Twenty Tips for Living with the Obsessed Genealogist

Posing for photos with tombstones is perfectly normal activity.

Me, Scooter Bug and Uncle Humphrey Stanwood in Bar Harbor, Maine – 2013.   See tip #18 below. (In case you hadn’t noticed.  I like the color pink.  And Poodles.)

  1. Once infected, always infected.  There is no cure for the genealogy bug.
  2. The subscription is non-negotiable.  Pick your battles carefully.
  3. Never, EVER throw away paper found on the office floor.
  4. Food.  Clothing. Shelter. Computer.  The basics of life.
  5. The rising and setting of the sun is meaningless to a genealogist.  Plan on your family member climbing into bed long after midnight, and getting up before the sun rises.
  6. Family vacations are not for the living.  They are the search for the dead.
  7. Remember, “I just need 15 more minutes” (to peruse the bookstore, get off the computer, or put away the old photo of Grandma Betsey) really means, “I’ll be done in another hour.”  (My husband would argue another TWO hours.)
  8. One can never have too many books.
  9. The dining room table is not for eating.
  10. The microwave oven is your friend.  So are leftovers.
  11. One answer leads to ten more questions.  And delayed bedtime.
  12. OMG is not necessarily a bad expression. Consider the context in which the phrase was uttered.  (Hint: in the library is DEFINITELY a good sign.)
  13. Master your facial expressions.  Practice looking amazed and surprised in the mirror. You’ll need this when you listen to how the genealogist finally determined that great-great grandpa Ben’s brother Bert was married to Grandpa Ben’s wife’s Aunt Myrtle.  No, not Lottie.  She was Uncle Bert’s cousin and first wife.  (Note:  it is your response to the find, not the memory of the relationships, upon which you will be graded later.)
  14. Completing your man cave is far less important than assembling the fourth set of bookshelves in the home office.
  15. The savvy non-genealogist has mapped the roads to points of interest that do not have libraries, bookstores, or cemeteries.
  16. Proper planning prevents poor performance. If you fail at #15, be prepared to kill an hour or two with alternate activities.
  17. Suggestions of travel are never strictly for pleasure.  Be prepared to kill a day or two with alternate activities if you find yourself abandoned for yet another genealogical conference.
  18. Posing for a picture with a tombstone is perfectly normal activity.
  19. You can never go wrong purchasing a second computer monitor as a birthday present or gift for Christmas.
  20. Grandparents.  Grandchildren.  The very best gifts of all.

11 responses to “Twenty Tips for Living with the Obsessed Genealogist

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