I accomplished a little in January, mostly organizational.  I continued to work away at organizing my Evernote notebooks, making it through 8 of the surname notebooks, and having 5 more to do.  I start the month of February working in the Salt notebook, which had been the repository for all other family names that were related.  Since I have decided to orgainze by the major lines that are related I am ending up needing to move a fair number of the notes to other notebooks, but I am renaming the notes as I go.  I’m also trying out Trello on my desktop to see if it helps me with my to-do lists, etc.

I did order and receive 2 DNA test kits from familytreedna while they were on sale in December, and I now have a Y DNA kit in the works for a Boothby cousin.  The other is an autosomal kit and I am working to pursuade a Salt cousin to take it.  I haven’t decided who else I might try to use it for if she decides not to do it.  On the Denman DNA front I need to make a list of all the Denman males in my line who are still alive.  This will give me options for my on-going quest to discover what our relationship is to the two Denman cousins I have discovered.

In February I will acquire the William Boorman will from England (the National Archives), and any other Denman wills I can find there.

At the very end of December I was contacted by the new owner of the old Salt house in Clermont county, Ohio.  I had known that it was up for sale again but didn’t know it had been purchased.  The man who found me is interested in local history and we have been corresponding via email.  This has distracted me, and focused some of my research attention onto the Salt family as I search for deeds and wills and pictures.  This is very likely to continue into February and encourages me to organize the Salt files so I know where everything is.  It is an unfortunate failing of mine that I have various papers and pictures that I have gotten at earlier periods of my life and I know I have them but cannot easily find them when I want to.  So that is a related organizational goal for 2016.

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Well, in November I managed (finally!) to finish the transcription of the Michael Marten 1750 will.  I needed the help of the wills-mistress of the Sussex Family History Group on several place names as well as the name of the court official who swore in the executrices.  This will and the William Denman will now will be available to members in transcribed form through her group, here.  You can see the list of what is held, by name and by placename on the site without being a member.  The other task I worked on in November was cleaning up my Evernote notebooks and adding information to my Roots Magic tree.

What I have discovered is that the 25 minute challenge works very well for me on tasks that I have ready to work on and can stop in the middle of any step when the time runs out.  I have to be able to stop and get up from the computer when the timer goes off, so any task that can’t be stopped in the middle doesn’t work.

December will, of course, bring more holidays to be prepared for and celebrated, and that will take some of my discretionary time this month.  However, my goal is to continue to chip away at the Evernote cleaning up and organizing.   .One of the changes I’m making is to make each note title the surname, first name of the person the note is about.

If I get more motivated to do some cleaning up – and I might as the end of the year looms – I will go back to doing the same organizational tasks in my computer family files.  This “genealogy go-over” is necessary before I do much more research on any individual or family, since there is still a ton of evidence lurking in the computer files that I don’t need to go looking for all over again.  This is another task that should also lend itself nicely to the 25-minutes-a-day challenge.  .

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.