The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

Escape from the Scanner

Hello again, People. It’s been too long since I last posted, but I have not been idle. Along with my sore neck (which is much better, thank you), I’ve been grappling with a challenge that many of you dyed-in-the-wool genealogy bloggers might recognize: Deciding when I have done enough research and compiled enough information to actually begin telling the story. Does anyone else struggle with this?

I inherited a treasure trove of photographs, papers, and personal effects that belonged to my great-grandfather, Franz Georg Leopold Lessiack (or just plain great-grandpa Leo to me) and my great-grandmother, Margaret Spielmann Lessiack.  Unfortunately, labeling things was not their strong suit, so every gem unearthed leads to hours of corroboration — Where did I see that face before? Oh, so there might have been five Lessiack siblings rather than four? Why oh why can’t I wring some sense out of these German words on Google Translate? You get the picture. It’s a time sink.

I’ve also been doing a ton of scanning, which leads to a ton of keywording, sorting things into chronological order, recording captions where they exist, and making semi-educated guesses where they do not. Fascinating and fun, but also a giant time sink.

Pretty soon a month has gone by, and I haven’t written a single word about what I’m discovering, even though I’m putting in many hours behind the scanner. Because it seems too soon. Because I’m sure that the next box I dig into will hold the golden clue that will make the fragments click into place. Because I still don’t know what year to assign to a whole bunch of pictures. Because. Because. Because.

But I realized something.

I could grapple with all these treasures for the next six months and still not be finished. And, all that radio silence would make for one heck of a boring blog. So, I’m smacking down my inner perfectionist and going for it. I’m calling what I have already compiled good enough for a start. The goal is not to be perfect–the goal is to enjoy the journey of discovery.

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An undated Bon Voyage card from the collection of my great-grandparents, Leo Lessiack and Margaret Spielmann Lessiack.

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Hildegard was a popular name, I gather. There are two here. Recognize anybody?

I’ll keep scanning — there’s still a mind-blowing amount of scanning to do — but I trust you’ll forgive me if things appear slightly out of order. It’s way more fun to write than to scan.

Enjoy your Sunday, People.

13 comments on “Escape from the Scanner

  1. Amy
    October 19, 2014

    Good to see you! I know the desire to have completion before posting, but I have long ago given up on that. I just go back and update or write a new post linking back to the original. I know I will NEVER have complete knowledge of anyone, so if I wait, I won’t record anything. Plus when I do post, I get the benefit of insights from others like you! So give up on perfection, and share!

    Like

    • Pancho
      October 20, 2014

      You are very wise, Amy. I’m going to listen to you! Thanks for the encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Su Leslie
    October 20, 2014

    🙂 this post made me smile because I so recognise what you’re saying. I don’t have the artifacts, but get so involved in record searching and wanting to explore another little bit and another little bit until my head is stuffed with information and I barely know how to begin. And you are right; the goal isn’t perfection but the enjoyment of the journey. I’m looking forward to sharing this with you. Cheers, Su.

    Like

    • Pancho
      October 20, 2014

      Oh, thank you, Su! It’s very comforting to know that I’m not alone in my, ahem, dithering. I wish you great luck on your side project, and am impressed that you are blogging at all throughout that experience. My only comparison is when I produce a play, which is like a second full-time job–it’s great fun, but man, it takes all the energy I have.

      Like

      • Amy
        October 20, 2014

        You produce plays? Wow, that is so cool! I’d love to hear more about it. Who knew there was life outside of genealogy? 🙂 (Actually before I retired, I often was frustrated by having to work instead of research. Now I have to make sure I do other things so that I don’t become too obsessive!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pancho
        October 20, 2014

        I can only manage one a year–seriously, It’s like having a second day job, which I need like a hole in the head–but I wrote about my very favorite producer experience here: https://peopleofpancho.com/2014/06/26/the-hidden-branch/. The whole thing felt like such a gift.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        October 21, 2014

        See my comment at your earlier post. Thanks.

        Like

      • Su Leslie
        October 21, 2014

        Like Amy says “you produce plays” … that’s awesome. I guess trying to coordinate an exhibition is similar, but we have about four “directors” and waay too many people who think they should be the leading lady 🙂

        Like

      • Pancho
        October 21, 2014

        I feel your pain, but hang in there–it’ll all be worth it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Su Leslie
        October 22, 2014

        Thanks; I know it will, but the path at the moment is far from smooth. Cheers, Su.

        Like

  3. Jana Last
    October 23, 2014

    Oh. Scanning. That can be quite monotonous and boring. But, it’s so necessary and gratifying when the job is complete. I have so many things (photos, documents, etc.) to scan yet. It can be quite overwhelming.

    Good for you for not waiting to share your family history treasures before you’re done scanning!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gpcox
    November 6, 2014

    Scanning can be grueling – I know because I’ve been putting off the scanning I need to do for my next 2 posts!!!

    Like

    • Pancho
      November 6, 2014

      To paraphrase Dorothy Parker: I hate scanning. I love having scanned.

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 19, 2014 by in Asides, Lessiack People, Spielmann People and tagged , , , .
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