Family History Alphabet: O is Optimistic and Obsessive

Family History AlphabetMy theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. We’re galloping through the alphabet now and Week 15 brings us to the “O” attributes. What are they going to be?

O is for Optimistic: no matter how often we hit an Obstacle in our research, we somehow keep believing it will all turn out Okay and we’ll find that missing clue/picture/story.

O is for Observant: we’ll have a lot better chance of knocking down the brick wall if we remain observant to all the nuances in whatever we’re reading: the names of friends, neighbours and witnesses; some clue in the newspaper story; the lie of the land when we visit a family property, etc. A tiny example: one day I was cutting out a story on one of “my” Dorfprozelten Germans from the A3 page I’d printed off the microfilm (this was pre-Trove). As my scissors travelled up the page, my sub-conscious noticed a completely different small story about my George Kunkel’s claim for damages. Because of OCR issues it doesn’t turn up on Trove if I search by his name, so luck and observation gave me yet another snippet for my family history.

Obsessive, Opportunistic, Optimistic, Observant: all needed to pursue yet another clue. Image from Office ClipArt

O is for Opportunistic, a word that has a pejorative connotation, but really it just means we need to take the opportunities that come our way: the chance to visit a cemetery, the invitation to share our family history experience in some way, the opportunity to talk to elderly relatives.

O is for Obsessive: well this one is a no-brainer isn’t it? We’re nearly all totally obsessed with our family research and our quest to turn up new clues. How many times have you been asked “Haven’t you finished that yet?” But no, there’s always one more clue, one more bit of research, another cemetery to visit.

Don’t you just love this family history quest we’re all on?!