December, a time to remember our blessings through the giving of gifts and family celebrations. One of my gifts has been time for Genealogy Do-Over. How did I spend that gift? In this post, I reflect on the year and present my 2018 goals and activities.
Overall, I am pleased with my genealogical research this year. Contact with 4 cousins includes sharing information and asking for opinions about questionable data or conclusions drawn by others. I was pleasantly surprised when one cousin sent me a box of old family pictures. Another cousin shared pictures digitally. My mother’s album of similar pictures has been lost so this was a wonderful gift!
I routinely use Genealogy Do-Over principles as new research directions appear. I talked to my oldest son about preserving the legacy. Daily computer time was limited for several weeks due to a painful shoulder. Shoulder problem is now resolved as long as I work in short bursts. Maybe Santa Claus will bring Dragon software?
I hoped to complete digital clean-up of Mom’s family tree by the end of the year. Did progress on Genealogy Do-Over interfere with conducting new research and following new leads? In some ways, yes. However, I did follow new leads. Developing more efficient research habits meant slowing down a little. Specifically, I renamed digital documents immediately after downloading to my computer and before saving the document to genealogy software. I cited the source right then, too. This practice will ultimately save time later. Thorough documentation helped me to find insights that I would probably have missed before. And, I wrote down those insights including how I came to a specific conclusion!
Writing blog posts took more time than I expected each week. Some posts are really long and potentiallydifficult to follow. At the end of theyear, I set a goal of 1500 words or less for each post. This goal will continuefor 2019. As I wrote, I gained new perspectives about each person or family. Gaps and questions seemed more clear.
Susan’s Genealogy 2018 Goals:
- Continue paper and digital file clean-up. Focus on mom’s family as Dad’s family files are almost done. Results: Goal met. Work continues on mom’s tree.
- Created research logs for 80 of the 297 persons in mom’s tree, including 28 identified direct line ancestors. The non-direct line persons (N = 52) are siblings of direct line ancestors and the siblings’ spouses.
- Completed paper records (Individual worksheet, Research checklist, Biographical outline) for direct line ancestors and their siblings.
- Digitally, renamed media files and rewrote source citations using Roots Magic source templates/ Evidence Explained format. Approximately 75% complete for Mom’s tree.
- Refined labelling system for digital files.
- Used same process of paper and digital file cleanup for a few files in other family trees (Dad, Father-in-law,Mother-in-law).
- Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter. Use information from 2010 Posten family history.
- Result: Not met. Presented information to local DAR chapter about Father-in-law’sdistant cousin who lived in Oklahoma before statehood. Keep same goal for 2019.
- Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication optionswith expected publication in 2019.
- Results: Partially met. Revised one chapter of Posten family history book. Continue same goal for 2019.
- Send copies of grandparents’ BMD certificates to cousin.
- Results: Met. Sent copies of grandparents’ certificates plus other BMD certificates to cousin. Sent print-ready copies of blog posts to another cousin.
- Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month.
- Results: Partially met. Requested 5 certificates. One certificate sent to me by another Tucker-Maurer family researcher. Received 2 of 4 certificates requested. Waiting for 2 certificates from New York. Certificates from State of New York can take 8-9 months. Certificates from New York City usually received within 6-8 weeks.
- Blog-related goals:
- Post on more regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks. Goal met.
- Expand to husband’s family, at least 4 stories about his family during the year. Goal met. Posted 5 stories about husband’s family.
- Simmons,Ellerbee, Johnson-Reed scrapbooks—posted 29 January 2018
- Valentine in the family tree: Valentine Creager—posted 14 February 2018
- Elegy to Elizabeth Hayes Ellerbee – posted 5 March 2018
- Pre-1850 census records using William Bailey as example – posted 25 September 2018
- Holcomb family and New Madrid Earthquakes, 1811-1812, posted December 3, 2018.
- Explore options for posting family trees to blog. Goal partially met. Option called RootsPersona ( https://rootspersona.com/) is one option. For 2019, post at least two family trees to blog.
- Learn more about DNA testing. Join DNA Do-over Facebook group. Goal met. Joined Facebook group on 4 January 2018. Read posts about once a week.
- Post DNA results to GEDmatch. Goal met. Posted DNA results to GEDmatch on January 7, 2018. Posted family tree to GEDmatch in March 2018. Helped one DNA match discover biologic grandmother (person and person’s mother had been adopted; person was able to give me possible surnames and a location).
- Assist nephew to combine family trees of his parents (his mother is my sister). Goal not met. Talked about family trees during visits to nephew.
- Prepare Ellerbee family scrapbook for Papa (Father-in-law). Goal met. Completed 11 January 2018. Presented to him in honor of 80th birthday.
- Created digital scrapbook of vintage Tucker-Maurer photographs. Includes photos sent to me by two cousins.
- Consulted books and online resources about preservation of vintage photographs.
- Purchased archival quality plastic sleeves for preservation of vintage Tucker-Maurer photographs.
- Purchased notebooks for BMD certificates, photographs and other memorabilia of Posten-Richards and Tucker-Maurer families.
- Used principles learned in Genealogy Do-Over to research families of two persons who are related to me by marriage.
- Joined GenealogyBank for access to newspapers.
- Continued routine scheduled backups to Cloud and external hard drive.
- Purchased 7 books for Research Toolbox:
- Berry, Kenyatta D. The Family Tree Toolkit. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018.
- Bettinger, Blaine T. Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. Kindle edition.Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, No date.
- Crawford,Mark. Confederate Courage on Other Fields: Overlooked Episodes of Leadership,Cruelty, Character, and Kindness. El Dorado Hills, California: Savas Beatie, 2017.
- Hendrickson, Nancy. 52 Weeks of Genealogy: Projects for Every Week of the Year. Kindle edition. San Diego, California: Green Pony Press, 2017.
- Lardas,Mark. Nashville 1864: From the Tennessee to the Cumberland. New York: Osprey Publishing, 2017.
- Richards, Amber. Preserve Your Family Pictures: How to Save Photo Heirlooms for Future Generations. Kindle edition. Publication information not listed.
- Rigdon,John C. Historical Sketch and Roster of the Georgia 25th Infantry Regiment. Kindle edition.Cartersville, Georgia: Easter Digital Resources, 2015.
How much did my hobby cost? Here’s the breakdown:
- Archival materials $ 76.83 (includes scrapbook items)
- BMD records $92.00
- Books $74.80
- Copying $ 4.20 (forms for paper files)
- Ink/ printer $339.95(New printer July 2018)
- Online databases $788.75 (Discontinued 1 due to minimal results)
- Paper/Scrapbook $ 10.00 (3 reams paperfrom estate sale)
Total $1386. 53
Average/ month $ 115.54
Ink/ printer and online database costs should decrease in 2019.
Next blog post: 2019 goals and budget
 ElizabethShown Mills. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd ed. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015).