April 4, 2015

Goal 6 – Continually Expand Knowledge

Posted in Goals at 8:13 am by hoosierroots

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.

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April 3, 2015

Goal 5 – Share our Family History

Posted in Goals at 1:57 pm by hoosierroots

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 …

Goal 4 – Tell the Stories

Posted in Goals at 11:48 am by hoosierroots

Goal 4: 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 that 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.

I want to look deeper into their lives. What land did they buy. Where did they move. Why did they move? This is an important goal, not to be forgotten – but for the moment I will leave it without an assignment. I have to acknowledge that time is limited. If I am to make progress on any of the goals, I must admit I cannot do everything at once.

Goal 3–Document the Ancestors

Posted in Goals at 8:22 am by hoosierroots

Goal 3: 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 goal that perhaps I traditionally have the most trouble turning into specific objectives. 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.

With the bicentennial of Indiana looming around the corner, I would like to register my Indiana pioneers with the Society of Indiana Pioneers. I think I have about 30 – 32 ancestors who qualify. An ancestor is a “Pioneer” if it can be proved they lived in Indiana by 1840.

While working on this will not “plow new ground” – for I know who these ancestors are – it will prompt me to fully document these lines. In many cases I have relied on family story and have not sought out the “proof” that is required.

It is also a good fit, as before I loose myself in the thrill of the chase for a new ancestor, I must really concentrate on finishing my father’s book.

Even this objective could become unmanageable, so I must start small.

Objective 3a: Apply for the Society of Indiana Pioneers I will need to select an ancestor, and starting with me, obtain the documents that prove birth, marriage, death, and parentage, stretching back to the ancestor I chose.

April 2, 2015

Goal 2 – Preserve the Heirlooms

Posted in Goals at 8:55 pm by hoosierroots

Goal 2:  Collect and preserve the family heirlooms for the generations to come.

This too is virtually a repeat of what I wrote in 2013.

As the acknowledged family historian on both sides of my family, I have been fortunate to receive a closet full of old family photos. These photos stretch back to the late 1800′s with significant collections for every decade since. Some are labeled, some are not. While I will likely never identify every photo, I know more about many of the pictures than will my children or their children. In addition to photographs I have a smattering of old letters and documents, including my great-great-grandfather’s Civil War discharge papers. There are also a few audio tapes, movie reels, and even the now almost-antique VHS tapes.

If these items are to survive to continue to tell the story of our past they need to be labeled, digitized, preserved, and distributed. It makes me shudder to think what a loss it would be if our house were to burn – which is where the strategy of digitizing with an off-site backup and then distributing the originals among my cousins is imperative.

I have scanned many photos, but I have many, many, many more to go. In order to keep my load reasonable, I am going with a fairly simple – and single objective here. For now.(There is MUCH, MUCH more I need to tackle. I will be delighted to use the archival and organizational tips I have read in a couple great books – more on this in another post.)

Objective 2a: Scan “modern” photos that my mother took. I have several boxes of photos I gathered from my father’s house when he recently moved. These photos are primarily from 1980-2004. (My father went digital in late 2004.) While I have a high quality flatbed scanner, scanning is relatively slow as the lid has to be raised between scans. I have recently purchased an inexpensive photo scanner that allows photos to be fed through the slot. No doubt, the quality is not quite as good, but the speed makes up for it. I was able to scan the first box (maybe 2000 photos?) in a couple weeks while watching television. Eventually I want to organize all the photos, label them, and so forth – but for now I will concentrate on scanning.

April 1, 2015

Goal 1 – Capture Today’s Memories

Posted in Goals at 9:36 pm by hoosierroots

Goal 1: Capture the family memories of today for they are the family history of tomorrow.

I wrote these words in 2013 – and they still hold true.

While our lives seem very ordinary to us, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will find mundane topics such as antique cell phones and how we did the laundry fascinating. After all, aren’t we thrilled when we find even a single letter from our ancestors taking about playing bridge at night or gathering and listening to the fiddle playing.

As I wrote before, Dr. Thomas Jones suggests that this is the most important objective of all in his lecture ““Creating Family Histories for Future Generations.” To keep the number of objectives contained, I will not (for now) include projects such as scrapbooking and restarting the KUWJ (Keeping Up With the Joneses) newsletter.

Last time, I could not contain myself to only one supporting objective here. Now I must – to make sure I focus.

Objective 1: Help my father complete the book he is writing on his life.

The text is written We are about half through the editing process. I must put this as the top priority. It is a phenomenal treasure, and it is time to finish. I will set a timeline to complete.

March 31, 2015

Goals Revisited

Posted in Learn at 12:19 pm by hoosierroots

In 2009 I wrote seven genealogy goals. They were intended to be high level and withstand the test of time. In 2013 I reviewed and confirmed these goals were still valid. As I attempt to reboot my research, once again I am reviewing these goals. And once again they stand solid. Perhaps the projects underneath the goals may change. In the coming week I will consider each goal. I know to be successful I must first start with small objectives.

  1. Capture the family memories of today for they are the family history of tomorrow.
  2. Collect and preserve the family heirlooms for the generations to come.
  3. Identify and document the lives of my children’s ancestors.
  4. 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.
  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.
  6. Continually expand knowledge of genealogy methods and records through both formal and informal education.
  7. Give back to the genealogy community through meaningful volunteer activities and collaborative efforts.

March 30, 2015

Ending the Drought

Posted in Goals at 9:42 pm by hoosierroots

It is hard to believe that it has been over eighteen months since I last wrote an entry. No promises – but inspired by the new beginnings that come with Spring and Easter, I am trying to launch a new beginning to my Family History by taking small steps.

September 9, 2013

Genealogy Goal 2 – Preserve the Heirlooms

Posted in Goals at 8:28 pm by hoosierroots

Time to create objectives for the second goal.

Goal 2:  Collect and preserve the family heirlooms for the generations to come.

As the acknowledged family historian on both sides of my family, I have been fortunate to receive a closet full of old family photos. These photos stretch back to the late 1800′s with significant collections for every decade since. Some are labeled, some are not. While I will likely never identify every photo, I know more about many of the pictures than will my children or their children. In addition to photographs I have a smattering of old letters and documents, including my great-great-grandfather’s Civil War discharge papers. There are also a few audio tapes, movie reels, and even the now almost-antique VHS tapes.

If these items are to survive to continue to tell the story of our past they need to be labeled, digitized, preserved, and distributed. It makes me shudder to think what a loss it would be if our house were to burn – which is where the strategy of digitizing with an off-site backup and then distributing the originals among my cousins is imperative.

I have scanned many photos, but I have many, many, many more to go. In order to keep my load reasonable, I am going with a fairly simple – and single objective here. For now.

Objective 2a: Scan “modern” photos that my mother took. I have several boxes of photos I gathered from my father’s house when he recently moved. These photos are primarily from 1980-2004. (My father went digital in late 2004.) While I have a high quality flatbed scanner, scanning is relatively slow as the lid has to be raised between scans. I have recently purchased an inexpensive photo scanner that allows photos to be fed through the slot. No doubt, the quality is not quite as good, but the speed makes up for it. I was able to scan the first box (maybe 2000 photos?) in a couple weeks while watching television. Eventually I want to organize all the photos, label them, and so forth – but for now I will concentrate on scanning. I will scan another box by the end of October.

September 8, 2013

Genealogy Goal 1 – Capture Today’s Memories

Posted in Goals at 7:38 pm by hoosierroots

Now that I have listed my 7 Genealogy Goals, I want to create a specific objective under each. A key to success is to keep these objectives specific, realistic, and obtainable within a reasonable timeframe. An easy way for me to thwart the “realistic” criteria is to create too many objectives; I plan on restricting myself to one objective per goal to start.

Borrowing in part from my listing of goals in 2009, on to Goal 1:

Goal 1: Capture the family memories of today for they are the family history of tomorrow.

While our lives seem very ordinary to us, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will find mundane topics such as antique cell phones and how we did the laundry fascinating. After all, aren’t we thrilled when we find even a single letter from our ancestors taking about playing bridge at night or gathering and listening to the fiddle playing.

As I wrote before, Dr. Thomas Jones suggests that this is the most important objective of all in his lecture ““Creating Family Histories for Future Generations.” To keep the number of objectives contained, I will not (for now) include projects such as scrapbooking and restarting the KUWJ (Keeping Up With the Joneses) newsletter.

That said, I cannot contain myself to only one supporting objective here.

Objective 1a: Help my father complete the book he is writing on his life.

The text is all but written We are half through the editing process. I must put this as the top priority. It is a phenomenal treasure, and it is time to finish. I will set a timeline to complete a chapter a week.

Objective 1b: Write a weekly entry for “the Story of Me.”

As I posted recently, I am participating in a project during which I will respond to a prompt once a week to write about myself and my life. The prompts will come weekly for 15 months, or until the end of 2014. I intend to write most of these entries on Saturday evenings.

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