Monday, June 13, 2011

The Genealogist's Bucket List

Last Sunday, in the Parade section of our local newspaper, there was an article on America's Bucket List 2011. Reading through it helped me to realize that genealogists probably have a different focus on the items that they would include on such a list. The term "bucket list" supposedly originated from the term "kick the bucket" and is related to preparing to die. We all have an undetermined amount of time to accomplish all that we wish to do. Whenever I am faced with major surgery, I often realize there are loose ends that need to be tied up before surgery. Then I make a little progress and once again fall behind following surgery.

The article about Jimmy Fallon noted six items he wants to accomplish:
1. Read an entire book.
2. Travel across the country checking out cool stuff.
3. Learn to tap dance.
4. Ride a motorcycle on Route 66.
5. Visit Graceland.
6. Be a dad.

Then there was also a list of 32 items of essential experiences every American should have. Most of the items I have done or have no interest in doing. To get some more background on the subject I went to the Internet and did a little research. There are several websites that provide advice and various lists of activities, though not really what I had in mind. Did you ever see the movie "The Bucket List" with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? It is a great movie about living our lives to the fullest.

So, how does a genealogist live their life to the fullest? That is definitely going to be different for each of us as we are all unique. At times our family and friends may even question our sanity as we become so focused on our research. So I decided to write my own list of twenty things that I would like to accomplish in no particular order. Then I pushed it out of sight, as I don't want my family to worry about my mental status. It would probably help if I just called it my "To Do List."

1. Visit New England. Since I have ancestors from every New England state, and it is my area of specialty, I would love to go there. Of course I would need a month to do it justice.
2. Attend a New England Regional genealogy conference. Possibly combine this with the New England visit, but add another week.
3. Visit France, Germany and Denmark. I was going to put them in separately, but since they are so close to each other I could probably make this one trip. Again, I would probably need a month and some solid research before I go.
4. Organize my office. First this means the remaining five boxes of clutter that migrated to my office when I organized the rest of the house. There is also client and business work that could use some attention. If this is not done my family will probably put most of it into a dumpster when I am gone.
5. Organize our family history collection. I have boxes of items that my family knows nothing about. They may not want it, but at least maybe they will direct it to a repository that can use the items.
6. Organize the boxes for each child into their life story.
7. Remount the family pictures and put into albums the pictures of the last twenty years. I am not sure having digital pictures will help in the future, as I just end up taking many more pictures. The focus needs to be on our family history.
8. Write family history stories of our ancestors. These will compliment the notebooks of pictures and documents that I have for each ancestral line. Some of this was done for my BYU classes, so I have it started.
9. Attend S.L.I.G. (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy).
10. Attend N.I.G.R. (National Institute on Genealogical Research).
11. Attend Samford (Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research).
12. Attend a UGS (Utah Genealogicl Society) conference.
13. Attend a NGS (National Genealogical Society) conference.
14. Attend another FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference.
15. Attend another ICAPGen (International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists) conference.
16. Go on a Genealogy Cruise. This will be a challenge as I am not much for being out on the ocean, but my friends tell me that I won't even notice it.
17. Read the books that I own but have not read before, and then recycle them to a good cause.
18. Clean out things that I do not use or will probably never use again. This pre-downsizing was started between my surgeries two years ago. It has an amazing feeling of being liberated from things I have lost interest in.
19. Spend time with my family and friends, while appreciating the many blessings in my life.
20. Go to Disneyland with my grand kids. I put this in so not everything is about genealogy. It would take a miracle to pull this off.

That's it for the "bucket list" or "to do list/" I suggest creating your own and hanging it where you will see it regularly. This may be too complicated for you, but only you will know what to put down. I would love to blog about some of your lists if you are comfortable sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea for Motivation Monday - what do others put on a Bucket List. You should reference this for next Monday and get folks thinking about their summer bucket list!