January 2014 – Goals, Resolutions or the Process?

Photo Credit: Kaliyoda at http://www.sxc.hu/

Photo Credit: Kaliyoda at http://www.sxc.hu/

I’ve hesitated in making New Year’s resolutions this year. It’s worth mentioning because I always do. Each December I review the last year and put together a list of goals for the soon to arrive January 1st. I believe in goals. I don’t accomplish a thing if I don’t have an idea of what I’m working toward. You’ve heard this quote or something similar to it.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

I believe that and I’ve accomplished a few goals in the past. Quitting smoking is one but I can’t name anything else right off. Yet I can produce lists of goals from the last several years. Lists that include losing weight, exercising daily, a healthier bank account and writing a book. Great well intentioned goals. None accomplished. So do I cross out the 2013 and just add 2014 to the header of last year’s list or try another approach?

I’ve seen and read about choosing one word for the year. I like that idea. I find using a chosen word to be a guide as I make decisions through the year. It keeps me mindful of how I want to conduct my life but not necessarily helpful in accomplishing my goals. Now if it works for you certainly go with it, but I’m still faced with my desire to achieve in this new year and how to go about it with some success.

I did find another approach through Marian Pierre-Louis that I’m going to try this 2014. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too. She recommended an article on her Facebook page which really resonated with me. Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead by James Clear. I recommend you come back and read it when you’re done with this post. Continue reading

Everyone Has an Agenda What’s Yours?

My Backyard

As I look out my window

October snuck into our lives this week. With warm temps and sunny skies it’s more like the end of August than the first fews days of fall here in Ohio, but there’s no mistaking autumn has arrived. Leaves are changing colors and the evenings are decidedly cooler. My flowers are looking a bit ragged and will soon be plucked out of their beds with the first frost. Even though it’s very warm out now autumn is in the air.

Am I sad to see summer wane? Oh no. Now don’t get me wrong I love sunny summer days with baseball games and barbeques. Summer has a delicious casualness we all love to embrace from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. It’s truly a reenergizing time of year and probably needed with winter soon on the horizon again. For me summer seems to extend through September and that’s okay. Squeezing out those last few moments of sunshine and flip flops is invigorating, but once I turn the calendar’s page to October I don’t mind what fall brings.

October is “get back to your genealogy research” month. Summer is a hiatus from research with so many other events going on. Lots of reading and fact finding gets put on the back burner but once October bursts on the scene I’m thinking cemetery and courthouse visits with to do lists and field trips. In fact October is sort of a “new year” for me genealogy-wise. I take stock of what I’ve accomplished and where I want to go with my research. (2x grandfather James Nance you’re at the top of my list. I’m looking for you!)

Ironically I didn’t realize October was Family History month until I saw several messages about it on Facebook. Here I’ve been celebrating it every October in my own way. So to all of us family historians and genealogists Happy Family History month! Happy October! May the genealogy gods smile down on us as we ramp up our research!

I’m making out my genealogy to-do list for this fall. How about you? What’s on your genealogy agenda? Please share your thoughts in the comments. You may just give us all some inspiration!

. . . and this is what I did over the weekend . . .

Genealogy research, Thomas MacEntee, OGS 2013

Thomas MacEntee – OGS 2013

I had the fabulous opportunity of attending the Ohio Genealogy Society’s 2013 conference this past weekend in Cincinnati. The days were packed with incredibly interesting sessions on a variety of topics. I had trouble choosing which classes to attend but was excited to hear Tom Jones, Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Alzo and Lisa Louise Cooke. They were just a few of the many excellent presenters I heard at the conference.

I met up with old friends Stephanie Pitcher Fishman, Jennifer Alford, Amy Johnson Crow and Shelley Bishop and met new friends Linda McCauley and Cheri Daniels. It was a fantastic experience! I’ll always remember my “first” major conference and the fun I had.

So what is my take away from this event? I learned so very much! Some classes opened my eyes to new research ideas and places to research. Even the lectures I took that covered topics I’m familiar with gave me new tips and ideas. I am always surprised how much easier it is to learn something new when it’s taught in a workshop with visuals. My only negative, if it can be called a negative, is that I learned so much! I didn’t know how I’d be able to retain it all! The excellent syllabus provided and my own notes will certainly help in that category. Continue reading

Blog posts: When is enough – enough?

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

I help out with The In-Depth Genealogist facebook page. Yes, some of those quirky questions come from me! Many questions are fun and some are thought-provoking regarding our genealogy research. My hope is to get us thinking. Who knows what new ideas we may come up with and what problems we may solve when we delve a little deeper?

A couple of months ago I asked the question: “How often would you like to see the blogs you read updated? Are you disappointed when it’s only once or twice a week?”

The topic generated several answers, some offline discussion and although not scientific, I thought the outcome interesting enough to share it with you.

Everyone that commented said they check several blogs a day and many more over a week’s time. This speaks to the quality of genealogy blogs on the web! There is a lot of educational and insightful writing being posted in the genealogy cyberworld. Readers are anxious to get it. The respondents generally agreed they found most blog posts come on Mondays and Wednesdays. A couple of replies suggested posting on other days of the week. By publishing new blog posts on days other than Monday and Wednesday the genealogy reading public would be able to enjoy fresh reading material throughout the week. Perhaps a good thought to keep in mind.

Yet the single most important idea I came away with Continue reading

Genealogy Timelines . . . here I come

Now that I’m back in my regular routine I skipped through my notes to see what project I was working on. I have a desk top full of various size notes with all sorts of scribbles, but I’ll deal with that later. Right now I wanted to see what my latest, greatest idea was. It was to start a timeline on some ancestors. I wanted to put the really important events in their life together so I could study it and maybe come to some conclusions as to why they did just what they did! You may have read my post a couple of weeks ago on timelines here.

So I started out googling genealogy timelines for macs. My thought was to do a timeline with computer software so I could arrange, rearrange or add events. Neatness was a big consideration too!

It was a tough go looking for timeline templates. After looking at many, which were only for pc’s, and finding just one for my mac (@ $19.95 it was too much for this timeline novice) it occurred to me to check my own genealogy software. I know, I know. Why didn’t I do that first? Beats me! Some days I start at the end or even in the middle! :-)

After opening my Reunion program and searching my online manual . . .  Voila! There it is, the who’s and how’s of timelines. It took the afternoon to get the basics down but as you can see, ”Houston, we have a timeline!”

Rebecca Holmes Williams Timeline

Rebecca Holmes Williams Timeline

I choose my g-g-grandmother Rebecca Holmes Williams as my first timeline recipient. I feel such a closeness to her and wanted to understand her life a bit better. I wonder why a passel of this family moved from eastern Ohio to western Ohio during the Civil War. Why her husband, my g-g-grandfather didn’t serve in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the war and how she coped losing four sons as infants and toddlers. Rebecca did have three daughters live to be adults yet she buried two of them as well! My g-g-grandmother had to be quite a woman, tough as nails! I know this timeline will help me with all my questions.

I put the family’s vital information above the bar and the extenuating events of their life below it. The distinction between the two will help my see a correlation of events, I hope.

My next step is to do some hard-core research and reading. I need to find the history of Tuscarawas County, floods, droughts, fear of war spilling into their community. More info on the children and as I find something pertinent, add it to my timeline. Hopefully many “events” will also unlock answers!

So meet me back here two weeks from today. We’ll see how my project has progressed and if I’m any further in my research.

How about you? Have you started some timelines? Do you have any tips for me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!