Monday, April 9, 2012

Motivation Monday ~ A Recap for March & April


February and March were crazy busy as far as my genealogy research went. After watching a Legacy-hosted webinar on newspaper research with Thomas Kemp of GenealogyBank, I decided to check it out. I had really good luck and was able to back my way into solving one of my Irish family's brickwalls. On a second research front, a terrific Irish records site came on-line and was mentioned in a blog post that directed me to church records for Counties Cork and Kerry. A bit of reverse sleuthing and comparisons with previously found but unproven census records and another of my Irish family's brickwalls finally came down. Both finds need some more work, but I am light years ahead of where I was two months ago. A nice bonus is that I now have additional family members (siblings of my direct ancestors who are “new to me”) to research and connect with. Both of those finds will be the subject of their own posts in the near future. All I can say in my own defense (for my February and March blogging slump) is that I was so busy researching and working through the connections that I just let my blogging slide.

Spring has sprung, Easter brought with it that reminder of new life and rebirth so ~ I am wiping the slate clean, jumping back into the monthly genealogy goal meme, and posting my March Accomplishments & April Goals (thanks to Stephanie at Corn & Cotton for keeping me and many others motivated).

Research
  • The 1940 Census
    • March ~ I prepared my 1940 Census To-Do Lists using the Legacy Census Tool. I broke down the to-do lists by county and state. Knowing that some of my family remained in the same towns and counties in Nebraska and Illinois I decided to focus on these areas as well as my grandparents (both located in Seattle, Washington and for whom I had their 1940 addresses).
    • April ~ I found and downloaded the various census pages and as of today I have found 105 members of my extended family on the 1940 Census. I could not have done this without the following:
      • I cleaned up my Legacy database and standardized all my census entries so I had 1930 census information for my extended family. This was an excellent exercise to prepare for the 1940 Census and also to review my earlier census entries and clean up my sources.
      • Steve Morse, Joel Weintraub and the volunteers who worked on the OneStep 1940 Census program – thank you for such great programs and tutorials – I learned so much from using these programs and was able to drill down to the correct enumeration districts. You are all The Best!
      • The various websites that uploaded the digital images of the 1940 Census – it was an embarrassment of riches ~ The National Archives, FamilySearch, Archives, MyHeritage, and Ancestry  ~ all worked hard to make so much available from day 1 ~ just brilliant! I used several of the sites and was able to noodle my way to finding the census pages.
      • DearMyrtle ~ every evening Monday through Friday she hosted a webinar roundup that entertained, explained, shared stories, answered questions and kept the genealogy community involved in the hoopla that was the 1940 Census release. I was thrilled to listen to and watch the presentations by Joel Weintraub, the representatives from Archives, the National Archives, and Ancestry, the examples provided by Russ Worthington, the finds shared by attendees, and the discussion among the attendees on Twitter. There was a lot going on and it was clearly a labor of love ~ thanks DearMyrtle and RootsMagic for hosting the webinars.
  • Kiley Family
    • March ~ In response to my request and a small fee, I received my great great grandmother’s obituary from Obits of Nebraska. Ellen's obituary mentioned two sisters who attended her funeral as well as two nephews who officiated. I found the priests in the federal censuses and worked my way back to their families with Ancestry.com and GenalogyBank.com.  The nephews’ surname was Cannell and I found the Cannell family in Rockford and Burritt, Illinois.  From a combination of newspaper articles and obituaries, I determined that my great great grandmother Ellen Kiley came to America from Ireland with her widowed mother and (at least) two siblings, Jane Kiley (who married John Cannell, settled in Burritt, had seven sons, and later died and was buried in Rockford) and Catherine Kiley (who remained single, moved to, and later died and was buried in St. Louis). Of course the surname is spelled Kiley, Kiely, Kieley, and Keeley depending on the article or document!
    • April ~ I need to follow up on the Kiley and Cannell families and transcribe and source all the material I found in March. I am in the process of adding it (with appropriate sources) to my Legacy database. I am also contacting current Cannells to hopefully find out more information about both the Kiley and Cannell families. 
  • Murphy Family
    • I need to follow up with extended family members in Nebraska and Washington both for family records and 1940 Census research. To any Murphys in Johnson County, Nebraska ~ let’s work on filling in some blanks. My email is over at the right so please get in touch. John ~ thanks for your comment I emailed you directly and would love to hear from you!

Organization
  • March & April ~ I am continuing to organize my digital materials (photographs, census images, images saved in my Ancestry Shoebox, images saved from Genline of Sweden, images from DigitalArchives of Norway, and county and town research and images downloaded from Irish websites as well as all my Newfoundland research). Now that I have a system in place it is a process of working on this a bit each day ~ this is an ongoing project but I do see light at the end of the organization tunnel!


Blogging
  • April ~ I need to get back on board with Amy Coffin’s 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy. I need to finish my blog post about my grandfather Ernest William Lidman. I need to blog on a weekly basis ~ remember the Nike mantra ~ just do it!

Education
  • March ~ There were lots of webinars to choose from in March and I attended the following:
    • Introduction to Irish American Catholic Records with Michael Brophy on March 3 ~ This was a interesting presentation, with lots of insights and some tips to help me get farther with my Irish American research.
    • 1940 Census with Thomas MacEntee on March 7 ~ A nice preparation webinar and he answered many questions to help us prepare for the census release.
    • Using the Census Tool in Legacy with Geoff Rasmussen on March 9 ~ Thank you for this great tool and for the quick and responsive updates, you made my preparation so much easier!
    • Using US Federal Records to Locate the Towns of Your Irish Ancestors with Donna Moughty on March 12 ~ An excellent presentation and I got lots of helpful tips to help me dig a little deeper with my brickwall Irish families.
    • How to Use a Blog for a Research Log with Drew Smith on Mar 19 ~ This was a disappointing webinar from a usually reliable presenter. Drew discussed blogs in detail but it was clearly for beginners. There was no serious discussion of the research log aspect listed in the webinar title and which is why I (and others) attended the webinar. 
    • Tips & Tricks for Webinar Presenters with Thomas MacEntee on Mar 21 ~ Thomas does a good job and this webinar was helpful to understanding how the process works (or rather should work) and is a real must watch for anyone planning on giving presentations.
    • Digital Writing & Genealogy with Lisa Alzo on March 30 ~ Lisa always does a great job and this webinar was no exception. Some really helpful tips and plenty of great examples.
  • April ~ It has all been about the 1940 Census Release but there are also some additional subjects out there for webinars.
    • I attended 4 of 5 days of DearMyrtle’s roundup of all things Census (missed Thursday’s webinar but listened to it after the fact).  These were all-around great and very useful. We received some terrific best practices tips from all the major players.
    • I plan to attend the following webinars during the remainder of April:
      • Going Digital with Josh Taylor on April 10
      • Genealogy on the Go – the Families App with Malcolm Green on April 11 (through Legacy)
      • Using Legacy Family Tree to Support Family Groups/Associations with Geoff Rasmussen on April 14 (through Legacy)
      • Reverse Genealogy: Finding the Living with Megan Smolenyak (through Legacy)

Giving Back
  • I signed up as a 1940 Ambassador.
  • March ~ I signed up to index the 1940 census when available, indexed the practice census sheet and watched the FamilySearch presentations so I would be ready to go when the census pages were uploaded and available.
  • April ~ During the past week, I indexed census pages from Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon (I have indexed 1120 names and have a 98% accuracy rating ~ thanks to those enumerators who printed or had good penmanship). It is interesting and fun. More importantly, if we all volunteer we will have an index up and available for researchers and genealogists. It is a nice way to give back and thank those who indexed the previous censuses I have relied upon to find my families! I plan to index 3 batches each day (120 names) first thing in the morning. Are you signed up and indexing? If not, why not give it a try.

Onward and upward ~ I need to stay on track to reach my 2012 goals. If the first week is any indication, April is going to be a big and busy genealogy month!  What have you been up to? Any great finds? If you recognize any of the surnames and/or locations mentioned here, please contact me. Cheers!

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