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21 March 2016

Do you have the patience for genealogy?

Are you patient enough 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?

Oh so many years ago, my daughter was this exact age waiting 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. She even tried her hand at putting screws into what she thinks were the correct holes. Soon, the process was taking too long and she laid on the carpet certain this tricycle would never be built.

impatient three year-old
"This take too long!"

Are we like a three year-old awaiting their tricycle when we approach genealogy? We want the discoveries now! We try to lay cousin bait. We make contacts to family members and repositories. We clean up our trees and look for records online. But, it sometimes feels like we'll never have a family tree that's built.


And, just like a daddy working on the tricycle part by part, there are many elements that have to come into play in order for our genealogy tree to be built.

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

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. This is much like being patient when the nuts and bolts are quite fitting together as tightly as they should. Do we have the patience to keep working the handle of the socket wrench until the fitting holds?

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 have to be patient as I await the digitizing and making available of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper from Columbus, Ohio. There are some issues of the magazine online, but nothing with a continuous data set for all the years I most desire. Oh help the three year-old when the tricycle part list comes up short and daddy has to run out to the hardware store to find a substitution!

We need patience with genetic genealogy. My DNA results are not as exciting as they could be. I'm not really making cousin connections. Partly because I have no idea who my mother's mother's father is. I finally know a little more about my mother's mother's mother and the mother before her. That was from a paper trail and not DNA. For my mother's father's line, there aren't any males living. So, how can we work out that line? With more testing of relatives to create this triangulation. Yet, it all take patience as we await the missing links to be testing and invite our cousins to offer up their saliva or cheek cells.  Waiting for more DNA data to become available is much like my daughter laying on the carpet thinking daddy will never finish. We need to not lay on the floor, be it carpet, wood, or tile, and pout because things aren't falling into place on our time schedule.

Genealogy Tricycle Analogy
"My bike! My bike!"

Much like the building of a tricycle, genealogy and family history takes patience. Thankfully there is much we an 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!

And soon she'd out grown this tricycle and need to be patient as a larger bike was built. So it is with genealogy. Some of us are awaiting our tricycle to be built. Others of us are in a mid-size kid bike. And others are building our own adult size bike. No matter the size of bike, we need to be patience and remember there will be a happy dance awaiting in the future.

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