The Family Tree Frog, aka Alex, has challenged us to share our genealives in lockdown as part of National Family History Month. In past posts I’ve commented on some of the things that have occupied my mind over the past 18 months. Today’s post will be more of a snapshot of life overall, rather than necessarily just my genealogy life.
Back when I first went to Papua New Guinea (PNG), and I was missing my family and friends enormously, my mother-in-law gave me some wise advice: don’t think in terms of the 21 months until you go on leave focus on the next event, activity, or long weekend that’s coming up. This has been helpful advice over many years in a way of overcoming some anxieties or over anticipation of an event.
Other experiences in PNG have also helped me to adapt to the constraints of a Covid lockdown lifestyle. In those days you couldn’t predict reliably when something would happen: would the plane come in or would the weather be too cloudy and rainy. Would your meat and veg order arrive on time for an event? You learned to go with the flow when you live in a small place far away from anywhere and at the whim of the elements.
Throughout our eight years in PNG we had no television, newspapers came in on the midday plane if we were lucky and they were expensive, telephone calls were highly expensive if you could get through, and for a couple of years they were all radio telephone calls…over.
Subsequently, over the years I’ve worked with “head office” thousands of miles away making it imperative to build connections remotely.
Living in Covid Times, with or without lockdown
I’ve mentioned before, that here on the Sunshine Coast, we’ve been fortunate to have had only a handful of lockdowns and only now having to wear masks in public. We “dodged a bullet” with the prompt discovery of a Delta cluster in a part of Brisbane. Fortunately the people in the area have complied with regulations for the greater good of the community and for those in quarantine it must have been a big effort, for which the whole community can be grateful.
So, what’s my life been like?
Health and well-being
It’s easier to stay healthy and be selective when you live in a regional area and are retired. You can pick and choose when and where you go and how many people you associate with, to a large extent. I’ve been very conscious of this all along having been focused on keeping mum, and other residents, safe in Aged Care. She has been vaccinated since March/April and we have both been double vaccinated so that certainly adds to our peace of mind. However, earlier habits remain, and we’ve reduced our social circle a fair bit over the time. With sunny, mild weather and sharing my home with Mr Cassmob and our furry friend, life isn’t too tough at all. I think these times must be hardest on those living alone or for families trying to juggle working from home with remote teaching of children.
I wrote at length about this in an earlier post, Covid and Travel Dreaming, so I won’t blather on about it here. I’ve recently discovered an online website where you do virtual tours of different places and we’ve enjoyed visiting a few places this way. For the price of a tip, it’s a bargain.
Family and Friends
Our connections are continued through phone, texts, Facebook, messenger or emails and less with FaceTime or zoom. As our family has “always” been dispersed to some extent, we’re accustomed to keeping in touch via phone and knowing we’ll catch up when travel permits. Some friends have dropped by the wayside as they’ve not understood the need to maintain safety for mum, others have been a wonderful support through that and my own health issues.
We’ve had a few zoom calls with McCorkindale cousins in the UK which has been a great way to connect and learn more about each other. Not quite the same as the planned trip to Oz they were hoping for, but still fun.
On a more sober note, many of us will have attended funerals virtually that even in good times, we may not have been able to get to. That has been a benefit of inclusion in sad times for family and friends.
Can you remember when zoom wasn’t part of our vernacular and experience? Our local society quickly adapted thanks to some key techie members including my mate Travelgenee. With the unpredictability of hosting conferences in these times, we’ve all had wonderful learning opportunities to attend short sessions online via Facebook or bigger conference presentations like RootsTech 2021 and THE Genealogy Show. I’ve especially enjoyed watching sessions from the Scottish Indexes Conferences online. While I’ve watched many presentations from around the globe, I confess I’m starting to suffer from a surfeit of Zooming. I have to say, though, that it’s a great way for societies to add value for members who live at a distance – I’d have relished it when I lived in Darwin, that’s for sure.
I really wonder what I’ve achieved over the past 18months. My summary is that my research has been far too often unfocused and not methodical.
- DNA matches have kept me occupied in the evenings as I try to identify links especially to my McSherry family. What a benefit it is to have had cousins test as well on all my branches.
- Blogging habits vary depending on what else is happening and my motivation. I enjoyed this year’s A to Z, talking about food traditions now & then.
- My blog continues to attract visitors and emails I’d never get otherwise eg I’ve just had an email from an 8th or 9th cousin whose family also lived at Backrow, Bothkennar, Stirlingshire. Also content and images given to me arising from the blog or my Ancestry tree.
- I’ve pottered in the Kirk Sessions newly released by ScotlandsPeople but haven’t found any that quite match my earlier discoveries in the Kilchrenan and Inishail parishes Kirk Sessions.
- As one of the hosts of ANZ Ancestry Time, I’ve been kept busy each Tuesday night on Twitter discussing another genealogy topic. It’s amazing the tips and tricks that come out of each week’s chat, all kindly collated by blogger Sue.
- I’ve given a couple of zoom presentations to societies and also an in person one to the new Bribie Island Society. Alex and I also did a two-part zoom on blogging last year which was well received and I think we complemented each other well.
- It’s kind of ironic to look back at the Pandemic meme I created in May last year – it seems to naïve, and rather premature, now.
- Slowly, all too slowly, I’ve been whittling away photos to be scanned and heritage items to be stored, disposed of, or photographed. But more of that anon.
As always, my main relaxation is reading. I have read many books over the past 18 months, though I can’t say many have been in-depth. This probably explains why some of my family history books are still languishing waiting to be read. It’s also because I enjoy reading ebooks for a variety of reasons – backlit for ease of reading, ability to verify my understanding of words, and the ability to look up the location of the story and perhaps some images, all on my iPad. Even though I have access to three libraries from adjoining Council areas, I can’t always find what I want so head for cheapies from Amazon.
The television sits largely ignored in our lounge room. We both prefer to read the news online than to watch the TV news unless the vision is a key component of the story. We haven’t been to the movies or a show for well over twelve months. We could easily enough watch online or follow series on Netflix that have been recommended but the call of a book is nearly always stronger. I like that GoodReads makes it easy to keep track of my reading.
So that’s life in lockdown (or not) for me over the past 18 months. GeniAus and I have been reading each other’s minds through this challenge and this week she beat me to put fingers to keyboard. You can read her post this week here. She and Alex have both been testing the voice to text tips offered by Carmel and while I’ve tried it, I think my fingers are faster and more accurate.
What’s been happening in your genea-world in lockdown? Why not read the A to Z series Susan wrote about life in the Scottish Borders during covid. It offers a completely different perspective.
And don’t forget that genimate Crissouli has kindly collated all the posts on the NFHM blog challenge here.