At Play In The Archive
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.
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.