Having Patience


If there is a talent required to do genealogical researching (and I don't say that there is) it would be patience.

Normally considered a virtue, in the field of genealogy, patience is a finely tuned acquired talent in my opinion.

Occasionally I will hear a researcher state "I cannot wait to find out this final piece of information so that I can be done with this particular family lineage".

This type of researcher has no business being in the field of genealogy.


Because you are never "done".

If you are in that much of a hurry, then hire someone else to do the research for you.

There is so much more to genealogical research then just names and dates. You need to learn how to enjoy the knowledge that you learn along the way.

If you find out when "Robert Stedman" was born, married and died; does that tell you anything about the man?

Probably not.

Have the patience to not just whip right through these dates and places. Take the time to find out not just when your ancestor lived, but how he lived. That is the only way you are going to find out what kind of ancestors you had.

Was your ancestor:

A fine upstanding Christian; a county official; the public drunk?

Literate, illiterate?

A large land holder? A scandalous person?

A slave owner? An abolitionist?

Learning the dates that he was born and died, will tell you nothing of the above information.

Furthermore, some of the most priceless data I have received has been while I was working on a different lineage.

So.. make your posting to a mailing list or research board. Make certain to include important data like dates, children, spouses, parents.


Now, go on and learn about another neglected ancestor and get involved with it.

When you least expect it, you will receive the answer to your query, and the time spent waiting will not seem as long or be as aggravating. Plus the fact that you will have gotten something done while waiting.

It is a variation of the old saying "A watched pot never boils".

Realize that whatever your email server is; the system is automated. Your email will arrive whether you are sitting there staring at the screen or not. You sitting there watching it will not make it arrive any sooner.

In the end, learn to develop the patience to wait, I mean really, these ancestors aren't going anywhere.

( Or at least I hope not)

And develop a comfortable (by that I mean workable) situation for you to make use of that time "waiting".