Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Different Kind of Brick Wall - the hardest I have found.

When I first began my genealogy work I was looking for specific information about my dad's family, I was not very organized... actually organization was not in my thinking at all. Just started looking up names and adding them into Family Tree Maker. I found information about different members whenever/wherever I could and printed it out. Evan took notes on where I had found the information.  I had hoped that this hit and miss method would help me answer the one question I wanted to be able to answer.  The word 'citation' had not yet entered my vocabulary. In a very short time I had a lot of names on my tree, adding information I was certain was correct without looking for any records that would verify what I was so sure was correct information.

This period of exploration then led into a period of writing about the family for a Writing Family History Class  at the local Senior Center. Ahh, I thought this will help me get it all together. WRONG! Now I had the tree, some printed out 'proof', a new collection of digital photos to add to my stories.  How to keep these organized became a new questions. I had folders with the documents I had found. Should I put them in folders by family names? Good idea. This good idea meant I know had paper folders of the printed sheets; digital family name folders with the scanned papers safely inside, and photo folders, also by family name with the images used for each of the stories. Ahhh! I thought to myself, you have done a great job! Wrong again, I soon found out, as the information grew, as cousins entered that collection which got bigger and bigger. Along the way I started going to cemeteries to find family headstones. Another question for organization. Shall I put these in family folders, digital photo folders, specific cemetery folders? Better put them in each so I can find them. So that began to grow and grow and GROW. And suddenly I found I had a lot of info but could nothing that went together so that  could quickly find what I needed. AHHH! but a new collection began to come along... the census collection. Now I had many census pages printed for each family; different years, different places as families moved, grew, and married.

Suddenly new problems appeared as I tried to learn more about this new world of genealogy; subscribing to genealogy blogs, attending genealogy workshops and organization meetings, and discovered the power of the webinar world. How to keep these handouts organized so I would know how to refer back to each as needed.  Being an early techie-user I was interested in all the resources available online. Think that helped? You know the answer, I think. The answer is yes and no.

I had already created my own organization. Now I also had Evernote. I was trying to keep the blogs and other genealogy online resources in their own folders in my email AND begin to get things I needed into Evernote. At this moment that Evernote is on the way to being the most organized. I have created a new email address and have almost caught up with getting everything moved to that new address. Whew!  But the rest........

Folders Under Genealogy
Family Folder


In January of 2016 I thought I had found a solution. I started Thomas MacEntee's 2016 Do-Over. It was indeed the beginning of the right track. The first month assignment was to truly start over. I began by checking every piece of information I had to find what was missing.  I have really not gotten beyond that point and am still moving forward, bit by bit,  I have found all the 'official' documents I have collected. As part of the process Thomas provided an outstanding spreadsheet we could use to show what documents we already have.  I was horrified by the duplicates I had. Clearly I had not kept careful records and often re-searched for information I had already found. Believe me, that is NOT the meaning of research!!   I am placing hard copies into notebooks, but only after entering them in the spreadsheet.  This has been very time consuming. Especially because I have also continued searching. I know. I know. Not the way to do it. But at least I am moving forward. 

I am at a standstill moment right now. I have new information to put into the spreadsheet. I am committed to getting caught up with what I have. I am committed to being a better researcher; one with a plan and clear direction. One of the ways I hope to stay on track is to keep you readers informed of my progress. It is almost the end of April, 2017. During May I am going to make filling in the spreadsheet my main goal. I hope be the end of May I can give you a positive report on catching up. Hope you all have found good ways to stay on track. Perhaps you will even share a few those ideas with me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Time For A Better Approach or Why Didn't I Just Do It Right The First Time?

I was first introduced to genealogy about six or seven years ago. How that happened is a story to save for another post. But as a result of a phone call, from a stranger, looking to solve his own genealogy problem, I became involved. In my thoughts each day I thank him for opening this door for me.
And, as all genealogists know  or learn quickly, ignorance is bliss. I hope when you finish this story it will be helpful to all the newbies that are, happily, joining our group and a reminder to us 'middlies' the learning never stops. A part of being a careful accurate genealogist is becoming a life-long learner. Ah, well, back to my story.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

You Can't Tell A Book By It's Title... Or Can You?

There is one award winning author who has quite a bit to say on that subject. Jhumpa Lahiri has written a small book titled, The Clothing of Books, on the subject.  It truly is a small book, 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches and 62 pages long. Don't be deceived by the size, she has a lot to say and reading it is well worth your time. I admit I took it out of the library. I also admit I will own it very soon.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Wonders of Technology - RootsTech2017 from Home

I have been a techie for a VERY long time.  It was about 1983 when we first had a Commodore Pet in the school where I was a media center director, so you see it has truly been a long while. I have had a chance to watch the technology grow and change. And still, now in 2017, I still find myself surprised, and in awe, of how far we have come.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Day at the Salt Mines

It is not as bad as the title sounds. As a matter of fact it was just amazing. We were not put to work when we arrived at the amazing Wieliczka Salt Mines, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We did do a LOT of walking around this mine. One does not usually think of a mine, any mine, as being a place of beauty. This historical mine is indeed a place of beauty today. But a while back it was an important working mine.

Miners, over the years, carved statues, sculptures, full scenes all from the salt. In addition, as the walls have changed over the years they have become their own form of beauty. I must admit that while my travel mate loved the carvings, as did I, but the textures that formed along the walks were truly my favorite part of the old mind. You do not just walk along pathways while exploring the mine. Suddenly you enter large rooms that have been carved out or the salt walls.  The images I am including here do not do the amazing experience of following the tunnels filled with different kinds of artwork. All of it created by miners over many years.


Some of the carvings are really very modern looking and may have been carved more recently than others. Walking through we also passed equipment from years back as well as new walkways that allow for admiring so much that is in the mine. In the picture under the two smaller carvings you can see the handrails of two stairways that lead into this massive room that has been carved out of mine walls. The room is HUGH. There are small shops there as well more information about the mine itself. In the lower picture you can see some of the really detailed and exceptional group or single person carvings that walker to just stop and stare. This is not a place that you can rush though. Below the carvings of persons you can see just two examples of what nature has added to create a different kind of art to enjoy.


If reading about this amazing place has whetted your appetite for more a visit to Wikipedia might be just the thing.

After out visit in the mine it was really pleasant to spend the afternoon wandering the old city plaza and going out for a leisurely dinner before moving on to the next part of our trip.