Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31 - New Year's Eve

December 31 - Think how far your family history research has come this year. What did you accomplish? How can you improve next year? Now go out and start your New Year's Eve festivities.
Wow, another year is done. I am amazed that I actually kept up this blog for an entire year. I want to thank everyone who visited and read this blog last year. Don't forget if you genealogy ideas, just revisit this past years blog for ideas.
I want to thank Family Tree Magazine, February 2006 issue for publishing this yearly tips and hints.
I plan on continuing my blog, perhaps it won't be a daily blog, I will definitely, make sure I do something once a week. I plan on recording my daily genealogy research, that is what I originally designed this blog for.
This year has amazed me with over 2600 visits to my blog that ends up being about 7 visits a day.
See you all in the New Year!
P.S. Heading to the Rose Bowl today to cheer on my beloved Wisconsin Badgers. Here's hoping that the third time is the Charm!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30 - Out with the old, in with the new

December 30 - Out with the old, in with the new. Sort papers into Keep, Toss and Undecided piles. File the keepers, delete duplicate computer files, reorganize e-mails and get rid of unwanted messages.
I think this is something I need to schedule every month. Perhaps on the same day I do my backups, I should be doing some organization cleanup. Keeping up this habit all year long with actually make your research easier by keeping your organized, and you will also end up revisiting where you have everything.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29 - Texas

December 29 - Texas became the 28th state today in 1845. Don't be afraid to mess with Texas research using the digitized records of the Texas General Land Office <www.> and the Texas State Library <>.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28 - Scrapbooking party

December 28 - Have a scrapbooking party-warm up leftover plum pudding and invite some friends to spend the day preserving precious memories.
Okay, I don't do scrapbooking, I tried but I make too much of a mess and I am not that creative. My hat off to all those that are creative. But if you are not creative, just look at my post from yesterday and create a "scrapbook" via an internet site that will print out a keepsake in the size you want. They have creative pages already laid out for you. You can had words and some embellishments. Okay, real scrapbooks are wonderful, but for the rest of us, this might be our only means.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27 - Snap more pictures

December 27 - Before hitting the post-holiday road home, snap some pictures of your childhood neighborhood.

What is great about digital cameras is that taking more pictures don't cost us anymore. You can choose if you want to print them. I have been finding that I have been saving them to my computer but I rarely print pictures. After special events or holidays, I have been creating picture books from online sites such as Shutterfly. They can be expensive when they get quite huge like my pictures from Peru. I had almost 600 pictures and I put most of the time into a 45 page 12x12 book. The hardbound book with discount cost me $60.00 put since the trip for the three of us cost over $9000.00 and this was basically my only souvenir, I say money well spent.

So take lots of pictures and think about putting them into small books, like my 8x8 book of my cruise trip. That book was only 20 pages and only cost about $20.00.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26 - Kwanzaa Starts

December 26 - Kwanzaa starts today. Find out the story behind its traditions at <www.>.

This is what I found on Kwanzaa... Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26 to January 1, was created by activist professor Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate African heritage. Karenga has claimed that 28 million people worldwide celebrate the holiday, but only an estimated half-million to 2 million Americans do, according to Keith Mayes, author of Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition. One way to avoid embarrassment this holiday season: save "Happy Kwanzaa" for people who actually celebrate it. I wish everyone "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". If they get offended, then I just say, well I then wish you a Happy "fill in the blank" to you. May your New Year be filled with lots of happiness and joy!

If anyone wished me the wrong the holiday such as saying Happy Hanukah, I would reply... "No Happy Hanukah to you and Merry Christmas to me and Happy New Year to the both of us!"

Remember, it's the thought that counts, people are just wishing us love and joy the only way they know how!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25 - Visit with family members

December 25 - Visit with family members in person or by phone.

Don't forget about Skype if you can't visit them in person. What a great way to make eye contact with your love ones and you can hold up presents you have received. As the old commercials would say, reach out and touch someone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24 - Record a Christmas Eve tradition

December 24 - Record a Christmas Eve family tradition in your blog or journal.

Many years ago, my local newspaper back in my hometown of Wisconsin asked for Christmas family stories and so I tried my hand at writing what Christmas meant to me. To my pleasant surprise, my story was published.

A family tradition in my family was to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would have a wonderful dinner and while the adults were clearing the table and because the kids were anxious, my father would take all the younger children, which included my myself being the youngest of nine and many of my nieces and nephews since I was an aunt at the age of seven, out for a drive to see the Christmas lights.

I always looked forward to the Christmas ritual, we would drive through the park that was always decorated for the seasons. Christmas music would be playing from the bandstand and my dad would stop and roll down the window so we could here. We would travel up and down many of the city streets seeing all the beautiful decorated houses.

We would stop downtown in front of the one of the stores that had a wonderful animated display for Christmas. Dad would park the car and all the kids would hop out and walk to the store window and see the train that ran around and the elf figures that were making toys. It was a wonderful and magical time for me. We were all anxious to get back home, because Santa would visit our house while we were out. I was always jealous of my older siblings because they got to see Santa come and deliver the presents.

When we finally got home which felt like hours of driving around and seeing all the lights, we would run into the living room, where the tree was one end of the room by the window and the presents seem to stretch halfway across the room.

However, before opening presents we had one more tradition to do. That would involve the blessing of the house, the tree and the naivety scene. The youngest member of the family which was me, would take baby Jesus and place him in the manger. I passed this tradition onto the next youngest when the youngest became five or six years old. What a treat it was to be able to place baby Jesus in the manger.

Then the gifts were handed out and the youngest was allowed to open their presents first and we went to the oldest, and in spite of my Mom being the oldest, my Dad was the last to open his gifts. He was always a hoot to watch opening his gifts. He would slowly tear open is gift and then peek inside and his eyes would get real wide. All the little kids would be screaming, what is it, show us.

It was always fun opening my gifts, but I enjoyed the time I spent with my family on Christmas Eve and seeing the joy on their faces as they opened their gifts was the best present anyone could ever receive.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23 - Backup

December 23 - Back up your family tree data and print updated research logs and charts.

Don't forget to get rid of your old research logs and charts. Don't confuse yourself or someone who is looking at this data at a later time. Always choose the option to print the date and time on all your printouts and then there is no confusion of what is what. Place the current printouts in a binder or folder that is clearly labeled as current research logs and charts.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22 - Record in your research journal

December 22 - Write in your research journal about the most extreme thing you've done while researching your roots. (Took a pillow to the library to nap in a carrel? Walked a cemetery in a blizzard?)

Okay, this may seem a little extreme to walk a cemetery in a blizzard but I have walked one in a rain storm because I had travelled so far and decided not to waste the trip. I didn't stay long, and I didn't take any pictures, but I confirmed that relatives were buried there and I rescheduled a visit on a nicer day.

Remember if genealogy is not fun then why are we doing it? So you can always review your journal on a tough day and perhaps reading about one of your more extreme things might bring a smile to your face and reenergize you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21 - Find Living cousins

21. Search online telephone directories such as <> and <> for the surnames and places you're researching—you might come up with a cousin.

Keep in mind that sometimes these address are many years old and they might not live at that address any longer, however, any lead is better than no lead.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20 - Scan your photos

20. Select a few unidentified pictures and make photographic copies (using your scanner or an in-store photo kiosk, not a photocopier) to share with relatives at holiday gatherings.

I have been trying to scan all the photos and documents that I have and create a computer database. I believe in this method so much so that now through my genealogy library that I belong too, I have volunteered to scan research donations. After the society president told me about a 3 box donation of someone's research notes that the LDS library rejected because it wasn't in any special order, I decided to scan the donation. This way I will hopefully be able to reduce the size of this donation down to one large box. The donation contains lots of photos, and I plan on scanning those too. I will get rid of paperwork notes after scanning but will keep the photos, and try to organize them in a manner that is useful. Hopefully someone in that family will inquiry about it and we can then send them the entire box and the copy of the scan items too. I would like the library to keep a copy of scan items so they can be shared to future researchers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19 - Surnames

December 19 - Update the list of surnames you're researching and tuck it into your binder. Look them up in online databases whenever you have a few spare moments at the library.

I have my list on the back of my business card that I created. In a past posting, I talked about creating inexpensive business cards for your genealogy research. You will find that many times while visiting a library or courthouse you might run into other researchers. I have been asked for a list and this is a handy way to have it ready. The front of my card is very simple, with my name, my city and state, my email address, my website that I have my family history on and this blog website.

This way if my email changes, most likely my blog won't and I can update my email through my blog or my family website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18 - CompletePlanet

December 18 - Investigate the “hidden” Web: Search CompletePlanet <aip.completeplanet. com> on the term genealogy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17 - Family History Summary

December 17 - Are you visiting or hosting relatives for the holidays? Prepare a quick family history summary to share.

The secret here is to keep it simple. All our relatives might not have the same love of family history as we do. Therefore keep the family history short and sweet. If you found a new generation, share that information or find something about an ancestor that is new and you haven't shared yet. For example: I came across an article of my half-siblings father who was involved in a bus accident during World War II. I had heard about the accident, but to find the newspaper article that talks about the accident and their father's actual involment was very interesting. In spite of his serious inquiry he managed to pull several people from the bus.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16 - Hanukkah

December 16 - Commemorate Hanukkah by getting to know your Jewish ancestors. See the getting-started guide, reference books and other resources at Avotaynu <>.

Today is the last day of Hanukkah, but this is still a great time to learn more, even if you don't have any Jewish Ancestor (that you know of yet!).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15 - Professional Researchers

December 15 - Visit <> and <> to learn the meanings behind the letters you've seen after professional researchers' names. If you need a pro, use these sites to find one.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14 - Alabama Fever

December 14 - “Alabama Fever” increased that area's population 16-fold in the decade before it achieved statehood today in 1819. Read regional histories to learn about such mass migrations, then make an educated guess where your ancestors went.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13 - Your Ancestral Village

December 13 - You're dying to see your ancestral village, but you can't get there. Post on a local message board—maybe a kind soul will snap some pictures for you. Or search online for ancestral photography services.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12 - revisit some online databases

December 12 - Pick five online databases you haven't been to in awhile and search again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11 - Indiana

December 11 - Indiana (which became a state this day in 1816) hosted only one Civil War battle, but 208,367 of its citizens enlisted. Start researching your blue or gray ancestor at state archives and the American Civil War Home Page <>.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10 - Cyndi's List

December 10 - Delve into the links on Cyndi's List <> that cover your research interests.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9 - Family Crest?

December 9 - Debunk heraldry myths—and see if you really have a “family crest”—with the information at <>.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8 - Censuses and Substitutes

December 8 - To find censuses and census substitutes (such as tax lists) for Colonial ancestors, run a keyword search of the FHL catalog on the colony name and the word colonial.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7 - State Research Guides

December 7 - Discover ancestral state quirks—such as Delaware's “hundreds”—in a Family Tree Magazine State Research Guide <> or FHL research outline (click Guides on the FamilySearch home page).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6 - Last Minute Deductions

December 6 - Cramming in last-minute deductions for your 2012 taxes? Consider a charitable donation to your favorite genealogical library, society or archive.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5 - Family Newsletter

December 5 - Plan out the next edition of your family's newsletter.

Remember to keep your family newsletter fun, when it becomes a chore, you might not want to do it. Get other's to help, get members to submit ideas or articles. Pick a theme and ask everyone to submit something for the theme. Get more than you need and save those you don't use for when you might not get enough response on a later newsletter. Try to keep a balance on new happenings and a little of the old by adding a little of your genealogy research into the newsletter. Don't forget to add current events, if someone keeps these newsletters, current events are create perspective of what was going on in the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - Maps

December 4 - Find historical maps of your ancestors' hometowns using Map History <www.> and the Library of Congress' American Memory Collection <> (click Maps).

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3 - Illinois research

December 3 - Today in 1818, Illinois became the 21st state. Search Land of Lincoln census, military vital and land records at the state archives
I have found quite a few of my ancestors have moved to or from Illinois before coming to my home state of Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2 - fill in the blanks

December 2 - Examine your data for missing citations, then look up the sources and fill in all the blanks.
I remember when I didn't do any citations and then found myself wondering where I found the information that I had. So I started back tracking and creating citations. I had a few published family history books that I obtained a lot of information from, so doing those were a little easier. However, I still come across a name and facts and no citations and wonder where the heck did this come from. I will spend a little time seeing if I can find this information such as through a census record, or perhaps I missed sourcing it from a book. I will look at close family members to the name that is not sourced and see if perhaps it came from the same source as those family members.
What I like most about doing citations, is when I go back to that branch of the family, I can see where I had looked and develop a plan to look else where for new information instead of looking at the same places I already had looked. So now I research smarter not harder.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1 - Clean up your computer's hard drive

December 1 - Organize the photos, documents and other files on your computer's hard drive. Read the February 2004 Family Tree Magazine for help.

I have to admit, this was the best tip I every decided to do. My computer's hard drive is a very organized and I now I have no problem finding stuff. You need to decided on an organizational method that works for you and then you need to use it. At first it may seem overwhelming as with any organization task. So take baby steps. First decided on the file folders you want to create, remember to place them all under a main folder titled Genealogy. Then move some of the files you may already have on your computer, flash drives, back-up drives and placed them into their proper sub-folder within your Genealogy folder. Next, spend a few minutes before starting any new genealogy research and scan a few documents or pictures and place them into their proper folder. Before your know it, you will have everything scanned and filed. Don't forget to back up your folder once a month or after doing some major work.