January 30, 2012

January by the fire: Motivation Monday

For some reason I always think that things will slow down after the holidays. “After the first of the year,” I tell myself, “there will be lots of time for catching up on things, reading, sorting photos, and getting stuff in order. I can sit by the fire with a cup of tea and knock these things out.” Ha! Who am I kidding? I don’t think I’ve ever found myself with time on my hands in January, and this year was no exception. But I do feel like I got some things accomplished this month. Here’s how I did with my January goals:

  • Use my last month of Ancestry World Deluxe to look for international records on the Herrel, Evans, and Baxter families. I spent most of the month on the Evans line, but it was worth it. I made a huge breakthrough in pinpointing the family out of all the other Evans families in Wales. I knew I should write a research report for my files so I wouldn’t forget how and why I reached my conclusion. But then I had another idea: why not write it up as an informal case study for my blog? That will force me to think it through—and who knows, maybe something I say will help someone else. The result was Finding Common Names in Census Records: Evans, part 1 and part 2. Oh, and the other names? I searched but didn’t find anything for the Herrels. I saved a bunch of Irish civil registration records for members of the Baxter and Flack families to look up on FHL microfilm.
  • Organize my surname binders for Herrel, Evans, and Baxter. I did Herrel and Evans. Baxter is on deck.
  • Start reading Organizing Your Family History Search by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. I read the whole book and really enjoyed it, even though the parts about technology are outdated. As I figure out how to use some of her suggestions, I’ll share them with you. I didn't get to the book Throw Out 50 Things, but I did take at least 50 items to Goodwill, so that's a start.
  • Begin participating in Amy Coffin’s 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy and Michelle Goodrum’s The 21st Century Organized Genealogist memes. I did one post for Amy’s and am working behind the scenes on Michelle’s challenges. I’m realizing I have a long, long way to go on my digital organization and archiving.
  • Give my blog a fresh look. Well, I got my Christmas background down, does that count? I also rearranged and added a blog roll to my sidebar. 
  • Create a habit of writing 20 uninterrupted minutes a day. For the most part, I stuck to that, and it feels good. I did miss a few days but tried to make up for it by writing longer on others.
  • Write an article on the 1940 Census for the Palatine Heritage. Done. 
  • Watch two genealogy webinars. I watched “Digital Books and Sites for Genealogists” by James Tanner and “Pilgrims and Patriots: Discovering Your Massachusetts Ancestors” by Marian Pierre-Louis. Both were excellent. I took notes and saved them in Evernote so I can refer to them anytime. I’d like to say thanks to Legacy Family Tree for providing such high quality webinars, free and open to everyone.
  • Start the “Organize Your Genealogy” course with Family Tree University. I just started lesson 3 (out of 4). I'm picking up some good bits here and there, and it's giving me some things to work on.
All in all, not a bad month. Setting monthly goals seems to help me focus. Thanks to Stephanie of Corn and Cotton: My Family's Story for getting a group of us going on this (you’re invited to join in at any time--just go to her blog and link up). Now here's what I hope to do this week:

  • organize my Baxter binder
  • complete the "Organize Your Genealogy" course
  • record information I found at OHS on the Beum family
  • watch as many of the live streaming sessions from RootsTech as I can
  • sign up and start the Family History Writing Challenge, hosted by Lynn Palermo
  • think through what I want to accomplish in February so I’m ready for the next Motivation Monday
Best wishes for a great week, everyone!

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  1. You did a fantastic job! I love how you turned your goal into a case study. Great job! :) (Don't forget to link up!)


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