25 x 25 calendarFor October, I want to report that I tried and really liked the 25 x 25 challenge I set for myself at the beginning of the month.  I found the tracking calendar that is at Don’t Break the Chain (you can see what mine looks like today – when I’ve done today’s 25 minutes I will have completed 21 days in a a row!) and between the reward of checking date boxes off and using my 25 minute timer on the computer I was able to get almost all of both wills transcribed.  I successfully completed the transcription of the William Denman will and have given a copy to the Suffolk Family History Group.  This local society keeps a will store of such documents and makes them available to members.  I have almost finished the Michael Marten will as well, having only a few places left where I am having trouble deciphering the handwriting (or don’t know the term being used).  I may elicit the aid of the volunteer at the Suffolk Family History Group who maintains the will store presently for these last bits.

I haven’t done as well on adding the information from my Salt Lake City trip to Evernote.  I have several pages of names and microfilms I looked at that I still need to add to Evernote so I have a research log of sorts to tell what I looked at and whether I found anything.  I realize that negative findings (looking and not finding) are important, so I need to do this.  I plan to do another 25 x 25 challenge in November to work on this specific project.

The other project I have started and hope to finish in November (maybe in time for Veterans Day) is tracking down any Salt relatives who might have served in World War I.  I am in the middle of locating all the registration cards as my first step, and looking for both WWI and WWII for each person.  In creating the list for this I learned how to use RootsMagic to limit a report to give me just people born in the right time period and with the Salt last name.

Judy and I had a fun and successful trip to FHL front - 2015 09 15 - 001Salt Lake City and I came back enthusiastic about my finds and determined to continue to pursue the ones I haven’t yet found.  Tops on that list is my grandfather’s birth registration which should exist but is being elusive.  I am also happy to say that I have managed since returning home to add full filenames to each file, to add metadata giving the microfilm number etc. for each image, and –ta da!!- to both file the image in the correct family folder on my computer and connect it to the person in my Roots Magic database.  I am habitually slow about doing this final processing of my research trip finds and I was determined this time to do better.  A pat on the back for Pat!

The one remaining piece of work is to follow a procedure I picked up from the Facebook group Evernote Genealogists.  Starting with the microfilms on which I did not find the record I was looking for, I am creating a new note in Evernote with the film number and the person I was searching for along with a tag Not Found.  This may turn out to be a research log system I can actually use and keep up.  I’ll keep you posted.

So for October, my first goal is to finish that project, which will likely include my usual need to re-work my Evernote notebooks and tags, and excursions into familysearch.org looking for related people or other films of the same information.

The other project I hope to start is a 25 x 25.challenge.  I got the idea from Janine Adams over at her blog, Organize Your Family History in a post about how she is using a challenge.  The idea, as I understand it, is to challenge yourself to do x minutes of genealogy research for x days – meant to help with the problem of finding time for genealogy research.  In my case the problem is mostly in the other direction (spending too much time) but in not being focused enough – chasing those Bright Shiny Objects instead of the original goal.  So I am thinking that committing to one or two specific tasks for 25 minutes a day for 25 days in a row might be a solution.  My specific projects are to finish transcribing the William Denman will I got a year ago, and to transcribe the Michael Marten will.  The Denman will is mostly done so more an editing project, going back and trying to read handwritten words I wasn’t sure of or couldn’t make out at all the first time.  As I remember, the Marten will is luckily in much easier to read handwriting, so there is a chance I can actually get it done too.

The big accomplishment in September will be my trip to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library (which, yes, I am really looking forward to!).  I will spend the time in September before the trip adding to and refining my plans in terms of what I want to accomplish.  I start out the month with a spreadsheet (very incomplete) that lists my direct relatives, what vital record is missing, and a film number that I think will contain the image of the certificate or register I want to look at and copy.

Number one on my priority list is to get as many pieces of direct evidence for the missing births, marriages, and deaths as I can.  This will include my husband’s family lines as well.  I know there are some images available at the Library that are not indexed or even browseable online yet (and I would have requested them using the old photocopy request form in the past, but the Library doesn’t do that anymore).

Along with film numbers I need to refresh my knowledge of when various jurisdictions started requiring registration for vital life events.  Some of my missing information is likely to take more creativity to find the evidence.

My second item is to gather similar information for my English Denman line and for the Titus Salt line I am exploring.

My third item is to look at other materials (e.g., compiled genealogies, local histories, etc.) to see what I can add to my knowledge base.

Oh dear, as I look at my spreadsheet today, I realize how much more work I need to do before the trip.  So I am going to stop writing about it (or talking about it) and go do it.  Yes, I will.

IMGP1496I’m hearing choruses of locusts on my morning walks these days and being transported back to my childhood days in the middle of Indiana.  The weather has felt a lot like my childhood memories as well:  hot and very humid.  Thankfully I now have air-conditioning which we didn’t when I was a child.  And it is certainly a nice contrast to the very cold and snowy winter just past.  I am reminded to slow down and pay attention to my surroundings.

It feels like I need to change my monthly title and theme for these posts.  I don’t seem to follow the goals I set very faithfully.  This makes me think that I need a reboot or “do-over” of this idea as well as of my genealogy.  I don’t know yet what I might try or even what I really want this regular post to accomplish, so it will be a work in progress.

August is shaping up nicely as a relatively quiet month, broken most noticeably by a visit from my sister-in-law and her grandson.  This is a major deal around here!  I also have a visit to the National Archives at Boston again with a friend planned toward the end of the month.  I am working to make connections in my husband’s family tree with three families in Connecticut who might have been cousins on his mother’s side.  Since this is a line we know very little about I am excited to try to find out more.  I did get the naturalization papers for each family from the Archives and need to find out what other resources are available.

Judy and I have locked in a week to go to Salt Lake City to the Family History Library and I am very excited!  I have a picture in my mind about how I want to organize my planned research.  Now to see if I can make it real.  I have started to list the different areas I want to research (e.g., missing vital record for my direct lines) and am collecting film numbers from familysearch.org.   I am using Evernote for this collection.  I envision creating a spreadsheet or list that includes the person’s name and the record to be found and the film number.  Maybe I need the location of where the record was created (like state and county).  I think if I can at least start with a spreadsheet I can then sort and see where I have more than one item from the same film.  Sounds good, right?  Doing this is my major goal for August, since we’re planning to go in September.

Fireworks on the Charles River

Fireworks on the Charles River By Pablo Valerio (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

June was a busy month with not a lot of very focused genealogy work taking place.  I read a packet of materials I inherited from my father about Titus Salt and more about Titus’s work and Saltaire.  I put a couple of techniques together and came up with a way I can fairly satisfactorily digitize my daguerreotype collection (as described in the post before this one).  I had a lovely long telephone chat with my youngest brother.  I sent my male Denman cousin a short article by Elizabeth Jones who runs a One-Name study for the Denmans and also a DNA study.  I am hoping he’ll eventually be interested in participating in the DNA study.  (It could answer several burning genealogical questions about our Denman line.)  I’m always reticent about approaching cousins to do testing (which gets in the way).  I also got a good start on what I am going to put up here as a new page (rather than a post) with a list of books I have found interesting and educational in my genealogical research.

In July I will write a short post about this and publish the page at that time.  I’m looking forward to adding to the list over time too.

I will decide how I’m going to organize my research goals for a trip to Salt Lake City later with Judy.  We have agreed that we will try to pull off a trip in September, so I need to get going!

I will continue to enter the birth records I have for each family into my RootsMagic database if they’re not already entered, and attach any digital images.  I will make sure to share the fact with anyone else on the record, and make sure that the metadata on the image is filled in (where I found the image, etc.).  I will try *not* to chase down the always-attractive rabbit holes as I verify the source of the image if it isn’t already there.

Leaving for a vacation and will be back in the middle of the month.  Happy summer, everyone!