Saturday, January 24, 2009

Late Night Genealogy

Is it just me, or does a disproportionate amount of genealogical research get done late at night – maybe not the “wee, small hours of the night,” but at the end of the day, when you’ve put in a day’s worth (or two if you are a stay-at-home mother, work and take classes, etc.) of work and are tired and not at your sharpest? I’m sure there are people who get a significant amount research done during the day; this is probably the case with professional genealogists, but do they end up pushing their own family research back until after they’ve done their clients’ work?

In my case, during the work week, it is a good day when I’ve been able to devote half an hour to research, and that often comes at about 10:00 at night. At 10:30, as my eyelids start to droop and I can tell my brain is getting sluggish, I reluctantly have to stop my research for the day. It occurs to me that the quality of my research, i.e. thoroughness, soundness of conclusions, and so forth, may be suffering. Is that why I have so many strange handwritten notes everywhere that I can’t figure out the next day, let alone several weeks later?

Even on weekends, a good chunk of quality research time can be hard to find. That dust I can see on my bookshelves is calling to me. The cats want to play. My daughter needs a ride. Four hours of solid research feels like an awesome accomplishment.

And I really, really mean to finish this post, but, um, you know … it’s getting late and, um, … zzzz


  1. Greta

    Most of my research occurs in the middle of the nights since I often cannot sleep - a hardcore insomniac who only requires 3 - 4 hours sleep a night. I find it is the best time for me since everyone else at home is asleep and I know I won't be interrupted.

  2. Oh, Thomas, sometimes I wish I had insomnia! Well, not really, but just when I'm really ready to start searching I get so sleepy. Talk about being a pajama genealogist....