Monday, July 30, 2012

The Indexing Horse Race is Almost to the Finish Line

AncestryInsider has viewed the 1940 Census Indexing Project as a Horse Race, running FamilySearch against and others posting the completed states online when available to search by index. It certainly has been amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch as in less than four months the finished project is almost here. The horses or competitors should reach the finish line sometime today or tomorrow. FamilySearch is now at 98.97% and only New Jersey, at 67%, is available for indexing. Five states are in the final arbitration stages, and of the twenty not available for search by index, fourteen are at 100%. Thank you so much to the volunteers who spent countless hours making this possible.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making Family Connections with Newly Discovered Siblings

This week my family, friends, and I witnessed the discovery of previously unknown immediate birth family members for two separate people. While not all such discoveries end in happily ever after connections, just having the opportunity for these people to have some answers to life long questions is very valuable. This is not my normal type of work and I only provide leads for others to follow. With the amount of information online it is usually possible to find the people being sought. It also usually takes a combination of knowledge in doing genealogical research, DNA testing and online resources. When providing such information there is a firm and clear explanation as to the risks involved and the need to proceed with caution.

Making the Most of Local Genealogical Research Facilities

In 2004 I became an official member of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. Years before I visited on a free day when my family was young, money was tight, and my research was sporadic. Memberships in most local genealogical facilities are usually very reasonable. At GFO it is $40 a year with paper copies of the publications sent by mail. A day pass is $7 and the first Monday of every month is free. For me the membership is a means of showing my support for the organization and to help preserve the collections.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1940 Census Indexing Winding Down

This week on Friday, July 20, which would have been my grandmother's 109th birthday, I completed 25,000 records for the 1940 Indexing project. Just this month I was able to do over 10,000 records. Why would I invest so much time in this project? Because, it is a once in a lifetime experience that allows people to participate in a project that will be beneficial to researchers for free forever. The feelings of locating a record for a  family member, friend or a fellow researcher are usually a sense of connection to people that they have known intimately.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Jower Family of St. Johns, Oregon - Serendipity At Its Best

Yesterday I paused to decide what to do next with my Saturday. The Genealogical Forum of Oregon would be open one more hour and if I left shortly I could go there and pick up some books I need to review. Then the phone rang and that plan was quickly cast aside. Tony King, someone I never met, had been directed to call me by a friend of mine he met in the BYU Family Search Center in Provo, Utah. That is one of my favorite places to research in and I can easily picture him walking into the Lee Library on BYU campus, a large spacious library, going downstairs, through the heavy doors, down the long hallway and through more heavy doors, into the spacious FSC. As he entered he was met by one of many missionary volunteers who assist patrons in their research. Tony meets Gerald Kammerman a good friend of mine who moved to Utah several years ago. We often connect when I go to Utah for the BYU Family History Conference in the summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Artifact Leaves Our Home

                    Great Grandma Julia Brown Olsen's Kneading Table

Our oldest son Daniel recently relocated and moved into his own apartment. At the age of thirty-two this is his first time to live on his own other than a two year mission to Pennsylvania. Our three daughters all lived on their own for a while prior to marriage. We still have two sons at home, the middle son having served a mission in Hawaii and receiving an AA in Computer Science; the youngest attending community college. This has worked well for us, as they help with household expenses, all working to support themselves. Having older children live at home is not really accepted in today's society, but it happens quite frequently. After working on the 1940 Census, in a time period of great financial struggles, many older children lived with their parents and/or siblings; I feel that we are not so unusual. A great many of them were not married.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

At What Cost, Gaining an Education in Genealogy

Investment in Time, Understanding, Skills, Professionalism

Learning is a lifelong pursuit for genealogists. Each day a new type of computer application, database, discovery of unknown records contributes to the ongoing need of a willingness to learn.

When I was first developing an interest in genealogical research I was a junior in high school. My grandmother fed that interest by sharing the family artifacts in her possession.  Then she took me to the family cemeteries, so I could become the next generation keeper of the family history. She wrote letters to her distant relatives and took me to visit others who lived near by.  This first phase of my education in genealogy was richly rewarding as I began to compile the family data and stories that only these people had a recollection of. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Melancholy Changes and Serendipity

This week so many events occurred and I am very behind in posting on this blog. First there was the FamilySearch Indexing Marathon from Sunday to Monday that consumed a great deal of energy. Tuesday I spent time with my daughter and two granddaughters. In between our visit I went and had a mammogram, the first time in ten years. They have vastly improved the testing procedure and I was very comfortable this time. Next time I won't wait so long. My next stop was to see a dear friend who is in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. It was in honor of her that I finally agreed to have the test. Our lives change so quickly and in spite of all we can do to direct our path, the path is mostly out of our control. What we can do is take preventative measures to make the most of the time that we have.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Familysearch Indexing Legacy Marathon

This was an exciting twenty-four hours in the genealogy world. The FamilySearch indexing marathon ended at 5 PM Pacific Time, with a glorious finish of more than 10,080,334 records, 7,068,719 indexed and 3,011,615 arbitrated. More than 45,104 individuals participated. Due to wanting to post about this experience, I was waiting to write until after the final numbers were in, but they are not being posted until tomorrow.