Posted by: Laura Aanenson | October 30, 2013

My Favorite Four-Letter Word

You may have a different favorite four-letter word. And mine may surprise you, but here goes.

My favorite four-letter word is … D-O-N-E.

I love that word! I love the BOOM of it – DONE! As in “that project is”, c’mon, say it with me – DONE!

In genealogy, it’s pretty hard to get to d-o-n-e. Nearly impossible really. As long as there is a new arrival in the family, an undiscovered resource on the horizon, or a distant headstone waiting to be photographed, there is ALWAYS something to do.

The very nature of genealogy often makes us say my least-favorite phrase, which is “for the time being”. As in, I’ll download these pictures into a generic pictures folder “for the time being”, I’ll stack these census records on my desk “for the time being”, I’ll save this email with a website worth exploring “for the time being”.

too-much-emailThose “for the time being” emails ballooned into 726 items in my in-box.

Remember my recent genealogy to-do list? My list began with my 6th great-grandmother Françoise ADAM and my desire to know the dates and place/s of her birth and marriage. I knew there was a chance I would need help from Rootsweb‘s Alsace-Lorraine list. I also knew there was a chance I would embarrass myself by asking a question I had asked on the list months before. Checking emails I had received from this helpful group in the past seemed like a good place to start.

I have to admit, 726 emails was pretty daunting. It took an entire rainy weekend to weed through them all. But in honor of Family History Month, I did it!

I read every single email in my inbox. I added web sites worth saving to my Favorites, systematically creating, labeling, and sorting folders that made sense; by surname, record type, or geographic location. I moved less than 75 emails into my email folders, creating and/or sorting folders as I went. And I used the DELETE key liberally, tossing more than 500 emails into a virtual trash can.

At last, the enormous task was DONE! My sense of accomplishment was tremendous. I was prepared to ask for help from my fellow A-L listers.

I turned to Dropbox to download one of the Adam records I need to translate. And saw there a jumbled, chaotic assortment of folders and documents and pictures that will take at least an eternity to clean up. I sighed deeply, knowing that mess will just have to stay that way for the time being.

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  1. So true about “for teh time being.” I’m glad you got the task done. I am never done with anything!

    • It’s a rarity for me too – that’s why I had to post about it! :o)

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