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Update of a Genie’s Life in Isolation

September 25, 2020

 Back in May, I posted about my life during isolation and my genealogy intentions, to ensure that the time spent in self isolation wasn’t wasted. At the time, at the forefront of my mind was everything  that I needed to do to ensure that my collection of genealogy papers and information wasn’t lost, should anything happen to me. I am aware that there is nobody in my family who would be interested to take over the recording of our family history. Therefore simply handing the work over to a family member isn’t an option.  I still haven’t solved that problem, but I’m not as stressed about it as I was previously. I’ve started working on a plan that won’t solve the problem entirely, but should ensure that my information and registration certificates aren’t thrown into a skip bin, after I’ve left this earth.

I’m not sure if it was because of covid-19, but I seem to remember having quite a morbid sense of my mortality, when I originally made my isolation plan. I had put myself into isolation, for many reasons, and life was changing for me. I wasn’t going to work everyday, or rushing to complete every task. I had time on my hands for the first time in many years. These weren’t bad things, but they signified change. Since then I’ve been absolutely loving my life in isolation. So much so, that I may not go back to work.

It’s now four months since that post, written in May, and it’s time to look back at what has been done, what needs to be completed,  and added to the list, to ensure that I keep busy until Christmas. As all genies know, it is very easy to sit at the computer to “do genealogy” and before you know it, hours have passed with nothing to show for it. It works better for me, to be intentional and have a plan to work to.

The Plan

The plan below is as I wrote it back in May, with my comments on the progress of each item. Items in brown have been completed.

  • Keep blog updated and continue to post as much information, including family stories, as I have available  
    – I’ve had a more productive year than usual on the blog. My #52ancestors posts are up to date, and I’ve posted many other family stories during 2020.
  • Request fellow family researchers, and also family members, to contribute to the blog in order to preserve their information and stories.  
    – I have done this, but have had little feedback as yet. One fellow family researcher has made a large contribution to my #52ancestors posts, with another contributing occasionally. I’m still
      very keen to have family members contribute, so if you have a story you’d like to tell, please make contact. I will be very happy to hear from you.

  • Digitise all civil registration certificates and paper documents
    – What seemed like a huge and almost impossible job, didn’t take all that long, once I put my head down to it. I spent many hours scanning documents. This can get quite tedious, but to
       keep me going, I watched my favourite TV series, Broadchurch, on SBS on Demand, as I scanned,  to relieve the boredom. I’m happy to report that all documents have now been scanned.  At the moment they are sitting in a scanned file, waiting to be moved into family files.  

  • Pass paper documents over to relevant societies or libraries
    –  I’ve given this much thought and now have a better idea of how this needs to be done, but I have to admit that thinking about it is all I’ve done.

  • Check all sources on the family tree to ensure they are all complete and update those that need it.
    –  Big fail here. This task has not even been started yet.

  • Decide what I should do with my backed up Legacy family tree. I’m a bit baffled by this and really not sure how to solve the problem 
    – Nothing done on this also. The only idea I’ve come up with, is to take a copy to my son, when the border to Queensland opens, and I can visit.

  • Digitise photos and decide what to do with them
    –  All photos have been digitised and labelled. The problem of who they will passed on to, won’t be resolved so I’m counting this task as done.

  • Add photos to Legacy family tree.
    –  Still to be done.

  • Organise scanned documents into files
    – Half have been done, so this task is ongoing.


The biggest genie highlight of 2020 so far, is that I’ve been able to reinstate my one place study, Axedale Then and Now.  I had no choice but to put it on hold a few years ago, due to time constraints. Isolation has given me the time to continue on with recording my research of this area. At the moment, I’m recording burials, with obituaries where available, in the Axedale Cemetery.

Virtual Conferences & Tutorials

Another highlight of isolation, has been the virtual conferences that have been held from all over the world.

I have participated in all five conferences held by Scottish Indexes in 2020, and have learnt a huge amount about Scottish research. Before this, I found research in Scotland to be a bit of a struggle.  I’ve made Scottish family a focus of my research in 2020, so these conferences have been exactly what I need. There have been topics on civil registration, parish records, land records, wills, court records, DNA and much much more.

I’ve watched many legacy webinars, mostly on general genealogy topics but also their technical webinars,  relating to using Legacy Family Tree software. I love my Legacy software, but still have a huge amount to learn. I have a feeling that this could be my focus for 2021.

The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Memorial was virtual this year, making it possible for me to attend. For years, I’ve wanted to be able to get to Sydney to attend this memorial event, but it never happened.  I was really interested to check out the memorial and my ancestor’s name on the memorial wall.  My ancestor Ellen Boyle was an Irish Famine girl, who came to Australia with the Earl Gray Scheme.

 Coming Up


Virtual conference with eight hours of advice into Scottish research

Family History Down Under 2021 to be held at The Sunshine Coast from 22-16 March 2021


Family History Down Under to be held at The Sunshine Coast in 2022


I’m very pleased to be involved with #ANZAncestryHour on Twitter as a moderator.


Rootstech is virtual this year. This event will be my major event for 2021.

I’d love to hear about your genie life in isolation. Also, I am very keen to publish guest posts so, if you are a descendant of any of my family lines, or a known family member, and would like to contribute the story of any ancestor, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

©2020 copyright. All rights reserved


From → genealogy

  1. mollyscanopy permalink

    Loved this post! And I had to chuckle about the epic fail at updating your family tree sources — same problem here 🙂 Overall this is an impressive list of accomplishments. I may use it as inspiration once winter arrives here in the Northeast U.S. and I can hunker down at the scanner once more to get some similar work done.

    • Pleased you enjoyed it Molly. Yes, winter is the perfect time for all those genie tasks. Good luck with it.

  2. Thank you for sharing your self isolation experience. This is something I have been thinking of posting about as well but haven’t got to on my ‘to do’ list.

  3. Great plan! You are lucky if you have many family members who are also into the ancestry research. The idea of their contribution to your blog seems interesting. I wonder how many persons will be actually willing to do that. Lucky you.

  4. It sounds like you’ve had a very productive time in isolation. I hope you’ll come back to the Genealogy Blog Party and share what you’ve been working on! 🙂

  5. You have been very busy and I applaud you on keeping yourself accountable this way Jen and can understand the issues with who or where to pass on the information you’ve taken ages to investigate. A great read!

  6. I enjoyed seeing your catchy title and your account of life over the last few months. I have been writing something similar in my weekly journey (not online apart from one blog post) under the title “Life in Lockdown”. It covers many aspects of my life beyond genealogy. Like you I had made my “to do” list for what was ;planing to do i.e. garden, house, loft, de-cluttering, family history etc, never expecting this period to last this long. Your list of achievements is impressive. I am pleased with what I have done family history-wise – focussed more on my father’s ancestry which was little beyond names and dates; researched more and wrote profiles on the women in my family tree; and took my DNA with some interesting matches and new contacts emerging. I could relate to o to what you said on your own mortality coming to the fore of your mind. – I still have a lot to do. Keep safe!

  7. Linda Stufflebean permalink

    You’ve accomplished a lot. Digitizing alone is a big project. I smiled at the Fail – I can’t get very excited about updating source citations either!

  8. Climbing My Family Tree permalink

    Congrats on resuming your one-place study! And good luck with your digitization, which I’ve been working on myself for months and months and months.

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