Monday, July 3, 2017
I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today. We're in the midst of another summer—summer, that time which used to mean getting away from the everyday routine to go on a genealogical research trip.
During the times when I used to teach school as a regular job, schedules were such that the only chance to squeeze in some family history research was on school holidays and summer vacation. Trips to cemeteries, libraries, archives, or any other repositories of the information I was seeking needed to be done after the school year had been completed.
Though my work life morphed far from those early days of teaching, that pattern seemed to follow. After all, who wants to tromp through cemeteries in the dead of winter? Besides, the air conditioning of libraries and archives made all the more sense in the sizzling summertime. The habit of summer research still rightfully claimed some compelling reasons, even though the confines of the teacher's work schedule opened considerably.
Now, it seems I travel during most any time of year but summertime. The crowds are less; the prices often better. But I can't help but let my mind wander to the possibility of research trips, once the weather starts warming up. Conditioned reflex, perhaps, but with it comes the warm fuzzy remembrance of hunting for those elusive ancestral hints in dusty files and old records. Just about the only thing I don't miss about it is the nausea of spending hours speed-reading through microfilmed records.
If you have plans for a summer research excursion, best wishes to you—and heartfelt thanks from someone who wonders whether the instant online resources at our fingertip command have spoiled us to that primitive thrill of the hunt in the wilds of those repositories where we once spent our summer hours.
Above: "The Questioner of the Sphinx," 1863 oil on canvas by American book illustrator Elihu Vedder; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.