A few things to know before you say "I do." with a genealogist


People who aren't seriously genealogy-minded think being a full-time genealogist is awesome. It is for the genealogist, but it might be a bit less sparkly and attractive for our significant others and it can wreak havoc on relationships. Anyone anticipating falling in love with a genealogist should be well prepared to live a ummm...different kind of life. Based on my experience, this is what the life of the genie spouse might be.

  1. It's a given that we will have a device (mine's a laptop) on our person All. The. Time. We're glued to it. We wake up and grab it before our coffee. We make our coffee while we're scanning genealogy news. We have it with us every waking moment, and sometimes we fall asleep with it in the bed beside us. When we travel, the laptop is the first thing we grab when leaving and, if we're the passenger, the first thing we get out when we're settled in the car. Shhhh...We take it to the potty with us. TRUE!

  2. We might not communicate well with the living. Our specialty is dead people. Living people are complicated. Dead people, not so much. We love 'em. We hunt 'em, dig 'em up, study 'em, and don't let them rest, until we're satisfied there is nothing more to know about them, and then we still might not let go. Face it. There won't be much communication with you.

  3. When we do engage you in conversation, it is not diverse. We don't chit chat about the weather or the neighborhood or ask how your day was. We don't ask how your recent trip was. We discuss one thing. Dead people. I know, it sounds morbid, but it's true. We love nothing more than to find a scoundrel in the family. They leave so many records and led interesting lives. The worse they were, the better we like them. And it's not enough that we know about them, we want everyone we meet to know them. We talk incessantly about our dead people, our experiences, our research. Our work. No kidding, it's non-stop. Non-genies see us approaching, and they run from us. We are mono topical, and if we are fortunate enough to corner you, or live with you, you're doomed.

  4. Speaking of never resting - some of us have "visits." You know what I mean. The Heavenly kind. From Up ThErE ^. They might inspire us to research in a different direction or they might wake us up at 3:00 a.m. and demand we grab the laptop and keep searching. They sometimes want to be found, and we don't rest until we find them. They see to it. It sounds weird, maybe frightening, but after the first few visits, it's not such a big thing. Ask any serious genealogist. Bottom line is you might never sleep, either. If we're awake, you'll hear the tap, tap, tap of the laptop keys.

  5. Your Christmas gifts will always be genealogy something or other. Whether you want it or not, it's yours from us! We spend decades creating it. You will love it like we do! Never mind that we gave you one last year. This year's is bigger, better, IMPROVED!

  6. Our profit and loss statements are plain scary. It's not that we can't generate income; we can. It's just that we spend it on absolutely positively necessary stuff like death certificates, marriage records, probate records, hotels for weeks long research trips, new genealogy software, and genealogy classes and courses. Mind you, none of this is excessive to us. It's just the way it is. Don't expect to fall in love with a genealogist and get rich. Won't happen.

  7. We tune out everything! The dog turns blue waiting for us to let him out. You starve waiting for us to cook dinner, or you grocery shop and cook for us both to avoid starvation. We can't be bothered while we're engaged in the pursuit of whatever dead person has our attention at the time. Who cares if we let every phone call go to voicemail? Even yours!

How serious am I?


I'm probably the only person you will ever meet whose last straw (there were plenty before) in a past marriage was when my husband climbed out of bed (in the wee morning hours), and came to the den and asked me, "Are you ever going to come to bed? I don't like being ignored for genealogy." Right then, at that moment, my decision was made. NEXXXXT!


If you think about it the same way we do - that we've discovered what we're supposed to do here - that it's our mission, then you'll be fine. You'll be living your life with the most dedicated, most passionate ... OK…weirdest person ever! And won't you be the envy of everyone? ;). Say, "Yes." Keep repeating to yourself "Yes." It will be fine. Sure it will be! Probably....OK, OK...likely! You'll likely be just fine.


(Dedicated to Rus who learned early and has handled it like a champ since January 2, 2008. Be like Rus...if you want to have a conversation with me, learn to love genealogy! Happy Anniversary, Babe!)


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