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52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Week #48 – Thanksgiving

52-Weeks-Personal-History

The foods we have now for Thanksgiving are pretty much the same as they have been since I was a small child. We have a turkey, dressing, ham, potato salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, pumpkin pie, cornbread dressing, baked beans, and rolls. The deserts have varied a lot over the years but are the same kinds of desert. Chocolate is a big feature.

My mom’s mother used to make homemade chocolate and lemon pies. These pies were the best things about any holiday dinner at their house! My dad’s dad would make this wonderful rocky road fudge!

Thanksgiving when I was a kid was a day of traveling. We would visit both sets of grandparents and there would be all (or at least almost all) of the aunts, uncles and cousins at the dinners. We would have lunch at one and supper (or dinner for those from the north) at the other grandparents.

At mom’s family dinner there was usually about 30 people! At dad’s family there was usually about 20 people. We would have a great time at both families and would eat all day!

 


 

Week #48 – Thanksgiving

Week 48. Thanksgiving. What was on your family’s Thanksgiving table? Do you serve the same dishes now as your family served in the past?

This challenge runs from Saturday, November 26, 2011 through Friday, December 2, 2011.


 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

 

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Week #47 – Fall

52-Weeks-Personal-History

Fall in Northwest Arkansas in is a beautiful time. The leaves change colors and the summer heat moves out and leaves the mild temperatures of Fall. Sweaters are retrieved from the closets and schools begin. Then, it is time for Halloween and fall festivals. Then, Thanksgiving is on the way with Christmas waiting in the wings.

Fall is also the time for football. Arkansas Razorbacks football is always a joy to watch (well except for a couple of the recently previous seasons but we still watched!). High school football is a major activity for high school students across the state.

Fall is the time when we change from the cookouts of the summer to the chili, soups, and stews of the fall.


 

Week #47 – Fall

Week 47. Fall. What was fall like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

This challenge runs from Saturday, November 19, 2011 through Friday, November 25, 2011.


 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

 

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Week #46 – Politics

52-Weeks-Personal-History

I have been a political junkie since I was in high school. Politics was a frequent topic of conversation in our house even when I was a kid. In our house our opinions were considered even when we were very young children. Each of us would discuss the latest political events and we usually watched any presidential addresses or debates on TV. We would usually watch the news on TV and would discuss what was going on in the world that day.

The first president that I remember was Jimmy Carter. I remember that times seemed tough and that the news was full of the gas shortages and the hostages in Iran. I don’t remember thinking of him as a good president.

The first presidential election that I remember was the election of Ronald Reagan. I have vague memories of watching the debates and the lead up to the presidential election. I was in favor of Ronald Reagan because I thought he would do something about the hostages and would make things better in the economy. I don’t remember until the election coverage being aware of Ronald Reagan as an actor before he became a presidential candidate but I have since watched some of his movies and he was a pretty good actor, too.

I don’t remember much about the election of the elder George Bush. I was finishing high school and starting college so I don’t think I was really focused on politics in that election although I am sure that it was a frequent topic of conversation. I do remember the end of his presidency and thinking that he was out of touch with most Americans.

I remember watching the debates at the end of Bush’s presidency with Clinton. He seemed completely out of touch and, in my opinion he lost the election during the town-hall debate when he answered the question from the audience about the price of a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. He answered that he had never done the shopping for his family and that the housekeeper usually did the shopping. Bill Clinton answered that while he hadn’t been in a store in the location of the debate, that “back home in Arkansas a loaf of bread was about a dollar and a gallon of milk was about $2″. I loved that answer and I think he won the election at that moment!

I actually attended a political rally for Bill Clinton on the U of A campus. It was my one and only political rally attendance to date. Bill Clinton is one of the most political men in this country and it is my belief that we would have had a completely different list of presidents if Al Gore and Hillary Clinton had followed his advice in their campaigns!

Bill Clinton’s presidency was a difficult time for me. There were many difficult things going on in my life and his presidency was a very emotional time for me. I think for many people my age he was the president of hope and dreams. He was inspirational to me and actually gave me hope for the future. During his presidency, there were many things about his personal life that became public that I thought were wrong for him to have done. I was very disappointed in him and his actions. However, as a president, he did many things that benefited me and my family. The changes in student loans and scholarships in particular helped me and my brother and sister be able to attend college. At the end of his presidency the budget was in surplus and financially the country seemed better off to me.

The election of the second George Bush as a disappointment to me. I thought Al Gore should have won but I also think that the long, drawn-out election procedures would not have been necessary had Al Gore followed Clinton’s advice instead of running as far away from him as possible. However, I thought at the time of 9/11 that he did what was needed to bring the country together and unite us against a common enemy. I particularly thought his speech at ground zero was inspiring and comforting to the nation. I do not think that the war was necessary but I don’t know whether he lied to the country about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction or whether the intelligence was really that bad! Either one is a scary thought to me!

I was very interested in the last presidential election in 2008. I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton and I think she would have been president had she listened to the advice of Bill Clinton or even my advice. I actually took the time to email her during the election and advise her to fire any of her staff advising her to conduct herself in the debates with Barrack Obama as she was! I somehow don’t think that her staff showed her my email since it likely advised her to fire whoever was giving her the email! I was very disappointed when she lost! One of the moments of that campaign that made me the most happy was the night that Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama had a meeting! The press was all waiting outside her home for her to leave for the meeting when she returned home from the meeting that had already taken place! To my knowledge the content of the discussion at that meeting has still not been leaked to the press! Although, in my personal opinion, the discussion probably included some discussion of her current position as Secretary of State if she would support Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The last congressional election was also very interesting to me! I particularly enjoyed watching the coverage of several of the candidates. First there was the candidate who actually released a commercial denying that she was a witch! What I still want to know is who was the advertising salesman who got her to make this commercial. This is a salesman that someone should be trying to hire because he can sell anything to anyone! Then, there was the candidate who made some sort of remark (I can’t really remember what was said), but the result of the remark was that people dressed in chicken suits to show up to polling locations and to several of her events. You can’t beat the entertainment value of people in chicken suits! Finally there was the senate candidate in Arizona who was running against Harry Reid. She kept threatening that her supporters would likely kill Harry Reid if she lost the election! I believe her language was something similar to they “would exercise their 2nd Amendment remedies” if she lost! I personally think that a case could be made that she was threatening a sitting US Senator, which I got to believe is some kind of crime!

The current campaign season has been very interesting! I will withhold my comments on this election until a later date. But things are changing every day!


 Week #46 – Politics

Week 46. Politics. What are your childhood memories of politics? Were your parents active in politics? What political events and elections do you remember from your youth?

This challenge runs from Saturday, November 12, 2011 through Friday, November 18, 2011.


 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

 

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Week #45 – High School

52-Weeks-Personal-History

I went to high school from 7th through the first part of 10th grade at Green Forest High School. While I was in 10th Grade, we moved back to Springdale. I graduated from Springdale High School.

Green Forest High School is a fairly small high school with a total enrollment of about 1000 students (from kindergarten through high school) while my graduating class in Springdale High School had 495 seniors! This was a major cultural change for me. Surprisingly at least to me, I felt more comfortable in Springdale High School because I wasn’t known to every student so I could kind of blend into the background! I had more friends in high school and even joined a couple of clubs. I was still extremely shy and didn’t like to talk in class but I was able to open up a little bit more to a few people.


 

Week #45 – High School

Week 45. High School. Describe your middle and/or high school. Was it a large or small student body? Is the school still in existence today? How has it changed since you went there?

This challenge runs from Saturday, November 5, 2011 through Friday, November 11, 2011.


 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

 

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy: Week #44 – Elementary School

52-Weeks-Personal-History

I went to four different elementary schools as a child.

I went to Jones Elementary for kindergarten. I don’t remember a lot about that year except for the reading circles that I loved.

Then, I went to Tyson Elementary for 1st grade. I mostly remember sitting on the hill at recess and watching the other kids play. I was extremely shy and just wanted to disappear into the background when I was a little kid.

For second and third grades, I went to Washington Elementary school. When I went to this school, I was in a split class for third grade (third and fourth grades were in the same room). I was still really, really shy and didn’t make friends easily but my sister and I made friends with some girls down the street and we would go to their house and play or they would come to ours and play. We also would walk home from school with them most days.

In the summer between third and fourth grades, we moved to Green Forest. So I went to Green Forest Elementary school from 4th through 6th grades. I had a few more friends there and our cousins lived down the street.


 

Week #44 – Elementary School

Week 44. Elementary School. Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?

This challenge runs from Saturday, October 29, 2011 through Friday, Novemebr 4, 2011.


 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

 

Genealogy Do-Over 2015: Setting Previous Research Aside and Preparing to Research

gendover-wo-date

It is time for the first week of the Genealogy Do-Over! YEAH!! I am starting the year off right!

Setting Previous Research Aside

Since my previous research is pretty much scattered everywhere this part is actually going to be pretty easy for me! (At least one part is going to be easy!) The hard part for me is going to be when we have to actually get all that stuff organized!

For my digital files, I have files on my harddrive on my computer, on an external harddrive, and in several online clouds including dropbox, onedrive, and google drive. I know I have MANY MANY copies of the same images on each of these. I am drowning in digital files! So I have decided to leave all those files where they are for now and to organize them and sort through them when that week comes! (OK so I am doing a little procrastinating here but it is on the schedule to organize them later so it is at least organized procrastination! Right?!) So the current locations become my holding files!

For my physical papers, clippings, and documents they are mostly boxed up already so I am just leaving them where they are too. There are some in the closet and some in my computer area in the drawers of the TV stand. Well, their current locations are becoming my holding area for the physical items as well. I already have projects setup in my planner to organize all my physical stuff as part of my de-cluttering projects so these items will become more organized as part of that set of projects or when we get to those steps in the Genealogy Do-Over, whichever comes first!

Preparing to Research

For me preparing to research is going to require some major habit changes. I am one of those researchers who starts off researching one thing and then the shiny objects distract me or I get distracted by the TV show I am also watching and then I realize it is midnight and I still don’t have what I planned to do done and it is way past time to go to bed!

So for my 2015 Do-Over plans, I am going to start researching with a plan in mind! This means that I am going to loosely follow the methods used by Geoff Rasmussen in “Legacy Family Tree Unlocked!”. He creates a todo item when he plans to research a person for what he wishes to find and then he conducts the search and enters in the todo item the results of the search before he closes the todo item. He does all of this within Legacy Family Tree. His todo list becomes his research log in this way and he only has to the typing one time. I am going to stop just researching for anything I can find on a person and start researching specific records/record groups looking for specific information. If I run across other interesting leads, then I will record todo items for them but I will continue with my planned research and not be distracted by the shiny new objects. (No matter how tempted I am by them!)

In planning my research, I am going to use two main tools, the Legacy Family Tree research guidance tool and Gensmarts which I have owned for years but never really used to its full potential.

For my genealogy software, I am going to use Legacy Family Tree version 8. Legacy updated to version 8 back in November of 2013 so if they do come out with a version 9 sometime in 2015 I reserve the right to transfer to the newer version, but only to a newer version of Legacy Family Tree. I need to stick with one software for the whole year to get rid of the bright, shiny new things problem with my database!

I know that genealogy software review was one of the later topics, but I need to pick something and stay with it so I am nailing down my choices for software now to help with the constant changes in my genealogy research methods. I needed to get the software choices made to finalize my plans for the preparation and guidelines sections of this week.

I am going to stop researching while watching endless and sometimes not very good re-runs on TV and start concentrating on my research. In most of what I do I have discovered that multi-tasking no longer works well for me so I am going to stop multi-tasking! I am going to focus on one thing at a time and give it my full attention!

So for preparing to research, I will have Legacy Family Tree 8, Gensmarts, Onenote, and my browser open on my computer. I will also have Onenote open on my phone so that I can jot down any quick todo items or notes about my genealogy research into the proper sections of my 2015 GTD Organizer as I think of them.

I will cover my Practices and Guidelines in a future post this week.

Week 1 – 2-8 January 2015

  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

From <http://www.geneabloggers.com/tag/genealogy-do-over/page/2/>

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained).

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which are laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on a firm footing to finding your ancestors.

A short synopsis of my planned route (a full schedule will be announced soon):

  • Take inventory of what I have, box up the physical items and set them aside.
  • Move all digital genealogy files into a HOLD folder.
  • Gather tools to research.
  • Set research goals.
  • Start with my own knowledge and write it down.
  • Start tracking research.
  • Interview family members.
  • And more!

From <http://www.geneabloggers.com/announcing-genealogy-doover/

Genealogy Do-Over 2015: Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!

gendover-wo-date

I have to admit it: I have been jumping ahead on the Genealogy Do-Over! I was trying to setup my entire system in a week and trying to get everything for the next thirteen weeks done before the first week even officially began! Then, Thomas posted his “Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!” Post and I began trying to slow down and make conscious decisions about what I really want to accomplish in my genealogy. I somehow managed to do both ends of the bad habits by “skimming” over certain parts while getting into “analysis paralysis” on the others! If only I could combine the good habits so easily!

 
 

At the same time as I am trying to get my genealogy research and my genealogy blog organized and functioning again, I have set a goal of becoming more personally organized and de-cluttering my life! I realized from Thomas’s post that I am trying to change the habits of years in only a week and that that isn’t going to work! That is what I have been trying for years each December/January and abandoning by February. This year I am determined to be better organized and have a de-cluttered life and home! I am going to start by slowing back down and deciding upon what I really want to accomplish and developing a “REALISTIC” plan to get there!

 
 

So I am starting with some of the plans that Thomas mentioned: I am setting up a capture system to capture everything and save for later. I am using a different system here than Thomas uses. I will be using Microsoft Onenote for my capture everything system. I am already using Onenote along with the electronic version of David Allen’s GTD Organizer templates to setup my personal organizer/planner and it makes sense to include the genealogy planner in the same system. By using one tool/software for both, I only have one system to maintain (and actually use) rather than two!

 
 

Onenote and my GTD organizer are going to be my ToDo list app of choice. I use a Microsoft Surface as my computer and with OneNote I can use the pen and handwrite my todo lists which is the way that works best for my mind but by using it electronically the notebook never gets any heavier! I need the space of a full letter size page for adequately planning and I need to have all my stuff with me wherever I go and with Onenote, my phone (with an android syncing Onenote app) and my surface with the syncing Onenote app I have the best of the electronic planner and the paper planner. And, I can have it without killing my back trying to lug around a 20 pound notebook!

 
 

Now the last item on Thomas’s post is going to be harder for me! Those bright and shiny objects seem to keep distracting me from my plans! I can’t seem to get any real focus because I keep being distracted by those plans and then I realize that I have just spent the last three hours (or days) researching and playing with the newest software version only to realize that it doesn’t have the one little quirk that I seem to not be able to live without! Another dead end and three hours/days wasted! This time, I am picking a software and data entry system and then I am pledging to stick with it through the whole year! I will not change my software and I won’t change my system until at least 2016. That should help me keep my focus and hopefully get some real research done this year instead of just keeping repeating the research of the past few years!

 
 

I am also using this commitment to stay with my planning system which also seems to start off great in December/January of each year and then I start changing around March and then before the end of the year I have used 6 or 7 different planning system and when I start the new year many of my goals are the same as the year before! This is NOT going to happen this year. This is the year of actually getting things done!

 

 
 

 
 

This is Exactly How Many of Us Research: We Get Ahead of Ourselves

One of the concerns I had about posting the Genealogy Do-Over topics too far in advance was exactly what seems to be happening: people either over-analyzing topics (“analysis paralysis”) or simply skimming over topics (“skimming”). This is exactly how I used to research.

I say “used to” because I developed the Genealogy Do-Over so I could share my insights into what has worked for me in the past year. One of the major bad habits I had to break? Getting ahead of myself and working too quickly! Here’s what I tweaked in my research habits and an area we’ll focus on over the course of the next 13 weeks:

  • Capture everything and save for later. This means using apps like Evernote to “clip and save” articles, links to new databases and even digitized documents and photos for closer inspection when time permits.
  • Build a good research toolbox and keeping adding to it. Use those capturing skills above, but know add the art of curating content to create a set of resources that can greatly advance your genealogy research.
  • Create to-do lists. When I start researching a specific branch of my family, I always have a document open and available – a text file, a Word document, a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper – for writing down those nagging “I have to remember to do THIS” thoughts. Example: As I research my great-grandfather John Ralph Austin, I determine that his birth date means he would have been the right age for being drafted during World War I. So I enter on my to do list: “Locate World War I draft registration for John Ralph Austin.”
  • Pay no attention to that bright and shiny object. Note how in the example above, I didn’t stop everything and look for that draft registration card right then and there. Why? There is an evil rabbit at the end of that rabbit hole where I think the draft registration card lives. Mr. Rabbit likes nothing better than to rob me of time and to distract me. If I don’t place the task on a to-do list as it pops into my head, I will then go out in search of the draft registration card. And guess what? I find out that on the reverse it says “missing half of index finger on left hand” and then I go off trying to find out how he lost the finger and then . . . and then . . . And then it is 3:00 am and I have not accomplished ANY considerable research. And let’s not talk about all my research goals I had for that night.

     
     

From <http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-doover-slow-move-fast/>

 
 

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained).

 
 

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which are laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on a firm footing to finding your ancestors.

A short synopsis of my planned route (a full schedule will be announced soon):

  • Take inventory of what I have, box up the physical items and set them aside.
  • Move all digital genealogy files into a HOLD folder.
  • Gather tools to research.
  • Set research goals.
  • Start with my own knowledge and write it down.
  • Start tracking research.
  • Interview family members.
  • And more!

 
 

From <http://www.geneabloggers.com/announcing-genealogy-doover/>

Genealogy Do-Over: A New Journey of Genealogical Discovery

gendover-wo-date

I am joining Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over. Thomas first posted about the genealogy do-over on December 15, 2014 and I have been considering it since that post. As of today, I am committing to joining the Genealogy Do-Over and giving myself that permission to START OVER!

 

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained).

 
 

From <http://www.geneabloggers.com/announcing-genealogy-doover/>

 
 

I have been researching for many years but I can’t seem to stick to one method or to get organized! I must get organized in order to be to have the output that I really want from my genealogy!

 
 

I have trouble designing a system and sticking to that system. Each time a software company comes out with a new version I want to switch to that version and I want some quick magical way to get all my genealogy information into that program without taking the time to really analyze the information. I need to slow down and take my time. I am not running a sprint; I am running a marathon! I need to pace myself!

 
 

I need to stop looking at what everyone else thinks is the best method or the “correct” method and instead find a methodology that works for me and then I need to stick with that method. I need to start using a research log and to find a software program and stick with that program! I need to organize my files both digital and paper. I need to decide on methods for that as well and then stick with that system instead of everytime it becomes a little difficult pitching the system and starting a new one. I need to find consistency!

 
 

Check back for more on my personal Genealogy Do-Over! A new year and a new beginning….