Friday, April 27, 2007

Early signs of Geneaholism

I found this list of early signs of Geneaholism at The full article is reprinted from The Missing Link newsletter, Volume 7, Number 7, 17 February 2002.

"Answer these questions to see if you are in the early stages of addiction.

* Home: Has genealogical paperwork taken over any room in your house?

* Friends: Is genealogy interfering with your social life? Do people edge away from you at parties when you burst into tears over the 1890 U. S. census?

* Family: Do your relatives' eyes glaze over when you explain your latest research? Do you find dead people more fun than live ones?

* Work: Is genealogy interfering with your job? How many hours of each workday do you spend on the Internet, or checking your RootsWeb e-mails?

* Marriage: Has your spouse ever asked you, "Aren't you done yet? How far back are you planning to go?"

* Health: Are you starting to show the physical and mental signs of geneaholic deterioration, such as red-rimmed eyes, a loss of interest in current events, a shortened attention span for non-ancestral topics, excessive viewing of the History Channel?"

That's a pretty good list. The "cure" prescribed for this is scary though -

"If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you are on the road to genealogical addiction. You must not research even one more ancestor! You must stop NOW, before it's too late! When you feel an overwhelming urge to research, repeat the following until the urge goes away: "My mother found me in a cabbage patch. My mother found me in a cabbage patch. My mother found me in a cabbage patch." Good luck and God help you."

Not me. Yet. I'm still having too much fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top Ten signs that you ARE a Geneaholic

10. You introduce your daughter as your descendant.

9. You've never met any of the people you send e-mail to, even though you're related.

8. You can recite your lineage back eight generations, but can't remember your nephew's name.

7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.

6. You've taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion.

5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, but you also understand it.

4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you.

3. The only film you've seen in the last year was the 1880 census index.

2. More than 1/2 of your book collection is made up of marriage records or pedigrees.

1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!

This was found at

The Spouse of a Geneaholic

Being a Geneaholic (and male), I have no clue as to how my spouse feels about my addition and obsession. Well, other than her occasional questions like:

"Are you still on the computer? When I left, you were on the computer. Did you have lunch?"

"Honey, I called you for dinner ten minutes ago - didn't you hear me?"

"Your genealogy cave is mess - do you want me to clean it up for you?"

"Why are you so obsessed with dead people? You should pay more attention to your life wife."

"What are these charges on the credit card from"

I went searching for articles about being the spouse of a geneaholic, but the malady has not been described or analyzed in the Annals of American Psychiatry or its' newsletter, the "Freudian Slip."

So I Googled "spouse geneaholic" and found a treasure trove of articles at Morrow's Musings (, written by H. David Morrow, and published in the Missing Links genealogy newsletter in 2002 and 2003. The introduction page says:

"All of Mr. Morrow's Musings, as he calls them, give us a chance to laugh with him about his trials and tribulations as the spouse of a geneaholic wife, better known to his fans as "G.W.". As you read these articles, you have to laugh at yourself as well, if you too are a G. W., as I am."

After Missing Links ceased publishing, Mr. Morrow's articles were posted on the Our Brick Wall's web page.

Needless to say, these articles are insightful and scary to a Geneaholic. I'm not going to let my spouse read them - and I beg that you, my faithful readers, don't tell her about them!

The scariest article of all is "The Ten Step Program for Geneaholics and their Caregivers." Wow...I am speechless. I would die if I was committed to this program.

If you want a good laugh, go read all of the articles from the creative Mr. Morrow. It is obvious that he is married to a Geneaholic Wife. Frankly, I think he likes his life just the way it is.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A typical genealogy day

Today was pretty much the kind of genealogy day I really enjoy. I stayed home after minor scalp surgery on Tuesday (had a basal cell carcinoma removed - have a 1 inch stitched cut at my RH crown - a big bandage, no pain), so I was on the computer from about 8 AM to 4 PM.

After email and reading the blogs, I posted two blogs on Genea-Musings about my online wish list and the effect of online databases on the future of genealogy. Then I found a Boston 1775 post really interesting so I posted about that also.

After lunch, I transcribed the will and other probate records of Joseph Champlin (1758-1850) of South Kingstown RI, which names my ancestor, his daughter Amy (Champlin) Oatley. I even calculated the shares given to his children in his will - Amy was supposed to receive about $396. I thought that was pretty interesting, so I put all of the records into a Genea-Musings blog post.

Then it was off looking for two Seaver database items in order to answer email queries. I found them both, and created genealogy reports to send off attached to my replies. I even spent some time later looking for the elusive parents of one of the wives in the 1880 and 1900 census.

Linda came home, and I took a short nap while she worked on her email and read the paper during the evening news. After dinner, I watched the Padres beat the Giants, 4-0, and read almost 100 pages in my John Lescroart crime/mystery novel. During baseball season, I watch the game and read books or magazines - sometimes crime, or politics, or genealogy.

So - it was a pretty well-balanced day, don't you think? Only 8 genealogy hours, with a good transcription completed and entered into the database, 4 genealogy blog posts, and some email queries satisfied. I won't have as much time on Thursday - we are off to the SD Zoo Wild Animal Park in Escondido to go on a Wildlife Safari amongst the rhinos, gazelles and giraffes - it was a Christmas gift from the kids.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Vacations are great tonics

Linda and I have been on holiday since Saturday when we checked into the Omni Hotel in downtown San Diego for a Padres' weekend. Petco Park is next door (the hotel has an entrance to Petco). We attended the Friday and Saturday games and will go to tonights Padres game. We went to the Midway aircraft carrier on the Bay yesterday. We will go home on Tuesday after three days of rest and relaxation. See the pictures here.

I did bring the laptop and have checked email and Bloglines and my favorite web sites several times a day, but nowhere near like I do at home.

The only overt genealogy activity has been spending an hour or two at the San Diego Public Library today. Oh, I did dream about the 1880 census last night for some reason - I guess my brain went into withdrawal and decided to remind me of my addiction. The dream was recurring, but I can't remember the details now.

We usually spend some time on genealogy research or visiting family during our vacations, and this one is no exception. Now I'm a bit recharged and will get back in the genealogy saddle and charge off into the Ancestry sunset hoping to find the missing Thompson families in the census and other records. That, plus the income taxes! And blogging...and doing CVGS work...and...and...

I recommend taking a vacation if you are finding yourself in a manic or depressed attitude relative to your genealogy research. Life is bigger than genealogy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Achieving Life Balance

Jasia tagged the whole Genea-blogosphere to write something about "Life Balance." The questions to be answered include:

How do you achieve balance in your life?
What is your biggest challenge in balancing your life?
What are your priorities?
How have your priorities changed over time and why?
What advice can you share to help all of us balance our own lives?

Asking a Geneaholic about achieving Life Balance is dangerous! My initial off-the-cuff response was "well, standing up and walking is my best example of achieving a life balance." I'm reminded of my 13 month old grandson who teeters as he stands...but he will be running soon.

Jasia noted that people with a single-mindedness struggle to achieve a life balance. I am the ultimate multi-tasker - I have the printer going on a document, there are 6 windows open to the Internet, the clothes are drying and I'm eating my pre-lunch cookies as I type this.

Life Balance to me means understanding what is important to living successfully - having and nurturing relationships, achieving financial security, being healthy, enjoying entertainment, sports and hobbies, serving my church and community, being a good citizen, etc.

Even with all of my talk about being a geneaholic - I think I do these things fairly well. I enjoy my wife, my daughters and their families. I/we have a wide circle of friends, we are relatively well off, we go out to dinner, to plays, and to sports events occasionally, we go to church regularly and serve actively, we vote, we stay up on the news and issues, we watch some TV and listen to some radio. I do genealogy research - perhaps spending too much time online in my Genea-cave and not enough with my wife and friends. I serve as President of a genealogy society and lead a research group in addition to my genealogy research activities.

I try to achieve balance by paying attention to the people and things in my life. If my wife needs a hug, she gets one (if she tells me - I'm not overly perceptive!). If the grass needs to be cut, I do it someday soon when it is cool out and I have nothing better to do (usually when Linda wants to do her email).

The biggest challenge is to juggle the genealogy responsibilities (mainly the meetings) with taking vacations and visiting the grandchildren.

My life priorities may not be today's priorities. I love doing genealogy work, but if my wife was sick, or the grandkids needed help, I could change my priorities immediately. The life priorities have changed - 20 years ago it was raising two daughters and working toward financial security. Now it is more staying healthy and enjoying life - with friends, family, hobbies, entertainment, etc.

Advice? From a Geneaholic? Who would listen? Or care?

My advice is to do all things in moderation, do them well, stay true to your principles, be happy and forgiving, love well, learn always, get a good nights sleep, eat your vegetables and fruits, and follow your dreams.