Time to get your ‘genealogy summer bucket list’ tuned up for the summer!
HAPPY SUMMER! Here we are at the summer solstice, at least for those of us genealogy fans living north of the Equator! For those of you reading this who live ‘Down South’ may this winter solstice bring you the start of a mild winter and please forgive me for focusing on SUMMER, but with the winter we just endured, we need a great summer!
I am sure I don’t really need to say that summer is a great time! It is one of those basic truisms of life – summers rock! Especially for those of us who love genealogy and family history. So much tends to happen in the summertime that adds to the richness and textures to what I like to call the tapestry that is our family history. So as summer begins on this day of the solstice, I think it is a good time to take stock of summers past and as genealogy fans get our genealogy bucket list tuned up.
First, let’s revisit a bit of summers past
As I said, it is hard to beat the memories of youthful summers. Often, for me at least, it meant outside early, outside all day, and outside until the streetlights went on and our mothers would begin to holler for us to come in for dinner.
We played kick-the-can, sandlot baseball, freeze tag, hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, capture the flag, Army, Marco Polo (if we were up at the municipal pool, and a hundred other games that we often simply made up on the spot. Often times, summer days would mean my pals and I would spend our entire day simply playing in the neighborhood creek and exploring every nook and cranny of Mother Nature offered us, but it flora or fauna. Plus since I was a Boy Scout there was always our big summer canoe and camping trip to the ‘wilds’ of Michigan.
Then there were the summer treats! Slo-Pokes, Dairy Queen, Tastee Freez, frozen Milky Way bars, the ice cream truck, Popsicles (singles and if you were lucky, doubles), Fudgsicles, Dreamsicles, Creamsicles, Drumsticks,
Then there were the hot days when we would turn into entrepreneurs and set up a lemonade stand. While we never seemed to make much money, we sure had a great time, talking, drinking our own supplies and simply enjoying it while we listened to all the sounds of summer that went on around us – perhaps a lawnmower, the cicadas, birds, crickets, and more. Then of course as the day would turn magically into that marvelous time we call ‘dusk’ we could invariably be found trying our best to each capture a few fireflies.
Then there were the places to go – usually on our bikes! The municipal pool, the lake, the reservoir, family car rides just because it was a lovely summer day or evening, local parades, and the wonderful annual event of a family summer vacation, usually taken in the family station wagon with huge fins of course, packed with family members, and a chock full luggage rack loaded up on top.
There were picnics, cookouts, finding and cleaning your own homemade hotdog or marshmallow stick, s’mores, and watermelon that tasted oh so very sweet!
Now let’s think about going back
Genealogists do their best to go back in time. We may not have invented a time machine quite yet; our family history work fills that bill pretty well at times. It helps us better understand and ‘know’ our ancestors and what it is that they lived through as they prepared the path that we find ourselves on today. So until one of us genealogists creates that time machine (and I am sure it will be a genealogist who makes the first one) a genealogy summer bucket list can be one of the next best things to a time machine.
We all know the concept: make a list of all the things you want to experience before you pass form this mortally coil. However, I find that when I do this, I tend to get a bit too ‘big picture’ listing all those places that are far flung, expensive to visit, and often close to being out of reach. So this genealogy summer bucket list is a bit more realistic and has a shorter timeframe attached to it.
First, simply look back on your own youthful summers. What were some of your very favorite summer places, memories, friends, games, ways to spend time, etc? Put them on a list. And then don’t forget to attach that list to your own profile on your electronic family tree.
Second, pick just a couple of these that really stand out for you. Perhaps one of them is in peril of being redeveloped into something other than what it was when you were young. Perhaps it is a game that no one seems to play any longer, but that you really loved. Maybe it is campfire songs, ghost stories, etc. It could be a friend, lost to time, but with whom you’d like to renew your past friendship. Perhaps they are a city park, state park, cemetery, or old family home.
Third, set a timeframe for your genealogy summer bucket list. This will give you the best chance of keeping your list realistic. Even if it is only one place that is A-OK since our goal is to simply accomplish the list, not compete, but simply have a bit of great genealogy time and preserve some memories.
Lastly, add the outcomes from your successful accomplishments of your genealogy summer bucket list to your electronic family tree, share your notes, photos, and stories with anyone in the family who might enjoy them, and start thinking about your upcoming genealogy autumn bucket list! I’ll even leave you with this advance hint: There is no better time than autumn to get beautiful photographs in family cemeteries!
Happy summer! I hope you enjoy every genealogy oriented day of it!