April 28, 2009

Genealogy Objective 2 – Tell the Ancestor Stories

Posted in Abbott, Genealogy at 5:29 am by hoosierroots

A couple of days ago I listed my seven genealogy objectives. Now it is time to turn these rather lofty objectives into actionable goals.

Objective 2: Breathe life into these ancestors by accumulating details, expanding the research into their families and neighbors, and putting them into their historical and social context.

As is true for most genealogists, I do not feel my job is done when I merely have the names and birth-death-marriage dates for my ancestors. While technically this is all tha is needed to build the family tree, it does not tell us who are ancestors were. My need to know then runs much deeper. I want to be able to tell their stories.

One of the challenges that has slowed down my research is the amount of material that I have collected, but have not organized. Some of that is perhaps because I struggle with basic organizational issues or maybe trying to do too much at the same time. But the issue exploded as the among of material I have grew exponentially when I received the materials my aunt had gathered a few years ago after her death. At about the same time I launched my family history website HoosierRoots which has helped me connect with more distant cousins than I would have ever imagined.

All this leads to my decision to expand this goal to included organizing the materials I have, for I can’t tell the stories if I can’t even find what I have. This is a task that will take months, if not years, so let’s get started.

Goal 2a: Organize my Abbott family papers by May 30, 2009. Go through the file folders, eliminate duplicate and unnecessary papers. Scan the remainder and organize on my hard drive and make a backup. Gather and print the “useful” emails from other Abbott researchers. Enter the Abbott data into my genealogy software Genbox. File the remaining paperwork into a binder, organized by generation. Constantly remind myself that this goal is not about conducting more research on the Abbott line; this is where I typically get side-tracked. Do feel free however to list ideas for further research as they occur to me.

Goal 2b: Read Our Company Increases Apace: History, Language, and Social Identity in Early Colonial Andover, Massachusettsby Elinor Abbot. Complete by May 30, 2009. This book gives a wonderful background on the founding of Andover, the colonial home of the Abbotts. This is the type of material that helps to expand the picture of what life was like for our ancestors.

Goal 2c. Write a summary of the Abbott family. Without making it the perfect narrative, summarize what I have learned so far on the Abbott family. Conclude with ideas for further research. Complete by June 30, 2009.

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April 26, 2009

Genealogy Objective 1 – Identify Ancestors

Posted in Genealogy, Stover at 7:33 am by hoosierroots

Yesterday I listed my seven genealogy objectives, which are generic enough they are likely similar to the goals of many, if not most, family historians. Now it is time to turn these rather lofty objectives into actionable goals.

Objective 1: Identify and document the lives of my children’s ancestors.

This is in essence what genealogy is. And of course, it is the objective we can never complete, because every time we find a new answer – add a new name to the tree – two more questions are created. But despite the knowledge we can never “win the whole game”, we keep at it.

This is also the objective that perhaps I traditionally have the most trouble turning into specific goals. With so many ancestors I tend to flit from line to line. And while I certainly have made a lot of progress over the years, I think I could be much more productive if I kept focused.

So, I am going to use this opportunity to create a specific research goal, including setting a date to review my progress.

Goal 1a: Document life of great-great-grandmother, Martha Metheny (sp?)(27 Aug 1839 OH – 04 Dec 1879 IN)(m. William B. Stover), accessing primary records where possible. Look to verify parents as Thomas and Abagail (–unknown–) Metheny. Create research plan. Maintain log of research performed. Pay particular attention to way surname is spelled in records. Look for information on siblings as well. Join surname mail lists and post query. Formally review progress by June 30, 2009.

April 25, 2009

Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #16 – My Goals

Posted in Genealogy at 9:48 am by hoosierroots

Out there in the vast community of genealogy blogging, a weekly theme is posted encouraging GeneaBloggers to “stay with it.” As I am just restarting my blogging, and moving it towards my family history research – it feels like serendipity that this week’s prompt is:

Week #16: Goals. Not just for resolutions anymore. Write down your genealogy goals. Then you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished.

What makes this prompt even more relevant is that I am participating in the “Professional Genealogy 2 Study Group”, an 18 month journey through the topics of the book Professional Genealogy. This month the focus topic is on Time Management, which has a lot to do with goal setting.

In today’s post I am going to list my seven high level genealogy objectives. Then this week I will expand each into specific, actionable goals.

  1. Identify and document the lives of my children’s ancestors.
  2. Breathe life into these ancestors by accumulating details, expanding the research into their families and neighbors, and putting them into their historical and social context.
  3. 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.
  4. Continually expand knowledge of genealogy methods and records through both formal and informal education.
  5. Give back to the genealogy community through meaningful volunteer activities and collaborative efforts.
  6. Collect and preserve the family heirlooms for the generations to come.
  7. Capture the family memories of today for they are the family history of tomorrow.

April 14, 2009

A Change May be in Store

Posted in Genealogy at 11:44 am by hoosierroots

I still have dreams of doing my kitchen in the future, perhaps even this summer.  But pending that flurry of activity I am getting the itch to return to my blogging, but this time with the focus on genealogy, a long time passion of mine. I am giving some thought to how I would direct my focus, as there are a LOT of genealogy blogs out there already. I would most likely focus on a combination of my own research and discoveries, with perhaps an occasional post about how to share our family history with those around us who are not as obsessed.  I would hope that might trigger input from others who have found their way to my door step. If anybody reads this post I would love to hear your input.