Saturday, July 02, 2011

Happy 'I Forgot' Day!

Well, it all started with good intentions.  I missed the majority of Amy Coffin's "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" blog prompts for 2010 since I only started my blog last October, so I decided to go through them this year.  That lasted exactly 5 weeks (hence, the "I forgot" portion of this post).  The 5 posts I did write can be found here.  So now I'm going to play a little catch-up.  These are going to be incredibly short and sweet.

Week 6 - Online Databases at Your Public Library
Footnote, HeritageQuest, Ancestry, Sanborn Maps, and AmericanAncestors.

Week 7 - Play with GoogleMaps
I did, back in May, and incorporated the links in a blog post here.

Week 8 - Discover Online Map Collections
I visited the Perry-Castaneda Collection, David Rumsey Collection, and the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress.  I have bookmarked these sites and plan to revisit them as appropriate throughout my research.

Week 9 - Pick 5 genealogy blogs and read them every day
I already follow about 175 blogs.  I try to get to them every day, but sometimes I'm forced to wait a day or two (but thank you, GoogleReader).  I'm supposed to find 5 that are "outside my area of expertise" ... apparently, I don't have an area of expertise.  Here are 5 that I find myself drawn to on a regular basis* (meaning I get excited when there's a new post): It's All Relative, Clue Wagon, The Olive Tree Genealogy - Ask a Question, Begin With 'Craft', and The Accidental Genealogist.
*these are by no means the only 5 I get excited about ... 

Week 10 - Investigate FamilySearch Pilot
Well, technically the FamilySearch Pilot doesn't exist anymore.  I frequently use FamilySearch in my research though.

Week 11 - Read back posts from Transitional Genealogists Forum
This forum is actually pretty nice.  There is a lot of good information on the list - from citations to meanings of words to accreditation.  I'm definitely going to take another look at this one.

Week 12 - Check out websites for Society of American Archivists, ARMA, and American Library Association
These websites center around preservation of records and documents, which is good information to have, but there was a lot of info that applies only to librarians or professional archivists (regulatory issues, etc.).  I will revisit these because they do have some useful publications.

Week 13 - Make an appointment with Cyndi's List
I am a huge fan of Cyndi's list, and use it often.  Incidentally, she just updated her website.  Check it out here.

Week 14 - Use a different search engine for your research
There has been a lot of talk about Mocavo, so I checked it out.  I entered the name of an ancestor about whom I have blogged in the past.  Mocavo didn't pick it up.  Nothing.  Google returned 5 links to WikiTree, Footnote, and my blog.  Still needs some work, but it will go on the list as a search resource anyway.  I already use Bing and Dogpile.

Week 15 - Write a letter
I actually did this already!  I'm so proud.  I wrote a letter to my grandmother who lives on the west coast (that one was handwritten), a letter to a church in Wisconsin requesting a copy of a marriage certificate, and a letter to the NY adoption registry a couple of days ago to find information on my grandfather.

Week 16 - Check out the online library catalog of a university.
I checked out the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) library website. Their digital catalog was impressive, but inaccessible unless you had a login ID.  I did a general search for "genealogy" in the full catalog and got over 2,700 hits.  Unfortunately, I can't get the books unless I am a current student or alumni.

Week 17 - Get out your family photos and label them
Uh oh.  I sent a handful of photos to my grandmother the other day for identification ... does that count?

Week 18 - Dip your toe in the social networking pool
Done.  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Here's my question: My LinkedIn account was originally for career networking, but I have added genealogy networking as well.  Should I make a separate profile for my genealogy?

Week 19 - Examine the "Genealogy and Military Records" page at NARA
So, in the meantime, NARA has redesigned their website that that page was moved to here.  I actually used this page to figure out how to request my great grandfather's and granduncle's military records.

Week 20 - Play with the Bureau of Land Management GLO website
Done.  Blogged about here

Week 21 - Examine the website of your state archives
I went to the Tennessee State Archives website and found that they actually have a "Virtual Archive" with lots of stuff in it ... Civil War, postcards, sheet music, maps, etc.  This is definitely getting bookmarked.  I don't have any Tennessee ancestors (yet), but I do have folks in my tree who fought and died here during the Civil War.

Week 22 - Spend some time at Find-A-Grave
Done.  I spend a lot of time at Find-A-Grave and have taken many photographs for people who live out-of-state.  I highly recommend taking a look at the site ... early and often.

Week 23 - Come up with a personal genealogy challenge of your own
Wow.  Okay.  Every week since the middle of May, I have been coming up with weekly challenges during my Genealogy Success Team meetings with Laura.  Those posts can be found here.  I think those should count.

Week 24 - Read about the Dewey Decimal Classification System
Seriously? Could this be a more boring subject?  That's what I thought going into this ... I was wrong.  I mean, it's still a boring subject, but that's some really good stuff to know!  Just knowing the hierarchy of the numbering system is going to be such a time-saver.  Turns out the Library of Congress uses a different system (letters v. numbers) and they have more main categories, but the hierarchy is essentially the same.

Week 25 - Write one good, solid comment on at least one genealogy blog every day for a week
Okay, I haven't done one every day for a week, but I'm pretty sure that over the last 25 weeks, I have managed to post a solid comment on at least 7 blogs.

Week 26 - Take a stroll through GoogleBooks
Done!  I have actually found and downloaded (for free) about 20 books.  Now I just have to read them all!  Fortunately, they are all reference books, so (hopefully) a quick search will be all I need.

... and just to bring everything current ...

Week 27 - Visit GoogleScholar
I went to GoogleScholar and typed in nothing but the surname "Lanctot."  I was surprised that I got so many returns.  Usually I don't get anything.  Judging by the returns I got, the Lanctots are apparently involved in a lot of genetic research and/or criminal activity.  I'm not sure any of these hits go back far enough to be my direct ancestors, but I'm definitely going to look a little deeper.

Whew, I felt like I was on Willy Wonka's boat on the chocolate river just then!  But it's good to know that I had been doing some of these things all along.  Now I just have to keep up with it ...

I'm sure there's other stuff I forgot.  I just can't remember it now!


Tonia said...

I like how you did this. It's like "speed-blogging."

It's a good reminder, too. Like you, I meant to go back and do a bunch of these challenges that I missed, but I never got around to it. I may add some of these into my schedule.

Jenny Lanctot said...

"Speed Blogging" ... I love it!

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