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52ancestors-2015

In this brand new year, with every day just waiting to be lived and more ancestors just waiting to be discovered, there is so much potential for writing new stories. So the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge seems like the perfect way to bring these stories to life.

And since I’m encouraged that I was able to follow through on my resolve to reach out each day to someone who shares and/or is researching my ancestors, I’m going to choose one ancestor each week and write a little story. As Amy Johnson Crow says, “No story is too small.”

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Or in other words, what have I gotten myself into? National Blog Posting Month is a challenge that I’m hoping I have enough words to fill, because there are other challenges that I haven’t done so well at 🙂

During November, I pledge to write a post each day to at least one of my three blogs. Hopefully, I can find enough inspiration to post to more than one, but realistically, I’ll only promise to post to at least one each day. Since AncesTrees is my primary blog, this is where I’ll be writing most often, which means that I’ll be trying hard to find something interesting to say about my ancestors, or genealogy, or family trees, or cemeteries or any of the dozens of tags I’ve attached to this blog. The hardest part, is of course to keep it interesting.

And I pledge to read posts from at least one other blog each day. I’m going to really enjoy this part of the challenge because there are so many fascinating people blogging about everything imaginable. In addition to learning something new each day, I’ll be seeing new styles of writing and ways of thinking! Talk about broadening my horizons, and all without leaving the comfort of my desk chair.

So thanks for hanging with me during the month of November, and if you are participating in NaBloPoMo as well, let me know and I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well.

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I’ve got to say I’m inspired by the camaraderie in the genealogical community. Most of those I’ve reached out to with questions about shared ancestors have responded. And they have been helpful, whether or not there is an actual family connection.

In fact, I am so impressed that I’ve decided to reach out to at least one of my GenFriends each day. If nothing else, just to keep in touch. I know we may never meet in person, but that doesn’t matter. These people are special to me.

They are the comforting souls at the other end of my message or email or phone call who understand a brick wall or an amazing discovery or double first cousins or disappearing ancestors. They just “get it.”

And I appreciate that … especially the fact that they take the time to respond, however brief. Some even go way beyond that, sending me CDs of information that I would never have guessed existed. And there are those in Find A Grave who have driven miles to document and photograph graves of my ancestors living far away from me.

For my part, I am trying to be just as good a GenFriend to other genealogists as they are to me. So if you have research questions about any of the branches on our family tree (see Word Cloud above) bring them on. I’ll try to help!

Just wondering, how do you reach out to your GenFriends?

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?

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.

It’s official, I’m taking the Family History Writing Challenge, which runs all through February! Offered by The Armchair Genealogist, this attracted me because, although I find myself doing the mechanics of genealogy, I often need to put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, and see what happens.

And also, my blog deserves more than an occasional post. So, here goes. I’m hoping to turn the corner on procrastination in both areas. Added incentive: Reading other people’s blog posts definitely inspires me, so I’ll bet I meet some interesting people with the same interests along the way!

I’d like to know: what are your favorite genealogy blogs?

We went to the Dallas Public Library, 8th floor, Genealogy section this weekend. What a treat! The research librarian was so helpful and directed me to the stacks and the card catalog.

Although I have worked in libraries before, it has been some time since I held a drawer of index cards in my hand. It was like meeting an old friend again 🙂

I spent most of my time in the Pennsylvania reference section and before I knew it, had found lots of information about someone who might be my fourth great grandfather.

Can’t wait to scan and add these records to my tree and print out the family group sheet. We had a great time and are looking forward to going back to do more research!

I’d like to know: which libraries do you rely on for genealogy research?

… Our bridge to the future.

Sometimes I find it’s easy to get mired down looking for ancestors and solving brick-wall mysteries. But as valuable as this research is, it can also become tiresome and repetitive.

I’m finding that leafing out our family tree with information about living individuals gives me a welcome break. I love the opportunity to connect and reconnect with relatives. We renew friendships and share stories that give a glimpse into the ties that bind families together, whether by blood, by surname or by kinship of the heart.

And when I return to census files, birth and death certificates, wills and such, I feel refreshed and ready to look back into the past because I’ve had so much fun looking into our family’s future.

Genealogy experts say you should begin with what you know. I’d like to know: have you recorded your own life story yet?

 

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Looking forward to researching and sharing information about ourselves, our ancestors and our descendants. I’ll be sharing my discoveries in this blog and invite others interested in genealogy to comment, share and like as they wish.

Check out the surnames I’m researching that are listed under the Welcome tab. I’d like to know: which names you’re searching for as well.