Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RootsTech Excitement

Between RootsTech, the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? premiering this Friday, and the rapidly approaching release of the 1940 U.S. census (62 days according to the countdown widget at Ancestry.com!), I feel like a kid at Christmastime!

I won't actually be going to RootsTech, but they will be live-streaming 14 sessions between February 2-4. I plan on watching these from the comfort of my own home... if I can remember they start at 8:30am MOUNTAIN Standard Time. Be sure to check out the Downloads page too, where you can download the Conference Guide as well as a zip file containing the syllabus for every session happening at the conference. It'll be almost as fun as attending in person... right? (That's what I keep telling myself anyway. Grumble, grumble.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go stalk the postman to see if he has any of the genealogical documents I've ordered over the last few weeks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday - A Little Information Goes a Long Way

It's Wisdom Wednesday, but I actually feel pretty stupid.

My great-grandfather's half-brother was cursed with a horribly common name: Henry Smith. Well, actually it felt like * I * was the cursed one. He was nearly impossible to search for between his common name and how little information I had on him. I had his birth date, but I had no idea when he died. I had a WWI Draft Registration card from 1917, and knew he had passed away by his brother's death in 1961. 44 years? That's a pretty vague date range!

I had a pretty good idea where he died though. That's the one nice thing about that branch of the family: once they crossed the pond, they settled into their new city and pretty much stayed there for the rest of their lives. On a whim, today I decided to email the town clerk of the place I was fairly certain he died in. I said I only had the name and birth date, but I figured it was worth a shot. And guess what? I received a reply a few hours later saying they had his death certificate on file! I am sending out a check first thing tomorrow morning. I can't wait to receive it! Even if it is a bare bones certificate with tons of "unknowns", it'll still provide SO MUCH information about this man that I know next to nothing about.

I've convinced myself for years that I was "stuck" with this man because I didn't know anything about him. One email and a few hours later, I've realized how very wrong I was. I'll be fanatically checking the mailbox for the next few weeks!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

I started 2011 with the best of intentions. I set plenty of genealogical goals for myself. Although some were a little ambitious, they were all completely doable. And then the month of June threw a wrench into my plans and everything sort of came to a grinding halt. Health issues and hospitals and bills and family drama and home problems aren't exactly conducive to productivity. And so I didn't get to cross nearly as many things off my list as I had planned.

But honestly? I didn't do all too bad. Out of seven goals, I completed three and did half of two others. Of course, the ones I REALLY wanted to do (scanning all old photos and updating this blog more often) were complete and total fails. But there's always next year, right? ;)

My goals for 2012 are pretty much the same as last year. I've really come to realize that genealogy is my passion in this past year, and I would like to eventually become certified and maybe even pursue this as a career someday. Someday. That day is a LONG way off. But in the mean time, I want to learn everything I can. I want to get back to basics and go from there, devouring every bit of knowledge in my path.

I wish you all the best of luck in your genealogical adventures of 2012 and beyond!