On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) breakout, a pandemic. Since that time the NBA, MBL, and NHL have all suspending their seasons. College sports soon followed with the cancelation of March Madness and all other collegiate sports. Disneyland, Disney World, and Broadway announced their closings as well. There have been an unprecedented number of school closures or schools and universities moving to online studies only with no in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. But it really hit home for me when I got a notice that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and the National Archives would be closing due to the coronavirus also. To say this has been a whirlwind week of closures, sports suspensions, and talk of social distancing would be an understatement.
So what exactly is the coronavirus? Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death. Standard recommendations from the World Health Organization to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
I have always said that now is the best time for genealogy research because of all the documents that are digitized and being digitized. Nowadays you can do some good quality research from your home. So here are some ideas to help the time go by during this COVID-19 pandemic.
- Start a free trial on a genealogy website that you have been wanting to try
- Organize the documents on your computer
- Create a timeline for the ancestor you are currently researching
- Find a new collection to use (Family Search adds new collections to their database every month)
- Start a genealogy challenge (30X30 Challenge– researching 30 minutes for 30 days)
- Organize your photos
- Watch genealogy webinars or recorded conference sessions (Legacy Tree or RootsTech)
- Start a blog for your genealogy research
- Write a family history newsletter with updates on research finds and mail to relatives
- Start researching an ancestor that you know very little about
- Volunteer to assist someone with their research or getting started researching
- Start a family history scrapbook with family photos
- Watch some genealogy TV shows: Finding Your Roots, Relative Race, Who Do You Think You Are, or A New Leaf
- Listen to genealogy podcasts: Journey Through the Generations, Genealogy Gems, Family Tree Magazine Podcast, Extreme Genes, Research at the National Archives and Beyond are a few of my favorites
- Organize family recipes and create a family cookbook
I plan on organizing the documents/photos on my laptop, going through family photos to share on Wordless Wednesdays, watching genealogy webinars, and planning content for my podcast and recording. How do you plan to use this time during COVID-19 pandemic? What do you hope to get done with some extra time on your hands? Remember this pandemic is a part of our story now, so please stay safe and make some memories with loved ones to share with others when COVID-19 is talked about 20 years from now.