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.
The summer passed very quickly and I was consumed by planning and then taking a 2 week trip to England with my sister. While genealogical research and even a small amount of organization took place, I was too distracted to note it.
Now I am back and re-adjusted to my own time zone again, and the annual Fall time change hasn’t happened yet to confuse me. I came home from a wonderful trip with a head full of new thoughts and information, and many pages of paper as well as a usb thumb drive with 2 wills and many pictures. Here is what I will accomplish in October:
1. I will enter all new information from the 5 large sheets containing family trees that I returned with, thanks to my cousin and another Denman researcher who may or may not be related many generations ago. I have a Sussex Denmans database in RootsMagic to connect all this information. [These are what is known as A1 size sheets, about 22 by 33 inches, and will be stored in a mailing tube when I have extracted the information. I would like to scan them, and will do that or get it done some time in the future.]
2. I will likewise go through all the pages I acquired at the Hythe library and at The Keep and from my cousin and integrate this information into the RootsMagic database. [Some of these pages are A3 size, which is about ledger size, and I’m not sure yet how I will file them. The rest are, I think, A4 size and should fit all right in my standard files. I will also scan all of them.]
3. I will separate my pictures by location and label them.
4. I will write at least one post for this blog about the trip and our experiences.
So July got away from me and it looks like August is going to be very busy too. I’m finding that the format of my to-do list isn’t working for me anymore – doesn’t motivate me to get any specific thing done – and kind of bores me. So I’m thinking about how to change it into something more useful.
In the meantime, this month I’m going to just briefly describe what I’m doing by weeks. The first week I have to finish planning the big England trip with my sister, which includes either going to NH to meet with her or a focussed phone call. It is one month to our trip! Will end the week with a quick getaway to Portland with my husband, and a meet-up with youngest niece. Tractor races!
The second week includes the TIARA conference here in Massachusetts that Judy and I are attending. It looks like I may have a family branch (Boothby) that came from Ireland, maybe Ulster Scots, which in my understanding included people from northern England and Scotland who were sent by England to Ireland to manage lands etc. I also have a collateral line that came from the Dublin area (the Daltons and Barrys who married into the Coffin family in Cincinnati). Judy’s got Irish interests as well so this conference should be a blast.
The third week my husband and I are driving to Philadelphia via Connecticut (to pick up his 90-year-old cousin) to visit more cousins. There is one baby to meet and a new one on the way as well. It takes a lot to move us out of the usual routine to go visiting like this, but sometimes you just have to do it!
And the fourth week will be given over to organizing my packing for England. I’m communicating with my Denman cousin (we don’t have the exact relationship pinned down yet, but that is one of my big goals for the trip), who we will meet up with and spend a little time in her area of the world. This part of the trip is really exciting to me, and I’m sure I’ll have lots to write about the whole trip when we return.
So, that’s how my August and first half of September are shaping up. I hope all of the genealogists out there have equally fun plans for the rest of the summer.
* My goal this month is to document what I actually know about my Denman immigrant ancestor in preparation for my trip in the Fall. Try to figure out where the information about William’s parents came from and what documentation actually shows it.
* I spent some time in May putting together a new family tree for a young couple in my family that is getting married in June. I like the idea of showing the joining of the two families. I also discovered that I really enjoyed the interactions with the parents of the two young people and liked getting to know about their families in ways I hadn’t before. Neither family is directly related to me, but one of them has been “part of the family” for so long that it feels like there is a direct relationship.
* Digital organization – barely started the process with the Denman line in May, so this is my on-going goal. The Denman line is not actually the next family alphabetically (which is what I would usually do) but I am going to England in the Fall with specific questions to answer about the Denmans. In addition, I correspond with several Denman researchers and continue to find new information, so this *really* needs to be brought up to date (so I don’t re-invent too many wheels). This organization work will also, very likely, suggest research paths to take on this family.
* Scan the land records for the Salts, enter into spreadsheet of things scanned.
* Watch at least one webinar.
* I spent a fair amount of time looking at videos and websites to learn a bit about how to use the Charting Companion software which I just bought to use to make charts that my RootsMagic won’t make. Strictly speaking this isn’t genealogy education but technological education but I think it counts.