new-year-2008-5_thumb.jpgWelcome in 2016!  It is going to be a great year for genealogy, I am determined.  I have a couple of large goals, the first being to finally connect the English Denman family “dots” to learn who the parents of my emigrant ancestor, William Denman, were.  I hope knowing more surely who his parents were will help connect that family with the other Denman lines in Sussex and tell me just how I am related to two present-day Denman cousins.  This was a goal for 2015 and I failed to reach it, although not for lack of trying.  The evidence that is needed is difficult to come by, and some of the primary evidence may not exist at this point.  In service of this quest, I did start the process of convincing a male Denman cousin to do a yDNA test; unfortunately he has a lot of more important life stuff to deal with currently and I’m not sure he will agree.

My related goal is to acquire the will for William Boorman, father of my emigrant ancestor, Ann Boorman Denman.  I will transcribe it for myself, however I seem to remember a Boorman researcher noting that William mentioned his daughter Ann Denman who had migrated to America.

Organizing is always on my list of goals and this coming year is no different.  I will continue to chip away at re-naming files and Evernote notes in a consistent way that seems useful (last name, first name, date and event).

My other larger goal this year will be to follow my Boothby family line, which I haven’t spent much time on lately.  I was just inspired by discovering that the Maine Registers of Deeds Association has a web portal for accessing all counties digitized land records.  The NEHGS blog, Vita-Brevis, just had a posting about this and I immediately checked it out.  I’m not up to speed on researching in Maine, even though I’ve done a research trip visit, and this is a resource I didn’t know about.  For my Boothby line I need to make the direct connection back to Maine, which is where they seem to have come from.  I only have them in Ohio so far.

As usual, there is plenty for me to do and to learn.  I wonder what I’ll end 2016 having accomplished?

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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.

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!