Saturday, July 8, 2017
Not What I Was Planning
There are some times when I just want to sit down and dispatch my volunteer duties without any drama, annoyances, or other deterrents. Today was just not to be one of those days.
I like to contribute to that worldwide effort to index genealogical records via FamilySearch.org on a regular basis, so early each month on the first weekend, I set aside time to select a file to work on. Since I had been having such success working on the Illinois naturalization records—bonus: some of the records were actually typed, meaning no more headaches deciphering impossible handwriting—I thought I'd keep on that roll, despite the first collection suggested being a "high priority" set of World War Two draft records. I convinced myself that the draft card project was rated a "2" rather than my customary "3"—making it much easier than the level I try to slog through each month. I certainly didn't want to shirk my duty by taking the easier path. I let that high priority slip by and stuck to my virtuous standards. Besides, this would be easy; I already knew what was in store with this other record set.
That's not what the cyber-lords had planned for me. Apparently, at that precise moment in the genea-universe's scheme of things, I was served up what can only be described as a ledger book of entries having something to do with someone's naturalization process. It certainly didn't look like any record I had dealt with before.
I decided to ditch it. After all, when I started, I got a warning notice that I was being served up a file that had been abandoned, midway, by another indexer. I could certainly see why. Still, I felt like tucking my tail in as I skulked away—no, changed my mind and tried my best...then gave up in the end.
So I ended up with the "high priority" draft records, after all. Almost every one was impeccably printed or even typewritten, and the "easy" rating turned out to be an honest assessment. Besides, the whole set was from California, and being alphabetized, contained only the records from one solitary surname: Hayhurst. With the auto-completion mechanism embedded within the program, it was a snap to finish the set.
I did penance for my recalcitrant start and pulled up a second batch. This time, it was the Watts collection—same surname, from all over California.
By this time, I really felt I had the hang of things, and tried a third batch. Wrong idea. I should have left well enough alone. This batch was all the "C" surnames, including several by people with either abysmal handwriting, or multiple address changes and messy cross-outs.
Somehow, I muddled through. Perhaps this is why, even though volunteering is considered a good work, it also involves a sacrifice. There is always some sort of hurdle to put enough challenge into the effort. It may be freely given, but it does cost something.
And yet, despite all that, it is still worth it.