My 2013 Genealogy Re-Boot

2013 will be a year of big change for me. I’m starting a new job closer to my home and one of the results of this will be recouping hours each week previously spent in my car commuting. I’m hoping this will translate into more time that I can put towards genealogy.

Additionally, I’m in the midst of a genealogy re-boot. While I’m choosing to blog about it at the beginning of the New Year, it’s actually been underway for a couple of months (even before I knew that I’d be taking the new job). I’ve been slowly making changes to my blog and how I do research, in the hopes that I will be a better, more organized genealogist in the long run.

Steps I’ve taken so far:

1) most notably, was the re-design of my blog, which was mostly cosmetic, but was needed to make my content more accessible and pleasing to view;

2) I updated my versions of Crossover and RootsMagic, as I plan to start using RM more (more on that later);

3) I started blogging more often, using the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories as a convenient way to bring more content to my blog (this also helped me to make use of many photos I recently acquired; more on this later as well);

and 4) I added a small “cousin-bait” paragraph to blog posts about my ancestors, inviting those who may share those ancestors to be in touch with me. Folks still find my blog by searching for terms that make it painfully obvious that they share, or at least are searching for, an ancestor of mine, but still, they don’t make contact. However, I have started to hear from cousins more often (one of whom cited the cousin-bait paragraph in his email to me), so I think this was a worthwhile update to make.

I have many more changes that I hope to implement. Among these is to set goals for things I’d like to accomplish each week or month, such as:

  • Processing one document/source per week (if not more) into my RootsMagic database. I have been neglecting this database entirely over the past year, and that’s bad because it’s the database where everything is sourced properly. My Ancestry.com family tree allows me to discover lots of potential resources, but not everything on there is proven fact. I’m using RM to create a fully sourced tree.
  • Writing at least one blog post per week. I’ve been neglecting this blog, but I hope to have lots of new content thanks to my revamped genealogy plan.
  • Reading one genealogy book per month. I am a book collector, but haven’t done very well when it comes to reading those books. I’m excited that I will have more time and energy to put toward this goal.
  • Exploring one new technology per month. This doesn’t have to be genealogy-related, necessarily. Things are changing so rapidly these days and there’s so much out there that I want to explore.
  • And taking one genealogy-related trip every two months. I won’t be able to travel to far-flung conferences this year, but I’m hopeful that I can do things like attend local APG chapter meetings, FHL events and the like.

There are some specific things I want to have completed by the end of 2013:

  • Become an expert Evernote user (I’ve only been using this tool haphazardly until now).
  • Explore FamilySearch more, especially FamilySearch Wiki.
  • Clean up the surname organization of files on my computer.
  • Re-organize my office. I brought home a lot of stuff from my old office and so I need to find a way to store everything in my home office and still be able to use the space.
  • A renewed focus on photo organization and actually using my photos, not just archiving them. My focus over the past several years has been to try and preserve as many family photos as I possibly can. I want to start using these photos more, however. I have many of them in scrapbooks and other items that only I can enjoy. I want to explore ways to share the photos more easily with family members and others.

I’m publishing this post as a way to hold myself accountable for the above goals. I’ve been in a holding pattern over the past year when it comes to my own personal genealogy research. This is partly due to a lack of time, thanks to my old commute. However, the biggest problem was that I didn’t have a plan. I expect that I’ll be revising the above plan as I achieve goals, acquire new skills and learn about new resources. I’m looking forward to sharing my new discoveries with you.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Music

MomPianoGraceXmasThis is the only photo I found that even came close to today’s topic of Christmas music. I know I had a piano like that when I was small. I can still here the tinny plink-plink-plink it would emit when I banged on the keys.

Thus concludes my posts for this year’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories! I hope everyone has enjoyed the photos. Happy Hols!

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Holiday Travel

I don’t really know much about this photo except that my mom and Aunt Joan are the two girls on the right. I don’t think that this is at my grandparent’s house. The tree is uncharacteristically huge compared to trees in other Christmas photos and the tinsel is missing. Maybe by posting this photo here, the mystery girl and location will be identified.

UnknownMomJoanXmas

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Christmas Gifts

As with most first-time parents, I think Christmases after my mom was born were all about presents for her (and then her and her siblings), as far as my grandparents were concerned.

Here’s mom at Christmas in 1950, grabbing one of the first presents she saw:

Here’s Mom modeling the robe she received for Chrismas (it’s hanging off the stair rail in the previous photo):

Later, it was all about us grandkids. Here’s a couple photos from the 1980s for a change:

GraceMomCindy

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Mom’s 1st Xmas

My mom was the oldest of four and, true to form, my grandparents took TONS of photos of her at any opportunity to do so. Thus, we have a plethora of pics to peruse from her first Christmas:

Mom and Grandma Grace, Christmas 1949

You have to admit, my mom was a cute baby.

I love this photo of my mom transfixed by one of her toys.

 

Mom just can’t believe how she cleaned up this Christmas. Look at all those toys!

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Holiday Parties

Ah, the holidays. The perfect time to break out your velvety dress and pointy party hat:

That’s my grandma on the left.

… and play party games, whilst wearing your pointy party hat:

That’s my grandpa in the blue hat at top right.

… and don’t forget to demonstrate your fancy dance moves:

My grandpa is on the right. Not sure who the gent with the smooth moves is.

Bonus pointy party hat pic (with apologies to my aunts):

Not sure of the occasion, but I believe this was taken aboard the SS United States.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Santa Claus

Below may be the strangest Santa Claus photo I’ve ever seen:

My mom’s posture screams “Help me.”

Granted, my mom isn’t screaming or crying in this photo, but she doesn’t look particularly happy to be seated on his lap either. Her posture is really stiff and her expression is a bit vacant. I think she’s in her happy place.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) the above experience didn’t phase her a few year’s later:

What’s in the paper sack, Santa?

In this photo, my mom is very excited to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas. My Aunt Joan is on the right, I guess patiently waiting her turn. I’m a little worried about Santa though. He seems to be losing one of his eyebrows and I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with his shoes. And what’s in that paper sack next to him?

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Christmas Cards

While going through photos and documents my aunt received after my grandma passed away, we came across this Christmas card that my mom must have given her and my grandfather either in nursery school or kindergarten. I think she had a little bit of help making it. The card is a triptych, with the opening down the middle of the front. Opening the card reveals a photo of her in a toy car:

The front of the card, adorned with bells made out of foil.

The photo on the inside:

Nothing is written on the card or on the back of the photo, unfortunately. Props to the teacher for using photo corners instead of glue/paste to attach the photo to the card.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Way-Back Advent Calendar: Holiday Foods

This recipe of my grandma’s for Cocktail Meat Balls can be used any time of year, but I associate them with winter-time parties, especially around Christmas, New Year’s and the Superbowl. I need to figure out a way to make them without eggs (due to an allergy), because I love these things. She claims this recipe makes 65 servings. That’s not 65 Missy-size servings, I can tell you. Thanks to my Aunt Dorrie for letting me scan this.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.