Category Archives: Motivation Monday

Slides from RootsTech Presentations –Motivation Monday

Myself and Lou Szucs at RootsTech 2014
Myself and Lou Szucs at RootsTech 2014

I presented two lectures at RootsTechs 2014:

  • Learning How To Tune Your Ancestry.com Search
  • Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective: Extracting Stories from Military Records on Ancestry.com and Fold3

If you were there and would like a copy of my slides or are interested you can find the PDF’s on my Slides and Presentations page.

Five Minute Find Series: Motivation Monday

I create Five Minute Find videos for Ancestry.com

image01

I’ve added 3 more to the How To Videos page:

  • Are You a Hints Power User : Overwhelmed by your Ancestry.com hints? Spend five minutes with Anne Gillespie Mitchell and you’ll learn how hints power users get the most of their hints.
  • Hidden Treasures in Your State : Changing where you look for your ancestors can break through brick walls. Spend five minutes with Anne Gillespie Mitchell and learn how to find collections and records specific to the state where your ancestor lived.
  • Nosy About the Neighbors : It is important to put your ancestors in context. Putting them in context of the people who lived nearby reveals the type of community they lived in. And these are the people they gossiped about! You have to know…

Some Words of Wisdom to Get Your Monday Going. Motivation Monday.

I found these from a post Elissa Scalise Powell made on the TGF.  It is a series of videos by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania entitled: Genealogists Share: What I Wish I Knew Then. They contain sage words of wisdom.

Preview of Videos on You Tube. Genealogists Share: What I Wish I Knew Then
Preview of Videos on You Tube. Genealogists Share: What I Wish I Knew Then

Write down where you found it.  That is what I wish I had known.

Inauguration Day Dawns Over Washington DC, January 21st, 2013. Motivation Monday.

This morning when I checked my facebook page, I found this, taken by my very talented cousin-in-law, Harrison Moore.

Harrison Moore's photo taken the morning of January 21, 2013
Harrison Moore’s photo taken the morning of January 21, 2013

This was his view of the Washington DC as inauguration day dawned January 21, 2013.

Regardless of how you feel about this particular election or any other, there is something uniquely American in the way our democracy works and how power is transferred or continued.

I wonder how our ancestors felt on various election days and inauguration days.

But mostly I just wanted a chance to share this awesome picture from one of my relatives. :-)  Thanks Harrison!

Let’s Practice Our Narrative Lineage’s! Motivation Monday

I’m currently working on being a Certified Genealogist (CG).  There are 7 parts, and the one I’m currently working on is the KDP or Kinship Determination Project.  I can’t publish my work as I go along, but I thought if I did a parallel project and published the process it might help me figure out issues with the one I will turn in.

A KDP can be a narrative lineage (the simplest one!) that traces three generations and has at least two proof statements of parentage as well as a narration of the couple’s lives.

I’m going to being with my great grandmother, Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie.

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950.  Granny was 73 years old.  This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.
Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Laura was the youngest living child of James and Elizabeth (Wallace) Donald.  She was born in 1877 and lived 87 years.

I’m going to use the format that Connie Leizen, CGSM  did in her paper:  The Maternal Line of Elizabeth (Niesz) TitusYou can find other samples of BCG’s page Sample Work Product

For certification, you need to trace three couples, and you need to include at least:

  1. Intro
  2. General Vital Summary
  3. Proof/Discussion of Parentage
  4. Children
  5. Narrative of Life

Today, let’s look at the General Vital Summary.  (There has to be a better name than this, I’m sure.)

1.Laura Cecile Donald was born on 13 February 1877 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and died 23 August 1864 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.1 On 24 January, 1894 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Laura married Wyatt Paul Gillespie.2 He was born 15 July 1865 in Amherst County, Virginia, the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Gillespie) Gillespie,3 and died on 19 February 1941 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.4   Laura and Wyatt are buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. 5

So for any person you describe you need to know AND document:

  1. Name (full name)
  2. Birth date and place
  3. Death date and place (burial place if you have it)
  4. Marriage place, date and spouse’s name.
  5. Spouse’s birth date, parents and death date.

Now I know I have better documentation on some of these facts.  I have to go find it.  Oh yes, we are digging back into them early genealogy days of bad organization and documentation.

Now these posts are not meant to be definitive answers on what the pieces of a narrative lineage is, but instead and opportunity to allow me to work through the pieces.  If you have thoughts, comments or questions, I’d be glad to hear them.


[1] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Rockbridge County, Virginia), Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie Tombstone; photographed by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, 1 August 2010.
[2] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (Is this citation right?)
[3] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (What is the short version of this?)
[4] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.

Is Your Blog Shareable? Make It Easy On Your Readers. Motiviation Monday

Is your blog shareable?  Do you share posts that you read?

If you want to drive traffic to you blog, make sharing easy.  A click of the button should be all it takes for your readers to share your latest observation.

If you have a wordpress blog, then you should use the sharing widget:

Sharing on WordPress from Finding Forgotten Stories

Sharing on facebook or twitter should be just a click.  Make it easy for you readers to email.

Any blog platform will have this capability.

Allow your readers to follow you by email.  WordPress has a widget you can add to a sidebar:

Follow Blog via Email on Finding Forgotten Stories

Also, put some thought into the title of each post.  “John Smith” is not that descriptive or engaging.  “Why did John Smith abandon his wife and 3 children in 1849?” might draw a few more people in.

And label your images so that if someone “pins” them on Pinterest, they have a meaningful label.  image007 is not meaningful.  John and Mary Smith, Franklin, Virginia from Finding Forgotten Stories tells the world what the picture is about and where it came from.

I pin pictures from blogs I read to my “Genealogy Blogs” board.  You never know where that new reader is going to come from!

Genealogy Blogs Board from Finding Forgotten Stories

Make it easier on your readers!  And don’t forget to share those posts you read on others blogs that are interesting to you.

Motiviaton Monday: At Forty Percent Off, What Are You Waiting For?

If you don’t have Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills in your library, today is the day to add it.  The publisher, Genealogical.com is offering at 40%. Even if you don’t plan on being a Professional Genealogist, you will find lots of good information in here.  Each chapter is edited by a different person or people and will give you good background on various topics such as writing, editing and education.

You can find the link at: http://www.genealogical.com/products/Professional%20Genealogy/3844.html

You’ll also find a variety of other books on the site. One of my favorites is Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession by Donald Lines Jacobus. It’s not 40% off, but it is a great book. It’s an easy and entertaining read. It is a how-to book written long before the internet and like me you may some inspiration in the pages.

Happy Reading!

Motivation Monday: Allen County Public Library

My current job at Ancestry.com is working on improving the product we put in Libraries and Institutions.  Today I’m off to the Allen County Public Library to see how the do things and use our product.

I’ll be shadowing librarians, doing two presentations, and with any luck I’ll be sneaking in some research time!

Should be a good we

Motivation Monday — I’m On The Clock!

While I was at FGS 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama I took the plunge and started my CG clock.  I was being nudged.  Mark Lowe said something about steel toed boots! I  had been considering doing this since I graduated from my BU course and the time seemed right.  I’m also doing this with 3 friends….a little encouragement along the way should be a good thing.

So I have a year to complete the following tasks:

  1. Sign an ethics statement.  This seems like a reasonable thing to do. :-)
  2. Write a resume from a genealogical point of view.  I can do that.
  3. Do a transcription, abstraction, and research plan for a document selected by BCG.   I can do this, I’ve done in class and I get the idea.
  4. Same as #3 but for a document of my choosing.  I’ve got an awesome chancery case.
  5. Client Report.  Needs to be meat enough to show off my skills.  And given that I’ve never had a paying client, it has to be pro bono work.  If you’ve got a big southern problem, let me know.
  6. Conflicting or Indirect Evidence.  I know how to write a proof, the trick on this one will be selecting something that is complex enough to show off my skills.
  7. Narrative lineage.  I’ve picked 3 couples from my tree and I’m looking forward to this one.

After listening to many current CGs talk, I’m looking at this next year as not a OMG I have to prove myself, but a really good learning experience.    This is not about being the most brilliant genealogist but about proving to myself I understand the process and how records are used to illustrate the lives of our ancestors.

Oh, and reading instructions.   Critical for every application!

I am really excited.