How Much Is It Going To Cost To Get Into the Game?

Referencing my last post, a few questions have come to my attention as we begin this season, one being the title of this post. In light of public exposure to genealogy, through shows like Who Do You Think You Are?, many have been discussing the realistic amount of time it takes to produce the outcomes illustrated on a network show.

Coins WPMost recently a blog post on Ancestry.com revealed the 1000 hours of research behind the pursuit of Cindy Crawford’s roots. In addition, much of the highlighted research was research completed long before the inception of the show. One point that I did not see mentioned was the financial cost of those 1000 hours. In the real world hiring a genealogist to complete 1000 hours of research may cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 and that is not including travel expenses associated with on-site research. For most of us, this is unrealistic. Besides, if you are going to send someone to research your roots I would hope that someone would be you!  Who wants to sit on the sidelines?

So this begs the question, how much is it going to cost to get into the game? The short answer is that it will cost both time and money. The amount it will cost will depend on you and your circumstances.

In my last post I mentioned scheduling your game. I hope that you have committed time to this pursuit. It just might be the most rewarding trophy you place on your shelf or the shelves of your descendants. It doesn’t have to be 1000 hours in a few months. Small gains can still make a first down. Consistent progress may not only help you find family history, but make memories that become your family’s history of the future.

As far as the financial cost, it all depends on your choices. Be forewarned: the pursuit of one’s genealogy and family history has become big business. Nevertheless, one can pursue genealogy and family history with little, if any, additional cost :-) Gathering records and photographs in your possession and interviewing family members and others who knew your family cost no more than your time. Access to a computer, the internet, scanners, and subscription sites may be as close as your nearest Family History Center. On the web, your favorite search engine may list interesting leads and some sources. Be aware that the search algorithm of the different providers may reveal different results. Sometimes great material is missed if you limit your query to one search database.

So, how much is it going to cost to get into the game? It all depends. There is no doubt that such a pursuit comes from discretionary funds and this amount varies from person to person. I would recommend that a set amount be put aside each month. It’s part of the discipline of the game.

Every game has limits. In football, there are four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes. With the exception of a possible tie at the end of a fourth quarter, the game is over when the clock runs out. Know the limits of your game, but don’t let these limits block you. Tackle your limits, whether in time or money, with innovations that provide new paths to success. As the quarterback of your team it is your responsibility to read the defense of the opposing team (limits) and make the necessary adjustments. The goal is to gain yardage for a first down and ultimately a touchdown!

My best to you this coming week…Cheering you on from the bleachers :-)

[After all these considerations, if you decide that you would like to handoff your research project to an assistant coach contact me. Together we can come up with a winning strategy to find your elusive ancestors.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Can You Chart the Heart? Revisited

I’ve been thinking about this question in relation to the new emphasis in FamilySearch training that says “first the heart, then the chart” in genealogy and family history. It only makes sense. This idea is important to acknowledge by those who have their charts given to them, such as in long-standing New England or LDS families. Others who begin with a question, curiosity, or desire to know the unknown naturally start from the heart because there is no chart :-) The heart provides the motivation for the quest, yet sometimes our hearts are challenged. Rarely do we know this until symptoms manifest.

Equipment to Chart the Heart WPIn 1903, a Dutch physician named Willem Einthoven invented a way to chart the heart. He received the Pulitzer Prize in Medicine for this in 1924. The electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) identifies abnormalities that provide doctors with information that helps in diagnosis and treatment. The heart exists; the chart assists. The same thing can be true in family history.

Anyone familiar with history knows that challenges within families have existed from the beginning. Without expounding, I have met many individuals over the years who resist family history and genealogy because of sensitive issues surrounding the chart. Family history can be fun if as a community we realize that one size does not fit all. Adoption and other circumstances require our understanding. I remember one student in the second grade who was asked to draw a picture of her family. She drew herself, her mom, her dad, a brother, and three sisters. In reality, her parents were divorced and she was an only child. She drew herself in her best friend’s family. In essence, she charted her heart.

The purpose of this post is NOT to address social or political issues, but to suggest ways that one can engage in and enjoy family history and genealogy by charting the way to turning the heart :-)

  • Start with anyone that you and/or your child would like to know more about :-) Consider a member of your family who has a quality or qualities that you admire. More often than not, they stand on the shoulders of those that came before them. Find out :-) Think about it; Who Do You Think You Are? finds a significant story, otherwise the majority of the audience would just tune out. Learn about your ancestor, write their story and/or a script, make your own episode highlighting a series of interesting life events. Make the ordinary extraordinary!
  • Family Roots Circle Pedigree WPPost a fill-in-the-blank chart in a high traffic area in your home, even on the refrigerator if necessary. Make sure it is laminated and that a vis-á-vis or extra fine Sharpie is readily available to record discoveries. Our chart was in the family room. Recently I decided I would erase all the ancestors and start over, more for fun than verification purposes :-) My daughter’s response was, “Mom, you do have all of this recorded somewhere else, don’t you?” My son came home that day and asked, “What happened to the ancestors!” Believe me, they notice :-) Again, the chart can start with anyone that turns your heart :-)
  • Create a chart to discover common or complementary talents, interests, abilities, and/or occupations. One can chart eye color, hair color, and/or other physical traits. [Don’t you just love military records and passport information that are so descriptive!] The point is for family members to discover patterns and what they have in common with their ancestors.

So, when I consider the titled question, my response is a resounding YES! [And, it can be a fun process.] Just like so much in life, one cannot appreciate what one has not discovered for oneself. It’s the journey, not the destination, that engages the heart and fills out the chart!

[If you have an idea for charting the heart and would like to share, please comment or send me message. At your request, full attribution or anonymity will be included in future posts. If you have your own blog and post a response there, send me the link. I would love to continue the conversation :-)]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Lynn, Lynn, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit…WDYTYA Live!

WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 1 WP

I placed it on the calendar, so I thought I’d report on Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London. It wasn’t on my personal calendar, just the genealogical calendar that I keep. Although I ended up being there, it was a surprise, a very nice surprise :-)

So, what was it like to attend “the world’s biggest family history event?” Well, it was interesting and it was a lot of fun. It’s based on the highly successful UK edition of the television show, including having some of the celebrities in attendance. WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 2 WPThe conference focused on British research with a touch of the Irish. With this year being The Gathering Ireland 2013, it was definitely my year! Presentations covered local history, folklore, family stories, and the many resources available to search for one’s Irish ancestors. Find My Past and Eneclann were in attendance as well as Tourism Ireland to assist those with questions.

WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 3 WPFamilySearch was there to greet you as you entered the Olympia National Hall. David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer of FamilySearch, and Audrey Collins of The National Archives, along with many others, were there to assist with research questions. This conference encourages its attendees to come prepared to get things done. Personally, I like it that way!

FamilyTree DNA held sessions throughout each day to educate participants about DNA, the tests that are available, and what one can expect to learn from such an investment. The line at their booth seemed never ending!

Ancestry held training sessions from Top Tips to Family Tree Maker. Exploring Your Family’s Past with Sir Tony Robinson was a very popular session with standing room only. It was fortunate that the open sessions allowed one to hear from a distance :-) Many of the booths were regional and it was fun to engage in conversation with such knowledgeable individuals. I found a small plush toy cow monogrammed with the flag and name of Jersey at the Jersey Family History Forum. For those who may not know, Jersey cows have an interesting history :-)

WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 4 WPAsk the Experts gave individuals the opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable genealogist about an area of research interest. Maureen Taylor, known as The Photo Detective, James McCurdy, and other photo experts were on hand to identify and date one’s family photographs. This line seemed never ending too! Scanners for personal documents and photos were also available in the Ancestry member’s lounge.

WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 5 WP

Eric Knowles was on hand to help attendees learn more about their family heirlooms and there was even a Military Memorabilia Checkpoint and experts specializing in different divisions. All of these opportunities were found on the second floor of the venue each day.

Many people just sat down by the cafes at the corners of the building to talk and eat. There was rarely an empty table! Each day welcomed new people to the venue. On Saturday, many youth and young adults accompanied their parents and/or grandparents. This was a boon for my friend Janet Hovorka who has just published a resource for families entitled Zap the Grandma Gap :-)WDYTYA Lynn Broderick 2013 6 WP

Attendees were given an option to purchase tickets for those “must see” sessions to guarantee a place. As to be expected, Dr. Turi King’s session on the DNA testing of Richard the III had standing room only! I had the opportunity to listen to an interview with Dr. King by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems. Lisa mentioned that the interview will be released sometime in March and made available on iTunes so keep in touch. I’ll post the information as soon as I receive it.

It was a wonderful event, visiting with old friends and meeting new people. As a bonus, the airline just happened to fly over the area of Ireland from which my ancestors emigrated, and with clear skies and a window seat I enjoyed photographing the area. The pictures may not be of “professional” quality, but they make a great memory :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.