First, what I managed to do in April:  I finished the new family tree for the wedding that will happen the end of May.  Yay!!  I learn something each time I do one of these.  And I get distracted by trying to find the family tree image I want to be able to create: I think it would look like a bow-tie chart except the very middle would be the new couple not a child, with then the groom’s and bride’s families expanding out on each side.  I also want to figure out a way to make something like this visually appealing and keep thinking of scrapbooking as one possibility.  Or learning enough computer graphics programing to make my own bow-tie report that could be filled in with any group of people.  Five years ago, Janet Hvorka’s site for family charts included an option to make your own and save it as a pdf (so only 8.5 x 11 but you could include graphic backgrounds and save the tree information).  This is no longer available which is too bad for me.  I had managed (for the first family wedding that I wanted to do it for) to create just such a bow-tie and save it on a decorative tree background.

In May I want to:

1.  combine the timelines a cousin and I are working on of where the various family lines were living from the time they each emigrated to the U.S.  We’ve each done work on our own family lines, but want to combine them.  These are lines where various siblings and cousins migrated and lived near each other.  With any luck we’ll get a good list and be able to create a map showing each family’s locations across time.

2.  listen to all of the audiobook version of Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land which Judy gave good reviews.

3.  begin to pull together the items I want to look for in Salt Lake City.  Judy and I are seriously planning a trip to the Family History Library in the Fall.  So I need to create lists and tables of what is most easily available there rather than online.  This will of course be an ongoing project until we actually go, but including it here will get me started.

Once again this is going to be short and sweet.  I accomplished at least one of my tasks for March: I wrote about a female relative, although it wasn’t my Aunt Susan but instead I switched to my husband’s line and wrote about one of his cousins.  Since I’ve wanted to pull together my information about her this was a good change for me to make.

I got the first page of the William Denman will cleaned up, and discovered that on going back to the original handwriting I was better able to decipher much of it.  I haven’t managed to get the rest of it done yet but I have hopes for April.

I have gotten the wedding family tree pretty much done – at least as much as I’m going to do for this round.  I still need to figure out how to present it.  I’m still seeking a way to do a couple’s bowtie chart that let’s me put the couple at the center with their wedding date and shows each side for 3-4 generations back.  The catch is that I want to do it myself and not have to send the information off to a pay site and wait for the finished product to come back.  I want something I can use in a sharable CD with the rest of the information that I’ve collected.  Yes, I am being very particular about what I want!

So, April will be primarily devoted to getting this project finished and in its presentation state.  Organizing my files is also on my list, so if there is any spare time, or down time when I need something different to do, that is what I’ll be focusing on.

I’m running behind (February is a short month!) and struggling with cabin-fever, snow anxiety and cold-nose syndrome.  So this is going to be short.  (To get started, I have to go back up my computer files: it’s the first of a new month already!)

1.  I will clean up and finalize the Denman will transcript.

2.  I will make a draft of the wedding family tree with the pictures I now have.  I will start a plan of how the final sharable-CD will look.

3.  I will write at least one short sketch of one of my female ancestors in honor of  Women’s History Month.  I’m thinking about my great aunt Susan who was a nurse and served in WWI.

4.  If I need more to do (!) I will start transcribing the Michael Marten will.

Well November has flown by with not nearly enough hours in each day or enough days in a week to accomplish everything.  We had snow on the ground twice, although the first time, early in the month, hardly counted since it didn’t even completely cover things.  The second time was over Thanksgiving but did not cancel any of the family’s traveling.  So, as I start to pull my thoughts together for my genealogy projects for December, there is snow on the ground and the temperature is low.  A good time to be inside.

Not a lot of genealogy work got done in November but I did manage to go through each of my direct ancestors in my RootsMagic database back through my great great grandparents and enter all the vital information I have on each.  This allowed me to create a list (in Evernote but I need to make it a spreadsheet) of what is missing for each person.  By doing this I cleaned up a small amount of the “obtained but not used” pieces of information sitting in the various family name files.  I did also go back and check quickly to see if any of the indexed but not digitized things had now been digitized.  The big online sources do so much and add so many records that it is always worth checking again.

I once heard Josh Taylor say that he had taken a year off from adding to his own research and devoted that time to organizing his information and files.  He has an impressive system set up.  At the time I couldn’t quite imagine taking that much time to do nothing but clean-up, but I seem to have fallen into doing a lot of it.  Which certainly needs doing.  What happens, regardless of how I have set up my work process, is that I find myself checking for an additional piece of evidence that I am reminded of by my organizing.  So while I am spending much of my genealogy time on organizing, I am also adding to my information and clarifying relationships.

I have 2 more posts I want to write about my part of the England trip experience (that is, the genealogical rather than the sightseeing).  One of these will get done for December.

The last project I hope to get started on is to begin reading one of the myriad Evernote how-to books that are available for Kindles, periodically for free (my favorite price!).  I use Evernote a lot but know that I am not as efficient about it as I could be, and I’m interested in how to better use it to track my research.

These plus the holidays that rapidly approach will keep me plenty busy but in pleasant ways.  My fingers are crossed for not too much more snow here in December so we all can get done what needs doing.  Happy holidays to all!

Although October has been officially declared to be the Family History Month, I usually think of November as being a family month as well.  It starts out with All Saints Day and All Souls Day (or Day of the Dead) where family ancestors are traditionally venerated.  Thanksgiving in the US is at the end of the month and that is certainly a family holiday if ever there was one.   We actually started the holiday season early this year in my family; in mid-October we got many of the women together and had a quilting/sewing party to make more Christmas stockings for the family celebration.  Our family has grown larger than the first set we made a number of years ago and we need more.

To briefly re-visit my October goals:  1) I haven’t managed to enter all the information from the multiple trees I brought back from England, although I have started the project.  Still hoping to figure out how to get them scanned without paying an arm and a leg.  2) I have gotten a lot of the information acquired into my database, although I haven’t even begun transcribing the 2 wills I brought back.  All of the various pages are sitting in a pile on one of the bookcases awaiting filing decisions.  3) I have saved all my pictures as .tif files and moved them to sub-directories by specific location.  I’m in the process of labeling them (boy! is that hard for some of them).  4)Lastly, I managed to write a post about our stay in Hythe and am trying to get all the travelogue-type information ready to go in a travel blog.  Not too bad – not great but not too bad overall.

I have also continued to chip away at the uncategorized, un-entered records I’ve collected for the Denman families and saved in the main genealogy file for them.  Even though I’ve made consistent progress, I still have 375 (!!) Denman files to look at, extract information from and enter in the database and finally put in the sub-directory file they belong in.  And this doesn’t count the files collected for the English Denman lines, or the Evernote files.  No wonder it’s taking me forever to do this!  I hadn’t realized how many files I had collected and just dropped in the main folder.

In service of this project, I’m trying a new principle for getting started.  First thing in the morning, instead of sitting down and reading email and looking at Facebook and checking for new podcasts and blogs, I’m immediately opening the genealogy folders and starting with the first file in line.  This seems to help and I actually have done a number of files.  I also have figured out that as I finish a file if I add “RM” to the beginning of the filename it clues me that the information has been added to my RootsMagic database.  With all the files starting with the RM they will still sort by the rest of the person name I use as a filename.  Now I just have to keep at it.

And that project, plus hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my ever-growing family, are my goals for November.  Hope everyone has a great month and a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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