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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My New Normal

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings is on a blogging hiatus due to having surgery. We wish him a speedy recovery. Linda Stufflebean found a perfect meme to have a SNGF this week from Pauline, who writes at Family History Across the Seas. I am happy to participate this week, too.

Has your day-to-day life returned to how it/you functioned previously?
No, my day-to-day life has not returned to normal, although I have returned to some functions.

If your “new normal” is different from your “old normal”, can you share some of the ways it’s changed?
What has changed is I am more careful about being in crowded spaces. I wear a mask when shopping in stores and if in close contact with others. I have done some traveling. In April, I went to a model railroading convention (by auto) and mostly wore no mask. It was not crowded and I came out covid-free. A later model railroading meet did produce some cases, as numbers are climbing locally here.

Last week I attended the National Genealogical Society conference in Sacramento, California, also by auto and because of their protocols for the conference, wore a mask the entire time, both in the conference center and in the hotel lobby and elevators, and in restaurants. I think that there were few cases as a result.

We did travel to New York last September by train, the first part on a private car, and the rest in a sleeping car room. We wore masks while on Amtrak and while in New York City, we wore masks indoors and showed vaccination cards at restaurants. At some restaurants, we dined outdoors. We did attend some Broadway shows, wearing our masks.

Do you think these will be long-term changes for you?
I will be more careful in the future about being in crowds and do not mind wearing a mask if I have a cold. I think I will continue doing this.

What personal benefits have you gained from the change of pace and experiences in the past two years?
I have enjoyed the online interaction with people on Zoom. I like the classes and presentation on Zoom. It is like having a front row seat. This past week at the NGS Conference really brought this out. The screens there were not large and the type on the slides were too small. On Zoom, we can clearly read the slides.

I have also gotten speaking gigs from societies all over the country. I spoke to societies in Texas, Oregon, Seattle, and Chicago, and have plans to speak to societies in Colorado. Even if societies go back to in-person, many will keep hybrid as they have gained many out-of-state members.

Being home has also allowed me to do more research online and to write up my research. I also formed a business with two partners and we’re providing online instruction for those who cannot attend in-person institutes.

Do you think the disadvantages have outweighed the benefits for you and/or family and friends?No. I’m not a super outgoing person, so I do not mind being a homebody now. With so much available online, one never really feels lonely.

What do you value most about your new normal?
I value that most people in my circle value and respect the need for taking precautions.

What do you consider have been the main influences (over the past two years): covid infection, restrictions and isolation, other health issues, changing inter-personal interactions?
Our family has been fortunate to not have yet contracted Covid, though our daughters have. They work or commute in close contact with others and have a greater chance in contracting Covid. My husband does most of the grocery shopping, but he goes in the evening when the stores are nearly empty. We also have some groceries delivered. We have avoided places where we know many have not been vaccinated unless the event is outdoors.

What is your view of in-person meetings (social or genealogy) and do you love or hate zoom meetings?
I love Zoom meetings. Regular meetings go faster without the interruptions or side comments. Classes slides are easier to read. My German class on Zoom has been wonderful. We can hear each other better and can share our screen to show images. I teach genealogy classes at the adult school online and I’m not sure if I will go back to the classroom. Many of the students have found us from out of the district.

What was the main activity and/or person that supported you through the unpredictable times?At the beginning of the pandemic, our normal monthly genealogy roundtable began to meet weekly on Zoom. The plus to that was not feeling lonely and members who had moved away and couldn’t attend in-person meetings anymore could now be in contact with us. We have members from Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, and Nevada. This weekly meeting was well-attended.

Has your community developed a new normal or just returned to the old one? What differences do you see, if any?
Our county keeps track of the infection numbers and has adjusted the rules on mask-wearing indoors when the numbers go up too far. Our town created a way for restaurants to have outdoor seating by closing off streets on the weekends. It was nice to go out to eat outdoors. In some places in our county, the outdoor settings are still in place. For some restaurants, it has doubled their seating.

If you would like to respond to the questions I posed, please do join in and leave the link in the comments. I’ll be posting a list of links at the end of the week. Thanks to those who’ve already responded.

Copyright © 2022 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I think a real benefit to the genealogy community has been Zoom because, as you say, it's attracted people from all over to local/regional meetings. I, too, am way more careful about crowds and don't mind wearing a mask indoors in public places.

  2. As Linda has said, your point about being able to attend zoom meetings from anywhere has been a huge benefit to genies. Certainly we’ve been able to access conferences and classes from Australia that would have been prohibitively expensive otherwise.
    Masks and crowd-awareness seems to be a big thing for many of us.
    Thanks for joining in!!


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