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27 September 2013

I give myself permission to let them go...

I have a confession to make. I'm a not super woman. Ahh! Shocking. I know. Also, I am a little nuts. Truth be told, most genealogist are and it is okay. If you're anything like me, when you find someone connected to someone on your tree that no one is researching, you have the urge to include them on your tree. You want someone to remember them. Since you found them, it should be you, right?

Compound this by the adage that you want to trace the neighbors in a particular area of your ancestor so you can see the 'social network' of family members. You can easily see how I get lost in other people's trees.

Well... after months of trying to connect Family Search records to the Family Tree for over 1,000 people in my RootsMagic database, I give up. This crazed urge to make sure that Family Search has everything I have (source/record wise) has been debilitating. I haven't progressed in the writing projects that I set for myself. All I have cared about is getting the 1,000 number to zero. I have been a slave to this goal.

While attempting to achieve this goal, I have noticed how Family Search and RootsMagic have greatly improved the process of attaching records and sources. My favorite improvement is that I no longer have to save the record to the source box and then save it to the family tree. I can save the record straight to my family tree individual in one step. Woo-hoo!

I want applaud FamilySearch for the efforts they have made in the last year. Good job guys. However, the process of taking the records I've already found and saved painstakingly into RootsMagic and attaching these records to the Family Tree members isn't easy for those with hundreds, or thousands of names. Will we ever get everything we have connected? 

I just wish the record citations I have in RootsMagic (complete with url in the source form, would upload and somehow magically connect the record without me having to search for it again. (I know. It pays to double check. But for many people, I have checked and rechecked. I want to upload and move on.) I don't know if what I wish will ever be possible.

My goals this year were to work my way back through the family tree of my father and my mother and turn the facts I've found into stories. I would switch sides between the branches as my interest waned on one line rather than the other. I started the year off great, but didn't keep up. Additionally, I have a host of other writing and craft projects that I've neglected, not to mention house work. All because I wanted to turn 1,000 to 0.

So... I declare that there are about 400 names of my 1,000 who I will not be connecting the sources I have found to the Family Search Family Tree. If I come to their name while achieving my primary goals, then I'll connect their sources. Otherwise, I have to let it be.

I'm unshackling myself from the responsibility of 'other people's relatives.' I'm going to stop researching collateral lines beyond what I need to tell the story of my family members. I am going to recommit to doing
 my primary family history goals and housework. (Okay, I might not commit to the housework.) As I focus on my primary goals, I will evaluate what I like to do with family history and what I don't like to do. I'm going to focus on my strengths. And, I'm going to leave some folks for others to find. (Gosh that is heart wrenching. Why?)

I hope by opening up, others will be inspired to do the free themselves from unrealistic exceptions and rededicate themselves to their real proprieties. Perhaps, I have given a great chuckle or head sake to more experiences genealogy community members for my amateurish nature. Yet, I think we learn by discussing, so I have a few questions.

Dear readers... what unrealistic goals have you unshackled yourself from in your family history research? Did you feel a sense of relief after so doing?

Also... what guidelines do you have for not going 'too far' on the collateral branches? How do you stand to find someone and leave them for someone else to research?  

18 September 2013

Happy 95th Papa Brown

My grandfather Lewis Brown was born 95 years ago today. 35 years ago, he passed away. In January 2012, his lovely wife joined him in the after life. I think they're having fun celebrating another birthday together now that they've been reunited for over a year and a half.

Heritage Scrapbook page: My Grandparents
Heritage Scrapbook page: My Grandparents

Love you Pa-pa.

BTW... it's fitting that I'm finally finishing his heritage scrapbook page. I hope to unveil some more pages soon....

13 September 2013

Did you know summer is over?

Devon Geiszler Lee
Here I am at the Zumstein Road sign in
Lincoln County, Ontario, Canada. I didn't think
I'd make it to Canada until I was 60! I love
my hubby for making this journey happen a
nd for my cousin for showing me around.
I know. I know. Many of you know that summer is over. But, I have been so busy this summer that it spilled over into September. While many people were 'going back to school', I was still trying to wrap up a TON of summer projects and adventures.

The highlight involved a trip to St Catherines, Ontario, Canada. It was such a great experience. I took 1,000+ photos and I am still sorting through all of the photos. Now, the trip to St. Catherine's also included journies to Albany, New York; Sharon, Vermont; Montreal, Quebec, and several towns in Michigan. Talk about a whirlwind. I did return home with genealogy stuff to work on, added to the pile from the previous year's journey. I'm SO BEHIND. Ah well. Other people wish they had my problem. So, I'm going to stop belly aching.

We returned from the trip in late August and then I had to whip the kids into gear. We home school, but it doesn't mean that we don't slack off at times. So, we had to establish routines. We've been doing really well until this week. A stomach virus decided to stop myself and my eldest in our tracks. We'll get back into gear next week.

In the meantime, some things have had to take a back seat to genealogy. My two eldest and I finnally finished two quilts we started after the Joplin, Missouri tornado struck the town two years ago. Seems I have a knack for making things complex. So glad the project is complete. This year, my fourth child receives a quilt for Christmas (family tradition) and I hadn't started it yet. I found a simple pattern in in three weeks I had the top done. My eldest daughter said, "Why didn't we know about this pattern two years ago?" (I know, right?)

On top of that, I have had to focus on completing the presentations for four classes I will be teaching at a Family History Conference here in town in October. I finally feel prepared, so all I need to do is practice, practice, practice so the delivery is solid. I attempted to volunteer to help the 'behind the scenes' side of things. Let's just say that didn't work out, so I'm forging new paths. I will be teaching a beginning genealogy class at the local library in January. Super excited to spread the word of family history.

Heritage Scrapbook with PhotoShop Elements
Grandpa Lew's scrapbook ready for accents!!!!
And, I have been working like crazy to complete some scrapbook projects. I wanted to complete scrapbooks featuring my Grandpa Lew Brown and my Grandma Louise Long. Lew's book is ready for the final tweak or the 'fun phase' of adding embellishments. Yeah! Louise's book is ready for the final addition of journaling and then decorating. I'm hoping to have these projects wrapped up by the end of this month.

Then.... I need to slow down a bit. Whew. All of my summer projects were supposed to end in August, but that was not to be the case. Instead, they're taking longer but I'm excited. So... the blog this month might have fewer 'regular' posts and I apologize to my faithful readers.

However, we must not run faster than we have strength. So... here's to celebrating what has happened and cutting myself some slack for not being super woman. When 'summer' finally wraps up around here, I'll be able to share more of the family history, heritage scrapbooking pages, and memorabilia photography ya'll love. (Plus, I have a new camera and a sturdy light box that I can't wait to try out).

07 September 2013

In need of clues regarding Chrisoph Hoppe's Immigration

Grave maker for Christoph Hoppe, son of the immigrant
I would love to know more about my third great-grandfather Christian Christopher Hoppe. Derivative records present the day of 14 May 1818 as Christoph's birth date and the location is believed to be Hanover as that is the place he listed on his naturalization papers which were dated 8 Oct 1860 in Franklin County, Ohio.

Great-grandfather used the name Christian and Christopher in varying spellings and combinations throughout his life. In 1860, his name is listed as Christian in the census where he is a wagon maker by trade. The census taker wrote the last name and it looks like Hoppa or Koppa. Perhaps Hoppe is an Anglicized spelling of his name. I know not. And, I know that I'm saying it wrong and have learned the name would sound more like Hoppa or Koppa.

So, if I were to look for Christian Christopsher's family in Hanover, how would I go about this? What clues and strategies should I use?

Should I be looking for the Hoppe family Bible or other Hoppe descendants? Should I try to find Christopher or Christian Hoppe/Hoppa/Koppa through the port of Bremen? How would I know it is him when I find it? His death record suggests that his parents are Christoph Hoppe and Maria. Does this help me find my Christopher born in 1818 in Hanover?

It is believed that Christoph married Anna Margareta Kalsberger (of Bavaria) at the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio on 12 Apr 1859. Does the marriage in the Lutheran church suggest that I should look in Lutheran church records in Hanover?

Oh the questions that plague me as the records dry up on this side of the pond.

06 September 2013

Photograph Patches or Insignia

There is something about September that makes me think of clubs and organizations. Perhaps it stems from my husband granting me further access to his boy scout collection. Perhaps it is the thought of many persons going back to school and making decisions of what clubs and activities to join. Regardless, it is important to photograph the patches or insignias associated with work, clubs, or other organizations our family belongs too or participated in.

f/4, exp 1/8, ISO 80
Spot focus metering

I found that a seamless backdrop set up can work really well for patches, as will a light box. The key is, that taking photos of objects such as these absolutely flat can be difficult with my tripod set up. So, I like to elevate the objects a little. I place a little bit of craft fiberfill underneath a white piece of cloth. Then I lean the patches against the cloth. I adjust the angle of my camera to reflect the patches' angles and viola!

f/4, exp 1/5, bias +1, ISO 80
Spot focus meters

Another thing I liked doing was grouping patches. In Boy Scouts, a participant can generate a LOT of patches. So, it's a good idea to cluster them when you can.

Good luck photographing the patches and insignia in your family history and heritage memorabilia collection. Leave a link in the comments section so we can all celebrate your work.