The Star-Herald

A year that had it all

Time is flying by and as we near the end of this year and face a new one I usually do a column about genealogical resolutions including making more time to research, entering your research in your software, taking care of your family photos and labeling them, filing documents if you do that, exploring a new genealogical website, and trying to attend a local genealogical group or a conference.  

As I talk to genealogists (virtually or by e-mail) I find many genealogists didn’t accomplish much that they planned to do in 2020.  Let’s face it, 2020 has been a year that just plain sucked and I think none of us is going to say farewell to it with any fond memories or at the most limited ones.

2020 seems to have had it all:  a pandemic that is raging out of control, social isolation, a fractious political campaign that left all of us exhausted no matter what our political persuasion, hurricanes and more hurricanes, murder hornets threatening the already diminished bee population essential for our food chain, wildfires throughout the west, a locust invasion in parts of the world, drought here in Maine, and for the University’s retirees uncertainty about their health insurance.  

All in all, this has been no year to regard fondly and it’s left many of us mildly depressed, discouraged, short-tempered or just stressed to the max.

I hope in the midst of all the disasters and near disasters you were able to do something with your genealogy.  Libraries and archives closed, but online there were resources to explore, many of them free, which could help you with your research. 

I spent a lot of my time writing, co-finishing a transcription project for the Maine Genealogical Society, researching and writing an article for the Maine Genealogist which will be coming out soon, venturing into fiction and completing a manuscript, and starting a second book. All this was wonderful to my psyche but it means my house suffered and looks like a remnant of a natural disaster — but I’ll get to it sometime.  One thing for certain, none of the work is going away. That’s the lovely thing about housework.  It’s very patient and it will sit there and wait for you.

Do I still believe in New Year resolutions?  Yes, if it helps you focus on a goal or at least to acknowledge priorities.  I think my personal resolution for 2021 is to do the best I can, try to stay safe, and hope my loved ones do the same.

To you, my readers, I wish a much better 2021, a chance to work on your family history and, of course, that you keep reading my column.  No one said new year wishes couldn’t be selfish.

So goodbye, 2020, and hello, 2021.  Let’s all hope this new year will  be kinder to us and one we will look back on fondly and that we all stay well.  Take care, remember to make time to research, and — like my housework — wait patiently for better days.

Columnist Nancy Battick of Dover-Foxcroft has researched genealogy for over 30 years. She is past president of the Maine Genealogical Society, author of several genealogical articles and co-transcribed the Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft.  Nancy holds an MA in History from UM and lives in DF with her husband, Jack, another avid genealogist. Reader emails are welcome at nbattick@roadrunner.com.

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