Well, technically Family Preserve’s blogiversary was a month ago – 23 February to be exact.
The past ten months were fast-paced. Filled with lots of research on many different limbs and branches of my family tree. In December, it all came to a halt. I had caught up; but worse, I felt as though ‘burn-out’ was setting in. Just before the holidays I had found one or two documents, I ordered them and then set about waiting. But try as I might, until this past week or so, I just couldn’t muster a lot of energy or enthusiasm genealogy research.
While I’ve known from the start that I wanted to look back over my first year of blogging - I kept notes on successes, ‘cousin bating’ and the like. This too failed to initially energize me. Until this week.
This week I received the documents I had ordered before Christmas and a ‘cousin’ contacted me out of the blue after coming across my blog. This has gotten me excited again. And, I’ve been climbing and exploring my family tree with renewed vigor.
So, here we go, Family Preserves takes a look back on its first year . . .
Total Published Blog Posts February 2013 – March 2014: 34
My Favorite Posts From this Year:
Postive Results: A direct result of the decision to launch the Family Preserves blog has been positive from the very first. A few examples of this are highlighted below:
Family Preserves launched in February 2013
My research of the BEARDSELLS, LEARN, and McLEAN branches of the family tree yielded ‘cousins!’ ‘Cousins’ is used broadly here and encompasses closer and more distant relationships heretofore unknown.
BEARDSELL In tracing my Great Grandfather, Wallace BEARDSELL’s, entry in the US (Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), I discovered that he and his second wife, Clara, had a daughter together. Lidie Victoria BEARDSELL was my Grandmother’s half-sister. Sadly, I also discovered that she had passed away one year (2012) before I found her. She was 99.
LEARN A short time after the launch of Family Preserves, I found myself caring for my father who had just undergone open-heart surgery. To occupy the hours – mostly to keep from worry – I focused on the LEARN branch of the family tree. And, through a inquiry on one of many genealogy FaceBook pages, a ‘LEARN’ cousin reached out. From that connection I was invited and attended my first LEARN Family Reunion. A reunion equals an endless sea of ‘cousins!’
McLEAN The McLEAN branch of the tree is a collateral line from which I do not directly descend. However, the research of this branch helped solve a mystery, which I’ll get into a bit more detail about shortly.
Inspired an Interest in Genealogy Both with the launch of Family Preserves and finding more information on the families within our tree, there has been an increased interest among family members, that had not seemed interested in the preceding (20) years. The results . . .
Photos Largely due to 50th wedding anniversary that my Aunt and Uncle celebrated in April 2013, my other Aunt went through boxes and boxes of photos an slides. She came across old family albums that my Grandmother had put together and other photographic treasures of both my Grandfather’s (KOONS / KRIEBEL) and Grandmother’s (STARR / RAMER) families. And, she thought of me. SCORE!!
Family Interest Okay, my husband and I have been married 27 years and in all that time, I could never get the tiniest morsel of information out of my Father-in-law about his family. But that all changed January 2013. Prior to our visit that January, a cousin of my husband’s reached out to him on FaceBook, my husband hasn’t seen him since they were children. That is another story for another day. However, my husband had the forethought to mention to Jeff, that I was interested in the family history. Jeff responded by taking the time to write down what he knew – dates, times, places, names, etc. – scanned his scribbled notes and sent them to us. SCORE!!
With that start I was able to start filling in the leaves and branches with the MEYERS / ZEISSLER / STULTZ / VAN BUSKIRK and PATTERSON Families. When we arrived in Pennsylvania for our visit, I shared with my Father-in-law what I had recently learned and that my husband and I were going to make a point of visiting the cemeteries where my husband’s ancestors were buried; first we needed to Google the cemeteries and get the addresses for our GPS. My Father-in-law said, there is no need, I’ll take you and maybe afterward, if you’d like, I’ll show around where I grew up. Yes, I’d like very much. SCORE!!
More Interest On the other side of the family, I was both surprised and pleased when I received an email from my Uncle, he had come across an old photo (circa 1915) of a 4-door sedan convertible filled with KRIEBEL family members. The problem? He didn’t know who any of them were. But he thought of me – the family genealogist. SCORE!!
Ancestor Pages If you’ve read my post Family / Genealogy Addict you’ll note that back in the beginning of 2013 one symptom of my addiction was watching the many and varied genealogy tutorials that were out there on YouTube. One such tutorial, presented by Crista Cowan, was on creating an Ancestor Page on FaceBook. I created two.
One Mystery Solved (sort of) Well, one of many. As we genealogists know, there is a never ending supply of mysteries.
As mentioned earlier I was researching the McLEAN’s a collateral line through marriage. My Grandmother’s sister, Jane Ann (aka Jennie) BEARDSELL married Stanley McLEAN in 1908. When I started my research on this line, I knew that they had one son together, Ralph. I was able to follow the family through the 1910 census but after that . . .
I also knew that Jennie had remarried in 1928; her second husband, William J BROWN, Sr and Jennie had one son together, William J BROWN, Jr. And, I was able to follow the BROWNs in the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Federal Census. Jennie (BEARDSELL) BROWN died 10 February 1940 in Camden Township, Camden, New Jersey. Jennie’s death certificate indicated that she was interred at the Magnolia Cemetery located in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A call to the cemetery office and I learn that Jennie is buried along side her first husband Stanley McLEAN; Stanley died 20 years later in 1963. But, between 1910 and 1930 where in the world was Jennie McLEAN?
I did find Ralph living with his McLEAN Grandparents in Philadelphia on the 1920 census. I located Stanley McLEAN living in New Jersey, listed as a border, but for the life of me, I could not locate Jennie. Where in the World was Jennie McLEAN?
Not having any other leads, I started searching newspaper. However, I didn’t have any specifics to go on, so what did I do? I focused on the years that Jennie went missing, 1911 – 1930, and I searched paper after paper; page after page in both New Jersey and Philadelphia. My genealogybank.com subscription proved helpful here. And, many hours and days later, I found . . .
Stanley McLEAN arrested for assault and Battery and Disertion of his wife and three minor children. Wait, huh, three children? Okay, I knew about Ralph, but who are the other two? But then I remembered that Bill BROWN (Jennie and William BROWN Sr.’s son) had sent me a copy of a Family Tree that he had worked on more than 30 years ago. I got it out and Ralph and Leah McLEAN were listed as Jennie and Stanley’s children. Okay, two down and one to go. Then I remembered that there was a picture in the collection of old family photos; the picture was of my Grandmother’s and Jennie’s brother, George with a little girl – Edna McLEAN! All three children accounted for, yet I didn’t know anything about them and I still hadn’t found Jennie. Where in the World was Jennie McLEAN?
What I think I know today. . .
Leah and Edna McLEAN – I found them on the 1920 U.S. Federal Census living in the Clovernook Children’s Home in Philadelphia
Enda McLEAN – I’ve located a marriage record for Edna that indicates she married Edwin Stanley Ervin on 5 October 1935. This has been my most recent find, I just ordered a copy of the document using familysearch.org’s Family History Library Photo Duplication Request Form. The email I received this morning from the Family History Library indicates that I will have a 4 – 6 week wait.
Leah - I still haven’t found her anywhere other than in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
While none of this is ‘proven’ I am confident that I am on the right track. So, I feel this is a SCORE!!
and lastly . . .
Another collateral line that I’ve delved into just before Christmas is the COSTELLO family. Again, I don’t directly descend from this line, but my Grandmother’s second husband, Edward P COSTELLO was well loved and respected by his daughter and two step-sons. His one step-son, my Dad, specifically asked if I would see what I could find on Ed and the COSTELLO family.
With the exception of Ed’s given name, which I have not been able to nail down – is it Edward Pierce; Pierce or Percy – you can read about that mystery here Crap!! I’ve had some luck . . .
Marriage record for parents (copy recently ordered)
Passport Application w/photo for brother
Philadelphia Passenger List – 1887 Arrival
U.S. Federal Census Records (1900 – 1910)
Death / Obituary Records for Parents
Okay, so what are my goals for the coming year?
Blog Posts To be specific, more frequent posting.
My struggle this past year has been to post on a regular basis. I have had no problem writing about my research; in truth I have found that to be a successful methodology for me – I’d chronologically go through my research process; documents found; information the documents seemed to corroborate or refute; questions that the documents raised; and the like. This process helped me focus on what I was missing and where I needed to go from there.
Nor do have a problem with blogging about my successes and disappointments. But, what I do struggle with is blogging when there (seemingly) isn’t much to say. I am not good at short ‘chat / FaceBook’ size snippets. And, these past few months – really since November 2013 – my research, as I said at the beginning, has slowed considerably and until recently, it has been a struggle to get back into the tree and posting again on Family Preserves.
I would love to hear from other bloggers . . .
How do you blog daily / frequently when you’re going through a lull or burnout? Or . . .
Do you just blog when you have something to share?
The goal of blogging is to not only document family stories and research but also to get that information out there as ‘cousin bait.’ Right? But, do you worry that if you’re not blogging daily? Am I putting too much pressure on myself thinking about this?
Rootstech 2013 & 2014 This year I discovered Rootstech 2013 and 2014 webinars. I worked my way through all of them. And, I enjoyed them for their tips, tricks and stories.
LiveStream Tutorials I very rarely miss my very favorite genealogist, Crista Cowan’s Tuesday and Thursday tutorials. And, if I do, I catch them on the ancestry.com YouTube Channel. I cannot say enough about the depth and breadth of information that Crista puts out weekly on how to climb your family tree and how to pursue the research of your ancestors. If you have not seen her presentations, I highly recommend them. You can find the schedule for her LiveStream events here Barefoot Genealogist and the link to ancestry.com’s YouTube channel is here ancestry.com Channel.
Google Earth a year ago, I discovered Lisa Louise Cooke and her book “The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox” and her two CD’s “Google Earth Volume 1” and “Google Earth Volume 2.” Okay, I am not tech saavy, so I have been procrastinating . . . I haven’t yet installed the program on my computer. Since then, I have discovered Eric Stitt’s blog Genealogy Through Google Earth. I love the idea of mapping out my ancestor’s migration and so much more. Note to self, you must get this on the computer and start using it.!
National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2014 Family History Conference I will be attending my very first genealogy conference of any kind. The NGS conference this year will be held in Richmond, VA – just 2 hours from where I currently make my home. I am so looking forward to it.
All in all Family Preserves has had a good first year and I look forward to what next year will bring . . .
Bring on the ‘cousins!’
Bring on the collaboration!
Bring on more tips and tricks!
Bring on the stories and discoveries!
Bring on the genealogy victories!
I have enjoyed this past year with Family Preserves and its successes, I truly hope you, the reader, have enjoyed the stories and that you’ll continue visiting in the coming year.
Thank you, Tracy