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Sunday, October 3, 2010

12 Step Program for Genealogists

Child #2 tells me I am a genealogy addict. I counter with my attendance of meetings, ostensibly looking for a cure. Child patiently explains the concept of 12 step programs; they are supposed to help one kick a habit, not provide another fix.

After some thought, I developed my own 12 Step Program. Rather than looking for a "cure", it focuses on encouraging my family to help me find just one more ancestor.

Step 1: When dinner conversation turns to county boundary changes (after nonchalantly steering the family in this direction), share no more than two stories of ancestors impacted by the change.

Step 2: If asked who the new baby looks like, answer using only the names of same-gender ancestors. Share photos when your opinion is met with rolling eyes.

Step 3: Offer to help with grandchildren's homework, especially history and geography. Casually include information about ancestors who lived in these times and places. Stop talking when you hear your children's footsteps.

Step 4: Discreetly include photos of ancestors in baby books, holiday photo albums etc. Act surprised when your children point out the impossibilty of a Revolutionary soldier at last Thanksgiving's dinner.

Step 5: Carry important papers everywhere. One never knows when a 1910 census will come in handy during a lull in the conversation.

Step 6: Make copies of family group sheets and "forget" one every time you visit.

Step 7: Plan vacations that coincidentally (how was I to know?) include the final resting places of ancestors.

Step 8: Help with the purchase of new school clothes for the grandkids. Authentic period costumes can be found on many web sites.

Step 9: Ask everyone, everywhere, about their ethnic origin. When in the company of children and grandchildren, prompt them to share theirs with store clerks, softball coaches, postal employees, directory assistance operators...

Step 10: While at the corner market, point out the simplicity of purchasing food in "these modern times". Tell stories of ancestors carrying shotguns into a nearby forest to shop for the evening meal.

Step 11: Offer to drive the grandkids home from school. Take a different route each time so those cemetery visits don't seem redundant.

Step 12: Take steps to create lifelong addicts genealogists in the next few generations. Openly share your love of family history with the family who is creating their own history today.


Mary said...

Great post, thanks for sharing!

hummer said...

I identify and so Love your post. Thank you so much.

ToddHouse said...

Funny! And how deviously effective!

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

Highly amusing!

Terri said...

Great post! I plan to put all 12 steps into work at once! LOL

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

This is a really wonderful post. My friends and I have gotten a good chuckle this morning.

reh ncw said...

great post! I will need to add it to my list .

Nolichucky Roots said...

Brilliant. I'll be smiling for hours.

Jen said...

I sit here eating breakfast while trying to get my boys ready for school (as they fight), laughing about this post. I'll have to incorporate some of your 12 Steps into my conversations with them. My oldest already knows I'm addicted and he's slowly becoming "one of us." Fantastic post!!

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...




Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog

Heather Rojo said...

My daughter (reading over my shoulder) said "you need that program, Mum!" I told her it was just a humorous post, but she didn't believe me!

Nancy said...

Thank you for the chuckle. You have a beautiful blog!

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