thegenealogygirl


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Happy New Year! 2017 Review & 2018 Goals

Eleanor Brownn Quote

Happy New Year!

 

2017 was packed with amazing genealogy experiences, milestones of both the personal and genealogical kind, the sorrow of loss, and the joys of life.  When I reflect back over the year, these are some of the biggest moments:

 

Digging into the story of Rosey, my 2nd great-grandaunt, has been a fascinating adventure.  I’m still finding tidbits scattered across the world.  Just last week I found a big one I wasn’t expecting.  The story that is unfolding is so enthralling that I think it is worthy of its own book.  Here are the 2017 posts about Rosey:

 

John Costello continues to elude me.  He is my great-grandfather and my most challenging brick wall.  Despite his continued brick wall status, I have had some major breakthroughs this year.  I discovered seven seconds of color video of him with my great grandma and my mom as a baby!  I added to my collection of photos of him including the first one of him looking at the camera and smiling!!  I learned that he was ethnically Jewish.  He is still a brick wall, but I feel like I am making some meaningful progress for my own sense of connection to him, and preserving details for future generations to know something about him.

 

I finished organizing and filing all of the letters my grandparents wrote to each other during WWII and their LDS missions.  TEN Hollinger boxes worth.  I have also begun the process of digitizing and transcribing those precious letters.

 

I made enough progress in my Young surname study of Renfrew, Renfrew, Scotland to untangle my 5th great-grandparents James Young and Janet Robertson in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.

 

In my DNA efforts to learn about John Costello, I discovered a first cousin who was adopted at birth.  Together we went on an amazing journey to identify his father and mother.  I still can’t get over what a cool experience that was!  You can read about that journey here:

 

Still on a DNA high, I watched a Legacy Family Tree webinar on DNA and heard a tip from Diahan Southard that led me to solve my Priority 2 brick wall!!!

 

In September, I rushed to the bedside of my grandmother to be with her in her final days.  She was diagnosed with leukemia on a Thursday and passed away on Sunday.  I deeply miss her and the genealogy experiences we shared.  But I am so grateful that I started my genealogy adventures in my very early twenties.  That meant I got 20 precious years of asking her questions.

 

In October I finally held in my hands a long sought after, precious, and very rare book because of a cousin connection I made on Ancestry.com.  It confirmed my previous research efforts and added a richness of story to a family line that had been lost to time and young deaths.

 

I ended the year with a bang! when I helped my friend end her 50 year-long search for her paternal grandparents using her DNA results.  What a joyful experience!

 

As I consider 2018, I am struggling to put my finger on my top three goals.  I know that I want to continue to learn, research, digitize, archive, solve, teach, share, help, write, and answer questions I have.  But those are the things I do all of the time.  The one thing that often eludes me is a very important word – FINISH.

So I am pondering on what three things I want to FINISH this year.

The list of projects I am considering is long enough for a lifetime of effort.  I’m never short on projects.  But which three are the most important, the most pressing, the most meaningful?

I’m still pondering that and will be for a bit.

For now, I am grateful for the progress and experiences of 2017.  I hope 2018 will be just as richly rewarding.

 

How about you?  What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?

 

 

ps – The moment I am looking forward to the most in 2018 is standing in the baggage claim area of the Salt Lake Airport in August and wrapping my arms around my precious first-born, missionary son for the first time in two years and 5 days.  That will be a big milestone moment right there!  ❤️

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Christmas Eve 2011

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This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas photos.

That is my marvelous middle boy up there.  I took this photo on Christmas Eve morning in 2011.  That year I had purchased a Lego advent calendar for him.  Somehow he knew (or suspected?) that the final Lego pieces in the calendar were a Yoda Santa.  He anticipated opening that last little window all month long.

He could not wait for that cool moment!

It turned out he was right and on Christmas Eve all of that eager anticipation was fully realized when he pulled out his very own Yoda Santa.

Somehow I managed to capture that moment in this incredible shot.

Childhood can be so magical.

Preserving the magic in photos is priceless.  ❤

 

 

And just for fun, here is a photo of that marvelous middle boy with his favorite pal, my awesome oldest boy, taken the next day:

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And a rare pregnant photo of myself while expecting my darling youngest boy:

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Merry Christmas!

 

I hope you each enjoy some wonderful family time over the coming week.  I will be taking a little break to enjoy each moment.  AND!!!  We are soooooo excited to FaceTime with our missionary on Christmas day!  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤   See you soon!

 

 

ps – I keep meaning to write a blog post about the GRO PDF pilot program and I just haven’t fit it in.  If you have any English ancestry, or English birth or death records you need, NOW is the time to order them.  They are far less expensive and you get them in just a few business days as opposed to weeks and weeks and weeks of waiting.  I have ordered many records over the last few months.  The pilot period will end very soon – they haven’t announced the date but only said it will run for about 3 months and it started in October, so time’s a-wastin’!  You can learn more about the program here.  If you have questions, ask!  I’ll try to pay attention and answer asap.  Merry Christmas!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Marriage That Stuck

wedding

I was 8 1/2 years old when my Grandma married my Grandpa.

The funny thing about that is until just now, I thought I was 10 when they were married.  In fact, I have said that very phrase, “I was 10 when my Grandma married my Grandpa”, over and over again.  Except that I wasn’t 10.  I was 8 1/2.

I was there when they got married on the reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.  I have a few memories of that day.  But now, I wonder how accurate those memories are.

I remember something about my Grandma needing to be adopted by a bird-clan mother so she could marry Grandpa on the res.  But is that even a thing?  A bird-clan mother?  I don’t know.

I remember my Mom making a joke that Grandma had just married her brother since they had the same bird-clan mother.  Grandma didn’t find that joke particularly amusing.  But did my Mom really make that joke to her own mother?

I remember the drums, and the jingling of bells on my Grandma’s clothing.  But as I look at the photo I don’t see any of the small metal bells I am picturing when I hear the sound in my memory.  Bells that aren’t shiny at all.  Small, handmade bells that dangle at the end of a strand of beads.  But were there really bells?

I remember playing outside under some very large pine trees.  There were pine needles and cones everywhere.  But there are pine trees everywhere in Spokane.  Did I really play under them on that day on the res?

I remember my Mom making some comment that this marriage might be the one that finally sticks.  I remember my Grandma saying something about how if you get married on the res you can’t ever divorce.  I didn’t understand why that mattered so much to my Mom that day.  I do now.

This wasn’t Grandma’s first or second marriage.  The number was higher.  But it was the first marriage during my lifetime.  It was the first time I had a Grandpa on my Mom’s side of the family.

Of course, my Mom has a father.  A father she shares with all three of her siblings.  A father who is still alive.  A father I met once when I was 16.  A father I have spoken with twice on the phone.  And while you would be accurate if you called him my grandfather, he was never my Grandpa.

But this man, the man my Grandma married on the Reservation when I was 8 1/2, he became my Grandpa.  And that, in the end, is the only memory from that day that really matters.

This was the marriage that stuck.

And I am so very glad.

 

 

ps – This photo is not the one I remember seeing of this day.  The photo my Mom has of this day is not as happy.  It’s more formal and posed.  This photo only exists on the wall of Grandma & Grandpa’s home.  During my final visit to my Grandma in the days before her death, I used the Google photoscan app to preserve a copy of this happy photo for myself.  And once again, I am so very glad.

 

 


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Two FamilySearch Classes this Week

FamilySearch_Logo

Sunday night I taught a class at my local Family History Center, Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch.

I covered everything from this blog post and then some.  I really love teaching.  So it was a great time for me.  And bonus, my students were pretty happy too.

Well, today I get to teach a group of 10 and 11-year-old girls.  I have ten minutes.  Ten minutes is not a lot of time.  You really can’t cover a lot in ten minutes.  So I am going for quality.  We are going to talk about preserving memories.  I’ll tell them a story or two.  I’ll show them how to add a photo and an audio recording to FamilySearch from the app.  Then I am going to challenge them to go home and add 3 photos and 3 audio recordings to FamilySearch using the FS app.

I will send them home with this handout:

FS app with gg address

I hope at least one of those little girls will feel a nudge towards her ancestors.

 

Wish me luck!

 

 

ps – Those girls?  They are members of my church.  We have a program called Activity Days that is for 8-12 year old girls.  They meet twice each month and learn new things, complete service projects, or participate in some sort of activity.  I was asked to help out this time.  If you are an Activity Days Leader and come across this post, please feel free to use my handout.

 

pps – If you are interested in my overly detailed handout from my Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch class, send me an email and I’ll happily share.  Email address on sidebar.