Recently returned from our family reunion. It was the best organized one ever, with an auction full of bargains for all, games for young and old, a friendly Family Feud competition, delicious Chuck Wagon breakfast and yummy pot-luck lunch/dinner.

But the best part of all was reconnecting, sharing what’s been going on since we saw each other last year. We talked about old times, good and not so good, and looked forward to better times to come.

We talked about the our ancestors, those who have passed on, our family tree, how our branches intertwined and how love is the tie that binds us all together. The treasured photo albums were brought out and memories flowed like tears.

The old timers talked about their aches and pains, but how, actually, they are doing pretty well. The little ones ran and played and laughed and glowed like little fireflies in the dusk.

We took pictures to treasure until next year. I can hardly wait ’til then :)

Family Reunion WP

What a wonderful way to get past square one on my genealogy “to do” list! Amy Johnson Crow has issued a challenge: “The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

Time and energy ran out last year as I had so much requiring my attention and still only 24 hours in a day. And even though I didn’t want to give up something that had helped to jump-start my love for writing again, my little blog went by the wayside.

Ironically, as I was sorting out my New Year’s Resolutions recently, I had decided to dust it off and start having fun with genealogy once again. And so, it is with that optimistic outlook in mind, that I pledge to take better care of my family tree in 2014.

Do you have genealogy resolutions you’d like to share? Perhaps you’d like to take the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge as well?

This summer has flown by and my good intentions to concentrate on blogging regularly are “Gone with the Wind.” Luckily, we were able to get to the family reunion in July. On the way to that, we went to Corsicana, where we made some amazing discoveries including the resting place of my husband’s second great grandfather, Louis Munson. That was quite a thrill, even though his grave had been relocated and no gravestone could be found.

We’re already planning the 2014 Munson Family Reunion, our 30th year. It should be very special, with lots of great ideas and volunteers.

Closer to home, we also attended the Ancestry Day in Texas last weekend and enjoyed seeing Crista Cowan and others from Ancestry.com. More than a thousand came for genealogy tips and tricks and to network with others who were “climbing their family trees.”

My latest efforts – working on organizing my genealogy research with a form that helps you list all the documentation you have on each ancestor. Really helpful for getting a handle on my paperwork.

Please share – what is your secret to staying organized?

Over this past weekend, we got together with members of my mother’s family for a “Beauchamp Family Lunch.” At this point, this is the closest we’ll come to a reunion, because of distance and health issues of some members. But we had such a good time! Sharing a meal, trading stories, looking at old photos, taking new ones for our tree.

And most importantly, the best result of reconnecting is renewing kinship. Time and life itself puts distance between siblings, cousins, even whole branches of the same family. It was so good to see each other, face to face, to give hugs and kisses, to make new memories to carry us on to the next time we can get together and renew our family ties.

I’d love to know: Other than through family reunions, how does your family “keep in touch?”

Memorial Day is set aside to remember those whose service to our country has given and preserved our American freedoms.

As I look at my family tree, I’m grateful for the sacrifices made by my ancestors from many lands who embraced the flag and lifestyle of their adopted country, pledging their allegiance in loyalty, and the last true measure of devotion, if necessary.

I’d like to know: Do you have a special way of showing your relatives’ military service in your family tree?

I was so happy to find my blog featured among the new genealogy blogs by GeneaBloggers.com on April 27. What an honor.

I enjoy reading the blogs in this group because they are so varied, so colorful, so full of what makes history come alive: real people! I don’t need reality shows to catch my attention when there are so many spellbinding true stories that I can find in their family trees as well as my own.

They set the bar high and I hope I can continue to offer observations and comments on genealogical research and family histories that will be of interest to my fellow genealogy bloggers.

I’ve got a lot to learn and am thankful for this group and any advice I receive from its members. I’d like to know: have you found genealogy blogging groups or organizations that are encouraging to your efforts?

TX Wordweaver:

When I read this outstanding post by Katie Noah Gibson, I was excited at the possibilities. Of course,  I immediately thought of mapping my family tree.

My plan is twofold: on a fundamental level, I will get a ginormous map of the world and stick tiny color-coded labels representing each direct-line ancestor.

The second stage of my plan is more complex and would probably require individual maps. It involves tracing each of those people as they moved about in their lives. I envision a criss-crossing of lines and colors which will be a visual feast of family group movement.

I’m expecting to learn so much more about my ancestors by mapping their lives. In addition, this process will no doubt inspire new discoveries, new questions, new opportunities to engage other family members in leafing out our family tree.

I’d like to know: if mapping your family tree sounds like a great idea, let me know your plan and share your progress.

Originally posted on cakes, tea and dreams:

scotland st books alexander mccall smith

Regular maps have few surprises; their contour lines
Reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear
On the location of Australia, and the Outer Hebrides;
Such maps abound; more precious, though,
Are the unpublished maps we make ourselves,
Of our city, our place, our daily world, our life;
Those maps of our private world
We use every day; here I was happy, in that place
I left my coat behind after a party,
That is where I met my love; I cried there once,
I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner
Once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth,
Things of that sort, our personal memories,
That make the private tapestry of our lives.

—Angus Lordie, in Love Over Scotland, Alexander McCall Smith

I’ve been working my way through the 44 Scotland Street series. So far, each entry in the series has concluded with…

View original 429 more words

Considering the dozens of ways I get side tracked every time I open my family tree, it’s a wonder that I actually get any research done.

I usually go after one piece of information, then find some interesting side note and start to follow wherever it leads. Like a puppy following a scent, I wander through books, websites, other people’s trees or boxes of old letters and photos.

Then, when I finally look up and realize how far afield I am, I often can’t remember where I started and don’t know how to get back there.

Genealogy experts say that having a plan in writing and taking notes along the way is great for keeping yourself on track. Sound advice. And maybe, it just might keep me from barking up the wrong tree twice.

I’d like to know: how do you keep track of your genealogy research?

Ancestry.com offers a useful service called Member Connect. This gives you the option of finding others who are searching for the same ancestors you are and reaching out to them. Super helpful tool for genealogists who are looking to maximize their scope of family knowledge.

An email can be the beginning of a great collaboration, new discoveries and breaking down brick walls. However,  sometimes, that hopeful email can go unnoticed, unread or simply ignored.

Of course, I know that sometimes those who have planted a family tree might be busy or may have forgotten about it altogether. And then, I’m sure that there are trees out there whose owners have passed on, with no one to take up the challenge to cultivate or leaf out their family tree.

I only know that when I send out an email request for help, I am full of great expectations.  And when I receive such an email, I am so excited that someone has made the effort to make a connection. To me, that’s what life is all about.

I’d like to know: how do you make connections with other researchers?

Haven’t had much time for genealogy lately because I’ve been cleaning, sorting, tossing stuff. I’ve discovered things I’d forgotten we had and I’ve even taken time to walk down memory lane.

One of these walks brought me to long-forgotten photos and a reminder that they needed to be sorted, labeled, scanned and shared with family and friends.

I’m a visual person and when I can put a face with a name, I connect better. I love adding photos to my family tree because it makes the people and places more concrete, more real to me.

Digital photo files are easily labeled and saved to my online trees. But the old black and white photos I found while spring cleaning really need to be preserved before they fade away, taking my memories with them.

I’d like to know: how do you archive your photos? Do you have a favorite software that you use, or do you scan them directly into your computer and upload into your tree?

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