News flash: We live in an age of instant gratification. What? You already knew that?
Well, then, you probably also know that putting together a successful family history project doesn’t work like that. As the cliché goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, it is prudent to employ the marathon training tactic of LSD – long slow distance.
While we’re accustomed to receiving a mind-boggling cache of possibilities to every Google query in mere seconds, the seasoned family history researcher knows things aren’t that simple. There’s lots of work behind those nuggets of information that make up your family’s history.
Somebody first went to the trouble to record those vital records and family stories for someone else to discover many years later, probably in a musty government building, a church basement or tucked within the pages of a family bible or journal.
It’s a wise researcher who knows better than to expect the unexpected. Consider, too, the false promise of the Internet. The Chart Chick, Janet Hovorka, reports that the average life of a Web site is between 44 and 100 days. If you spot something you like on the web, better grab it immediately.
Then, you’d better hang on to it. Some numbers from Janet:
- Nearly half (45 percent) of computer users don’t back up their files
- Nearly half (43 percent) of computer users lose important information each year.
- More than two-thirds (69 percent) of computer users have lost data due to accidental deletion, disk or system failure, viruses, fire or another disaster; 40 percent have lost data two or more times in the last year.
Between the relative fragility of the Internet and the grunt work required to find information outside of cyberspace, it’s wise to keep your expectations in check and prepare yourself for the long haul while preserving your family history.
Writing prompt for the day: What’s the one piece of your family history that you most want to know about? Create a plan for learning about it and get to work.
Flickr photo courtesy of me'nthedogs.