Why? That is the most difficult question that
arises in researching family history. With some exceptions, we can usually
answer the other four Ws: Who, What, When and Where. Finding those still leaves with a big empty
space in the Why column.
“Why?” is the most
interesting part of the search.
Why did they migrate?
Why did they settle where
Why would a young man in the
south enlist in the Union Army?
Underwater is not where we
are supposed to be most of the time. I suspect that most of us know the feeling
of drowning in obligations or details or fears or ……
Being overwhelmed is really
what I mean but I needed a “U” word for today’s A to Z post. What happens to me
when I’m overwhelmed is that my brain seems to shut down – or maybe it’s the
opposite, my mind just spins out of control.
Going back to the underwater
metaphor, what’s to do to get back to the surface without getting the bends?
Step away for a bit.
Read a book, Take a walk. Go out to lunch. Watch a video. Play an engaging game. Anything that has
nothing to do with whatever is nagging at you.
Pick one thing to tackle.
one of your easier issues. Focus on that
one thing. Put everything else on a temporary back burner. This concentrated focus
helps get things back on track.
This usually works for me,
but I often need to remind myself. You’re
correct if you’re guessing that I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Think I’ll go read a book.
Time Machine – a family historian’s fantasy. We read history, old newspapers, and we pore
maps. All these give us hints about our ancestors’ lives. We know what
kinds of clothes they wore, what their options were for transportation, and for
home furnishings. We can read about the important issues of the day. But we can’t know how they coped on a day to
What were their personalities? How did they entertain
themselves? What were the family dynamics?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to observe their day-to-day lives!