Family History Alphabet: R is for………R-E-S-P-E-C-T


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. This week we’re on the letter R and all of a sudden I hear music.

R is for R-E-S-P-E-C-T:  We owe it to other researchers to acknowledge their work. Citations and  acknowledgements are courteous, and professional, attributes of serious researchers. We also need to show respect for the privacy of living family members in the publication of our research and a mindfulness that our ancestors were a product of the times, and did the best they could. We can be honest in our research reports without disrepecting their lives..

R is for Resilience: We have to be resilient when one trail after the other turns cold, when that brick wall looms in front of us. We Routinely pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again! If Ginger Rogers can dance backwards in high heels surely we can keep pursuing our goals despite the occasional obstacles.

R is for Resourceful: Family historians are tricky souls. We have all sorts of sneaky strategies for approaching those brick walls, for linking with other genealogists or cousins, or for pushing our information back through the decades. Do you have a particularly resourceful strategy?

Resourcefulness is one of our lateral attributes.

R is for Rituals and Routine:  There have been a number of blogs that talk about how we deal with our day as family historians: when we research, look at emails, blog, tweet, facebook or approach our ancestral searches. What’s your daily genealogy ritual?

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein i]

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9 thoughts on “Family History Alphabet: R is for………R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  1. Some good R’s which had not occured to me – including Ritual & Routines. I msut admit mine is switch on – check e-mails, especially Geneabloggers, go into blogger and check for comments, stats, followers and and new posts on my reading list, adding comments and responding to comments, composing posts etc. etc. The problem is there is not too much time left for researching and for continuing with my mammoth project of a family history narrative. I have to be determined to set aside specific days for that. It reminds me of a comment (which I hated) from a former boss – “Time isn’t the problem. It is how you manage your time”!

  2. Sounds like we follow the same routine Susan! I completely agree about the trade-off between blogging and research…I’ve been struggling with that lately as well as writing up the research more formally. Not to mention fitting life in around it all:-) Yeah, don’t you hate that quote…still ignores that you won’t get everything done at work or home.

  3. Another awesome post. The only other one R attribute my head can think of is ‘Resentment’. Not a good trait, but one that does surface when we come across reli’s we know that have the family documents and refuse to let us near them, or resentment to others who have copied our data without attribution …. GRRRRR!

    • Thanks Alona, we do tend to focus on the “good” attributes but yes, resentment is a great addition for the reasons you mentioned. Another aspect of resentment (or regret as Susan has said) is when a relative tells you they burned the original ancestor’s papers and photos….aaaaghh! In that case resentment and regret might be words that are too mild for our emotions.

      • I could cry every time I think of my great-grandparents photos, letters and documents going up in smoke, Alona :-( I suspect it was to do with the fact George was German and this was towards the end of WWI.

  4. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet - R is for ... | Genealogy & History News

  5. Great post Pauleen. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a huge one for me, in all it’s aspects, but particularly respecting privacy of our “living” rellies and also that our Ancestors lived in different times etc.
    Alona’s “resentment” I also resonates particularly with a family member who has, but denies, having photos/ documentary info I compiled… grrr… My dad also burnt all his photos, eg. of his mother, first wife etc… but I feel only sadness because he was, at the time, having a “major meltdown” & sad that I never even saw them although he did once say that I looked a lot like his beloved “mam”…

    • That is a sad story Catherine…it would have been nice to see his mam and compare looks. Apart from the bonfire of Kunkel documents, my mum swears blind my grandmother’s family bible got liberated by other family but what can you do even if true (I’d be happy to just have a photocopy of the inside pages). At least I got some photos of the family so all is not lost.

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