Monday, September 19, 2011

Florence, Massachusetts

My writing has taken a, not even a detour. It's a full-on road block. All because of this monster of a map. It's evil. Just look at it! I know that I'm looking at it the right direction, because the heading is at the top of the page. And yet...the left side property owners are all upside down. The right side property owners are all facing sideways.

Forget getting dizzy trying to turn the page in whichever direction you're reading. It's actually trying to read the thing that gives me a headache. It's just a monster.

But this is where I'm at in my family history narrative and I can't move forward until I get this map out of the way.

I've found my ancestor's lands that were owned on the map - easy breezy. But I have to wonder if there aren't other researchers out there like me, who aren't so lucky to be able to decipher the handwriting? Wouldn't I love to find this map alongside a new one...redone, be able to read all of the names that are on it, and not just a few?

(Okay, well I would - I can only hope others would to.)

So I'm stuck in the mid-18th century. And the writer in me is clammoring to move forward. Maybe I should, but I know this is still going to be waiting for me to come back to.

I wish ol' William Hulbert were here to talk me through all of his old neighbors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

103 Genealogy Things

Is this my "Bucket List"? I don't know about that. Maybe. But if nothing else it's a great indication of how much work I have in front of me to gain some much needed genealogical experience. Everything that I've done personally, I've bolded.

103 Genealogy Things

1. Belong to a genealogical society
2. Joined a group on Genealogy Wise.
3. Transcribed records.
4. Uploaded headstone pictures to Find-A-Grave or a similar site
5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
6. Joined Facebook.

7. Cleaned up a run-down cemetery.
8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.
9. Attended a genealogy conference.
10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society/local library’s family history group.
12. Joined the National Genealogical Society.
13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
16. Talked to dead ancestors.
17. Researched outside the state in which I live.

18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
19. Cold called a distant relative. - I wrote a letter...does that count??
20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
22. Googled my name (and those of ancestors)
23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.

25. Have been paid to do genealogical research. In chocolate. :)
26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
29. Responded to messages on a message board.
30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
32. Created family history gift items.
33. Performed a record lookup.

34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise.
35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space. - popped up from a hole in the ground? Yes. Outer space? No.
36. Found a disturbing family secret.
37. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
38. Think genealogy is a passion and/or obsession not a hobby.

39. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person.
40. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
41. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
42. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
43. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
44. Disproved a family myth through research.
45. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
46. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
47. Translated a record from a foreign language.
48. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
49. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
50. Used microfiche.

51. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
52. Used Google+ for genealogy.
53. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
54. Taught a class in genealogy.
55. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
56. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.

57. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
58. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
59. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
60. Have found many relevant and unexpected articles on internet to “put flesh on the bones”.
61. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
62. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.

63. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC. - {sigh} again...before genealogy invaded my life.
64. Have an ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant.
65. Have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War.
66. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.

67. Can “read” a church record in Latin.
68. Have an ancestor who changed his/her name, just enough to be confusing.
69. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
70. Created a family website.
71. Have a genealogy blog.
72. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
73. Have broken through at least one brick wall.

74. Done genealogy research at a court house.
75. Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library
76. Found an ancestor in an online newspaper archive.
77. Have visited a NARA branch.
78. Have an ancestor who served in WWI or WWII.
79. Use maps in my genealogy research.
80. Have a blacksheep ancestor.
81. Found a bigamist amongst my ancestors.

82. Attended a genealogical institute.
83. Taken online genealogy (and local history) courses.
84. Consistently (document) and cite my sources.
85. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don’t live in) in search of ancestors.
86. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
87. Have an ancestor who was married four times.
88. Made a rubbing of an ancestor’s gravestone.

89. Followed genealogists on Twitter. - Do I HAVE to get a Twitter account??
90. Published a family history book.
91. Offended a family member with my research.
92. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.
93. Have a paid subscription to a genealogy database.

94. Submitted articles for FamilySearch Wiki.
95. Organized a family reunion.
96. Converted someone new to the love of all things genealogy.
97. Have done the genealogy happy dance.

98. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
99. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
100. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. - I can't believe I used to live so close to this prior to my genealogy life. ugh. Now I'm kicking myself for not starting sooner and taking advantage of this great resource!
101. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.
102. Visited the Library of Congress. - why did I do these things BEFORE I started genealogy?? More importantly...why haven't I done them SINCE?
103. Belong to a lineage society - I have the paperwork, but the pricetags on those societies is a little steep!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I will not cry...I will NOT cry.

I know I just wrote in my last post that I wasn't big on doing the "Mom Blog" thing. (Nothing wrong with those blogs...I follow a few of them myself, and they're written by incredibly talented women.) Well guess who's about to have a Mom moment. Consider that your warning.

Today was the day I had been waiting for...for years! Last year was a teaser. Sending my youngest off to preschool was an amazing moment for me and my sanity, but it was only a short 2 1/2 hours later when his bus would return him home. I loved seeing him come home of course, but the whole year was just a tease as to what would be...what WOULD be - THIS YEAR!

Happy First Day of School!

My day began an hour earlier than last year. My oldest is now in a different school, has to catch a bus, and therefore needs to be ready to go an hour earlier. I'm considering my options of letting him make his own lunch and I'll sleep in for that hour.

I didn't really think that I would walk him down to the bus-stop...that would be too embarrassing for him, right? But still...this was my guy. My first-born. The one who wears every single one of his emotions on his sleeve for the big, bad, cruel world to just pluck off and possibly leave him hurt.

(Let him go...he'll be fine.) But he's only 11!

(He'll be fine!) Did he take his medication? Will he be able to focus all day? What happens if he can't find the right bus to come home on?

He'll Be Fine. (but what happens if somebody picks on my baby?)

I took a deep breath...a few first-day-of-school pictures...and I only walked him part of the way to the bus stop.

No tears were shed.

Child princess. My over-achieving, know-it-all, gifted with a love of all things school related little girl. I didn't even have to wake her up. She literally BOUNCED out of bed this morning at the appointed time her inner-alarm clock woke her up at precisely the correct time. Definately her father's daughter as I was still stumbling around the house dreading my decision to have never started a coffee habit.

Thank you God for at least one child that I don't have to constantly worry over.

Child #3...lil' D. This was where the excitement really kicked in. For me...not so much for him. It's not that he didn't WANT to go to school, he just doesn't care if he goes to school or not. All I knew is that lil' D going off to Kindergarten meant 6 hours of...ME time!! Oh yes, he was definately heading off to school!

At 8:00 am, I snapped those few additional obligatory pictures of #2 and #3, and I took off on what would be the first of a year full of walks back and forth to elementary school. The princess took her place amidst her other little princess friends where they immediately began chattering, catching up, and giggling over who knows what. (I was never like that...was I?)

Lil' D and I made our way together to the cafeteria - the designated waiting area for the youngest of the elementary tribe. I found myself talking to some other parents when I looked over and found him unpacking his lunch. Woah! Little dude, I know I told you that yes, you now get to eat lunch in the cafeteria, but just because you're IN the cafeteria right now, doesn't mean that it's actually lunchtime...right now. We laughed over that moment together, and soon they called his classmates to gather in line to make that long walk to his first day of class.

That's when it hit.

It was brief (they always are), but I felt the "mommy" emotions start to kick in. I saw the top of his little head in front of me, and then I looked over and caught the smile of my girlfriend's daughter, who was born a few months after lil' D was.

I suddenly remembered that 1st day of school 5 years ago when I took my other son to his first day of Kindergarten and left him in the cafeteria. As I walked out that day I had run into my girlfriend and pulled her to the side to whisper the news to her that we had just found out we were having another baby. To my surprise, she grabbed me right back and whispered in my ear "So are we!"

We screamed like a couple of silly women that day in the hallway...on that 1st day of school.

Now here we were sending those same two babies off to Kindergarten. was a "mom" moment. And the more I dwell on it, the closer I get to shedding some "mom tears" on this first day of school.

Happy 1st Day of School.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Writer's Block

I've lost focus? My "mojo"? (I'm not sure I even know what that is!) My Muse? Do I even have a muse?

Ugh...whatever it is...I've lost it.

I enjoy writing and the outlet that it gives me. I won't make the mistake of assuming I'm any good at it, but I do know basic rules of grammar, I'm a fairly good speller, and I can put a sentence together fairly well. So yeah, (yes) I guess I'd like to think I'm capable of writing.

I live with 3 little people who will do or say something new & funny. Every. Single. Day. But I don't necessarily want to become a "mom blogger". Let's face it - sometimes what I think is funny and cute just doesn't appeal to non-family members. (Sometimes, it doesn't even appeal to actual family members!)

I also love writing about my family's history as I research and discover it. I've been attempting to bring life to my ancestors for some time now. It's not an easy task. Men and women, who I should feel a connection with as blood relatives. But yet I never knew them, and now I'm only scraping together little tidbits of their lives. Most of the time it's not even anything exciting, just...vital. How do I give these people life again and make them real and exciting?

I picked up my computer earlier this evening and I was drawn to the writings of an incredibly talented young man. He's got it...his muse, mojo, whatever you want to call it. I wonder if mine skipped town and went to him? But he writes of his strong faith and people who have impacted his life. And it's "wow" incredible. I know a few of the people he has written about, but after reading his words I feel like I now know a completely new person.

I want to be inspired and write like he writes.

But right now? I've got nothing.