Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Looking Back on 2019 and Ahead to 2020

It's time for a look back at this year's genealogical progress and a look ahead at my genealogical FUTURE (#52Ancestors style).

At the start of 2019, my genealogy goals were to connect with more cousins, network with other family-history researchers, continue my genealogy education, develop additional presentations, follow up on DNA clues to ancestors, and write new family-history booklets.

So how much genealogical progress have I made this year? A lot, even as I look ahead to the FUTURE:
  • Through a DNA match, I connected with a paternal 2d cousin in Canada and shared 1940s photos of his grandfather! At least eight other solid DNA matches haven't responded to my outreach efforts, but I'll try again soon (FUTURE). I've also asked several more cousins to consider testing...and I hope they will agree. It's not an easy sell these days, with people concerned about privacy and what happens to their DNA results. 
  • Presenting lectures at the inaugural Family Tree Live in London gave me a chance to meet really lovely genealogy folks I previously knew only through social media. I came home with great tips about UK genealogy research, wonderful memories of a rewarding conference, and new genie friends. 
  • Participating in Twitter chats like #AncestryHour (2 pm EST on Tuesdays) and #GenChat (10 pm EST on alternate Fridays) has been fun as well as highly educational. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as a "guest expert" during a #GenChat in 2020 (FUTURE)! 
  • "Attending" the virtual conference of the Virtual Genealogical Association in November triggered lots of new ideas. I've also found their webinars both practical and informative (with great handouts). I'm excited about presenting a webinar for the VGA in November, 2020 (FUTURE)!
  • I created or heavily revised several presentations, including a new "intermediate" talk on cousin bait, a revised "all levels" talk on curating family-history materials, and a new "beginners" talk on US/state censuses (with a 1950 preview). In addition, I'm starting to develop a talk about Northeastern ancestors catching Ohio Fever (FUTURE) and a full talk about prepping for the 1950 Census. My 2020 speaking schedule has several programs booked, with return dates held for other groups (FUTURE).
  • Through more than 135 blog posts, I wrote about ancestors and discussed new-to-me resources and methodologies. Again in 2019, I participated in Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors genealogy prompt challenge, and was truly honored that she highlighted several of my posts in her recap emails. Blogging is fun, a first draft of family history, and excellent cousin bait. More blogging is in my FUTURE!
Not originally planned but done! I completed a booklet about three of my husband's ancestors (Denning, Larimer, McClure) who, caught up in Ohio Fever, became pioneers on the frontier along the Ohio River. This booklet began as a series of blog posts--a rough draft of family history that I  enhanced with more historical context and personal specifics of each ancestor's life.

Not originally planned but done! I also finished an 11-page illustrated booklet about the musical life of my late Dad-in-law, Edgar James Wood. It's going to descendants, along with his "fake book" of musical standards. I wrote the story behind his learning to play piano, playing with college jazz bands in the Roaring Twenties, and playing nights and weekends as a professional musician when his day job was insurance adjustor.

Planned but not done! For the past year, I've been slowly gathering photos, documents, and info to write a booklet about my Mom (Daisy Schwartz Burk) and her twin sister (Dorothy Helen Schwartz). My Sis says she will do this with me in 2020. Thanks, Sis, I really appreciate the help in the FUTURE.

Lots to look forward to in 2020!

Now there's only one more prompt to go in Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series for 2019.

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