Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Million Dollars? Just for genealogy research?

A couple of days ago Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe wrote A million dollars for your research? in response to the question offered up by Robert Ragan.

The premise proposed by Robert is this: "What would you do if an eccentric rich old uncle offered you a million dollars to do your family’s genealogy research?" The catch is "YOU have to do the research without hiring someone to do it for you. And, you have to keep it quiet so that other family members or friends don’t have any motive to help you any more excitedly than they normally would." He asks: So… what are the steps you would take? Where do you go from here? What would you do differently than you are doing now?

Oh boy! Many are the times that I've fantasized about winning a million dollars in the lottery.

But to have a million dollars specifically for genealogy research? I don't have to worry about the time, I have plenty of that since I retired last June. So, no job to quit. I'm not married, so I don't have to worry about offending my spouse by leaving on a whim. There are some other family obligations that would need to be taken care of though. Get those dealt with. Then? Take some time to figure out what it is I need to find and where I need to go to find it. Then? Sort through my "stuff" and decide what things I "really" need to keep. Put the keepers in storage. Get rid of everything else. Actually, I'm in the process of doing the latter two items now, so I guess that's not something I'd do differently. But If I knew I actually had the opportunity to go on this trip I'd probably get those things done a lot sooner! Then?

Well, then, I would:
  • Buy that RV I've been dreaming about for the last 20 years. My home on wheels.
  • Get it fitted out with all the "techie" stuff I'd need (satellite, computer, scanner, etc.) as well as special storage units for the books and papers that haven't been scanned yet.
  • Hire a driver to get me where I want to go. No need to waste my energy on driving!
  • If I had a house I'd probably sell it. I will turn in the keys to the apartment though. I'm going to be on the road a very, very long time!
  • Visit the locality of every ancestor that I've found as well as those yet to be found, and immerse myself in each locality.
  • That includes Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts for the ancestors that I'm currently aware of. And probably every state in the union for distant cousins and the siblings of the ancestors.
  • Overseas travel would include Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland and other places, as yet unknown.
  • Spend as much time as I want and/or need in each locality.
  • Explore every library, historical society, and archives in each of those localities.
  • Copy, scan or photograph documents, books, etc., as needed.
  • Review, analyze and enter data as it is obtained. Yeah, right.
  • Take pictures of the grave markers of all my ancestors.
  • Establish funds for the preservation of the grave markers and erect new markers where needed.
  • Contact every relative that I've corresponded with and go meet them in person.
  • Establish a regular schedule of visits to the optometrist, chiropractor, acupuncturist and yoga instructor.
Okay, that should take care of the next ten years or so... now I just need to find that eccentric, rich, old uncle. Problem there. I've only got one uncle living and he ain't rich!



Hi, Becky,

Thanks for your response to the Million Dollar Question! Can't wait for all our colleagues to also jump in.

Best wishes,

Lidian said...

Another fun genealogy thing to write about! Will write about this one tomorrow on my blog, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Robert Ragan here. Glad you guys are having fun with this.

I noticed that the link to the post did not work. You can get to it from here:

My best, ;-) Robert

Becky Wiseman said...

Thanks Robert, the link has been fixed...

Anonymous said...

I love the question and your answer. It makes me want to go out and buy a RV, sell all my worldly possessions and follow your path. Why wait for the a million dollars? The journey and discovery is priceless.