2020: The Year Without Genealogy…

Genealogy seminars and conferences cancelled–
The Southern California Genealogical Jamboree for 2020 was cancelled at the 50th Anniversary of the Jamboree, in 2019. SCGS was a full nine months ahead of the Coronavirus, Covid19. So the Jamboree did not prepare and then have to cancel, taking an unanticipated loss. 2020 has been dedicated to online soliciting of memberships and fund raising.

Libraries and archives have been closed. Some still process online and phone orders for materials; some are just closed. FamilySearch remodeled computer/microfilm stations on every floor in November and December 2019. Curiously, these stations are 6 feet long with barriers between stations, thus ensuring social distancing. But the Libraries are still closed.

Many of the document images on the internet at FamilySearch are masked. They can only be viewed at the main Library in Salt Lake City. Some of these can also be viewed at local Family History Centers. The Library personnel requested from image owners that they be temporarily opened during the pandemic so that genealogists could view them and search them at home. Permission was universally denied. So much of the local original source material is unavailable.

Family reunions are postponed or cancelled altogether. Genealogy projects and research reports to the family members, who actually pay for the research, are also postponed or cancelled for the time being.Online reports are almost  never studied to the same degree as those presented in person, with documents and notes. Most events and venues cannot provide adequate social distancing–so  local authorities will not rent local facilities.

Field research is impractical–
Roads into and out of  counties and states is erratic. Sometimes there is no way to know in advance when they will be opened or closed.

Motels, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and fuel stops are shuttered. Some are operating for short time periods only. Even availability of beds and breakfasts is iffy.

Field research tracing ancestors cannot be done well under such conditions. And the recent riots and civil unrest has made even cemetery searching impossible. The partial opening of city halls and courthouses, newspaper offices, copy centers where photographs can be reproduced–are often unavailable.

I recall, back in the days when we were encouraged to provide a safe place for a family or a person to  stay in place for safety,  my neighbor said she was building a bomb shelter. In it she would put a typewriter and her genealogy. That’s when she would work on her family history. Well…

…we have sheltered in  place for 3 months. Who do you know that has been working on her genealogy?

I have! Evaluating the research that I accomplished the three or four weeks at Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, when library hours were extended and the remodeling had been completed. Lots of research reports ready to share with clients and their families.

And many, many questions that I cannot answer yet without access to a countryside filled with resources that are available. So I have a research box in my car, with the questions marked and ready when genealogy is available again. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http:arleneeakle.com

PS Thank goodness for my own library–even though it is not fully available, yet…it supplies many resources–right here in my own home and Genealogy Library Center!

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