Springtime is the Perfect Time to Prepare Your Genealogy Garden
Springtime is a wonderful time! The snows are finally gone (at least in most places), the days are getting longer, the earth is warming, and it is time, or soon will be, for planting.
We can all take a lesson from our ancestors, many of whom worked the land, and begin planning for our summer. Not only should we spend some time planning our gardens (this year I am adding a few hyacinths for me and some milkweed for the monarch butterflies), but we should begin planning our summer activities for our genealogy.
We are already too late to plan any truly effective family reunions if they haven’t already been planned. However, the good news is there certainly is plenty of time to plan some smaller family gatherings and get-togethers. It is always good to have your genealogy needs in mind before these events so you can have your questions ready, your target family members picked out well before hand, and your photo needs thought out.
Spring is also a great time to plan some outings to any cemeteries you need to visit. Before the grasses and bushes get to grown up and often times they can be very beautiful as a result of some of the wonderful flowering trees and shrubs cemeteries often have planted. Plus since the days are getting longer there is more daylight time for just walking around. But remember – call and get all the information on any locations, etc. you need well in advance. Fewer and fewer cemeteries have onsite staff any longer and some even require all requests be in writing and sent in the mail.
Spring also means summer is coming and also vacations from school for the younger members of our families. So now is the time to be thinking of any family projects that you can plan that will not only include the younger generation, but also entice them into enjoying learning more about their heritage and ancestors. One of my favorites is to have the youngsters help plan a few meals that feature foods from one of the ethnic backgrounds in our family.
Speaking of vacations, while not everyone in the family will agree, you can always hone your pitch early to try and convince the family to spend all or part of the family vacation in a spot where you just ‘might’ have some cousins, an old family home, a local historical society, library, or if you are really lucky an archive!
Also remember vacations are primetime for reading. Sure you can peruse the New York Times Best Seller List or watch for the ‘suggested summer reading’ in your local newspaper, but I suggest you take a look at your genealogy bookshelf first. If you are like me there most likely is a volume or two you just have not had the time to read yet. So before you spend your money and time on a summer thriller, pick up that book that will give you some genealogy thrills. Personally, my free time this summer will include reading time for my newest book “The Prague Slav Congress of 1848” by Lawrence Orton. (Yes, I am that much of a genealogy geek!)
So this spring, before the gardens need weeding this summer, spend some time planting your genealogy garden so you can watch it blossom all summer long – and if you are lucky for a lifetime!