13 October 2011

Budget Choices in Life and in Family History

I was just looking at my budget. My car will be paid for in December. Might I be able to finally get a new TV? No, I think I need to use that "extra" money to catch up on some other bills. After how lousy last winter was here, I really wish I could afford some vacation time in a warmer area in the first couple months of 2012. Budget says it's not going to happen.

And then there's the food budget -- I have been dreaming of lobster recently but that's not a part of the grocery budget right now.

It's the same way in our family history research and education. I would like to order a whole bunch of birth and death records for members of the extended ancestral family. A genealogy cruise would be so nice. So would attending an institute that I am not teaching at. And then there are all the neat conferences. My bucket list includes onsite research in Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and a long list of U.S. states. Choices have to be made.

Think about that last paragraph as far as your own family history. We aren't the only one who can't attend everything. When we do attend, we might be sharing a room with 1-3 roommates to cut costs. We bring along
granola bars for some meals.

For our own continuing education we can't forget programs put on at our home area historical and genealogical societies and even at public libraries. We can take part in online webinars and discussions. Yet, there's still something that draws our hearts and minds to the bigger events like institutes, conferences, and to places like Washington DC, Fort Wayne, and Salt Lake City for research. It's the camaraderie in those settings that draw me as well as the education.

Just like a family saves for a vacation, that new TV, or to replace the ten year old vehicle, we need to have our genealogy savings fund. Maybe it's a few less lunches or dinners out each month, or telling relatives that we don't need another sweater, tie, or scarf but would appreciate a gift towards that conference, institute,or library visit. I have a jar into which I put all my loose change and then take that to the bank before trips.

If you still have young children at home, maybe someone could give you a gift of taking care of them for a few days. I know many genealogists who care for elderly parents. Some respite care would be nice even if it's only for some local area research time.Can't get away this year or next? Education will still be there the year after that. When you can finally go to the event in 2012 or 2013 there will be others who can't go in those years.

Choices are not easy. Family history is not easy. But we need to work to make choices and preparation that help our family history knowledge and progress. Off my Thursday afternoon soapbox!

7 comments:

Helen V Smith said...

Well considered post.

As part of those choices we know we can't do everything we would like but we do have some alternatives (as well as all those you have suggested). We are part of a fantastic online community who are eager to help each other.
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is just one of the activities in which we can n become involved.

Sue said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the money issues. The free online webinars and other learning opportunities can help to ease the realities of not being able to attend all events away from home. Then you may be able to get a copy of syllabus material or recordings for the events. I love your saving jar idea. My daughter bought me a retirement jar and I should put that to work.

Nancy said...

So true Paula. Choices must be made. But the genealogy cruise sounds sooooo nice....

Nancy said...

So true Paula. Choices must be made. But a genealogy cruise sounds sooooo good....

BDM said...

Very thoughtful. I specially like the part about clue-ing relatives if they insist on giving gifts!
-Brenda

BDM said...

Comment didn't go through the first time.
A thoughtful post. I specially liked the part about Clue-ing in relatives who insist on giving gifts!
- Brenda

Michael Hait said...

I couldn't have said it better myself!

This can be especially hard during conference times, when you find yourself reading blogs and Twitter posts from those attending, and getting those emails (like I did just last night) saying "Wish you were here!"

Fantastic post!