It is at this time every year that I plop down on the sofa, stretch out and relax, knowing that I have reached the end of another busy genealogical conferences and institutes travel season.

To be sure, there still are additional worthwhile opportunities enticing me and other genealogists in the upcoming months, but traditionally I have wrapped up my genealogically related educational travels by early September. I tend to focus on personal research during the last months of the year.

KY Winter III

I journeyed across much of the country this year, attending multi-day conferences and weeklong institutes. My travels enabled me to renew friendships and advance my abilities as a genealogist. The many hours spent on airplanes and in airport terminals lent themselves to reading journals and magazine articles, all of which further enhanced my genealogical skills. I learned something valuable at every conference and institute.

I also have learned some things about myself since I starting attending educational opportunities in early 2012. During the exciting first year, I traveled to national events and met distinguished individuals in the genealogical profession. By the following year, I registered for every possible opportunity and just about burned out myself in the attempt.

That season of genealogical conferences and institutes became the “summer of my discontent.” I attended more events than were reasonable, traveled too much, and researched my own family too little. My enthusiasm for genealogy diminished as a result. I felt disconnected from my family, and my dog almost disowned me. It was time to make a change.

The off season following my travels last summer provided me with valuable time to contemplate the future. It might not have been his intent, but J. Mark Lowe’s suggestion that we take time to “mull and ponder” motivated me to find a better balance between my personal life and professional pursuits. The result is a much happier me.

I scaled back on my educational efforts this year and reconnected with my family. I did so by determining those opportunities which meant the most to me. I valued the offerings not only for skill building, but also for personal renewal and pleasure. Perhaps most importantly, I convinced my husband to join me at the events. Although I am passionate about genealogy, I treasure my spouse and the time we spend together much more.

To everyone who contributed to the genealogical events I attended this year, thanks for the memories. I look forward to next year and the wonderful experiences at my favorite conferences and institutes.

Now, if only I could fit my dog under an airplane seat.