A little over 17 years ago, I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Family History-Genealogy from Brigham Young University. This was a big deal to me! It had been a lifelong goal, and I was the first woman in my direct family lines to graduate from college. I had watched so many female relatives struggle to provide for a family without an education when life circumstances like injury, death of or divorce from a spouse came upon them. I was absolutely determined to finish my degree no matter what!
I was also ecstatic to have graduated in a field I was passionate about; I was only 22 and I already had nearly a decade of genealogical research experience under my belt. I had great ambitions in mind when I graduated… visions of a Master’s degree, and earning the distinction of becoming an Accredited and a Certified Genealogist.
On the other hand, another life goal of mine was to be married and have a family. I was blessed with the opportunity to marry my best friend, John, during our college years. We welcomed our first child before our first anniversary. By the time I graduated, we had a one-year-old and I was expecting baby number 2. At that time, the right choice for me was to put my professional goals on pause and focus on my family goals.
For many years, my personal family history work was sandwiched in between diaper changes, soccer games, mealtimes, and chauffeuring. These have been amazing, challenging, personal growth-filled, full years. In fact, I am still in the middle of these years, with the oldest off to college and the youngest preschool-aged.
Yet, the time feels right for me to pick back up my professional goals and unpause them. Inspired by many people and events over the past few years, I have committed myself to speaking again at genealogy conferences, and I am in the middle of the Accreditation process with ICAPGen. I think it is safe to say I am leaving off the goal of returning for a Master’s degree at this point… I have no desire to return to college with my kids. But, Certification may still be an option in a few years. For now, I am happy to get working on my professional genealogy goals again!