I hesitate to even make genealogy goals for 2022. If you have been following my blog, then you know that I have been diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive neurologic disorder and a life expectancy of 2 to 5 years. Last year, I completed and submitted article about my mother’s German ancestors. Article wasn’t published. But that’s OK. Using principles learned in Genealogy Do-Over, I began a complete and thorough re-organization of all things genealogical. Digital file reorganization is now about 90% complete.
My energy reserves are waning. So, I must be very mindful of what is truly possible within the next year. My genealogy goals for 2022 are few and very specific.
Finish duplication of Ellerbee scrapbook for son & sister-in-law.
If possible, duplicate Simmons scrapbook and Johnson -Reed scrapbook.
Complete Inventory of all genealogy materials (paper files, digital files, websites, books and hard copy items, photographs, etc. ). Place print copy of inventory with estate planning documents for son who agreed to be caretaker of genealogy items.
Send copy of Maurer lineage to cousins.
Explore options for sending unpublished manuscripts to Wayback Machine\Internet Archive.
Add Posten cousin as Editor to Ancestry tree.
These few items will ensure that all materials will be in the hands of at least two people.
What about the Posting Family Roots Blog? I can’t say. I will try to post at least once a month.
I can only describe 2021 as a roller coaster year. Dips and climbs, moving slow then all too fast. Some parts smooth and other parts terrifying. Earlier this year, I told you why I reset my genealogy priorities. In this post, I briefly retell that story and evaluate progress on my original set of goals for this year.
In March, 2021, I was diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive neurologic disorder and a life expectancy of 2 to 5 years. I frantically worked on the article about my mother’s German ancestors which I submitted in July. Using principles learned in Genealogy Do-Over, I began a complete and thorough re-organization of all things genealogical. I didn’t realize how many duplicate files and pieces of information were scattered all over my computer. Digital file reorganization is 95% done.
Now, I need to evaluate my original genealogy goals for 2021.
Susan’s 2021 Genealogy Goals
Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)
Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options. (One chapter done in 2018; one chapter rewritten in 2020). *Priority item for 2021—rewrote one chapter. Consider as priority for 2022?
Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches. Parents of Benjamin Avery Posten; results posted on blog.
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings. Done.
Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):
Complete descendant list for Smetts-Maurer family as requested by cousin. Done- Feb 2021
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings. Done
Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches. Done- Rosina Smetts & Henry Renk
Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)
Scan original documents in paper files. Place originals in archival sleeves and appropriate notebook. Ongoing.
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings in each family group. Partially met – one ancestor and siblings in each family group.
Create family group records with citations as addendums to scrapbooks given 2019 & 2020 for at least 4 family groups. . NOT DONE.
Continue to trace descendants of slaves owned by husband’s ancestors. Use templates and directions from the Beyond Kin project. NOT DONE- LEAVE FOR OTHERS TO DO.
Follow-up on at least two BSOs generated from previous searches (one from each family group). Johnson family- Barbara Friddle Reed.
Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks. Posted every 2-3 weeks.
Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law). Partially met – 3 for Posten, 2 for Tucker, 1 for Ellerbee, 6 for Johnson.
Limit each post to about 1500 words or less. Done consistently
Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. (continued from 2019). NOT DONE.
Continue to address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports. Done ABOUT 50% OF TIME.
Continue to place To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family on color-coded file cards. Not done due to loss of function w/ right hand. How to track these in future?
Send for at least 4 BMD certificates. DONE – DCs: Anna Klee Maurer, Stephen Scheffel, Edward Louis Maurer, Leonhard Maurer,; Maria Anna Metzger Maurer, Emma Lizzie Maurer, Anna Kolzelius Maurer, BCs: William Charles Maurer, Herman Maurer. MCs: Arthur Maurer & Johanna Dassow, Leonhard Maurer & Crescentia Ley, Herman Maurer & Elizabeth Bailer.
Submit article begun in 2020 to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter. Specific family/ person TBA. Done July 2021- Maurer family. Not accepted but excellent feedback from editor
Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs” ; possibly Dragon software. Bought Kindle books- Planning a future for your family’s past by Marion Burk Wood and After You’reGone:Future proofing your genealogy research by Thomas MacEntee. Both offer good suggestions.
Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined. GOAL MET. American Ancestors writing course Jan 2021; Seven things to know about German Church Records, February 2021; Pennsylvania Launching Pads into the Midwest, 14 Sept 2021; RootsMagic 8 overview 8 Oct 2021.
Duplicate Ellerbee-Simmons scrapbooks for Jason & Deanna. Ellerbee family scrapbooks in progress.
Change from RootsMagic7 to RootsMagic8. Change selected files to RM8 format, including copy of media files & relink to new media file:
Jerry Donald Ellerbee-DONE
George Avery Posten/ Cornelius Posten-DONE
Genealogy legacy planning:
Create single folder, “GENEALOGY REORGANIZATION FILES 2020” on personal computer. done
Reorganize digital files by family: Ellerbee-Simmons, Johnson-Reed, Posten-Richards, Tucker-Maurer, with standard subfolders under each heading. Done
Move all genealogy files to appropriate location under GENEALOGY REORGANIZATION 2020. DONE
After moving RM files, recheck and relink media as needed.
Inventory all genealogy materials (paper files, digital files, websites, books and hard copy items, photographs, etc.). Review every 6 months. Designate place for print copy of inventory. Initial inventory done.
What about the budget?
Once more, a little over. For next year? Set specific priorities and reformat goal structure.
How would your genealogy goals change if you only had two years to live? What kind of genealogy legacy will you leave? This is what now confronts me as I have been diagnosed with a progressive neurologic disorder and a life expectancy of 2 to 5 years.
Thirty years ago, my goal was to find all original immigrants. On my dad’s side, one immigrant, Anthony Desire LaCoe/LeCoq (1778, France – 1883, Pennsylvania) was identified by others. Mom’s oral history suggested, and since been confirmed, one immigrant, Valentine Maurer (1800, Germany – 1898, New York). Immigrant origins for my husband’s family remain speculative as British with Scandinavian roots have been identified through DNA. My research identified one more on dad’s side (surname Ostrander from Holland) and one on mom’s side (surname Traver from Germany). Another researcher discovered a French ancestor, surname Fayard, for my father-in-law. For my mother-in-law, a German ancestor with last name Krueger/ Creager seems likely. So, six immigrants out of at least 32 family lines.
Now, given time constraints, I have to focus on more realistic goals. My legacy plan now includes leaving more copies of each scrapbook, especially the paper scrapbooks. Two copies of Ellerbee-Simmons books exist, i.e. the original and copies given to Papaw’s sister in July 2019. Two copies of Johnson-Reed scrapbook exist, i.e. original and copy given to sister-in-law last year.
I have two print copies of the Posten narrative history written in 2012, with all of its flaws. But, the framework is there. Five relatives received copies of this document. Digital copies of all reside on my computer and are saved to the Cloud.
I focus again on the paper scrapbooks with these new goals for the rest of this year:
Make two copies of the Ellerbee- Simmons scrapbooks. One copy for sister- in- law and one copy for youngest son. Original scrapbook stays with my oldest son.
Make one copy of the Johnson -Reed scrapbook for youngest son. Original scrapbook stays with my oldest son.
In previous post, I outlined the specific steps needed before re-submitting article about mom’s family. Similarly, goals for the paper scrapbooks require specific steps:
Buy five 12×12-inch scrapbooks from local hobby/craft store. Wait for a sale! Prefer scrapbooks that come with 25-50 plastic sleeves.
Buy additional archival quality plastic sleeves as needed.
Buy 1 ream acid-free white paper from office supply store.
Choose dominant color or decorative theme for each scrapbook.
List sections for each scrapbook. Choose one design for the section dividers.
Use personal scrapbook supplies (paper, labels, stickers, decorations, etc.) before buying more. FYI: I have 8 boxes and numerous pads of paper, lots of themed decorations.
Enlist husband’s help as needed with cutting out designs.
My next goal – create scrapbook/ memory book of Tucker-Maurer family including photos and documents. As of today, my plan is to use a book format, then print professionally. I created a short (20 page) version for my brother two years ago. This version includes more information.
Specific steps include:
Outline specific information, such as family group sheets, to be included.
Review blog posts; revise posts as needed and use in this memory book.
Write family/ individual stories as needed.
I discussed all of this with my husband. He asked, “How important is it, really, to get published in a genealogic journal?” I submitted one article and received appropriate feedback from the editor. I will continue to collect birth, death and marriage certificates for that family line. Those acquisitions strengthen my legacy. However, I also accept that I may not have time to fully address genealogic standards as required by the journal. I can continue to publish via my blog.
The last few months have been an emotional roller coaster. Rethinking my genealogic priorities is only one thing that we have to do. I cannot say enough how much I appreciate my husband and sons. FYI- yes, I have begun the process of getting my genealogical files and items in order. More about that later.
As I work on preservation rather than expansion, the character of my blog posts may change. There are many family stories to tell within the boundaries of my current work.
This year (2021), the country feels more divided than united. All of us need to step back and reflect on the sacrifice made by those who fought for our Independence from England. Those persons were labelled rebels. Because of those rebels, we can argue about the meaning of words in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Because of those rebels, we can disagree about the date of our country’s founding. Remember, too, that we would not enjoy these freedoms if not for those rebels. Like them or not, those rebels deserve to be remembered and celebrated by Americans on this Fourth of July.
In this post, I update a list of persons from our (my husband’s and mine) family trees who are known or believed to be Revolutionary War patriots. Many of our personal ancestral families lived in the United States in late 1700s and early 1800s. At least one family may have been Tories (a.k.a. supported the British).
The roots of my family and my husband’s family run deep in America. Neither of us have any nationally famous persons in our family trees. Family stories told of Native American ancestry, but our DNA shows no genetic links there. Both of us hail primarily from British Isles, Scandinavia, and western Europe. We are descended from immigrants to the United States. Some of our ancestors influenced events locally or within their home state. Some of my husband’s ancestors owned slaves.
Should a holiday recognize when the first African slaves were brought to America? Enslaved peoples, primarily of African descent, are definitely part of our American history. We cannot change American history. Our interpretation of that history changes as we apply current values and beliefs to the values and beliefs held by those who lived in another time. I believe that we can teach differing views of events without belittling either side.
Acknowledge the societal norms of the times and locations that influenced our ancestors’ choices. We cannot change our family’s history. I diligently record our family’s history and share that information with others. I try to not pass judgment. Without all of our ancestors and those who believed in America, we would not be here!!
Revolutionary War Patriots (known, presumed and speculative)
From my family tree:
Samuel Jones (ca 1759 – 1827); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution
Thomas Ostrander (1745 – 1816); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution
Richard Posten (1750 – after 1825); signed Articles of Association in Monmouth county, New Jersey.
Nathaniel Richards I (1759 -1831); ? New Jersey militia, family tradition.
Joseph Traver (abt 1732 – after 1790); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution
Cornelius Van Sickle (abt 1741 – 1820); served New Jersey militia; Revolutionary War pension file W6374.
From my husband’s family tree:
George Valentine Creager (1734 – 1808); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution
Thomas Ellerbee (abt 1743 – 1802); “Captain Ellerbee” mentioned in several South Carolina Revolutionary War pension files; possible distant cousin.
George Hans Friddle (1731-1805); service from family tradition.
Jonathan Roach (abt 1737 – after 1802); recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution.
Another death in our family this past week. I was given the privilege of writing my mother-in-law’s obituary. This task of love let me to reflect on obituaries and death notices as sources of information. In this post, I share my reflection with you.
Genealogists cull information about individuals and their families from these notices, usually published in local newspapers. What’s the difference between a death notice and an obituary? The answer is simple. A death notice usually gives only basic information about the person and their death. An obituary typically provides more information about the person and their family.
Death notices can still provide clues for follow up. Here is one example from my dad’s family. 
Other documents and her gravestone show her name as Esther, maiden name Brown. The notice was published on Friday, February 14, 1840; her date of death- ‘Tuesday last’- means Tuesday, February 11, 1840. The family should be found in or near Stroudsburg on 1840 census. Burial at Friends Graveyard means that Esther and Thomas were Quakers. My question is: if she died and was buried in Monroe County, why was her death notice in a Pike County newspaper? Pike County and Monroe County are geographically close to each other. This led me to explore how county lines changed and to search for more information about a Brown family in Pike County. Age at death is sometimes listed. This example shows how even limited information can be used to discover information about a person and their family.
Obituaries give us a glimpse into the person’s life and family. Often, you will read about the person’s occupation, hobbies, military service, religious affiliation, professional and social organizations, honors and awards as well as birth and death information. Names of parents, siblings and children are usually included. You may learn how long the person was married and whether the named relatives are dead or alive. Cause of death is sometimes included. “A sudden death” may suggest an accident or acute illness. “A long (or lingering) death” suggests one or more chronic illnesses. Photos are a more recent inclusion. Today, funeral homes post obituaries online.
Siblings’ names can be used to uncover a woman’s maiden name. One woman’s brothers had two different surnames, suggesting that one was her step-brother. The married name of a sister led to more records about the sister and, eventually, the names of their parents.
Also of interest is what information is not included. I found a marriage record for a person on my mom’s family tree. His obituary did not mention his wife. My best guess is that the marriage did not last long and that there were no children.
To summarize, published death notices and obituaries are important sources of information for the genealogist. Glean what you can and offer thanks to those who provided the information.
Another long week for our family, actually a long month as mother-in-law went from hospital to rehab, back to hospital and then to hospice care. Family members asked me to write my mother-in-law’s obituary. This was a labor of love as well as an awesome responsibility. I had previously written obituaries for both of my parents and my father-in-law. As a genealogist, I am acutely aware of how much can be learned and/or surmised from these sources.
I may have posted something similar earlier but am too emotionally exhausted to look for it.
What I Learned (again): the difficulty of capturing the essence of a person in just a few words.
What helped: I am a fairly skilled writer with a large vocabulary. Online and print thesaurus to help me choose just the right words. Getting to know my mother-in-law better during last few months that she has lived with us.
What didn’t help: sleepless nights. Need to get it right quickly in only 1 or 2 drafts.
To-do: Save copies of print and online obituary with appropriate citations.
 Hester Postens death notice. Published in The Jeffersonian Republican, Milford, Pike County, Pennsylvania on 14 February 1840. Page number not included with photocopy obtained from Monroe County Historical Association, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
 Grave marker for Esther Postens, Friends Burial Ground (Stroudsburg, Monroe, Pennsylvania); photo by Jerry L. Ellerbee; information read by Susan Posten Ellerbee, 15 August 2017.
 New York, Episcopal Diocese of New York Church Records,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 August 2018 ), entry for Arthur H. Smetts & Claudia J. Mertens; citing The Episcopal Diocese of New York Church Records, New York, NY; names Arthur’s parents as Jacob Smets, Rose Maurer of New Brunswick,NJ and Claudia’s parents as Charles H. Mertens & Johanna Hack, 1433 Glover Street; marriage date 2 June 1926.
 “ARTHUR H. SMETTS,” obituary, Central New Jersey Home News, 19 November 1936, deceased; online images, Newspapers.com (http:///newspapers.com : accessed 6 January 2021).
Just when I thought I had things under control, I re-prioritized my genealogy goals and began writing an article about my mother’s ancestors for a genealogy journal. I thought that I had most of the information on three to four generations of descendants. I thought that I had most of the sources for that information. Over the last month, I discovered that neither one of those assumptions are true. In this post, I describe my journey to date.
What have I done to prepare for writing an article? In January of this year, I participated in a month-long webinar about writing. I bought a book, Guide to Genealogical Writing, and have been reading it. I downloaded a template for writing using the Register style. I created an outline of people who I would be writing about. On the outline, I numbered each person as they would appear in the article.
Stratton and Hoff suggest to temporarily stop researching and start writing. So, I have done that. I discover gaps in family stories –gaps not always identified in my RootsMagic tree. Information on my RootsMagic tree on my computer is only partially complete, especially for the later generations. Sources are also incomplete. However, the families are becoming more real as I notice similarities and differences in family experiences. Example – sisters who both buried husbands and at least one child.
I began writing the family stories with the information that I have. As I write, I make a note in red that a source or other information is needed. I try to complete at least one person’s story each day. I follow the “cite as you write” guideline. Sometimes, I stop writing and follow clues to locate a source or other information. As a result, my personal tree is becoming more complete. So, the exercise of writing the family history for a genealogy journal has its benefits.
Previously, I focused on the older generations, typically those who lived and died before the early decades of the 20th century. This article includes four generations from my German ancestors in early 1800s through the latter part of the 20th century. I choose not to include information about any persons who are still living.
What have I learned from this? It takes more time than expected. There will be gaps to fill in. There will be sources to find. Even if my articles are not accepted for publication, I will leave fairly comprehensive and extensively researched histories to share with descendants. For your information, if the articles are not accepted for publication, I will share the information with you through my blog. Yes, I said “articles”. Last year, I started another article about a collateral family on Dad’s side. I put aside that article to tackle other projects. When the current article is done, I plan to take up the second one again.
Who should I write about for today’s post? This question has bugged me for the last two weeks. Although I am working on several projects, none are ready for a report yet.
This year, I started tracking my blog post topics more closely. I created a spreadsheet with information about each blog post including date, title of post, and person or persons discussed in the post. I made a table with number of posts related to each family by year. The highest number for a given year reflects my primary focus for that year.
What determines my focus for a particular year? I started my blog in April 2017 with goal of sharing information more or less equally about each family line. An August 2017 family reunion trip to Pennsylvania generated more posts about dad’s family. In 2018, I received family pictures and other items from two cousins on mom’s side. Cataloging those pictures and items steered me to Tucker-Maurer family for 2018. My father- in- law’s death in February 2019 guided me towards the Ellerbee family. Johnson-Reed family then became focus for 2020 as I prepared another scrapbook.
As I write each post, I check sources, revise citations and identify gaps to be filled for each person. I pose and try to answer at least one question. Content in my family tree improves. Sometimes, a person contacts me about an ancestor named in an online tree or blog post. These contacts often generate a topic for my blog. DNA matches also yield possible blog topics.
For my blog, what are the benefits of delving deep into a particular family or person? Well, I try to discover the story beyond the basic facts. I seek a better understanding of the person and share that information with others. I feel like I am more intimately involved in their lives.
Writing about a variety of people has been a blessing. I reach a wider audience with the potential of contacts from more than just one branch of the family tree. Often, I choose the person or topic just a few days before I publish. I am writing shorter blogs so there may be more series about a particular person or family.
Right now, I have several projects in the works. I am writing two articles to be considered for publication in genealogical journals. Due to potential copyright issues, I must defer writing more here about either of these. A potential DNA match contacted me about a specific line. Several years ago, I made a note in my files and asked questions similar to what this DNA match is asking. I give what input I can.
Question for today is still- where do I go from here? And I don’t have a good answer. I search for inspiration from various sources such as blog posts written by others. I review my goals for the year but nothing stands out at this moment. I have been here before. A spark of inspiration will come! In the meantime, I continue the process of cleaning up at least one family tree. Stay tuned!
A new year and time to set goals for my genealogical work. In my Last Post, I reported how l I did with 2020 goals. Some goals were met and others were not. I have a mixture of broad and specific goals. Broad goals enable me to follow leads as they pop up. Specific goals lead me in a certain direction. For 2021, I make some goals more specific than in previous years.
One of my goals last year was to purchase voice recognition software. Prices of these programs seem high. I went back to Genealogy Do- over Facebook page and looked at comments about the various programs. One suggestion was to use the Microsoft 365 voice recognition app. So I’m trying it for the first time with this post. I will keep you informed.
2021 Genealogy Goals for Susan Posten Ellerbee
Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)
Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options. (One chapter done in 2018; one chapter rewritten in 2020). *Priority item for 2021
Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings.
Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):
Complete descendant list for Smetts-Maurer family as requested by cousin.
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings.
Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.
Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)
Scan original documents in paper files. Place originals in archival sleeves and appropriate notebook.
Review and clean paper & digital files for at least 2 direct ancestors and their siblings in each family group.
Create family group records with citations as addendums to scrapbooks given 2019 & 2020 for at least 4 family groups.
Continue to trace descendants of slaves owned by Ellerbee & Johnson ancestors. Use templates and directions from the Beyond Kin project.
Follow-up on at least two BSOs generated from previous searches (one from each family group).
Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks.
Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law).
Limit each post to about 1500 words or less.
Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. (continued from 2019).
Continue to address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports.
Continue to place To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family on color-coded file cards.
Send for at least 4 BMD certificates.
Submit article begun in 2020 to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter. Specific family/ person TBA.
Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs”.
Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.
I forgot to mention genealogy budget in my last post. So, here is my budget and actual spending for 2020 and proposed budget for 2021.
My 2020 goals were mostly general. However, general goals allow me to go where a search leads me. I could say “ identify siblings of great grandfather, Daniel S. Posten” but instead I choose to leave my annual goals more generic. I have been using yellow pads more this past year. When I sit down to work, I write a specific objective such as “ find Daniel Posten family in 1870 census.” Then, I make notes about which towns I searched. These yellow sheets are effective research logs for me.
I do create a digital research summary log of my findings. I sometimes forget to look beyond the first page. I looked at other formats and decided to stick with what I have been using.
I probably use different methods to organize and document my work than you. Each person uses mechanisms that work for them. However, we all desire similar outcomes – to identify our ancestors, to find out about their lives and to share our findings with others.
2020- the year of Corona-virus pandemic. Shutdowns and shut in by fear of contagion, hundreds of thousands of deaths, health care systems pushed to the brink. The world has not seen anything like this since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919. Yet, there is hope. Millions survive and a new vaccine has been rolled out. Yet, the work of genealogists continues as we test the limits of available resources. We postpone visits to libraries and county offices. In this post, I briefly tell of my own challenges and review my 2020 goals that seemed so achievable when I wrote them.
January 2020. As a retiree, my daily schedule is fairly regular- genealogy work, housework, needlework and reading historical novels. Then, news of Corona virus took over the air waves and our lives. My mother-in-law’s chronic health issues became acute. Her doctor would have put her in hospital if not for CoVid. My sister-in-law and I split her 24/7 home care. Mother-in-law moved in with husband and me for several weeks until she was stable. This started the next chain of events.
We offered an open invitation for mother-in-law to sell her home and move in with us. She made that decision in June. We prepared her room with new flooring and paint. Her house sold quickly. After she moved, we held a living estate sale of items not taken by friends and family. Time for my genealogy pursuits shrank significantly during this period.
At the first of the year, we had reconfigured our home office and my computer workspace. Within just a few weeks, my shoulders began to hurt. My keyboard sat on the desk. Instead of an ergonomically safe posture, I bent my arms and shoulders up. Typing became almost unbearable. Long hours at the computer decreased to no more than 30-60 minutes at a time. An old typing table now provides a lower platform for keyboard. My 50+ year old solid oak desk resists attempts to drill holes for a undermount keyboard. Shoulder pain still exists and improving slightly.
These personal events impacted my pursuit of genealogy. As I review, I believe that I may have been over-optimistic when I set my 2020 goals. I also admit to a slight depressive effect of all the negative news on my mood. I lost motivation to complete tasks. However, I did achieve some goals. Most notably, the family cookbook project is complete!
For your information, here are my 2020 goals and my record of achievement of those goals.
Yes, soldiers on both sides were Americans. Each side carried a different flag. So, why can’t we honor each one with the appropriate flag? Our family tree has both Union and Confederate soldiers in it. I feel that recent protestors want us to forget our Confederate ancestors. We can’t change our ancestry. We can’t change the choices they made. We can try to understand the societal and historical events that shaped their lives. I believe that history lessons should include both good and bad as well as divergent viewpoints. This post is my reaction to current events.
The protests began as a reaction to the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Demands for removing statues of Confederate soldiers and slave holders increased. Protestors spray painted statues and physically removed others. Even a statue of George Washington, our nation’s first President and a slave holder, was not exempt. Protestors seemed to ignore history as they defaced a statue of an abolitionist.
History typically relates the broad picture and tells about the people who influenced that history. Stories of the common people ( i.e., those whose lives were directly and indirectly influenced by those in power) are less often told. In my opinion, our job, as genealogists, is to tell the stories of those common people, our ancestors and their families.
In response to someone else’s blog, one person noted that only a few of her 3X great-grandfathers actually fought for the Confederacy. One of my 8 great-great grandfathers served in the Union Army. For my husband, two of his 8 great-great grandfathers and one of his 16 great-great-great grandfathers served in the Confederate Army. Many more in both family trees were of any age to fight. My sons carry genes from persons who supported both sides of the conflict.
According to the American Battlefield Trust (https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties), there were 1,089,119 Confederate soldiers. Of those, 490,309 were reported as killed, wounded, captured or missing. Millions of Americans are descended from these soldiers. Now, some people want to prevent the simple act of placing a flag on a veteran’s grave. Denying this right sends the message that Confederate veterans are not worthy of being honored for their sacrifice.
How will our descendants look at the current events a hundred years from now? Will we be lauded for our efforts? Will we be criticized? Will our descendants even know about the Civil War and its controversies? Will our descendants be aware of the multiple perspectives surrounding the current debate?
My hopes for the future? I DON’T WANT my descendants to be ashamed of their Southern heritage. I DON’T WANT my descendants to judge their ancestors’ choices based on current values and belief systems. I DO WANT my descendants to have the freedom to acknowledge that they have ancestors who fought in the Confederacy. I DO WANT my descendants to relate circumstances that created the rift between Northern and Southern states. I DO WANT my descendants to recognize the values and beliefs that guided their ancestors’ choices. I DO WANT my descendants to compare and contrast the various perspectives surrounding current 21st century issues. I DO WANT my descendants to have the freedom to honor their Confederate ancestors by placing a Confederate flag on the graves of those ancestors. In short, I DO WANT my descendants to remember the history of the Civil War and that soldiers on both sides fought for a cause that they believed in. In the same way, I DO WANT my descendants to recall that, in 2020, people held differing beliefs about how the United States should remember those who fought in the Confederacy and the Union.