On Saturday, 11 Nov 2011, I attended a meeting of the Chicago Genealogy Society at the Newberry Library. This was the first time I have attended one of their meetings. And, to be perfectly honest, I attended because I wanted to turn in my membership paperwork. Yes, I finally joined. I had planned on joining since September when I met a few of the members at the FGS conference in Springfield, IL.
This month, Thomas MacEntee (of GeneaBlogger’s fame) presented They’re Alive! Searching for the Living. I truly figured I would not learn anything new at this lecture because I have successfully located living family members. Cousins of my maternal grandfather to be exact, cousins he never met.
Once again, Thomas proved me wrong. He has a list of many websites that I have not heard of and I will be going through them soon. Since this is a lecture that Thomas give’s I do not want to give out his information. I do recommend that if you have not heard Thomas present that you put it on your list of things to do. He takes any topic, adds a bit of humor and a ton of great resources. Well worth the time and as I said earlier, you should attend even if it is something you feel you already have all the information you need. He always has another outlook and much more information. I have seen Thomas present twice in the past month and feel as if I am becoming a groupie.
After a long day of travel, I arrived at the Marriott’s – Burbank Hotel at about 11:30am (pacific time), with Joan and Mr. Miller. Waiting to greet everyone that walked in the hotel was Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog. She about flew out of her chair with each person that showed up. It was great to meet Elyse right away because we were rooming together for the weekend.
As soon as the Millers went to check in, Amy Coffin of We Tree arrived and we all decided to go across the street and have lunch at the Greek restaurant. It proved to be very yummy!
After lunch, Elyse was off to volunteer with kids camp and the rest of us got a chance to sit down and talk. Little by little more people began to arrive and Amy played the role of hostess for me. She introduced me to everyone that came through the doors. I have to tell you that this is a hugging group, even if they do not know you. They make you feel welcome and like family! Amy got a kick out of me trying to shake her hand when we were introduced!
While we hung out and waited for others, we watched the twitter feed because the storms in the midwest created havoc on many flights. Almost everyone seemed to be delayed.
I also got to meet Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist, Cheryl Palmer of Heritage Happens, Gini (her husband and granddaughter) of Ginisology, Tonia of Tonia’s Roots, Caroline Pointer of Family Stories and last, Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.
Most of us got together for some adult beverages then went out to dinner at PF Changs and had a good time. It was nice to sit down and get to know one another. Thomas is the host with the most, he really has a knack for making everyone comfortable and making sure you are included in everything that’s going on. But, I bet you could have guessed that already!
After dinner, it was off to get comfy for the night, Friday was to start early for us. 8:15am for any tour that was scheduled. My few hours in CA had been great already and I could not wait to get this weekend started.
Met so many more people, Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist (she is a hoot), The FootnoteMaven, Denise Levinick of The Family Curator, Susan Kitchens of Family Oral History Using Digital Tools, Kim von Aspern of LeMaisonDuchamp, Donna Pointkouski of What’s Past is Prologue, Elizabeth O’Neill of Little Bytes of Life. As you can see, there were many Genea Bloggers in attendance this year. About 70, I believe. What a group of people to hang out with! I had the absolute best time this weekend. Going into this, I never imagined I would have so much fun hanging out. My thought’s were of what I would learn while there, which I will write about soon.
This afternoon, while I was going through my routine of reading email, checking facebook and looking through other family history blogs. I came across an eye opening blog on organization for bloggers. Thomas MacEntee over at Genea Bloggers does a wonderful job of keeping everyone up to date on what is going on in the genealogy world. One would never think that he will be able two find a new way to help us, but it seems that each week he puts out something new!
Last night I spent a great deal of my evening helping my son Corey, who is 17, get organized for his last year of High School. The norm for him, is to just put things down and then take a few hours to find it when he decides he needs it.
For example, this summer he spent two weeks in England. He had already been out of the country once, so we did not need to get him a passport. For months I had told him he needed to find it so that we had no problems when he leaves for England, which would be a few days after school let out. I cannot tell you about the conversations we had about him not being able to find the passport. I told him I would look through my files to see if I filed it with the other important information while he was at school (this was the last week), needless to say, we were down to days before his flight. After I searched all of my files and did not find it, I went into his room and found the passport within 1 minute. He had it on a book shelf, right over his bed. I could not believe he had it right here and could not find it! Of course, when I told him this, he told me I had it the whole time and I was playing games with him. When he did come home, I filed the passport with all other important information. We will not have this problem again.
Corey in Enlgand
Back to school organization, first we put all his notebooks, binders and folders together with the class they went to, in order of the days schedule. Then we organized a file box for his classes as well. So that once his binder was full, he could just move things into the file box. In the back of the file box, we put together files for all the colleges he plans to apply at. What a list that is! Then in the very back is a file for Misc. Colleges. I am grateful just to get these letters off of the coffee table. (I do not remember all of these letters coming when my daughter was a Senior). Corey told my basically that I “rock” when we finished this. He could not believe that we could get him so organized and ready for this important year ahead of him.
One can see that Thomas’ post hit home for me today. To spend the time organizing everyone else and not myself, unacceptable! So, I have finally created my calender for Finding Our Ancestors! I have inserted all of the upcoming carnivals, with the information for that specific carnival. Also, put in all the daily themes. My goal is to try and take some time on the weekends and get everything done for the upcoming week. As a blogger, I know I do not spend enough time on my blog. I do it all by the seat of my pants and move on from there.
As a family researcher, one of my goals for the summer was to move forward in my research. I have failed at this because I did not organize myself to be successful. Hopefully, I will be able to spend the next week or so organizing my research as well. I have completed a few simple tasks over the summer, but I could have done so much more. If anyone has any great ways they organize their research, I would love some tips on that.
We have been asked to write down our genealogy goals. So we can look back and see what we’ve accomplished. Thanks to Amy at We Tree, for you great ideas to keep us writing. Thanks to Genea Bloggers for reminding us of these great ideas.
In the beginning of the year, I put together some goals for my research. Before I talk about new goals, I think we should review the old ones.
1. Find out who the parents are for John O’Connell. (No progress as of yet, see post on my brickwall ancestor)
2. Find out who the parents are for Bridget Curran O’Connell.(no progress yet)
3. Place the remaining 2 O’Connell’s at St Paul’s/St Mary’s Cemetery into the family tree. (no progress yet)
4. Go to NY and visit the cemeteries and get photo’s of grave markers (St Paul’s/St Mary’s, Black River and Mount Carmel). Plus meet the family I have found. (planned for June with my Aunt)
5. Continue to blog my research and findings on a regular basis. (continuous work)
6. Start more in depth research on the Springer line. (have not started yet)
Ok for the 6 goals that I started the year with, I have only progresses on 2. Not so good. But, it is not for lack of trying. I just have not had a successful search for these items. As everyday passes, my research has moved to different family lines. So, I truly do want to work on the first 6 goals still, I want to add a few more.
7. Katherine Stuart, need to document this relationship which I have just started working on yesterday. According to other online family trees, she is a direct ancestor. According to legend “she is a descendant of King Charles”.
8. I have been thinking about applying to DAR, need to make a decision and work from there.
9. Want to find who the Mason was that sponsored Nettie Warden to the Order of the Eastern Star.
10. Need to make Contact with the Warden side of my family. Email went out, waiting on reply!
Prompt #14 asks us to talk about what different types of technology we use in our genealogy research and how it is working for us. At this point, I have never replied to a weekly prompt, I figured this would be a good one to start with. Thanks to Thomas at Genea Bloggers for keeping us updated with each weekly prompt. Also thanks to Amy at We Tree for her many ideas to blog about this week.
When it comes to technology, that is where the majority of my research is done. I use many different websites. Ancestry.com, Geni.com, familysearch.org, and Newspaper Archives.com. Ancestry has helped me connect with many distant cousins, find many census and other records I was looking for. The only issue I have with this site is that the search function could be more efficient. There are a few things that I have had to have someone else look up, give me specifics as to where the records is, so then I can search on Ancestry for it by State and County.I have finally uploaded two family trees, after a few years of membership. With this I have been able to take one line of my tree back even further. Though, the main line I have been working on is still at its brickwall. Ancestry seems to be making changes to their site all the time from adding new sources to now adding the help of proffesional genealogists in the near future (though it is unclear as to how this is going to work at the moment). Geni is a great site for your family to come together and work on the tree collectively. Though, some of us are protective of the work that we have done, you wonder about what is being placed. For our family, the Geni site has brought forward our next generation Genealogist. We have also had luck with relatives that I personally have never met, logging on and sharing things that I did not know. Overall, it is successful for sharing and networking with your family. The Family Search site is not used as often as the other sites for myself. Not to put others off, but I have not had much success finding things on this site. Newspaper Archives on the other hand, has added so much to my family tree this year. Through searching old obituaries, I have been able to find relatives back in NY that I did not know where there. I have made contact with them and hope to be able to meet them this summer.
Of course, I am on a few of the social networks as well. I started out on Facebook looking for friend that I lost contact with. After I found her and before I could delete the profile, many friends over the years have popped up. So I continued with this site. Which now I use more to network with others that love Genealogy as much as I do. I am also on Twitter, which I am not 100% with. But, I am there and will continue for now.
I started my blog Climbing the O’Connell Family Tree on Blogger and recently moved it to WordPress. As stated in my last post, WordPress has a crisp, more elegant look, which is why I moved the blog. I started the blog to help track my research, now I use the blog and many of the sites listed to network with others. I feel that through this I have made friends and people I can trust to help me along when needed.
The one other site that I truly have utilized in my search is the USGenWeb project. With the obituaries I found, this project has helped me find the final resting place for many of my ancestors. I am grateful to all those invested in these volunteer projects that help the rest of us with our research.
To keep everything organized, I have used a few different programs. I started with Family Tree Maker in 1999, which I loved, it searched the internet for me, helped create a web site, and had the ability to put together books. Was there anything not to like for someone just starting in their research. Currently, I am running on a MAC, so Family Tree Maker is no longer an option. I currently use Reunion, which organizes my information and has the ability to input the sources as well. It is user friendly, I have had no real problems or learning curve with it. Also, I love that the company stands behind their product and is great with the support they give their users.
The only thing that I would like to see is more products for the MAC, most genealogy based products are for the PC. Any correspondence I have had with multiple companies advises that it is not in the near future do to economic conditions. As always, we are putting everything on the economy!