Are you writing down your experiences during COVID-19? I know it is hard. We are in the middle of it and it feels like it will never end. But, as a genealogist, consider how much your children and their descendants far into the future will value your perspective as a person who lived through a world-wide pandemic. We are in the middle of a major world event and, speaking as someone who has done research on the 1918 flu epidemic, people in the future will be fascinated by our thoughts!
Here’s some ideas that might help you get started in your writing:
Think about where you live and how your location affects your experience of the epidemic. For example, if you live in Maine what is happening to you is probably very different from people living in NYC or Chicago or Los Angeles.
How have you spent time during the stay-at-home period? Have you tried any new hobbies or read new authors? How did you keep your equilibrium? Did you cook more or start baking bread?
Have you done any genealogy research while at home? How did that research make you feel? For example, I love doing genealogy right now because it both takes my mind off of all that is happening but it also gives me a sense of perspective. Epidemics are not new things and it helps me to know that my grandparents lived through very similar times.
Write some words of advice to future generations. What have you done during this time that was helpful (connect with friends) and what hasn’t been helpful (eating a lot of cookies!). Have you learned anything you want to share?
When you are done writing, save your memories with your genealogy research software/notebook/file. I can promise you that future generations will find your perspective both helpful and absorbing.
Working on your genealogy during your self-distancing? Run into a question or problem? Lynne Holland, our Curtis Genealogy volunteer, has offered to answer genealogy questions on Fridays during the time when she would normally have been at Curtis Library (from 9:30am to noon).
Make sure your question is short, very specific, and includes a short bit of background so she can be sure of what your question is.
She will get back to you on the Friday after she receives your email.
If you have Zoom and know how to use it, you can schedule a 15 minute Zoom meeting with Lynne via email for the Friday of the week you email. She will confirm with you that she has that time available.
Thank you to Lynne for her willingness to keep things moving for our local Curtis genealogists!
If you are thinking about how to use some of the time at home that you now have with the advent of social distancing, consider starting that genealogy research you’ve always wanted to do. 1.
The following are three excellent resources for online classes (written and video) that you can access for free from your computer at home. Just click on the links provided and go from there. Between these three resources you can probably find a class for almost any level or topic of genealogy research.
Particularly helpful for general education about genealogy research skills, Ancestry Academy provides free, video classes, ranging from topics such as “Learn a New Skill in 5 Minutes” to “Tips and Tricks” to hour long classes on topics like “Finding Your Female Ancestors”. You can search by areas of interest by using the “Find” box at the top of the page. You will need to join the Academy with an email but use is free after that.
Particularly helpful if you are doing genealogy research outside the United States, familysearch.org provides an extensive list of video classes. There were over 2,000 options available when I last looked. The classes cover every possible ethnic and geographic option for genealogy research, ranging from topics like “Reading Polish Handwritten Records” to “Finding Helpful Resources Post-1965”. Languages for the videos includes English, Spanish, Russian and Korean. You can sort the classes by language, presenter or title. Actually, just about any topic you can think about is probably covered here!
Particularly helpful if you are researching in New England or Canada, the New England Historic Genealogical Society provides free, written subject guides on topics ranging from “Catholic Records in New England” to “African American Genealogy”.
There are now two great resources available to genealogists that they can use at home. For free access from anywhere in Maine to ancestry.com Library Edition click on the ancestry logo on the top, right side of this page – it should take you directly to the correct page. Ancestry is one of the most popular and used databases in the world for genealogy research. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time!
Also, right now for free you can get access to the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Digital Collection website. These collections include city directories; family and local history books, and much more. Click on this link: http://digitalcollections.americanancestors.org
I will continue sharing free research resources as they become available. I hope studying your ancestors gives you a sense of perspective and comfort in today’s crazy world.