Monday, February 11, 2013

Genealogy as Therapy

I find great solace in genealogy. When life presents challenges and difficulties, our ancestors are always there, waiting to be studied.

The past week was full of said challenges for me. Several days strung together of illness, bad luck, various disappointments and a blizzard that kept my husband from coming home.

Suddenly my weekend calendar was free. I used the time to work on my own genealogy for a change. The activities weren't very exciting. I entered some city directory information into my RootsMagic database. Find the fact at, apply it to the corresponding person in RootsMagic and enter the citation that connects the two.

It's not everyone's idea of a good time, but I enjoyed the solace...and it was good to see my ancestors again.

Las Vegas, New Mexico, circa 1916
My great-great grandmother Marie Schmitz (standing), her daughter Violet Hayward (kneeling), her daughter / my-great grandmother Gertrude Baerecke (seated), my grandfather Jack Lenertz (toddler)

In day-to-day life, when others cut you off, overcharge, are rude, write checks in the express line, give excuses in stead of results, and generally muck up your day...ancestors just sit patiently waiting for discovery.

Genealogy is good therapy for me. Dies anyone else feel that way? Through life's ups and downs, family history is a constant that provides comfort. 


  1. Beautifully written. Thank you.


  2. Amy, I can relate to this completely. There is a certain sense of feeling grounded in the midst of chaos after doing genealogy work.

  3. Hi Amy
    "not everyone's idea of a good time" maybe not but it sounded wonderful to me! After a rocky Saturday I too spent yesterday entering data and creating citations. I can't think of a better way to spend a day.

  4. I feel the same way. So soothing and grounding to work on my roots.

  5. Amy, Sorry to hear about your frustrations, but glad to know that you "found" your ancestors again. Sometimes that "mindless" work is just what we need. Thank you for expressing it so well.

  6. So, you were living my life too this past weekend? Yes, the nicest part of being snowbound & sick, for me, was doing some genea-reading & fixing database errors. But it made me very happy!

  7. Amy, this was a wonderful post, both in its content and its timing for me. I, too, find genealogy my go-to place for peace and comfort. After every day at an unbelievably hectic and stressful job, I look forward to coming home and "meeting" with my ancestors, entering information into FTM or writing my daily blog post. And I hope you don't mind, but I may want to borrow your idea for a future blog post of my own!