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.  .

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 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.

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!

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* Earhart project:   I received the Civil War pension file for Margaret Earhart applying based on her son Tilford’s death.  This record was pulled and scanned for me by Pamela Loos-Noji at Kinwork Connections.  I found her by using the Association of Professional Genealogists website’s Find a Professional section.  Easy peasy.  Pam was very responsive and I had the file of 81 scanned pages in less than a month.  I’m still reading through this 81-page gem and getting ready to transcribe at least some of the affidavits, which look like they contain much useful information.  Unfortunately, so far I don’t see any reference to my Mary Elizabeth Hockman.  But hope springs eternal.  Realistically, reading through this file and transcribing is likely to be my major project for this short month.


I see that once again I have a set of goals that mostly aren’t getting accomplished.  I will try to do better this month.  Honest I will.
* Pick a family group in Evernote that is tagged To-Analyze and enter into my database.  The information isn’t going to jump in all by itself (drat!). I actually did get started on this one in January. I got some of the Boothby information transferred and organized but then, as usual, got distracted by searching online for the details to fill out the picture. So now I have images of Boothby certificates or registers sitting on my desktop along with a couple of Earharts and a couple of Justices. So back I go to try again.
* Pick a group of census records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* Type notes from Maine trip and file information.  Figure out next steps.  Since this is my Boothby family line, I will make the family group from my Evernote files to start on the Boothbys. Also since I can travel pretty easily to Maine, even doing a day trip for some places, I need to keep myself focused on this goal.

* I am registered to watch a webinar titled “Find Your 17th-c. New England Ancestors with NEHGS” which I am looking forward to.  I recently seem to be reading and listening to books set in the colonial period of the U.S.  Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower was a good listen as an audiobook and I’m still listening to Woody Holton’s Abigail Adams.  I am addicted to podcasts and audiobooks to make my hour-plus each way commute pleasant.  It makes a huge difference.

Happy New Year!new year 2008-5

* Earhart project: I received the death certificate and an obituary for William Samuel Earhart from the Wyoming State Archives. The death certificate lists John Earhart as his father, mother unknown, and birthplace as Bethel, Ohio. These pieces of information raise further questions about the Earhart family I’m searching. I need to continue to look for vital records for Margaret (Shotwell), John, Tilford, William S., and John Charles Earhart. I have marriage and death records for Mary E. (Hockman), but no birth found yet under either name. I do not have birth records for any of the other children either. The records I do have for John and Margaret show them recording their marriage in Clermont County, Ohio in 1840 but by the 1850 census they were in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio and stayed there through the rest of the censuses they were alive for.
* I’m still procrastinating on getting the pension file for Tilford Earhart that was filed by his mother Margaret. Unfortunately this file is not yet available on, except for the index card, so I am going to have to send to NARA for it.
* Go back to Evernote To_Analyze tagged items for one family and transfer the information to RootsMagic and add the source or note.
* Having trouble with my use of the photoduplication service at FamilySearch. I think it is my email address or how it handles certain kinds of emails coming in. Frustrating.

* Pick a family group in Evernote that is tagged To-Analyze and enter into my database. The information isn’t going to jump in all by itself (drat!).
* Pick a group of census records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* Type notes from Maine trip and file information. Figure out next steps. Since this is my Boothby family line, I will make the family group from Evernote to start on the Boothbys.

* Watched the webinar about how to get around lost records by Karen Clifford, which was helpful. For January I need to go back to the webinars for my two pieces of software, RootsMagic and Clooz and work on learning to use them better. I know I’m missing things in each program that would be helpful.