. . . 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

Motivation Monday – I sorta took February off – but I have a plan!

Hello fellow bloggers! Remember way back in January when Stephanie over at Corn and Cotton invited us to join her Motivation Monday group? Genea-bloggers were encouraged to outline their monthly goals the first Monday of each month and then take Fridays to update and share their accomplishments. It was the choice of each individual to update weekly or monthly. The purpose of the group still is to encourage each other as we pursue our goals and cheer accomplishments.

Guess what? I pretty much took February off. Now I got stuff done, but it was random. A hit or miss in getting research or organizing stuff done. You know what I mean? No real plan, so some stuff happened but a lot didn’t.

I can see flitting from one thing to another just isn’t going to work. So with some real thought and a true desire to accomplish things in my genealogy research – I have a plan! I work part-time, so I have the luxury of a couple of days a week where I should be compiling loads ancestor data. With my plan I will!

As hard as this is for me to admit, I accomplish so much more in the morning. I’d rather sleep in and roll out of bed about 9ish (wouldn’t we all?) but I’ve come to realize too, my most productive hours are in the a.m. Once 3pm rolls around I’m no good at concentrating, writing, etc. So those tasks that need me to “focus” need to be put in the morning hours and the “lighter thinking” jobs can be left for the afternoon.

*So starting this very morning I’m getting up at 5am daily. I will read/answer my email, exercise, get my bundle of joy off to school, play with twitter, eat, shower and start my workday by 8:30am.
*Then to my desk where I won’t check Facebook, but will do actual work. First putting together a research strategy for the day, that idea came from Tonia’s blog here. Then I’m thinking two hours research without self-induced interruptions. Real research! No sneak peeks of twitter or my email. Just work!

*Next a break for lunch, followed by education. I’ll put aside an hour to watch a webinar, read a couple of chapters in a book, etc.

*Finally before my bundle of joys arrives home from school, I’ll take a half-hour to organize the days research, putting papers away, clearing my desk and having a clean slate for my next off day.

I admit this schedule is just for two days a week but ohh how those days could be profitable if I only put my mind to it and stick to my plan. Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it! My next post will have this month’s specific research topics that will be worked on in the above time slots!

How about you? Do you have a schedule? Tell me how yours works and give me some tips. I’m all ears!

January’s Motivation Monday update

I thought I’d better take a look at my January genealogy goals. I’ve been working on stuff but I wanted to make sure I’m not wandering off too much. You know how that is . . . first you start on the laundry, find something in a pocket, put that item away and see a couple glasses that need to be in the dishwasher, empty dishwasher first and take out clean cake plate to put away in pantry, find a couple soiled dish towels in the pantry that should be put in laundry. Oh yeah, the laundry. You know what I’m sayin . . .

So with organization being close to the top of my list, I plan to take one of my surname binders each month and clean it out and update it. This month I’m choosing the surname – Van Meter. I chose that family because it fits with my second goal and it was a small binder!! This is finished!! Ta-Da!! I have cleaned out the duplicate papers, added a couple research notes, put the surname on the binder spine and added a couple pics! Very happy with the end result! I’m ready to refer to my compiled notes/binder without papers spilling all over the place. Hooray!!

James R VanMeter

James R VanMeter

Next on my list is to research my first cousin 4x removed, James R Van Meter. James served in the Civil War and was barely 21 yrs old when he died. His parents had both passed away when he enlisted and without a wife and children, his story ends there. I want to change that. It will be hard to document a mere 21 yrs between 1843 and 1864 but I want to do the best I can to preserve James’ short time here. I’ve hit a brick wall here. The info I had on James was passed down through another family researcher several years ago. I believe the info is correct but I can’t document it in any way. I cannot verify James’ father or link him, Asa, as my g-g-g-g uncle. James is in one census (1860) but that’s it! Talk about NOT leaving a paper trail. My next step is to order his Compiled Military Service Record from NARA. I won’t get family info but who knows what other door may open. So my research on James continues.

GraveYard Rabbit Association

GraveYard Rabbit Association

Blogging – I want to be consistent and improve. I may not be consistent – yet – but I’m working in that direction. I’ve launched two, new topics on my blog that require continued work. First is Civil War Saturday, which is a weekly blog post on researching a Civil War veteran. Second I’ve added a GraveYard Rabbit page to my blog, which will help me with my yearly goal to have photos of the headstones of my direct ancestors, taken, printed and in the appropriate binder as far back as possible.

Me and my siblings

I’m the 5 yr old first row – on the left

My final goal for this month was to drag the scanner upstairs and hook it up to my laptop. I want to start scanning my black and white family snap shots. The scanner is upstairs and hooked to my laptop. I’ve scanned two, yes a measly, two photos. Maybe I could say I’m half-way on this one?

My thanks go to Stephanie over at Corn and Cotton. It was her idea to join forces with the rest of the gene-community to support each other and our goals. Looking over this list I’m pretty happy with it. A couple detours but I’m pretty much on track. How about you? How are your monthly/yearly goals going so far in this new year? Let me know in the comments! We can root each other on!