A friend confided recently that she was suffering from “genealogy burnout.” This was a new term to me, but a little research reveals genealogy burnout identified as far back as August 2000.
While I wasn’t aware of the condition, it fits me to a T. After 50 years doing genealogical research I, too, am suffering genealogy burnout.
As primary evidence, I canceled my subscription to Ancestry.com in June. Once an unthinkable action, I realized I hadn’t used it for over a year and didn’t need to spend any more money on it.
If you also suffer from this condition, don’t worry; it’s not a fatal condition. Try one or more of the following 10 suggestions, in no particular order, to see if it will perk you up.
1) Quit trying to break down brick walls. They are enough to burn anyone out. Some brick walls are not going to go down no matter what you do. Let’s face it, we don’t need to know every last ancestor’s identity.
2) Switch research to another line that may produce better results. Sometimes we get bogged down in a family and can’t see the logical next step. Switching to another line clears the fog and sharpens the mind.
3) Turn off the computer and go out for dinner at an expensive restaurant. If there is someplace you’ve always wanted to go for dinner, now’s the time. The number of nights this will work is constrained only by your budget, but remember the money saved on Ancestry.com?
4) Find a genealogy angel or buddy in that remote location you can’t get to. Two heads are better than one, especially when one of the heads lives where your elusive ancestor lived.
5) Go to a conference or take a class. Listening to an expert is always a good way to refresh your thinking and revitalize your search. And it’s fun besides.
6) Read Marsha Hoffman Rising’s book, “The Family Tree Problem Solver.” It’s a fun book, and she can suggest ways to find that difficult ancestor that you never even dreamed of.
7) Quit looking for that elusive ancestor. If you can truthfully say that you have looked everywhere and have a long list of records to prove it, why not consider your search is over (at least until the next time it pops into your mind.)
8) Take a well-deserved vacation just for fun and forget about genealogy. I know, this is a hard one. How can a genealogist go on vacation without looking for a single ancestor? It would be like cutting off your head to lose weight.
9) If you feel aimless when you’re not doing research, review all that data you have collected. Look for good stories among your ancestors. Now start writing those stories. You plan to do it someday, so why not start now. You’ll feel great once you have something to show for all the work you’ve done.
10) Finally, chocolate is the answer to nearly every problem. If you’re getting nowhere, grab a chunk of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate. If that doesn’t make you feel better, maybe you really are hopeless.