Tag Archives: Jennifer Holik

Kids and the Silly Things They Say

This weekend I dropped my youngest off at my cousin’s house to babysit. The girls are cute and lets face it, they crack me up. It’s saturday afternoon, St. Patrick’s Day, my daughter asks the oldest girl, she’s 8, how come she is not wearing any green. 8 year old replies, matter of fact, “I am NOT Irish!”

I chuckled and told her she was, we went back and forth many times and she refused to believe me. She finally asks her dad if it is true. He replies, how do I know. Terri should know. So, I explain to her that her grandma and Becca’s grandma are sisters and if Becca’s grandma is Irish, well then so is her grandma. She says ok and then proceeds to show me the dark green shorts she has on (we were sitting at a breakfast bar in the kitchen). She completely had my cracking up, because no matter what I told her as an adult, she refused to believe me.

Then she tells me she has to do a family tree for homework and it is due Monday. I offer to help her, well because I am the family genealogist and she politely tells me no, she does not need my help. So, I start telling her a few stories. Like, how I have one of our lines back to the Civil War. She asks when that was and I told her way back in the 1800’s. To which she replies, “is that when you were born?”

Excuse me, I laugh and tell her no that I was born in the 1970’s and she of course gasped and thought that was old. Kids are funny and they do not hold back on what they have to say. She made me giggle quite a bit on Saturday.

Oh, and I did get to help with the family tree on Sunday. I order some prints of family pictures and took the tree back to her great-great grandparents on one line. They needed to put together a poster board with either pictures of the family or their names.

I got a big laugh out of the instructions, the teacher had the tree flip-flopped with the woman on the right (the number 2 spot) and men on the left (the number 3 spot). I had her put her post together the correct way. Then I told her dad why I did it that way, he replied that he thought it looked wrong too and that was fine. I told him that if the teacher asks why it is backwards to make sure she knows that a genealogist sat and helped with the homework and made sure it was put together correctly.  The 8 year old cousin plans to hang her family tree in her room, once it is graded and returned. She was very thankful for the pictures I brought her and told me thank you many times. She also told me that I know lots about the family tree and that was cool.

Since we are discussing genealogy and teaching kids; if you, your school, scouts troop, home school group or anyone else you know are interested in teaching genealogy to children, please check out the new books that are being released this week by Jennifer Holik. You can find a listing of her books here.


It’s the Final Countdown

In just one week (and a day) many Geneabloggers will be descending on Fort Wayne, Indiana. We will be researching at the Allen County Public Library and having a get together at the home of fellow geneablogger Tina Lyons and her husband. We have a great list of people coming, some from Illinois, Ohio and Canada. Yes, you read that right Canada!

The Midwest Geneabloggers Facebook page has been listing the blogs of those attending, but I thought I  would put together a post here for everyone to read. That way, you will know who’s blog to read for updates on our weekend and to see if we get any research done. Plus, this will be a first time trip to ACPL for many, so I am sure there will be some posts about that as well.

Here is the list, in no particular order:

Tina Lyons of Genwish List

Jennifer Holik of Generations

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana of The Last Leaf on This Branch

Stephanie Pitcher Fishman of Corn and Cotton Genealogy

Derek Davey of Genealogy – Northwest Ohio

Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers

Patricia Desmond Biallas of Genea Journeys

Linda Swisher of Round Tuit Genealogy

Diana Ritchie of Random Relatives

Jen Alford of Jen-Gens Family History

Susan Clark of Nolichucky Roots

Diana Biddle of Adventures in Brown County History & Genealogy

Kathryn Lake Hogan of Looking 4 Ancestors

Brenda Leyndyke of Journey to the Past

Shelley Bishop of A Sense of Family

Lisa Ellam of The Faces Of My Family

Lisa VonLanken of The Shy Genealogist

Karen Bennett of Karen’s Chatt

Margel Soderberg of 2338 W. Washington Blvd

I apologize if I missed anyone. If there is someone you know that is attending, please leave a comment so I can add them to our list.

That is a total of 20 bloggers all together. What a group. There are many bloggers listed that I have not met, yet. I cannot wait to meet each and every one of you. If you have spare time in the next week (because you are super organized and have a research plan completed already) take some time to stop by these blogs and introduce yourself. See if you have any common surnames or areas to research. Maybe we can break a brick wall down together.

Changes I Have Made in Analyzing my Data

These past few days, I have been asked what I am doing differently in my research that is different and bringing me results. Well, let me start with the lecture I attended at Dupage Genealogical Society, I learned a great deal about analyzing my evidence in a new way (new to me). You can read about this lecture here. If you have not heard Jennifer Holik speak I recommend that you do. She really opened my eyes on how I can be a better researcher. In the past, as I found records that pertained to my family I would add the information to my tree whether on line on ancestry or in my Reunion database. Sometimes if it was a family I was really working on, I might fill out a Family Group Sheet so that I can look everything over. This has worked for me to see the big picture, but it never really opened my eyes to the BIG picture of what I was missing and where I should be looking to find it. A few weeks ago, I started creating some worksheets on my computer so that I could type the information in and not have so many papers in a hard file. That helped some as well, but again no huge eye opening moments. Then I attended the above mentioned lecture and changed how I am looking at my information. I never thought to pull my families into spreadsheets to see what I am missing and try to figure out where I should be looking. For example, I am researching the Jonas family from Morton Grove, IL and I have many questions on the family:

  1. Who is the unknown child that I cannot find reference to?
  2. Are John and Ida (Vick) Jonas related to this family?
  3. Is John the missing child?
  4. Is this Jonas Family related to the Jonas family in Park Ridge, IL (the two towns are close)

So, I put together a spreadsheet with address information from the US Census records, please click jonas family in the census records to view spreadsheet. All of the green shaded areas are missing information. All of the grey shaded areas tell me not to look there, they were not alive at this time. I also made any notations at the bottom of the sheet.

Now obviously this only tells me what I am missing, not want I want to know. That is the next step. Jen talked about using One Note (for PC users) to keep your notes on this family and that this is what she uses to start formatting the books she is writing. Well, I am not a PC user and was upset as we went through this because it just made sense.

Luckily, sitting in front of me was Patricia Biallas of GeneaJourneys and her husband. While Jen was talking, Mr. Biallas was looking online to see if there was a substitute for the Mac and there was. The Mac alternate is Growly Notes and it is a free download, double score for the night.

Well, once I downloaded Growly notes and played with it some, I started a file for the Jonas family adding information I had from the records I have already collected. Once the information was listed, I would add the questions I had and where I needed to look for the answers. Turns out I had some of the answers, I just was not truly looking at all the information I had.

You see, this second Jonas family has thrown me for a loop. They are buried right by my family, lived close in proximity and supposedly came from the same town in Germany. I originally thought they might be brothers and then I as I looked at the dates, I thought maybe my Jonas could be a son of the Park Ridge Jonas. Anything is possible, right?

Well as I went through each hypothesis I had I was able to dismiss them based on the records I had or was able to find once I knew what I was looking for and what I should be looking for. Click on Wilhelm Jonas  to see some of my information.

Here are some of my Notes that helped me work through my questions on this family and here are my notes about the two Jonas men, Are John and William related? Please click on each of these links to read my thought processes and see how I worked through all of the information. I was not in favor of putting my information into a third database, but it is obvious that it is helping me answer my questions about these families.

So it is definitely worth the time and effort it takes to use these methods to analyze and make you reread all the records you have.

What are your thoughts? Have you been utilizing spreadsheets to look at your information? What works for you?

Changing Some of my Goals for 2012

In the beginning of the year many geneabloggers picked buddies to help keep them on track with their goals for this year and then proceeded to blog about said goals. Read my original goals here.  After almost a full month into the year, I know that what I have planned to accomplish as goals is far-reaching and not attainable this year. That would be the goal to research my Richmond line to verify if it is part of the Rogers Mayflower line. This is probably something that will take me a year or two to do and maybe a road trip to follow-up on some of those leads. This goal also plays into my writing goal, I want to be ale to write about the Richmond line. There are many brave men in this line with stories to tell, but I want all the facts before I can do that. So, with much thought I know I need to rewrite these two goals.

Research: This is the year that I plan to analyze my research (again), I have found a way that really helps me see the big picture and find what I am missing. While doing this, it also might make things easier to find in the 1940 Census once released. While analyzing the families I will be searching for the missing documents and making a list of what cannot be found and where I need to look next for said record.


1) This still tends to be the hard one for me. My goal here is to blog more consistently. Which I have been able to do so far. I plan to use the bloggers editorial calendar to stay up to date (and maybe a little ahead).

2) I was asked to write a chapter in Jen Holik’s kids genealogy books on travel and researching your family, which I have sent in my first draft today.

3) I still would like to write a book about one of my families, right now I feel that will end up being my German family, the Jonas’. I seem to be drawn to this family currently and I would like to put everything I have learned about this family in writing.

Please stay with me as I move forward this year with these goals. If anything, I should prove to entertaining and hope to share what I learn along the way.

Motivation Monday: January 2012 Week 1/23

I am a day late and a dollar short, as the saying goes. I had some internet issues yesterday and by the time we had them taken care of. I could not bring myself to go into my office. Anything I took care, was done via my phone. So here I am Tuesday afternoon, writing my post for yesterday. Do forgive me for being late to the game.

Since this is the last full week of the month I would like to recap my monthly goals and figure out what I need to finish up by next Monday which is when I will post goals for February.

My plans for the month of January were to organize all of my genealogy books/magazines in one spot. I have taken care of that, for the most part. I have a few items missing and I will be working on finding those soon (for some reason I fear they might have made it into my attic).

My goal for starting research on my Richmond line has hardly been touched at this point. I did purchase Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 and started a new tree to track my progress on this line. So I have the basics in the program so far, small steps right?

I plan to make some changes to my goals for the year, so stay tuned for a post about that. I have been giving this some thought and I know I need to make these adjustments now, otherwise, I will fail at what I have set out to do.

As for the few things I wanted to do over the month, I was able to go to IRAD with Jen and helped her do a bit of research. We had a good time, oh and I used a microfilm machine, that was a first that I have used any type of micro machine since maybe the 80’s.

I did not go hear Tim Pinnick speak, unfortunately he had a death in the family and it was cancelled.

Jen, Laura and I went to the Italian Cultural Center and heard a lecture about Anti Italianism, it was very interesting. Though I do not have any direct Italian ancestors, I do have Italian family and this made me really think about stereo types and how everyone is affected by it.

Finally, I went to the Dupage Genealogical Society’s January meeting and heard Jen speak about organizing your data, that really changed the way I am analyzing the information I already have. You can read about the lecture here.

Plus, if you have not heard, we started planning a Midwest Geneabloggers get-together, you can read about that here.

So you can see that even though, I missed on the research part of my goals, I really have done quite a bit with genealogy this month.

Thanks for sticking with me on this.

There is Always Something To Learn

When looking at the upcoming lectures for your local society, do you ever think that you have that information down and understand it fully? My advice to you is this…you can learning something new. Keep an open mind and go anyway.

On 19 Jan, I attended the Dupage Genealogical Society lecture, Visualizing your Genealogical Data: Excel, OneNote, Maps, Blogs by Jennifer Holik. To be honest, I went because Jen is a friend of mine and I wanted to be there to support her. Also, her discussion was based on Windows products and I am a Mac user. What was I really going to learn that would assist my research being a Mac user. The answer is simple, I learned a ton and had my aha moment.

I am definite believer that you need to analyze your research. Sometimes, you need to analyze everything again. One of my goals for this year is organization and it was more for my paper files and my office, I figured the rest could wait for 2013. After last night, I need to analyze me processes.

A large part of the discussion was based around using the information in your database and exporting the data into an excel and creating a spreadsheet. From here, you can actually visualize the wholes in your research and decide what would be your next logical step.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have utilized Numbers on my Mac to create a spreadsheet so that I could analyze some data. I subscribe to Michael John Neill’s Casefile Clues and he is a uses spreadsheets all the time. My aha moment was when Jen talked about picking the criteria in your database and then exporting it to your spreadsheet application. DUH, why did I not think of this before.

Another program Jen discussed was OneNote, it blew me away. OneNote is software for a pc and is not compatible with a Mac. The good news is that Growlybird.com offers Notes which looks like it will do the same thing, and it is a free download. I have downloaded it already and hope to start using it soon. Once I do, I will let you know what I think about it.

Thanks Jen, for sharing some truly great tips with the Dupage Genealogical Society. I learned a lot and will be implementing some new techniques into how I analyze my data.

If you are interested in hearing Jen lecture, she has a list of engagements here.

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