1.) Small bookshelf for my binders. This was actually one of the first goals that I accomplished in the new year, and here is the blog post about it. Actually, after I wrote this post, I purchased a third shelf because I had to create even more binders, which is a good thing! It's hard to believe that, a year ago, my binders were just in stacks on the floor in a corner of our bedroom. Definitely an improvement.
2.) Organize and subdivide the family files on my computer's hard drive. This goal was intimidating to me, but it ended up not being as difficult as I thought it would be. Now, I pretty much have separate folders on my desktop computer's hard drive for each surname in my and my husband's family trees. I also have sub-folders within those surname folders for each family unit within that surname. So, for example, within the folder for my husband's great-grandfather are sub-folders for his grandfather AND each of his grandfather's siblings.
3.) Finish posting my husband's family tree documents on the website I set up for his side of the family (http://schroeder-tumbush.weebly.com). When I set this goal for myself, I was in the process of uploading all of my genealogy findings onto this website, organized by surname. I had NOT completed my husband's grandmother's line, which included some very large German and French Catholic families. Don't get me wrong, I was happy that I was able to find so much information on these families, but I wanted to have all that information on the website, so that other researchers could find it an access it. Well, I accomplished this goal, at least for the ancestors who immigrated to America; I still have some work to do for the generations prior to immigration. And because I list each individual's documents chronologically on the website, doing this also helped me get more of a 'timeline' view of each of their lives, and it helped me visualize the gaps in my sources.
4.) Utilize my membership to the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS). I feel like I did accomplish this goal, because I attended the OGS annual conference in Cincinnati this past spring. It was my first experience at a genealogy conference and I had a great time. I wrote about the highlights of the conference here. During this conference, I also experienced my first on-site research session at the Cincinnati Public Library. I was able to find a few of my husband's 19th century immigrant ancestors in some of the records in the library's genealogy section, so that was exciting.
5.) Find my great-grandparents' gravesites in Cleveland's Calvary Cemetery. I called the cemetery's front office and obtained plot information for the graves. (I actually had to call on a few separate occasions, because the worker always seemed annoyed to have to look up the plots.) I posted the plot information on the Find A Grave memorials I had created and, thanks to a kind volunteer, I now have photos of their graves.
6.) Use Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2012 software more. Here is one goal that I did NOT meet this year. I never caught on to FTM and I found that I do not really like it. So, I have downloaded the free version of RootsMagic 6 and will see if I do any better with it.
- I purchased 'cloud' space on which to backup not only my genealogy research, but also my family photos and other important documents. It doesn't matter how many computers or external hard drives I have my data on - one house fire would take out all of it. So, I have budgeted for cloud space and it gives me more relief and peace of mind than you could ever imagine.
- I have started to scour non-indexed online databases on FamilySearch. FamilySearch has a nice collection of probate records for the State of Ohio, and I've been able to find wills and estate records for several of my husband's ancestors. These records, in turn, helped me verify some of the other documents I have found AND even solve some mysteries, such as what the married names of daughters had become. FamilySearch also has some great 19th century naturalization records for the State of Ohio that haven't been indexed yet. I was able to find some of my husband's ancestors' Declarations of Intention in this database.
- I visited the Cuyahoga County Archives in Cleveland, Ohio. I was able to obtain my great-grandfather's naturalization papers as well as tax appraisal records for another great-grandfather's house/business. This experience helped me to realize that there really are so many 'non-conventional' records that can help us learn about our ancestors' lives, aside from the regular old census, birth, marriage, and death records.
- I started research on a whole 'new' matrilineal line in my husband's tree, the Wilkens family. This line was simply one that I had almost 'forgotten' to pursue in the past, but I am so glad that I devoted some time to it in recent months. It reminded me of all the excitements found within new family discoveries and following leads and solving mysteries. Sometimes, when you always seem to be working on brick walls and problems, the research almost becomes redundant and boring, but working with a new family has reminded me why I enjoy doing this so much.
- I wrote and posted 97 blog posts. The topics of these posts included census records, immigration, obituaries, education, tombstones, occupations, old family photos, online genealogy resources, and personal editorials concerning the world of genealogy.
- Creating a 'genealogy wall' in my home. I used the knowledge I had gained through my family history research and translated it into a display in our home showing where our ancestors came from, what they did for a living, how they got to America, where they settled, etc. Here is my blog post about that accomplishment.
- My mom and I put in a request for her parents' Office Military Personnel Files (OMPF) at the end of May. As expected, we received a notice that my grandfather's Army records had been destroyed in the 1973 fire. However, we still expected to receive my grandmother's Coast Guard files at some point. Unfortunately, nothing has yet arrived, and I'm starting to wonder if it ever will.
- Ohio Genealogy Society online resources. The OGS conference I attended, as mentioned above, was wonderful; however, I don't live in-state and I am unable to visit their main library. Unfortunately, the group's online resources leave much to be desired. I will not be renewing my membership with the group this year. For me, it seems like it is only worth it if I plan on attending the conference, which I don't think I will be able to do this year.
- My Local Family History Center. I ordered several microfilms to be sent to my local family history center. I had to meet the woman in charge of the center at our local library, because the microfilm machine at the center was broken. Then, about a week after our first meeting, I tried to call her to set up another meeting and the number she had given me had been disconnected. I kept trying the number, but to no avail, and I suspect the films have been sent back without me getting a chance to look through all of them. Next time I try to order microfilms, I will have them sent to a different family history center, one that is, perhaps, a little more organized and prepared.
©2013, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder