Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Genealogy Goals

Goals set, like resolutions made are filled with the best of intentions, but often neglected about March. In my case, the problem seems to be the amount of goals I set. It's time to be more realistic in my approach.

I have goals for genealogy, work, education, reading, my house and my health (why did I put health last?). If I were to set 3 to 4 goals in each area of my life, I would have an impressive list of goals, that will probably never be realized. I am going to set one goal in each area of my life with the hopes that a more manageable set of goals are also more attainable.

For 2011 my genealogy goal is to find out who my great-grandmother, Mary Evingham, actually was. I know her name and believe I have a photo of her. I know from the 1900 and 1910 census that she was born in Illinois and lived in Nebraska. I know from land records that she sold her property in Nebraska after she moved to New Jersey in 1919. The rest of "Mary" is a mystery. I need to know her husband's name and her maiden name. I also want to find her death date and burial location.

It is time for me to focus on county records in the areas I know she lived:
  • Livingston County Illinois
  • Buffalo County Nebraska
  • Essex County New Jersey
Finding information on one person that lived in three states (possibly more) is a challenging goal for one year. I am looking forward to learning the story of Mary and will post updates as I progress.

Do I feel lazy or unmotivated for setting only one genealogy goal for the entire year? Not in the least! I know that by being focused and consistent in my research direction, I will reap the rewards and achieve my goal!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Musings on a Munday

My Baudermann line immigrated from Baden Germany, arriving at Castle Garden New York in 1852. The passenger list states that they sailed from Liverpool. That seems like an around about route to me: Southern Germany to Liverpool to New York?

Is this route telling me something? Why would they not have sailed directly from Germany? Was it cheaper to sail from Liverpool? Now I am also wondering how they traveled to Liverpool. I thought finding the family listed on the passenger list would answer all my questions, instead I now have a new set of questions!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pocket Tree Review

A few weeks ago I saw a product review of Pocket Tree on the We Tree blog. I was immediately interested in this product, although not only from the research tool perspective that it was initially designed for. Pocket Tree is a compact, 6-3/4" x 4-1/2", ancestry chart that when unfolded extends to 26-1/2" x 8-3/4"! The Pocket Tree will hold 9+ generations worth of information that you can view at a glance. This is a lightweight, portable research tool that is easy to use in a library, courthouse or other repository. With the small size of Pocket Tree you can keep it with you at all times in a purse, glove box or, yes, even a pocket.

Once received, I was immediately impressed with the quality of Pocket Tree. The front and back covers are sturdy with a beautiful heritage feel and a cleverly designed graphic. It is a visually appealing item.

"Pocket Tree's ©™ cover is of high quality construction printed on a 12 point C1S Sheet, varnish-coated. Varnishing a product allows temporary water resistance, and won't show fingerprints. It aids to the longevity and sturdiness of the product."

While I fully appreciate the usefulness of Pocket Tree as a research tool, my immediate reaction was that I would use this as a sharing tool. Pocket Tree will easily fit into a Christmas or Birthday card. What a wonderful way to share your research findings with others in your family. You may be lucky to have family members that want to see the pages after pages of research you have accumulated. However, in my family, the opposite tends to be the norm. Names, places and dates are the extent of the information many of my family members want to be faced with. Pocket Tree is perfect for that.

I am looking forward to sharing my family history information through the Pocket Tree. Perhaps receiving a gift such as this will be all that's needed to ignite the interest of others to search for their ancestors.

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Pocket Tree for review purposes. I am now a Pocket Tree Affiliate Partner]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Musings on a Munday

Captain of Midwest Flight 1989 announced we have reached our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet.  Yes, I am scribbling away my thoughts for blog posts, in my "GemKeeper", while in flight to Seattle.  The Tetons are beautiful from above!  Hello Montana!!

That thought was written back in September on my way to Seattle for a business trip.  I spent most of the flight writing down random musings which led to these weekly Monday posts.  As we were making our final approach for landing, the lady sitting next to me says "I admire your dedication to your writing, you didn't even stop to eat your snack."

I hope in the future I will be as dedicated about blogging those thoughts as I was about writing them!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Musings on a Munday

I recently began looking through the Research Guides at Family Search.  Why did it take me nine years to do this?  These are wonderful guides, by location, that provide step by step instructions on how to look for various types of records in a particular area.

Without investing time in educating ourselves in genealogical research we will spend a lot of time spinning our wheels.  The education shouldn't stop either, it never hurts to refresh our memories.  If you have looked at these guides in the past, browse through them again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog Caroling - Carol of the Bells

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold.

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling.

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air.

Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
o'er hill and dale,
telling their tale.

Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here.

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas.

On on they send,
on without end,
their joyful tone
to every home.

Ding dong ding... dong!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ancestors in "Secret Societies"

Ok, these aren't really secret societies they are organizations or clubs, but I'm a huge fan of The Da Vinci Code and love anything remotely secret, suspect, or questionable when it comes to organizations.

Charles Hansen, a regular contributor to the GHLL, has a few interesting newsletters on various societies.  The June 1, 2010 newsletter features the Order of the Eastern Star.  I became interested in learning more about this group when I was photographing ancestor's tombstones and found an imagine on the stone that I was unfamiliar with.  You can see a photo of the stone, with the Order of the Eastern Star symbol here.  Learning about the organizations our ancestors were involved in helps to give us more understanding of their life and fill in the pieces of our family history.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Musings on a Munday

To my fellow Geneabloggers,

Have you thanked Thomas MacEntee lately for all he has done and continues to do for our Geneablogger community?

Thank you Thomas!! You rock!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

NARA Kansas City is looking for volunteers

The National Archives and Records Administration of the Central Plains is looking for volunteers in several areas including research assistance, archival projects and community outreach.

To read more on this opportunity visit The Examiner

Monday, November 29, 2010

Musings on a Munday

Earlier this fall I spent many hours at the Midwest Genealogy Center reviewing microfilm of church records from Kelpsau, Baden, Germany from the 1600's - 1800's.  Initially, I was printing the documents that I was interested in but soon realized that they were just not very readable.  I started taking photos, with my digital camera, of the images as they were displayed on the microfilm screen.  This method worked best when the lights in the room were very dim or off and the flash on my camera was turned off.

Once I downloaded the pictures from my camera, I was able to use my photo software to lighten, darken and sharpen as needed.  I took over 200 photos of images and almost all of them are readable.  One of the images I photographed is in this earlier blog post.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Musings on a Munday

How many of you have recorded a podcast or a video cast of a research tip or method that you particularly like?  Even if you knew you were never going to publish it for others to view/listen to, it might be fun to try.  I mean even Lisa, George & Drew had a first time and look where they are now.  I keep saying I'm going to do this and one day I just might.  Of course, I will share it on my blog...maybe...if I do not totally embarrass myself!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ancestral Occupations

Have you found an unusual occupation listed for one of your ancestors? Here is a listing of ancestral occupations that may help you find out what they did for a living.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Musings on a Munday

In 2010 I attended four conferences that included exhibit halls.  Two of the four were genealogical conferences and at two of the four I was an exhibitor.  In the past year I have spent many hours on improving my exhibit knowledge and techniques.  The result is a long list of tips to share with other exhibitors.  Here are my top two.

1.  Do not stand behind your exhibit table.  By doing so you are putting a barrier between yourself and those that you need to engage with.  Situate the table at the back of your booth area and welcome attendees into your space.  This will get them out of the aisle where they may feel pushed to keep moving with the flow.

2.  No chairs allowed!  Many booth spaces now come with the chairs as part of the booth package, simply ask conference management to remove them from your space. You, the exhibitor, are supposed to be the authority. It is hard to be viewed as such when attendees are looking down at you. If you must have chairs in your booth space, offer them to an attendee to use as you demonstrate your product.

Successful exhibiting takes more than a tablecloth and stacks of products.  You have the chance to meet hundreds of potential clients face-to-face at trade shows.  Take the time to make sure you are presenting yourself and your products in the best way possible.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

German Family History: Finding Your German Town

German Family History: Finding Your German Town: "Need help finding your ancestor in Germany? Teresa Steinkamp McMillan presents a helpful online tutorial about finding a German ancestor's town of origin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday Germany 1868 Caricature Map

This map collection is absolutely stunning. I love the artistry of each one.

Library Of Congress Geography and Map Division

See the entire 12 map collection of various European counties in a 1868 atlas: Caricature map from the Library of Congress, American Memory collection.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Musings on a Munday

I have noticed in several county history books that while the names in the text are indexed, the names in the photo captions are not.  Do not rely on the index only, you may miss something important.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Musings on a Munday

As a general rule do county or small, local library systems put an emphasis on training their staff in the area of genealogy research?  With so many free resources available lack of funds should not be an issue.  Below is a very brief list of the options I am familiar with.  Cyndi's List has a more complete list available.

Family Search - Education & Training

Genealogy Research Associates -  Online lessons

Genealogy Gems - Podcasts & Videos

Sunday, October 31, 2010

GHLL Weekly Update

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of November 1 - November 7, 2010.

Please visit the GHLL site and take a look around.  There is a tremendous amount of domestic and international information available.  If you see something you like, let them know with a post on the message board.  If you are looking for something in particular, please mention that also.  The GHLL is a group of volunteer contributors who are always looking for ways to help fellow genealogists.