FINALLY Get Organized – Down to the wire but January is complete! Checklists for Jan 17-23rd and Jan 24th-31st

FINALLY Get Organized – Down to the wire but January is complete!
Checklists for Jan 17-23rd and Jan 24th-31st

You can join in by following Dear Mrytle’s “FINALLY Get Organized” at

I think the whole month of January would have been a bit easier if I had two functioning legs.  I have not mastered the art of the wheelchair – that has cost me some valuable time .  I knocked over my to file box and scattered my sorted papers; I have trapped myself in my office by blocking my way out with binders, boxes, and books.  Thankfully now everything has a place.  I am hoping to get at least one of my casts off in the next ten days.  I made it through /SLIG in a wheelchair I guess making it through some organization  shouldn’t kill me but boy I would love the freedom of at least one good leg.

þ     Transcribe every document you’ve collected on the first 4-four generations in your surname/maiden name file.  I am so glad I did this, I caught a few dates that I had missed.  One example of missed information is the date a marriage license was issued, date ceremony performed and the date of the return.  I did not use any programs to help with the transcriptions but I did utilize my multiple monitors!
þ     Refile each document in the binder. 
þ      Volunteer at FamilySearch indexing. 
þ       Learn to browse the collections at  This is one of my favorite methods.  I like to find out what records are available for the area I am researching.  No sense looking for marriage record from 1860 is the location and the website you are looking at does not have the record!  It is also very interesting to look through the unindexed images for a location.  I located several relatives records I was not looking for by simple browsing record collections.
þ      Create surname binders for yourself and your mother’s maiden name.
þ      Update your genealogy program to include your siblings with birth and marriage information. Transcribe and cite documents before attaching to the individuals as well.


FINALLY Get Organized – Running behind but attempting to catch up…

Organization the perfect start for the new year.  I am running behind but here is my update on my progress for the month of January thus far.  You can join in by following Dear Mrytle’s “FINALLY Get Organized” at

þ       Back up your data!  Luckily I have been backing up my data with Backblaze for the past few years, so this was an easy task.  I also have an external drive that I use and store in our safe.  Then of course I use DropBox.  Can you ever take too many precautions to protect your genealogy?  I would rather have overkill then the possibility of losing any of my information.  That happened to me once about 10 years ago when my research was held hostage by an external drive – never to be retrieved again. 

þ      Decide on a genealogy software management program.  I am a RootsMagic girl.  

 I can always learn more to make the software work harder for me but I am confident in using the software. 

þ      Starting with yourself enter your personal data and that of the tree older generations by that surname in your chosen genealogy management program.  I have started again – brand new database.  I am entering everything in one by one and not copying anything from my previous database.  It is forcing me to examine everything again which has been enlightening.
þ        Set aside a 3-ring binder for your surname.  I think of family as a unit so I am setting up my binders by MRIN or marriage number.  It is just how I think – surname binders are too confusing for my brain waves.  I am a numbers person.
þ         Label oversized tabbed dividers and insert into the binders.  I have a tab for each MRIN #.
þ         Print out family group sheets starting with yourself for four generations on your surname.  Done!
þ         Place the 4 family group sheets behind the appropriate MRIN # dividers.
þ         Scan photos and documents relating to each of these four generations in your binders.  I am still trying to accomplish this; I am about 80% complete.
þ         Place scanned items in document top loading page protectors.
þ           Create an introduction for those that follow.  The image on the right is my “master” for every family MRIN # I create.  I also keep my template for the Avery dividers in this location.  I have been consistent so far and my binders and computer files match. My folders are further sorted by family member’s names.  For example, photographs are sorted into folders with the name of the individual or group.  Death records also contain sub-folders for individuals.  I update my MRIN list also so it is easy to locate any person in my database.   My daughter Juliana has helped me file and she is well aware of how the system works so I know I can count on her to maintain my research. My husband and my daughter Juliana know my passcode to access my computer and laptop.    I also have my passwords in my address book.  My binders are in the bookcase behind my desk – I like to keep them at arm’s reach. 
þ      Add a genealogy codicil to your will.  Luckily I married an attorney so no appointment necessary.  Out of all my children, Juliana, is the only one that will be entrusted with my research.  Unfortunately, the others do not seem overly interested in my work.  I have made my choices clear and the family knows what taking care of my work will entail and cost.


SLIG 2016: A Learning Experience that will last forever

Leslie Carney – Deed Mapping Class

     January 1st I fell.  I broke my right ankle and dislocated my left ankle.  After passing out from the pain my first thought was SLIG.  I had been waiting forever to go and I was faced with the possibility of waiting another year to attend.  However, my roommate for the event, Leslie Carney, volunteered to help me with all my special needs and the SLIG folks agreed to accommodate me.  Peg Ivanyo worked with the hotel to get me accommodations with a roll in shower and changed the buses to accommodate my wheelchair.

Wheelchair bus access – picture by J. Paul Hawthorne

 Sue Petersen worked with me to have an allergy free meal and kept my spirits up during the event.  Many, and I mean many, wonderful people helped me with doors, rolling my wheelchair, and assisting me during the week.  Good buddy and conference hubby J. Paul Hawthorne kept Leslie and I entertained and also helped push me around.   I am still not an expert on land however I am much more confident after attending Pamela Boyer Sayre and Richard G. Sayre’s land class.  I hope Rick did not notice that I was ordering books referenced in his talk while we were in class.  My library has increased with many books purchased from our source list.  I am so glad that I attended the conference.  Mobility wise is was difficult but what I learned and the people I met were worth any pain and discomfort.  My goal for SLIG 2017  – two good legs and perhaps Judy Russell’s class……

Loopy!  J. Paul Hawthorne and I – picture by Leslie Carney

FINALLY Get Organized: Getting it done with DearMyrtle – Week one completed!

Technically I cheated.  I had a head start on some of the tasks Dear Myrtle had listed on her  #1 Weekly Organized Checklist.  I did need to order some supplies but I am otherwise ready for week 2.  If your interested in joining in visit  Here is my list of completed tasks:

þ  Clear off the computer desk and make piles for everything.  The piles have been sorted into:
          To be Filed          Letters/Email to write          Research to do          Photos – I have temporarily boxed up my photos.

þ  Check your office supplies, and replace any missing or lost items.
            Ordered additional 3-ring binders            Ordered Document and Photo storage boxes            Flash drive            Will purchase file box – to be kept under desk for filing and paper management.  All I need to do is convince a child or husband to take me to the store.  No driving since I broke my right ankle and tore up my left ankle.

þ  Set up your computer desk and office the way you want it
            I began redoing my office this past fall.  Upgrades made before the end of the year included a new desktop computer, a new portable drive, two monitors, a new printer, organized book shelves, catalog of all books on  I have arranged my desk, equipment and shelves to be functional in my everyday life.

 þ  Designate a special red clipboard to take down notes when you run into computer problems.
            I have a dedicated notebook in my desk drawer for this purpose.

 þ  Designate a special green clipboard as the “Genealogy Challenges” clipboard.  
    I  have a specific folder for my genealogy challenges.  I take the information from the folder to start a  research log in my genealogy software RootsMagic. 

99 Genealogy Things

I read this on Valerie Elkins blog at Family Cherished.  This is a good list to use as a bucket list.  Here is where I stand:

Bold:  Things that you have already done or found.
Italics:  Things you would like to do or find.
Blue:  Things that you have not done or found/don’t care to.

99 Genealogy Things
1.    Belong to a genealogical society [I belong to state, local, and several Midwestern societies]  
2.    Joined a group on Genealogy Wise.
3.    Transcribed records.
4.    Uploaded headstone pictures to Find-A-Grave or a similar site
5.    Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
6.    Joined Facebook.
7.    Cleaned up a run-down cemetery. 
8.    Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.
9.    Attended a genealogy conference.
10.Lectured at a genealogy conference. [I have lectured for groups and at seminars]
11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society/local library’s family history group
12.Joined the National Genealogical Society.
13.Contributed to a genealogy society publication.  [This is high on the 2016 list]
14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society. Not on my list at this time.
15.Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
16.Talked to dead ancestors.
17.Researched outside the state in which I live.
18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants. 
19. Cold called a distant relative.
20.Posted messages on a surname message board.
21.Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
22.Googled my name [found out I was married to someone else….hmm]
23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it. 
25.  Have been paid to do genealogical research.
26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research. [I think I am 25% genealogy and 75% PI]
27.  Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.  Again with the ambivalence.
28.Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals. [Have not done for several years]
29.Responded to messages on a message board.
30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.  [I can trip over anything]
31.Participated in a genealogy meme.
32.Created family history gift items.  [Christmas ornaments, photo display, fabric arts]
33. Performed a record lookup.
34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise. 
35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space. [My mother’s family – just saying]
36.Found a disturbing family secret. [Great Great Grandma was a bigamist among other things!]
37.Told others about a disturbing family secret (but not all of the secrets)
38.Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
39.Think genealogy is a passion and/or obsession not a hobby.
40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person.
41. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
42.Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure. Never again!
43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
44.Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
45.Disproved a family myth through research.
46.Got a family member to let you copy photos. [Flip Pal to the rescue]
47.Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
48.Translated a record from a foreign language. 
49.Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
50.Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.  
51.Used microfiche.
52.Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 
53. Used Google+ for genealogy. 
54.Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
55. Taught a class in genealogy. 
56.Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
57.Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
59.Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
60.Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.  [It has been awhile….]
61.Have found many relevant and unexpected articles on internet to “put flesh on the bones”.  [Found articles about my relatives home town]
62.Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. [I have already broken in the 3rd ed.]
63.Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research
64.Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
65.Have an ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant. – Rumors no proof as of yet.
66.Have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War. 
67.Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
68. Can “read” a church record in Latin.
69. Have an ancestor who changed his/her name, just enough to be confusing.  Poundstone, Pundstein – not sure who was doing the spelling.
70.Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
71. Created a family website.
72.Have a genealogy blog.
73.Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone. 
74.Have broken through at least one brick wall.
75.Done genealogy research at a court house.
76.Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center(s).
77.Found an ancestor in an online newspaper archive.
78.Have visited a NARA branch.
79.Have an ancestor who served in WWI or WWII.
80.Use maps in my genealogy research.
81.Have a blacksheep ancestor.
82.Found a bigamist amongst my ancestors. 
83.  Attended a genealogical institute. SLIG January 2016
84.Taken online genealogy (and local history) courses.
85.Consistently (document) and cite my sources.  My husband calls me a citation Nazi.
86. Visited a foreign country in search of ancestors.
87.Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes
88. Have an ancestor who was married four times. Yup, Grandpa!
89.Made a rubbing of an ancestor’s gravestone. .
90.Followed genealogists on Twitter. Not yet
91.Published a family history book. Not yet
92.Learned of a death of a fairly close family relative through research. [found my mother’s estranged sister]
93.Offended a family member with my research.  Not everyone enjoys a good bigamist story….
94.Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.
95.Have a paid subscription to a genealogy database.
96. Submitted articles for FamilySearch Wiki.
97.Organized a family reunion.I just live too far away from Illinois….
98. Used Archives in countries where my ancestors originated.
99.Converted someone new to the love of all things genealogy
What are your 99?