Wednesday, August 3, 2016


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When we begin our journey in researching our family, we might have a few items left by parents or grandparents.  Perhaps we have a box or two of photos or other items?  Maybe we don’t even have that much.

We go along, entering our ancestors in our database, as we find them.  We locate vital records, census records, military records, newspaper articles, immigration records and on and on.
Then there comes a time when we have connected with quite a few family members, think cousins.  And, we’ve joined a multitude of groups on Facebook specific to our areas of research.  We’ve joined societies and gone to seminars.  We’ve visited courthouses and libraries and maybe even the Family History Library in Utah.  We have a tree on Ancestry and those hints just never stop popping up….and I’m talking about the good hints.

We have now reached the point where we have SO MUCH information, we can’t focus on which family or person to research.  This is a good problem to have, but…..this is pretty much where I’m at right now.
What to do?

This is the exact question I asked myself as I was driving somewhere yesterday.  How in the world can I focus on just one person or one family when all these wonderful pieces of information are coming at me?

Well, I need to find a way, because what I’m doing right now isn’t working.  Yes, I’m getting some research done, but I don’t feel as if I’m doing that deep, thorough research that I really enjoy.
Apparently I’m not alone.
Amy Johnson Crow wrote a blog post about this very subject, just yesterday.  It’s titled “How to Avoid Genealogy Overwhelm” and you can find her article here.

Amy did a great job of explaining just what I was feeling and how we can go about “fixing” this problem.

I’ll follow up this post and let you know how I’m doing. 
Please tell me if you’ve felt the same way?  What you’ve done about it, if anything?  The more tips we can get the better for all of us.


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall


  1. I so need this too! On my way to the Celtic Connections conference today in Minneapolis. When what I really need to do is FOCUS l

    1. I know Kat. It's so difficult to stop. I have a HUGE urge to go to one of our local libraries that has an entire floor of genealogy books and info. Been there before and always find wonderful information. I'm forcing myself not to go. However, a conference....well, you just have to go to that. Good luck and thanks for your comment.

  2. Yes!! I read Amy's blog post and this one and I can totally relate. I've even dialed back on blogging because I have so much information and stuff that I don't even know what to blog about.

    One of my problems (a lovely problem to have) is that my mother and her sister have been finding old (100-150 years old) photos and ephemera and passing the items to me because I'm the family historian. I love to look at them, but get overwhelmed when I need to organize and file them. As Amy says: one step at a time...

    1. That's exactly it Elizabeth. We have to step back and say "what am I going to do today." For me, that means staying off of Ancestry (so those hints don't draw me in) and just work on what's in front of me. Let me know how it goes for you.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I've been feeling this a bit myself lately, but unless I suddenly become independently wealthy, that's just the way it is at the moment. I was incredibly fortunate to come into some fantastic family photos and artifacts last year and taking the time to preserve them properly is time consuming and expensive. As much as it enhances my research, it does take time away from the research I was doing before. I felt my goals getting away from me a bit last month, so I decided to really break it down into bite size pieces (as the saying goes about eating the elephant) and now it feels like there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. You're right Anna, it does take time away from our research. I accomplished my scanning a little at a time. I've taken photos of family heirlooms. Now I need to print them, on regular paper and attach them to our trust papers, so my family knows what came from who. Good luck with your project and thanks for your comment.

  4. Very true...great reminder Diane. It's so easy to be chasing that lead and getting off track.

    1. I think we all struggle with this Debby. Happens to me all the time :)


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.