res o lu tion (noun)
A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
A solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc. [1]

On my computer desk is a small slip of paper with the following words:

archive and preserve
blog and write

These were my resolutions for 2008. How did I do?

Record: Getting my information into my database has always been a challenge, not because it’s difficult to do (RootsMagic makes it easy), but because this is where I tend to be most lazy. Same story with recording when and where I’ve researched, on- or offline. I’ve found Google Notebook to be a great place to record my online researches; better for me, even, than using my Online Research Log. I did do better on in this area than I have in any previous years. My grade: C

Cite: I did better in this area, too, with my Evidence Explained and RootsMagic Source Wizard. Still room for improvement, though. My grade: C+

Archive and Preserve: We rented a safe deposit box at our financial institution and we signed up for Carbonite. I also found a photographer’s supply store that sells cotton gloves here in town, and I purchased a couple of pairs to use for handling photos and antique items. There’s still many documents and items I need to dig up around the house and put in the safe deposit box. My grade: A-

Organize: I started out the year trying to use the binder system, which was too slow and expensive to do it the way I felt it should be done. Then I sought to improve my file folder system. I am now convinced paperless is the way to go and found a great system by Barbara Nuehring that will work well for me. Despite my late start, I’ve made headway. Grade: B

Blog and Write: I certainly blogged a lot last year, and one of my posts made it into print. However, I had hoped to submit some articles to genealogy magazines and I didn’t even get them written. I also didn’t work on my website or do much on my other blogs. I should have been more specific in my goals. Grade: B-

My 2009 Resolutions

I have some specific goals for the coming year:

1. I have two specific tasks in mind that I would like to launch from this blog. One is a new column that I would like to see all genea-bloggers participate in, similar to Tombstone Tuesday or Wordless Wednesday. Another is a Challenge I came up with during the last couple of weeks which I came very close to launching today, but reconsidered when I figured that as I return to work next week after my surgery recovery, I may find I don’t have the energy or time to devote to it. I will look at the spring or summer for the right opportunity to share it with you. It’s on a large scale along the lines of the Genea-Blogger Games, but is not at all similar in topic. I will share both of these specific tasks in the future (stay tuned!).

2. I plan to write posts featuring the postcards of my husband’s great-grandmother, similar to what Pam Warren is doing with Belle’s Box. I also want to get my mother’s letters written from Alaska to her parents in Michigan from 1966 – 1978 scanned, transcribed and posted to a private blog.

3. Speaking of this blog, I am looking to improve the visual look of it. It’s much too cluttered for my minimalist taste. The problem has come when I’ve looked at other designs and realized that I will lose coding for a lot of my widgets if I change over. I just need some time to work on this.

4. Another blogging goal is to phase out AnceStories2 and add posts more frequently to my Atlas Project, personal, and Graveyard Rabbit blogs, while continuing to contribute to the EWGS and Bootcamp for Facebook blogs.

5. I need to update all the pages on my AnceStories website, especially adding links to this blog.

6. I plan to hire two professional genealogists; one to hopefully knock down our MIDKIFF brick wall and another to look up my Great-grandfather YORK’s military records.

7. I want to work on three brick walls this year: Berber (DeJONG) VALK (find birth information and parents’ names); Jeremiah F. YORK (use land records to get evidence that he is the son of Stephen YORK and Amy FRANKLIN); and Levi McCLELLAN and wife Clarissa CLEVELAND (I’d like to determine their parents’ names). I also want to see if I can find more vintage photographs from my mother-in-law’s lines.

8. I’d like to get all the items my uncle sent me from my maternal grandparents’ estate scanned.

There are certainly a lot of details here, and I don’t expect to get A’s in every area. In addition, it promises to be a busy year: my daughter graduates high school in June; and our local society is gearing up to host the Washington State Genealogical Society’s State Conference in Spokane in September, with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as our featured speaker. But again, I will print these resolutions out and hang them near my computer to remind me of them.

Source: 1. resolution. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: January 01, 2009).

All I Want for Christmas Is…

…Three Wishes!

Dear Genea-Santa:

Before I give you my wish list, I want to thank you for all the goodies you’ve sent my way in 2008. It’s probably been the best year of discoveries ever, since I started on this incredible journey, many years ago! This year has brought several large boxes’ worth of family documents and photographs from eight different family lines, either loaned or given to me, so much so that I’ve nearly filled my main hard drive and had to purchase an external one just to hold all the scanned images of these treasures! In addition, Genea-Santa, I’ve discovered a previously-unknown extra marriage of an ancestor or two, figured out what happened to the sister of another ancestor, and been ever so grateful for all the Michigan and Ontario records FamilySearch and Ancestry have released this year! Was I really such a good girl to deserve all of this?

With this in mind, I hope I don’t appear too greedy to ask three wishes for ancestral possessions. The first wish is to obtain the Civil War diary of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles H. ROBBINS, who mentions it in an interview in 1933 or 1934, shortly before his death. He says it saved his life when it stopped a bullet during battle.

My second wish is that all the ancestral and family BARBER photographs that my great-granduncle, James BARBER, destroyed in a burn barrel would somehow be restored and delivered to me. After all, Christmas is the season of miracles, and I know you have magical powers, Genea-Santa!

My last wish is that the boxes containing the coin collection of my husband’s great-grandfather, George Rice WESTABY, III, would be discovered and returned to the family. My husband has an idea of where they may be hidden, but that location no longer is property of family, and it would be a delicate task to ask the present owners for permission to explore the site without their wanting a share or claiming rights to the whole collection.

Any one of these three wishes granted would be sufficient for me. Thank you for your consideration. A plate of cookies and a glass of milk will be waiting for you Christmas Eve.


This and That

Oh, Baby! The footnoteMaven has published the 7th Edition of the “I Smile for the Camera” Carnival at her digital publication site, Shades of the Departed. From babies on bearskins to twin babes to favorite snaps of grandbabies, this edition features 44 submissions from 43 bloggers, and is a sure winner!

“The word prompt for the 8th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Stocking Stuffer. Show us that picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell us whose stocking you’d stuff.” Submission deadline is December 10th and can be entered here.

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poster courtesy of footnoteMaven

Yesterday, Jasia of Creative Gene posted the 60th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, on the very personal and moving subject of Alzheimer’s Disease. November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and many families (including mine) have been touched in one way or another. The ten stories that are shared here are difficult to read, but as Jasia says, “…Alzheimer’s Disease won’t be researched and cures won’t be found by keeping the monster behind a curtain.”

“The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: Traditions!…What traditions were passed on to you from an earlier generation? Do you keep those traditions? What tradition(s) will you or have you passed on to a younger generation? Do you think they will keep it up? Do you care if they do?…Write about your traditions and submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions is December 1st.”

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Also published yesterday was the 11th Cabinet of Curiosities, hosted by M. Diane Rogers of CanadianGenealogy, or ‘Jane’s Your Aunt!’ There’s an eclectic collection of collections on parade here, something to suit every taste and fancy!

The 12th Cabinet of Curiosities will return home to Tim Abbott of Walking the Berkshires. The Cabinet is always published the third Monday of every month and can be entered here.

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Speaking of carnivals, Jessica of Jessica’s Genejournal is looking for hosts for her 2009 Carnivals of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. If you’re interested, please contact her at jess_history at yahoo dot com.

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Lisa Louise Cooke is getting ready for the holidays over at her Genealogy Gems News Blog and asked for a little help from Pat Richley of DearMYRT; Allison Stacy, Editor and Publisher of Family Tree Magazine; Genealogy Insider Blogger and Family Tree Magazine Managing Editor Diane Haddad, and myself. We were only to happy to comply; you can see our shenanigans at the Genealogy Holiday Hoe Down (shhh! don’t tell my orthopedic surgeon about that cartwheel I did!).

This, That, and Much More!

Having blogged very little in the past week, there’s a lot of catching up to do!

Scanfest was done in two sections last Sunday. A group of us met via Windows Live Messenger and chatted there, while others met with Thomas using Skype for a conference call. There were a few who went back and forth between the two media. I think we all enjoyed ourselves, but those who were using Skype soon determined that they could not scan and Skype at the same time successfully. Denise did a good summary, “Skyping at Scanfest,” at her blog, Family Matters. The next Scanfest will be held Sunday, October 26th from 11 AM to 2 PM, PDT. Go here for more information.

Terry at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi did a great round up of introducing genea-bloggers from around the blogosphere, in three parts of “Getting to Know You”! You can read about 42 genealogy-loving and blogging personalities from around the globe here, here, and here. In Part I, you can also click on the title link to hear Terry himself sing “Getting to Know You” in his gentlemanly southern voice, which I always enjoy listening to whenever a group of us does a conference call via Skype. Our good friend Craig of Geneablogie was laid up in the hospital during the time that these posts were put together, but today he published “Getting to Know Me–Getting to Know GeneaBlogie.” My own article can be found here.

You’ve heard of Craig’s List, but have you heard about Angie’s List? It’s a site where you can find professionals to help you with your service and repair needs, as well as health care providers. Well, Thomas of Destination: Austin Family got his 15 minutes of fame last July when he was interviewed by Angie’s List, along with three professional genealogists, for Angie’s List podcast. Additionally, he appeared in Angie’s List e-zine, which is e-mailed to all of their members. Kudos to Thomas for some well-deserved recognition!

poster courtesy of footnoteMaven

The Family Curator has posted the Treasure Hunters Round-up of those participants who are planning to go through their genealogy treasure boxes to organize, scan, and archive their “goodies.” They hope to find a surprise or two! Stay tuned for later this month, when they’ll share their results.

Colleen at Orations of OMcHodoy has the Genea-Blogger Yearbook up: a hilarious peek at what we’d look like if we attended high school in various decades! While I didn’t participate directly, Thomas used me as a model here. I think 1962 was my best look; don’t you?

Becky at kinnexxions wrote A Salute to the Old-Timers! in response to Tim’s Everyone’s Turning 2 This Year at Genealogy Reviews Online. Yep, this blog turned two years old in January, and I guess I’m now officially an old-timer!

poster courtesy of footnoteMaven

The 57th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. The theme is “I Read It in the News.” Holy cow! There are 47 submissions of articles describing how the participants found relatives or ancestors in newspapers. The COG continues to grow, adding newbies every time. It’s a great way to learn more about genealogy, research, and writing, and to discover new blogs to read.

Genealogy News:
My apologies to Family Tree DNA, who has been sending me updates about their Houston, Texas lab in relation to Hurricane Ike. I’ve been too busy to post these on the blog, but fortunately, they sent them out to many bloggers, including Elizabeth of Little Bytes of Life. She has posted them here, here, and here. If you had a DNA test done through this company and are concerned that this facility was in harm’s way, please be assured by these postings that everything has been kept safe.

There were also two updates from FamilySearch last week that I did not get to, but Renee of Renee’s Genealogy Blog has them here and here. There have been 29 million names added to Record Search pilot this past week alone!

A new website, GenSoftReviews, has recently opened as a place where users can post reviews about their favorite genealogy software. Of course, I gave high marks to RootsMagic!

Public Records Free Directory blog has a new tool you can post on your iGoogle home page to help you get to their Directory pages right away.

The Kindo family tree networking website and MyHeritage genealogy site have joined hands. Read about it on the MyHeritage blog here.

The 56th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy (Parts I and II) Has Been Posted

Poster courtesy footnoteMaven

Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian has just posted Part I and Part II of the 56th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. Lori is a librarian, so it comes as no surprise that the topic of this edition was “Ten Essential Books in My Genealogy Library.” She’s divided up the carnival into two parts; the first gives the links to the 33 participants’ submissions. The second part is “a compilation of the results of those submissions. Which titles are valued most by geneabloggers?” My own submission is “Miriam’s Ten Essential Genealogy Books.” I have read most of the submissions this past week, as I believe many of their submitters are already on my Google Reader feed list, and I was excited to see some interesting titles that I may just have to purchase for my own library!

The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: I read it in the news! Newspapers can be a wonderful source of family history information. Share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper. Articles, advertisements, obituaries, classified ads, photos… all are fair game if they appeared in a newspaper. What did you learn about your family from this information? Was the information accurate? How did you learn about this information… online search? Perusing old newspapers? A clipping saved by a relative? Fill us in on your family scoops… who in your family was in the news? The deadline for submissions is October 1st. The next edition will be hosted at the Creative Gene blog.

Miriam’s Ten Essential Genealogy Books

For the 56th Carnival of Genealogy, we have been asked to name the top ten books in our personal genealogy libraries. My list includes those I use on a regular basis either for personal research or for my teachings and presentations, but does not include those I consider essential yet are merely on my wish list. Some of these titles are older editions, and of these, I was lucky enough to win them in one package at one of our society’s book auctions several years ago. They may be older tomes, but they serve me well:

  1. 1. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., C.G.
  2. 2. The Everything Family Tree Book (2nd Edition) by Kimberly Powell
  3. 3. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  4. 4. A History of US (10-volume series) by Joy Hakim
  5. 5. Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources (2nd Edition) by Carol McGinnis
  6. 6. New York State Censuses & Substitutes by William Dollarhide
  7. 7. Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
  8. 8. Searching American Probate Records by Fran Carter
  9. 9. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy edited by Arlene Eakle & Johni Cerny
  10. 10. Your Guide to the Federal Census for genealogists, researchers, and family historians by Kathleen W. Hinckley

This and That

This past week I took a break from blogging, and simply enjoyed being a reader instead. One of the things I like about Google Reader is that, unlike a lot of my Google applications, I can access it at work during my break or lunchtime (the public school’s browser filters are naturally very strong, since we’re really only supposed to be accessing the Internet for educational purposes). For those of you whose blog feed is set to display only the title or the first paragraph of your post, it can be a bit frustrating not to be able to read the whole thing. If the title or first paragraph truly piques my interest, then I star it and try to remember to come back to them later when I’m at home. Otherwise, they never get read. Hmm…something to consider when you set up your RSS feeds.

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COG poster courtesy of the footnoteMaven

One of the things I enjoyed as a blog reader instead of a blog writer this week was perusing the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy published by Jasia at Creative Gene on Thursday. The theme was “Show and Tell” and 49 bloggers posted 50 articles about their favorite heirlooms, documents, photos, or significant ancestors in this most-participated edition ever! My submission was about my 4th-great-grandmother’s cross stitch sampler. Kudos once again to Jasia for an interesting and pleasurable COG, especially as she labored over it while mourning the recent loss of her dear canine friend, Caesar. Jasia is considering some changes to the COG, as it is experiencing some explosive growth in popularity. The 56th Edition’s topic will be: 10 essential books in my genealogy library. It will be hosted by Lori Thorton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian. The deadline for submissions will be September 15th, and you can submit your blog article using this carnival submission form.

Speaking of carnivals, I’ve updated my “September Is…” post with not only carnival deadlines, but deadlines for other genea-blogging events this month. Check it out.

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The Grand Rapids [Michigan] Historical Commission contacted me after coming across my mother’s guest post about her school years at Hall Street Elementary. They sought permission to publish my mother’s photograph of the school, as they did not have any of the entire front of the structure that they could use on their website (permission has been granted).

And speaking of mom’s guests posts, you may recall her mentioning her best friend Beth, with whom she ended up drifting away during their high school years since they had no classes together. Earlier this summer, Beth came across mom’s posts and contacted me. When my parents visited Michigan in July, Mom and Beth had a reunion! You never know what will happen when you start a family history and genealogy blog!

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Jessica Oswalt from Jessica’s Genejournal awarded me the “I Love Your Blog” Award. Thanks, Jessica! UPDATE: Thank you also to Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist and Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family for also awarding me this honor! UPDATES #2 and 3: I’m honored that two three more bloggers also picked me for this award: A. Spence of Spence-Lowry Family History, Travis LeMaster of TJL Genes: Preserving Our Family History and Jeanna of The rules are to give this award to seven other blogs (with links) and let them know that you have picked them. Also, link back to the person who gave you this award. I am picking seven new-to-me blogs that I have enjoyed recently and hope you will add them to your list of great reads as well:

These are just 7 of the currently-214 genealogy-related blogs on my Google Reader list!

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Speaking of great reads, fellow Michigan ancestry blogger and shirt-tail relative Cheryl (her cousin TK is a distant cousin of mine!) has a new URL for her Two Sides of the Ocean blog here after Blogger ate her old one. 😦 Be sure to update your feeds or bookmarks, or if this is a new blog to you, check it out!