-Lab


2. Introduce children to genealogy

If you find yourself caring for children who are suddenly home all day, this could be the time to show them your own genealogy projects. There are some great resources available free to download from the Alberta Genealogical Society to get children of different ages started on their own genealogical research.


3. Connect with your DNA and Tree matches

While we are reducing our interactions with people face-to-face, this may be an opportunity to reach out to people online. Take some time to review your old messages from your family tree or DNA matches- did you reply to them all, or did you miss a few? Do you have more details to share with someone than you did last time you were in contact? Sometimes we message with a relative regularly for weeks, and then move on to research a different branch of our tree, and may fall out of contact with that relative for years. This might be a good time to reach out and reconnect, as many of us begin to feel more socially isolated.


4. Enhance your online tree

Many of us have desktop genealogy software separate from the online family trees we share with others. While some people are afraid to post their trees online for fear of someone “stealing” the information, in my opinion, the best way to honour an ancestor is to share their story with others (especially if what you share is well-researched and backed up with documented evidence). While my children might not be that interested in genealogy, by adding photos or conclusions to my online tree, I am passing that on to future generations to find someday. This is a lot of work, but when you see a fantastic online tree, you know it was a labour of love.


While genealogy isn’t going to solve a pandemic, it can be a good social-distancing activity, and something positive that we can do for ourselves and others.


Stay safe, everyone.

© 2020, Colleen Murray