By Janet Curley
I want to thank all my readers for their patience over the past few months. As the title suggests, I believe I have been recovering from a period of Genealogy Burnout! In preparation for my trip to Ireland last August, I was hot on the trail of my ancestral Curley relatives. But having found all that I could in the Valuation Office in Dublin, cemeteries in Galway and in ancestry.com for the time being, I fell back into my couch with a heavy sigh, strained eyes and cramped fingers and pronounced, “Enough!” At least for a couple of months… Of course there were the holidays to contend with, a formidable knitting project to complete and a job to find, all of which competed with any energy to play with my dead relatives. I bet some of you have suffered this same condition when other parts of your life start to impinge upon your time.
Burnout of any kind is painful. Something that you previously loved doing and could spend hours lost in, now becomes daunting and the brick walls you have encountered feel insurmountable. My ‘real’ job is as a therapist and so I am familiar with the problem. So, how does one, once again, feel the thrill? Well, I think taking some time off is important. Look up from the computer, step out of the City Clerk’s office, walk away from the library and look at the living, breathing humans around you. It’s alright, they won’t bite you. Well, during the holidays, there is that small chance! And by all means go outside into the sunshine! Even in the Polar Vortex, the sun does shine and you can enjoy it before the thirty minutes are up when every news person has said your feet will freeze to the ground and your skin will petrify.
I suggest reading non-historical novels (I am in the Shadow of Night myself – it has history in it, but it is not set in Ireland and the witches and vampires save me from taking it all too seriously). I suggest playing with the very grandchildren you hope to acquaint with their ancestors. I suggest taking a trip to someplace where your family never lived. I know, Reader…it is a risk, but one you must take to recover and return to what you love.
In the coming months I will work on a different branch of my tree. Although I have dabbled in it before, I will now endeavor to fill out my understanding of my grandmother’s family. You will hear more about the Ryans in Northampton. I have already made trips to Forbes Library and have made my acquaintance with the archivist there. Soon, I hope to meet the City Clerk and begin the adventure anew. I have lots of leaves in Ancestry to review as I have been long away, but now I look forward to seeing what is revealed.
Happy New Year!