April 25, 2015
Scan “modern” photos that my mother took
I have boxes – and boxes – and boxes and boxes and boxes – of “modern” photos my mother took – from the 1980s – 2000s. I purchased an inexpensive scanner a couple years back that I can use to scan these while I watch television. While the quality is not great, it is sufficient. I scanned about 1000 photos (or so) last year. Time to get restarted.
- Gather scanner, manual, etc.
- Review how to use scanner
- Clean scanner
- Scan first batch
- Review first batch on computer
- Scan at least 3 batches each week
- Each week move batches to computer
April 21, 2015
Attend National Genealogy Society Conference in May
Conferences are a wonderful way to learn new research techniques, learn about new record types, be exposed to vendors in the field, browse books, and get inspired. One of the three national conferences is close by (St. Charles, Missouri) and I am going. I am SO looking forward to it!!
In order to take best advantage of my time I want to:
- Review the agenda to make at least preliminary choices of sessions to attend
- Bookmark the conference syllabus that will be distributed as a pdf shortly before the conference
April 13, 2015
Read well-written genealogy blogs
Genealogy blogs are a good way to keep abreast of current events, track philosophical discussions on how to best create a “proof”, and be inspired to “keep at it.” They can also be a major drain of time. At my peak I followed 60 genealogy blogs, in 2009 I had whittled the list to 44, and last fall I was reading a little over 35. Progress.
Over the winter my life was taken over with family needs, and I fell off the blog-reading wagon. I do want to return, but in a sensible manner. When Google Reader was discontinued a while back, I switched to Feedly to manage my blog reading. It has been months since I have “check-in” there.
As a way to restart, I will spend 30 minutes 3 times a week reading genealogy blogs. I will flag posts I find especially useful. At the end of April I will review the flags, with the goal of paring my list down to my favorite 20 blogs.
- Read well-written genealogy blogs three times each week
- Reduce blog list to 20 by April 30.
April 5, 2015
Read Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques
Due in large part to – no, due entirely to the Amazon e-credit I gathered from the “no rush shipping option” during the holiday season, I “bought” two new genealogy books for my Kindle. I have yet to make up my mind whether I like the Kindle. I had never felt tempted to buy a Kindle, but I won one as a door prize. I have occasionally downloaded library books to it before flying someplace. For some reason, spending money on e-books seems really odd to me. But there I was with Amazon credits which could only be used on e-media, and to my surprise, while the credits were seldom valid on popular, recent fiction – they were good for some genealogy books, including a few that have been on my wish list. So I chose two
I have decided to first read Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George Morgan and Drew Smith, also known as the Genealogy Guys from their popular podcast. The reviews are mixed – some feeling it is not “advanced enough.”
My goal will be to finish reading it by the end of June. One drawback of e-books to me is it is a little harder to tell how many pages there are in the book. There are 9 chapters, so I will aim for 3 chapters a month.
- Read Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by June 30, 2015.
To be effective, my objectives need to 1) have a deadline, and 2) be broken into manageable tasks. I am going to start at the end of the list – for they are the easiest to tackle. Also, I am not including the various newsletters I receive in email; I will develop a separate plan for those.
Selectively read incoming and backlog of genealogy magazines and journals.
Dealing with the backlog first, I currently have 18 genealogy magazines on my “need to read” stack. (I am going to ignore then many, many more that are older sitting in a bookcase.)
Two of the eighteen are the recent issues of The NEHG Register and National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the scholarly journals of those societies.
I have two issues of American Ancestors, two issues of Connections and one issue of Traces (both from the Indiana Historical Society.)
There are nine issues of NGS Magazine, the quarterly news and “how-to” publication from the National Genealogy Society. I was surprised to find this is half the stack. Probably because it is my favorite of all the above. I read it cover-to-cover, so it takes longer.
I also have one issue each of Internet Genealogy and Your Genealogy Today. These are the only non-society magazines in the stack. I used to subscribe to several publications, but have now dropped all but the society publications. I decided between the society publications and blogs I have plenty to read.
So – that is the stack. And of course more will arrive. My objective will be to read the above 18 issues by the end of June – June 2015 that is. That is a little over one magazine a week. I have a couple travel weeks between now and the end of June which are great opportunities for a little extra reading time. I will endeavor to not read every word of every magazine, but concentrate on the articles most relevant to my research, or case studies which highlight a technique I need to improve.
I will place incoming magazines on the bottom of the stack. If I am successful with the backlog, I will have a handful to read the following quarter. None of the publications I currently receive are monthlies – they range from every-other-month to twice a year, with most being quarterlies.
Thus my official task for this quarter:
- Read at least one back issue genealogy magazine a week, clearing backlog by June 30, 2015.
April 4, 2015
As I move towards clarity – and focus – on moving my family history forward – it is helpful (to me at least) to see the current objectives in a condensed format. Stripping away the underlying goals – I want to concentrate on the following:
- Help my father complete the book he is writing on his life.
- Scan “modern” photos that my mother took.
- Apply for the Society of Indiana Pioneers.
- Select project to distribute at the Marvel Cousin gathering in September.
- Complete Disc 2 of the National Genealogy Home Study.
- Selectively read incoming and backlog of genealogy magazines and journals.
- Read well-written genealogy blogs.
- Attend National Genealogy Society Conference in May
- Read Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques.
Below is a summary of the objectives I have set for now. It is useful to see them all in one place.My next step will be to take each and create more specific tasks.
- Capture the family memories of today for they are the family history of tomorrow.
- Help my father complete the book he is writing on his life.
- Scan “modern” photos that my mother took
- Apply for the Society of Indiana Pioneers
- None for now
- Select project to distribute at the Marvel Cousin gathering in September
- Complete Disc 2 of the National Genealogy Home Study
- Selectively read incoming and backlog of genealogy magazines and journals
- Read well-written genealogy blogs
- Attend National Genealogy Society Conference
- Read Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George Morgan and Drew Smith (This is an addition since I wrote this blog entry)
- None for now
Goal 7: Give back to the genealogy community through meaningful volunteer activities and collaborative efforts.
As genealogists we all benefit from the research and knowledge of others that have gone before us. We build on their research. We learn from their articles. We save hundreds to thousands of hours form indexing and transcriptions they have done. I feel it is crucial to give back as well. Unfortunately I also have to be realistic about the time I have to devote.
A few years back, I served as a County Coordinator for for USGenWeb. I reluctantly resigned after I realized I could not spend the time on providing new material that the site really needed. A good volunteer fit for me is to index batches for familysearch.org; while I plan on doing more indexing in the future, I am resisting setting it as a goal for now as I see that my list of goals is getting too long to be realistic. I will leave this for later.
Goal 6: Continually expand knowledge of genealogy methods and records through both formal and informal education.
Continuing education in the field of genealogy is critical if the work that we produce is to stand the test of time. While I will very likely never become a professional genealogist, I believe I owe myself and my descendants the same care and expertise a professional genealogist would bring to my research.
Education comes in two flavors, each having its own important contribution to make. Formal education is available through classes, conferences, and lectures. There are a growing number of online classes and study groups as well. Informal education can be gained by reading books, magazines, and journals as well as accessing well written web sites and blogs.
It was interesting to review the education goals I set for myself in 2009. In 2009 I had embarked upon a rigorous s18-month study, which I did complete. I was also starting the second of a three disc National Genealogy Home Study course. I have made some progress on that , but not near as much as I would like. It is time to reset the objectives under this goal for 2015.
I, by nature, love to learn, which means I must make sure that I do not spend so much time learning about genealogy that I leave myself no time to perform my research.
Objective 6a: Complete Disc 2 of the National Genealogy Home Study This excellent course has long been considered one of three premier “basic” educational opportunities. I completed the first CD of six lessons in 2008, then took a break to concentrate on my daughter’s wedding. I did order the second disc in 2009. At times I have worked on parts of the lessons 7-11, but I have yet to finish any of them. I need to set a schedule.
Objective 6b: Selectively read incoming and backlog of genealogy magazines and journals. Genealogy magazines contain a mixture of how-to articles, news on new online and paper resources, and suggestions of how to share what we learn. Journals, more scholarly in nature, usually have three to five articles detailing the research and analysis performed to solve a tricky problem. Just as I love to learn, I love to read – so I subscribe to several periodicals, but don’t get them read quickly enough. I have cutback substantially on my subscriptions. I no longer subscribe to Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, or Discovering Family History. What I do receive are the publications from the organizations to which I belong. Each of these have 1 –3 publications, a couple of which are distributed only electronically. I need to create a plan of what I will read,
Objective 6c: Read well-written genealogy blogs. This is probably written a little generically. Here too I need to learn to be selective. It is valuable to keep up on current happenings and discussions in the genealogy community, so I am glad I have subscribed to several blogs. I now use Feedly as my Blog Reader. At my peak I was reading about 60 blogs; my current list is about 35. It has been MONTHS since I have even opened Feedly. (I do have a few non genealogy blogs I try to follow as well.) I need to determine how to attack blog reading – less blogs – and set a limit on how much time I read them.
Objective 6d: Attend National Genealogy Conference I am concerned that there are too many objectives under this goal, but I am already registered or the National Genealogy Society conference in May in St. Charles, Missouri. It will be a delightful four days of lectures by the nation’s best speakers. I will need to prepare looking at the agenda and mapping my sessions.
April 3, 2015
Goal 5: Creatively share the information and stories of the family of yesteryear with the extended family of today in a way that sparks the interest of those less passionate about family history.
I am well aware that while I am passionate about my family history, most of my family do not share my intense enthusiasm. (Or maybe I should say none of my family…) However, I am pleased that several of my cousins have commented that they would never do all the research, but they are truly glad I do. And I believe they are sincere.
And then there is the next generation which has grown up on video games and sound bytes, the generation already bored by emails of two paragraphs, choosing to communicate in 160 character s or less.
So if all the family history I unearth is to have a life beyond me, I must package it in a way that will capture the interest and imagination of my less interested family. I have completed a few projects over the past years which I will share in future posts. Right now I need to plan the next project.
Objective 5: Select project to distribute at the Marvel Cousin gathering in September. My Marvel cousins, the descendant of my paternal grandparents, gather every few years. I would like to have a creative project ready to distribute at the gathering. I need to begin be choosing a project to share – it might be a slideshow, an album, coasters, or …