Sunday, January 26, 2014

Soapbox: Genealogy Guilt is Stupid

I'm a family history consultant in my ward. I come in contact with a lot of people who have "Genealogy Guilt." It is annoying, and needs to stop. It is stupid.

One of the goals of the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) church is to redeem the dead. This means you first need to find them. Mixing genealogy research with faith can be inspiring. Many people have had wonderful experiences learning about their loved ones of the past. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people don't have the desire/interest/motivation/time to do genealogy, so the faith element just creates a massive build up of guilt.

Personally, I don't think that every person on this planet should be a board-certified genealogist. There is room for all kinds of people, with their varied interests and talents. Variety is good.

I don't know how many times I have heard people say something to the effect of, "So-and-so in my family already did all our genealogy so there's nothing left for me to do anyway."

I also hear, "I don't do genealogy [even though I should]."

We all agree that exercise is good. It is easy to see that if you start an exercise regime and fail once, it would be silly to say, "Oh, well...I guess I shouldn't even try." Obviously, it would be much healthier for you to move forward, press on, continue trying!

Instead of griping and groaning about family history, just find a small way to get involved that works for you! And do it! When you fail, which you will because you are human, just try again. And that doesn't mean forsaking all your other interests and chaining yourself to the computer for hours and hours doing online research, or descending into some dank and musty archives to look at crumbling papers with illegible scribbles. One of my best friends told me that family history isn't "her thing" but then later I found out that she creates excellent, high quality, elaborate digital scrapbooks that she gets printed and bound in hardback covers. So, yeah, family history is her thing!

What comes to mind is a really stupid pickup line. "Hey baby, forget family history, how about family future?" :::eye roll:::

But seriously guys, let's not get so caught up in our loserly attitudes of guilt that we fail to even try. Family History research is never "over." You can and should move forward, press on, and continue trying.

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