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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thoughts and thought patterns of an "oh shiny!" person

I have a very "oh shiny" nature (if you are not familiar with this syndrome lucky you) and it leads me into trouble sometimes.  On the other hand, it can lead to very interesting discoveries in the family tree climbing arena.  Of course, sometimes I feel like the dog, Dug, from the movie Up; but that is only when it is really bad.

Some days I wish I could get a grip on my surroundings so that I could fee like I accomplish things.  That trends to making lists, and yes, on occasion, I have been known to make lists of my lists.  Oh, and organizing my lists on my cork board to make the most of them and see them better.  This is where my friends and family giggle and tell me how much they love my quirkiness.

To give you perspective, this was my morning:
  • I got up
  • Went to retrieve iPad to read email in bed, dog barked
  • Took iPad outside, with dog, to back yard
  • Read article on lectures, forgot why I was outside...
  • Came up with 2 ideas for lectures on stained glass (another passion of mine)
  • Remembered dog, and that I needed breakfast
  • Boys were up, told them to grab some food and also water/feed dog
  • Walked into kitchen to pour cereal, decided I should load the dishwasher
  • Unloading spoons made me think that I should write a blog post on something
  • Brainstormed 6 idea topics
  • Remembered my Cheerios
  • Boys argued, had to end the bloodshed
  • Came back to soggy cereal
  • Walked past dishwasher and finished loading it
  • Sat down to watch news, with even soggier cereal
  • Article on the news made me remember that I had email to read
  • Read email, facebook, and morning blog run on Google Reader
  • Remembered that I had laundry to do, started another load
  • Made me think that the trash should go out
  • Gathering trash made me remember that I needed to sort socks, and that I need a place to put said socks
  • Looked for another clothes basket
  • Walked past the trash bag, went back to gathering trash
...and that was the first hour.

Now, this is also how my brain works when I sit down to do research on the family.  Something will trigger an idea (it could be an article, an email, TV, conversations...) and I will sit down. Then a quick search will end up a several hour marathon (particularly if I find something new) with kids looking at me like I have gone crazy again.  If I am lucky I have actually made progress on one of the lines.  If I am not so lucky I have done a whole lot of circling for a couple of hours.

For example, a simple suggestion yesterday took me on this little adventure:
  • I need to go through the Hartford, Connecticut phone directories for the 1920s better
  • Go to and pull them up
  • Find what I am looking for
  • Get frustrated that I can't save it to a person but have to save the image to the computer
  • Open Family Tree Maker to save files
  • See that I have some leaves
  • While FTM is syncing go back to the website
  • Click on the hints
  • Hmmm... this needs to be cleaned out, start clicking (accepting/ignoring) on hints
  • Huh... that lead to more finds
  • Wow, that pulled up Find A Grave
  • Oh, look!  It has the whole family linked
  • Put the web site into FTM and start adding information to research notes to follow up on
  • Oh, that was a cousin!  OMG add new potential family member to look up
  • Huh, I wonder what Google has to say on this person
  • Well look at that, it pulled up an article, a family website, and a Google Book entry...

It is amazing that I ever get anything accomplished.   I do better when I go to libraries, but only moderately as I get pulled into a lot of different books that may or may not be helpful.  Tangents are easy to follow I guess.  Staying on task a lot more difficult. 

Which leads me to ask:  how do you organize yourself and your thoughts to have a successful research session?  Anyone have any hints, tips, tricks, or suggestions they would like to share?

Have you seen this blog post? The flow chart shown is from it, and it looks like it may work.  That is, if I can keep on task.


  1. Ha! You sound exactly like me! My husband always jokes about the "something shiny" thing, that I am so easily distracted.
    Great post! Love your blog.

  2. "We are not alone." I have so been there - not just with genealogy.
    Sheila in NC

  3. Glad to know that I am not crazy! :)

  4. Shannon Dahling you are not alone. I wrote about the same thing not too lone ago -

  5. Great post and I can also identify with it! When you find the answers, please let us all know...

  6. Sheri: Somehow I missed that blog post. Too Funny!