Tuesday, November 1, 2022

November Is NaGenWriMo Time

A few years ago, my husband participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), writing fiction every day during November. The idea was to set goals, and make the time to write consistently throughout the month. He found the structure helpful and motivating. 

This year, I'm participating in NaGenWriMo, which stands for National Genealogy Writing Month. Taralyn Parker Pope (@KeepMovingTara on Twitter) is giving this a social media push and I'm jumping on the bandwagon! 

Today is the kickoff. 

My goal is to write and post bite-sized bios of more ancestors on my family tree and my husband's family tree. I've already completed and posted bios for nearly all of the ancestors in our direct lines: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and some great-greats. 

Now I'm branching out [pun intended] to write bios for aunts, uncles, and cousins in multiple generations--including spouses and partners, including infants who died young. 

I'll be posting the bios on sites like Family Search, Find a Grave, WikiTree, My Heritage, and so on. 

In the process, I'm sure I'll notice gaps in my knowledge of an ancestor and need to do a bit of additional research and attach sources before polishing a bio. That's great! 

But my main focus in November will be writing family history that I haven't written before and sharing widely because LOTS OF COPIES KEEP STUFF SAFE

Tuesday, day #1 of NaGenWriMo, I wrote about my hubby's great aunts and great uncles, including Carrie E. Steiner Traxler (1870-1963) and her husband John Newtown Traxler (1862-1924). 

On day #2, I wrote about two other Steiner ancestors, Etta Blanche Steiner Rhuark (1864-1956) and Minnie Estella Steiner Halbedel (1867-1947), and their husbands. Also I wrote about Lola A. McClure Lower (1877-1948) and her husband, Edward A. Lower (1873-1920).

On day #3, I wrote briefly about milliner Lucille Ethel McClure De Velde (1880-1926) and her husband, John Everett De Velde (1874-1947), a plumber. Also I added a memorial page for him on Find a Grave, based on the burial place listed on his death cert.

On day #4, after participating in the WikiTree Symposium, I wrote about Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960) and his first wife, Olivette Georgianna Van Roe McClure (1885-1905). Next will be Hugh's second wife.

On day #5, while watching WikiTree Day festivities, I wrote about Rebekah V. Wilt McClure (1896-1975), the second of Hugh Benjamin McClure. Now moving on to siblings of hubby's other grandfather, Edgar James Wood.

On day #6, I wrote about Lucy Maria Kize Wood (1851-70) and her brother Alfred Olando Wood (1855-1895), and will continue with more of their Wood siblings. 

Day #7: Wrote about Francis "Frank" Ellery Wood (1857-1933) and his wife, Louisa Mary Schultz Wood (1860-1948), and continued with their descendants, partly based on genealogy researched by a Wood cousin and supplemented with additional details. Also corrected Find a Grave info and located vital records for some of the Wood ancestors. 

Day #8: Wrote and posted sad story of Robert Orrin Wood (1873-1933), who died of myocarditis in the Toledo State Hospital for the Insane. While hospitalized from 1925-1933, one of his children was placed in the Institute for the Feebleminded in Columbus, Ohio, where she remained for the rest of her life. The other two children were taken in by the Lutheran Orphans' Home until they were of age to work. One grew up to be a nurse, the other worked for an oil refinery for his entire career. Also finished other siblings in the Wood line, now ready to begin working on my grandparents' siblings on day #9.

Day #9: Wrote about my great uncle, Lithuanian-born Abraham Berk (1877-1962) and his English wife Anna, who crossed the pond to settle in Montreal and raise their family. Then I wrote about Abraham's sister Jennie Birk and her husband, Paul Salkowitz, who operated a citrus grove in Florida during the late 1940s/early 1950s.

Day #10: Wrote about Matel Max Birk (1892-1953), one of my grandpa's brothers, and about Matel's wife Rebecca. He was a jeweler, she was a bookkeeper, and they eventually left New York to live close to Matel's sister Jennie in Florida.

Day #11: Wrote about Meyer Berg (1883-1981) and his wife Anna Paris Berg (1888-1981). Meyer was my great uncle and lived for a short time as a boarder in the NYC apartment of his brother's in-laws. 

Day #11: Wrote about g-grandpa Meyer Eliyash Mahler's first marriage/divorce in Riga, Latvia and about his oldest son, Riga-born David Mahler (1882-1964), a black sheep of the family. 

Day #12: Revised bio of g-grandma Tillie Jacobs Mahler, whose exact birth year has long been in doubt. She's my longest-living ancestor, supposedly either 99 or 100 years old when she died in 1952.

Day #13: Revised bio of Tillie's mother, Rachel Shuham Jacobs, who is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, NY, where her two children are also buried. 

Day #14: Enriched bio of Flora Jacobs, daughter of Joseph Jacobs & Eva Michalovsky Jacobs, granddaughter of Rachel Shuham Jacobs. She died at age 33, the third daughter of that family to die young. I added a gravestone photo to her bio.

Day #15: Corrected portion of Henry Arthur Slatter's bio on Find a Grave to include current link to photo of his gravestone, which also mentions his wife Alice and their son Arthur A. Slatter, a WWI casualty. Added Alice and Arthur's bios to various sites. The Slatters were part of my husband's family tree.

Day #16: Improving Mahler family bios, including Morris Mahler and his sister Sarah Mahler, who were siblings of my grandmother Henrietta Mahler.

Day #17: Finished Sarah (Sadie) Mahler Smith's biography. Will be documenting the military service of her sons.

Day #18: Wrote about Ida Mahler Volk (1892-1971), who was a favorite sister of my grandma Henrietta, and about Ida's husband Louis.

Day #19: I set up an account at Mastodon where I'll try tooting as @MarianBWood@genealysis.social so please say hello there! Wrote about my great aunt Mary Mahler Markell and her husband, Joseph A. Markell.

Day #20: More on Mastodon and writing about my uncle and aunt, Fred and Daisy, who were lifelong educators in New York City.

Day #21: Returning to my husband's family, beginning to write bite-sized bio of his Wood uncles.

Day #22: Wrote a blog post about Thanksgiving week weddings in my family tree, saved the info to plan future bite-sized bios. Created a Find a Grave memorial page for a cousin's baby born prematurely in 1924, who sadly died after only two days.

Day #23: Wrote bite-sized bio of Rosalind Ashby Wood, who was married to Theodore William Wood in 1949. 

Day #24: Wrote bite-sized bio of Leona "Lee" Zonna Wallace, my maternal aunt's life partner. Aunt Lee directed the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade for a number of years! Nov 24, 1903 was her birthdate so I wrote her bio on what would have been her 99th birthday.

Day #25: I blogged about Aunt Lee Wallace, an immigrant from Poland who rose through the ranks of Macy's to direct the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Day #26: I posted bite-sized bios of my great-grandparents, Leni Kunstler Farkas and Moritz Farkas. They were the journey-takers who left Hungary in search of a better life in New York City, after Moritz's harvest failed.

Day #27: I posted grandma & grandpa Schwartz's bios on additional genealogy websites and linked to their Find a Grave memorial pages. Here's Grandma Minnie's memorial page, for instance.

Day #28: Working on bios for Hermina Farkas's siblings and in-laws. Today I wrote and posted bios for Alexander Farkas and his wife, Jennie Katz Farkas. They were active in the Kossuth Society, a benevolent group helping Hungarian immigrants, founded in 1904.

Day #29: Wrote bios for Hermina's brother Bertalan Albert Farkas and his wife, Sadie Sari Klein Farkas, also active in the Kossuth Society. 

Day #30: Finished this month's write-ups with Albert & Sari's son George Eugene Farkas.

Wrapup: I wrote 70 bite-sized bios during the 30 days of #NaGenWriMo! 

Which ancestor(s) will you be writing about in November?

This is my blog post for the Genealogy Blog Party, November, 2022.


  1. Hi Marian. What a great post to remind us all to write out our family histories because LOCKSS is important!! I look forward to hearing more about your ancestors. Cheers!

  2. Great idea! Good luck on writing your mini bios.

  3. Great idea, quite a challenge. Good luck!

  4. I have never heard of this. Interesting! Sounds fun! What a great idea! Have you thought of putting each bio you write up as a blog too? Happy writing! :)

  5. My daughter has done NaNoWriMo for years, and my son had to do it in junior high. But I never heard that there was a genealogy version. Will have to check it out.

  6. Enjoy the month! You will be so pleased at the end with all you accoumplished.

  7. I'll follow along with your mini bios. I do like this writing challenge.

  8. Mini bios are a great way to quickly share info. I like this! Sharing lots of copies is really important since it's much more likely that at least one copy will survive way into the future.

  9. Wow, Marian, now it all starts to fall together. I've seen several of your posts but didn't quite grok the #nagenwrimo and @KeepMovingTara connection. That's beautiful. It actually sort of inspired our Ponga tip for #howto add social media posts back into the photographs that inspire your research. That article is ponga.com/tips/8-social-media-posts-in-a-ponga-picture and I just might include it in Elizabeth's Genealogy Blog Party as a result! Thank you!!