Thursday, May 25, 2017

Here is the announcement of the next meeting from Jefferson County Genealogical Society. There are many groups around  the country, so there's probably a local one not far from you. This is a great group with a lot of wonderful meetings in the area where some of my ancestors once lived.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Ways To Get Your Genealogy Done

I've been overwhelmed since an early age!
Does it ever seem to you like there’s never enough time to work on your genealogy? Or that you work on it, but there’s never enough time to get done what you want to do? I always seem to be feeling this way to a certain extent, but last week was especially bad. We were tackling a large project and I didn’t seem to have more than 5 minutes in a day to apply to anything I wanted to work on that wasn’t related to that project. I still got a few things done, though. Here are my top five ways to manage to sneak a little genealogy in on a given day, or better yet, a little extra research time beyond the normal!

1.    Block time
Have you ever heard of blocking time out on your calendar to get things done? It’s like making an appointment with yourself. If you have a doctor’s appointment or a work meeting scheduled, you will take the estimated amount of time and block it out on your calendar or schedule. Once you’ve done this you know that the time is dedicated to that task and anything short of an emergency will have to be planned for some other time. Well, do the same thing for your genealogy! That’s right find a block of free time, whether 15 minutes or 3 hours, and mark in a meeting called “Genealogy” on your schedule.  Keep doing this throughout the week or month. The larger the block of time, the better, but anything is good if it gives you a chance to work on your genealogy! Now treat it like all your other meetings and appointments—nothing short of an emergency…

2.    Prioritize
Now, you’ve blocked that time and are actually sitting down to work on your genealogy. You’re looking at a pile of papers or the flashing curser on the computer screen. What to do first? Take a few moments- not to long- or you’ll easily fill up that entire block of time. Glance through what you’ve been meaning to do and prioritize. Just like when you make a list of household chores, decide which ones are the most important to get done. Sometimes one thing needs to be done, before another task as well. Just take your list and put them down in the order of most important to accomplish or what needs to be done first. There! Now, if you only get part way through the list (and who are we kidding, we keep finding more people to add to the research list!), you will have accomplished at least some of the most important items.

3.    5 minute jobs
While you’re making that list, don’t forget to mark items that will only take a few minutes of time. Maybe put an asterisk beside them or highlight them on your list. Sending off a quick email to a cousin, requesting a record from a library or other organization, sticking a few papers in their proper file… Any of those tasks that take just a few minutes should be marked so they can be spotted quickly. These are for those quick little blocks of time you have. Maybe you’re waiting for your spouse to get home, or the timer will be sounding on the oven soon. If you’ve got a few minutes glance at the list and get one of these jobs done and out of the way.

4.    Delegate
Is there someone else that is interested in genealogy that could do some of the research for you? Can you request a library look up an obituary so you don’t have to go there? Are their kids in the house that could be bribed into filing for you or mopping the kitchen floor? Get someone else to do a few tasks for you, either genealogy or others that can give you more time for your research.

5.    Automate
This is similar to the one above, only you’re delegating tasks to the computer. Shaky leaves on Ancestry? They’ll help you find more information. Google Alerts that search for mention of an area or an elusive relative. Again, they’ll help. Anything like this will give you more time to go more in depth with your research.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

In Honor of Mother's Day

My Maternal Line:

My Mom- Alice Wooster Ward

Grandma- Alice Jennings Wooster
Great-Grandma- Sarah Damery Jennings

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

NERGC 2017 in Springfield

Well, I am exhausted. My head is in a whirl. I’ve written a “To Do” list that is one notebook page long for just genealogy projects. And I am anxious to work my way down all of this! What produces all this you might ask? A genealogy conference!

A scene from the exhibit hall
We returned home Sunday evening tired, but happy from the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Springfield, Massachusetts. This was a three-day conference with a side trip to Old Sturbridge Village thrown in. For a genealogist, it is like a child being let loose in a candy shop!

The conference, rather obviously, concentrated on New England research and resources, particularly those in western Massachusetts where it was held. However, there are a lot of classes on various topics and they don’t all restrict themselves to this area. There were classes as well on general research methods, Irish research, writing, DNA and military amongst others.

One presenter, Jennifer Zinck, had agreed to do a workshop on DNA. Shortly after registration opened, she agreed to do a second, as the first one had sold out almost immediately. I attended many classes that talked about writing your family history and others that dealt with various areas of the region. One in particular that I enjoyed by Dave Robison talked about the repositories of western Massachusetts. Although I have no ancestors in those places, mine lived across the border in New York State and created at least a few records across that artificial line. There were New York State resources as well. I didn’t get to attend, but I understand that Jane Wilcox did a wonderful whirlwind tour of the various repositories available throughout New York State giving specific examples of each.

One that created many items on that “To-Do” list of mine was a talk by Michael Strauss on World War I records. I’m not that interested in military, so hadn’t thought much before about the various records that might be available for my grandparents who served in this war. His talk definitely kept my interest and gave me several places to look for records.  Luckily, I had a notebook with me to scribble down all those ideas as they occurred!

This is just a small sampling of the courses that are available in different sessions. One of the best parts for me is the networking. I get to see people that I know only through the virtual world of email lists and Facebook. We get to actually talk with each other and share what we are working on. We get to laugh and joke and hang out with each other.

To attend this conference again, we have to wait two years. It is a bi-annual conference and the location rotates around New England with a few restrictions on locations. The planning committees need to choose a place that has a large enough conference center and enough hotel rooms available nearby to accommodate it. I understand that they can no longer go to Vermont, as there is no place large enough for it. On the flip side it is not quite big enough for some of the bigger conference centers. Therefore, it seems to rotate between cities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire at the moment.

So where to next? Well pull out your calendars and mark April 3-6, 2019 down. If you don’t have the route plotted out already, pull out the maps and find Manchester, New Hampshire. It’s just a short drive outside of Boston, and if you don’t want to drive in Boston (I certainly don’t), you just take some of the interstate highways around the far, far edge of it. We have our calendars marked already and I hope I’ll see you there! Now I got to get back to work—where are those forms to request records...