28 February 2011

Personal Family History Conference Interruption

Yesterday, the first day of my personal family history conference was wonderful. MJ and the kids skied all day and left me to my virtual genealogical wanderings. I spent three hours scanning at Scanfest, working through three aged and yellowed scrapbook albums dating from the seventies. It was a perfect day.

Today didn't go so well. We lost our water, our well water. We are pretty sure the well point at our holiday getaway is frozen, but we won't know for sure until a few of the feet of snow melt. And even though I descend from good Yankee stock, I am just not hardy enough to spend the week without an indoor toilet or a shower. Would you? My son was fully prepared to do it. 

Standing on top of "Mount Everest" on Saturday, he is smiling broadly. No smiles this morning. We packed up everything that we had just lugged to Maine on Saturday and departed from our snowy retreat. Even driving a four wheel drive vehicle, it was a scary trip. We hit snow, sleet, freezing rain and finally rain. 

After a stop to cheer our spirits with Raspberry Lime Rickeys at the Miss Wakefield Diner in Wakefield, NH, we finally and safely reached home. To keep the vacation feeling going, we spent the rest of the day watching movies and hanging out. Even though it wasn't planned, it always feels good to be home.

Tomorrow, my family will go off to skiing again and I get to continue my personal family history conference. This has just been a little interruption from real life.

Hope you had a Happy Monday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

27 February 2011

Getting Ready for February 2011 Scanfest

Vacation! Time for my very own personal family history conference. Thankfully, most of you understand. People who don't know me well or who aren't into photos, memories or family history cannot fathom why I would want to spend my vacation immersed in genealogical activities. 

MJ and our kids are spending each day of this week skiing at different New Hampshire mountains. They love skiing, they live for it and they are already sad that spring will arrive in less than a month. I, on the other hand, have never understood the lure of standing on two skinny sticks and speeding down a steep, slippery hill. No, I don't get it, but they enjoy it and that is what matters. And after they witnessed me standing on those two sticks and screaming my way down a mountain, they get that I will probably never be a skier and can better spend my time doing something that is fun for me.

So, while they were packing up skis, boots, gloves and all of their necessary equipment, I was gathering old photo albums, unread genealogy journals, scanners, cameras and my computer for my personal genealogy conference. I have six whole days to immerse myself in whatever genealogical pursuits come to mind. The fire is hot, the coffee is brewing and I am ready to start. 

Today is day one and the main activities will be reorganizing my Dropbox folder and scanning pictures from these old and quite obviously not archival albums:

These are some of my earliest personal history photo albums, dating from thirty to thirty-five years ago. Scrapbooks would better describe some of them as they include things as mundane as fortune cookie fortunes, sugar packets and clothing tags. Yes, I am a saver. 

My scanning will be done this afternoon from 2 to 5PM Eastern time as part of the February 2011 Scanfest hosted by Miriam Robbins Kidmiff at AnceStories. This will be my second time participating and I learned a couple of things to make it go more smoothly this time. 

Choose your items to be scanned:
Decide ahead of time exactly which items you will be scanning. You won't want to leave your computer to go find things. 

Create a folder labeled 2011 Feb Scanfest:
It was too difficult to type, read, scan, label and save all at the same time. Create a folder labeled 2011 Feb Scanfest and save all of your new scans to that folder. It will be easier to go back later to rename and move your files. Also, the folder will be a reminder to you that these are new items that need your attention. 

Your Dropbox folder is listed under My Documents:
When I created my Dropbox folder, I placed it on my desktop. I access it by either finding it on my desktop or in this location:

Windows 7

When scanning and saving, the option above is not available, so I had always just scanned to my desktop and moved the files later. Last month at Scanfest I learned that the default location for Dropbox is in Documents. Even though I thought I created it on my desktop, what I see is just a short cut to the actual location in Documents. If you want to save directly to Dropbox, navigate to Libraries, Documents and My Dropbox. 

This isn't exactly how it looks when scanning, because as you see the Dropbox choice is still present under favorites, but let me assure you that it is not there when scanning. 

The folder for today's scans is ready and waiting. While creating the folder on your desktop keeps it front and center in your mind, I like creating the folder in Dropbox so that there will be no chance of losing my hard work. 

Scanning can be tricky and takes a lot of time. That's why it is helpful to attend Scanfest. There is camaraderie and help available. Head on over to Miriam's blog for more tips about scanning as well as information about how to participate in Scanfest. It's a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!

Happy Sunday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

25 February 2011

Procrastination Finally Pays Off! - The National Genealogical Society Gets Hip

Don't tell me that the National Genealogical Society is a stuffy institution. Ann Christnacht Hilke, CG and President, announces in her NGS Magazine message this month that the society is poised to expand their educational offerings and that "the board plans to try new ways of delivering our courses using new technology." She further states that they "are experimenting with technology to make our courses interactive." Cool! In order to make this plan come to fruition they have appointed Jordan Jones to the board. What a great move. Jordan Jones is "senior software development manager for content management services at Cisco Systems". Talk about genealogy and technology converging.

This is good news for me and the many others, who would like to take the NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course, which is currently only available on CD. Pursuing this course and their Working With Deeds course is in my big goals for 2011 plan. CDs are good, but online is better and interactive is best. CDs are 1995. Online and interactive is 2011.

For once, my procrastination has payed off. Ann Christnacht Hilke says they are currently reworking the Deeds course. I'm waiting for it. Sign me up as soon as it's ready! Kudos to the National Genealogical Society for presenting excellent educational opportunities AND for working hard to stay hip!

Happy Friday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

23 February 2011

22 February 2011

Win a copy of RootsMagic 4 and the book!

Amy Coffin at the We Tree Genealogy Blog is giving away a copy of Roots Magic 4 and the guide for getting the most out of it. Head on over to her blog for details:

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

Bubba the Sailor Man - World War II Medals

According to Bubba's Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service, dated 2 January 1946, he received the Asiatic-Pacific 1 star, the Philippine Liberation 1 star, the Victory Medal and the American Theatre [sic]. After researching these medals online and discovering that they were ribbons, I realized that they can be seen on Bubba's uniform:

Here is a closeup of the ribbons:

Wikipedia should not be used as a reliable source for information, but as a good source for clues. Images of all of Bubba's medals can be see in online shops, but I wanted images I could use on my blog and I found them on Wikipedia. These images are free to use via Wikimedia Commons, which indicates that these images are in the public domain. 



Two of Bubba's ribbons, which are medals for specific campaigns, each have one star, which can just be made out on the photo above.

Here is the closeup again of the ribbons on Bubba's uniform:

And here are the ribbons his service record says that he was awarded: 

I think we have a match. What do you think? 

For a more reliable source of information about Navy medals, I was hoping to consult the book, Complete Guide to United States Navy Medals, Badges and Insignia: World War II to Present, but according to WorldCat, the closest library is in Buffalo, New York. Too far to go before the kids get out of school. May just have to order it.

Happy Monday, I mean Tuesday! Where has the week gone?

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

20 February 2011

Genealogical Research at the Providence Public Library

We headed south to Connecticut and Rhode Island for horse shows this weekend. After a cold and successful day showing at Windcrest Farm in Hebron, Connectiut, my daughter went off to support her team at another show at Brookside Equestrian Center in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. 

Bear with me, I promise this leads to genealogical research. Because my daughter was not actually riding today, I found myself in Rhode Island with some free time, an unfamiliar commodity. What does a genealogist do with a little extra time? She goes to the library, the Providence Public Library, which has Sunday hours from September through May.

This used to be my library of choice, just a hop skip and a jump from Classical High School, my alma mater. Opened in 1878 the Providence Public Library, although truly public, is privately owned and operated by a Board of Trustees. In 1989 the Providence Central Library was designated as the statewide reference center by the Rhode Island General Assembly. See the history and historical highlights pages of the website.

My goal at the library today was to search the Providence Journal archives for three obituaries. Online it is possible to search articles from 1983 to the present, but for prior years, one must go onsite. There is a Daily Index to the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin covering the years 1900 through 2004, but not everything is included. Only obituaries of particularly notable individuals can be found.

MJ's great grandparents, Max and Sofia (Ponce) Feldman, were unlikely to be found in the index, so I headed straight for the microfilm. The Providence Journal is available on microfilm from 1829 through the present. It is located on the first floor and requires a librarian's assistance to pull. There were multiple readers, but I was sole user today. The machine I used was in good repair and good backlighting. Twenty cent copies could be made with a push of a button on the front of the reader. 

There were few full obituaries in 1913, 1920 and 1929. I found both great grandparents simply listed in the death notices. The third obituary I sought was for Jacob Ponce, who passed away in 1965. In 1965 there were many full obituaries, Jacob's among them. He may or may not be a relative, but his obituary gives some good clues to get started.

It was fun returning to an old haunt to do a little genealogical research. Providence is a great city. Even though I have lived in New Hampshire for almost twenty eight years, I still miss it. 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

Winner of the Discover Your Roots Guide is...

Carol R. 

Congratulations Carol! I will send you the guide tomorrow. 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

* Disclosure: This magazine was purchased by me and not gifted to me for the purposes of a review or any other such thing. I just thought it would be a fun thing to share with my blog readers. 

Discover Your Roots - Giveaway for Beginner Family History Researchers

Don't forget that tonight is the deadline to comment on this post and have a chance to win a copy of Discover Your Roots. Be sure to forward this post to the beginners in your life.

Comment close at 7PM Eastern time. Winner will be posted at 8PM. 

Good luck and happy Sunday!
Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

* Disclosure: This magazine was purchased by me and not gifted to me for the purposes of a review or any other such thing. I just thought it would be a fun thing to share with my blog readers.

17 February 2011

Giveaway for Beginners in Genealogical Research

Just getting started on your genealogical research journey?

Today could be your lucky day! I am giving away a copy of this informative guide, Discover Your Roots, published by Family Tree Magazine to one reader of The Scrappy Genealogist.

Discover Your Roots includes guides to searching Google, Ancestry.com, EllisIsland.org and Archives.com. There are tips from Maureen A. Taylor, the Photo Detective, on gleaning genealogical clues from photographs. You will discover how to conduct research in courthouses and how to dig into cemeteries. The guide starts you at the beginning of your genealogical journey by explaining how to fill in pedigree sheets and helps you pick out software to keep track of everything. 

All you have to do to be eligible for this giveaway is leave a comment below this post. Please share how or why you got started and how long you have been researching. The winner will be chosen randomly. Comments will close at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, Sunday evening, February 20th, 2011 and the winner will be posted at 8PM Eastern Time.

Good luck and Happy Thursday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

* Disclosure: This magazine was purchased by me and not gifted to me for the purposes of a review or any other such thing. I just thought it would be a fun thing to share with my blog readers.

16 February 2011

14 February 2011

Genealogy Resources - Newspapers - ProQuest

Do you need online newspaper access? Do you like instant gratification? Are you willing to pay for it? 

Then you may wish to visit the sites below available through ProQuest. It is free to search and to view a snippet, but in order to view full images you must buy an access pass. Rates vary by paper and by number of articles accessed. A monthly subscription to the Boston Globe is $25.95 for 30 articles. 

Recently I have been using both the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe and have been able to use the same log-in for both papers, but had to buy separate access passes for each paper. At the Courant I purchased 50 articles for $59.95, although they do have a monthly pass for 75 articles at $49.95. 

Morning Call, The (Pennsylvania)

Happy Searching and Happy Monday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

13 February 2011

Cousins, cousins, everybody loves cousins!

We headed down to the homeland last night; Swampscott, Massachusetts, my husband's homeland, that is. The homeland encompasses the surrounding towns of Marblehead, Salem, Lynn, Danvers and Peabody as well. We had dinner at the old watering hole, Fantasy Island, where it was told that many a Bar Mitzvah party was held in the basement. 

The original goal was to scan some old Shoer and Brisk photos that a couple of the cousins had, but it turned into a mini reunion and a birthday party. Cousins born of four different offspring of Bubbie and Zayde were in attendance and we shared lots of stories and laughs over eggrolls and chicken teriyaki. I am still full this morning and missing everyone already. 

Here are a few goodies I scanned while reminiscing:

Everybody loves cousins! They are like siblings, without the rivalry. They have goodies tucked away in their attics, basements and spare rooms. Thank you cousins for sharing your memories and mementos!

Happy Sunday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

12 February 2011

Itching for Warmer Weather - Travel Plans for The 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Feeling the itch. It's that time of year, snow is still up to the windowsills and spring is but a distant dream. My thoughts are drawn to the call of warmer climes. This is a good day to plan my trip to the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which will be held this summer, August 14-19, 2011 in Washington, D.C. 

First stop was making a reservation at the Grand Hyatt, where the conference will be held. Rooms are still available, but if you plan to attend, don't delay in reserving yours. Last year the conference hotel sold out in advance. There are most likely hotels in D.C. that are cheaper than the conference rate at the Grand Hyatt of $199 per night, but I like being able to easily head back to my room to decompress between classes. Plus, after I added on two extra days pre-conference days at $99 each, the rate average went down and assuaged the pain a bit. 

Second stop was deciding how to travel down to Washington. The conference negotiated a discount with Amtrak. A train trip sounded fun, but the price and time involved couldn't compete with the airfare on U.S. Airways. Round trip fare today with taxes was only $140. 

The last and most important stop was registering for the conference itself. Registrations completed before April 30th are $275 for the week. From May 1st through July 31st, the cost goes up to $310. On site registration will be $340. This amount is very affordable for a six day conference. Last year there were more than one hundred classes. I am still working my way through the audio recordings that I purchased while there. 

This year's IAJGS conference will be their 31st, but only my second. Last year, there was truly something for everyone and I am looking forward to reviewing this year's lineup. Some of my favorite presentations last year would appeal to any genealogically minded attendee, not just those pursuing Jewish genealogy. These included presentations by Lisa Louise Cooke and Steve Morse, among many others. 

Hope to see you in Washington in August! Drop me a note or comment if you are thinking about attending. 

Happy Saturday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

11 February 2011

Mystery Photo - Joe L. Clift - Part 3 - Footnote Friday

Good news! Joe's son Walter got married! Where there's a marriage, sometimes there are children. I wonder...

Little Joe Clift had a son, Walter F. Clift, who was born about 1908 in Washington State1.

1 1910 U.S. census, Yakima County, Washington, population schedule, Yakima, Enumeration District (ED) 284, sheet 14A, p. 79 (written), dwelling 285, family 298, Walter F. Clift; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1675.

Walter’s 1925 senior yearbook from Yakima High School tells us that he was known as an honest young man2
2“U.S. School Yearbooks.” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), 1925, Yakima High School, Walter F. Clift entry, image 31.

Walter F. Clift from Yakima, Washington was a Business Administration major as reported in the 1930 University of Washington yearbook3
3“U.S. School Yearbooks Index Record for Washington,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), University of Washington, 1930, Walter F. Clift entry, image 87.

Polk’s Seattle Directory for 1943-1944 finds Walter married to Gertrude A. and working as an Assistant Manager in the Credit Department at the National Bank of Commerce4.
4“U.S. City Directories,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), entry for Walter F. Clift; citing “Polk’s Seattle (Washington) City Directory (Seattle, Washington: R.L. Polk & Co., 1944),” p 223.

Source List
“U.S. City Directories.” Database. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011.

“U.S. School Yearbooks.” Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com :2011

“U.S. School Yearbooks Index Record for Washington.” Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011

Washington. Yakima County. 1910 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011

Mystery Photo - Joseph L Clift - Part 2 - Footnote Friday

Good news! Joe had a son named Walter. Maybe he had kids! Maybe there is someone out there who will have a home for this little guy. 

Here is how I found that Joe had a son. Now I am off to put together what I have found out about Walter.

Robert Burrows and Descendants lists a Joseph L. Clift, born 3 July 1885, to Walter Clift and Margaret R.H. Packer1.
1 R. Earl Burrows, Robert Burrows and Descendants 1630-1974 (Ann Arbor, MI.:Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1975), 72-73; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011); locate through database of same title.
1900 census records for Yakima County, Washington, show Joseph L. Clift living with his parents, Walter and Margaret R. Clift, and his sister, Ruby Clift. This Joseph was born in July 1885 in Iowa2.
2 1900 U.S. census, Yakima County, Washington, population schedule, Nob Hill, Enumeration District (ED) 112, sheet 2, p. 71A (stamped), dwelling 29, family 30, Joseph L. Clift; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 1754.
1930 census records for Yakima County, Washington, show Joe L. Clift living with his wife, Sada F. Clift, and his son, Walter F. Clift3.
3 1900 U.S. census, Yakima County, Washington, population schedule, Yakima, Enumeration District (ED) 39-3, sheet 4A, p. 62 (stamped), dwelling 63, family 98, Joe L. Clift; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626, roll 2524.
Source List
Burrows, R. Earl. Robert Burrows and Descendants 1630-1974. Ann Arbor, MI.: Edward Brothers, Inc., 1975. Digital Images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011

Washington. Yakima County. 1900 U.S. census, polulation schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011

Washington. Yakima County. 1930 U.S. census, polulation schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2011

Mystery Photo - Joe L. Clift Part 1

On Wordless Wednesday I posted this old photograph:

Today I am looking for this young sweetie's family. 

What I know:
I found this photo in a group of cabinet cards relating to my Hammond and Brainard families. The photographer was D.C. Hale and the photo was taken in Elkader, Iowa. On the back of the photo in very fine pen is written; Joe L. Clift, Age 3 yrs, Elkader, Clayton Co., Iowa.

What I would like to know:
Who is this Joe L. Clift?
Is he related in some way to my family?

Let’s pop over to Ancestry.com and see what we can find out. 

08 February 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

Easily the largest free online portal to the genealogical galaxy is Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. This website has been maintained for free for nearly twenty years and the owner now wishes to upgrade the hosting platform. Please consider making a small (or large if you prefer :)) donation to assist financially with this transition and keep Cyndi's List available to all.

If it is possible that you have never been to Cyndi's List, take a trip there now and check out the seemingly endless lists of links and resources. You won't be sorry. Well, maybe you will, because you won't get anything else done today. And you will probably have to have cereal for dinner. Again.

Happy Tuesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

Tech Tuesday: Organizing and Packing Slides for Shipment - FotoBridge

This is an informative blogpost from FotoBridge about how to sort, label and pack your slides for shipping. If your slides are already organized or labeled, it would certainly make sense to send that labeling along with your order. FotoBridge will then label your digital files accordingly.

The slides I sent were in separate groups according to decade, but if I had known FotoBridge would provide this level of organization, I would have included a bit more description to each group. Read this blogpost for more detail and don't forget that FotoBridge is offering readers of The Scrappy Genealogist a ten percent discount. Just use the code "scrappy10" when you place your order.

Happy Tuesday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

07 February 2011

Military Monday - Postcards from Bubba the Sailor Man

According to his enlistment papers, on the second of March, 1944, Bubba became a reserve member of the United States Navy. His first child was just a toddler and he was deeply in love with his beautiful, blond wife, my grandmother. How heart wrenching it must have been to leave them.

Bubba always told us he hated school and didn't do well, but in his postcards home, his writing clearly conveys his myriad of feelings across these many years. This postcard is from his first full day as a member of the United States Navy.

     Dear Ruth.
     am writing this from the U.S.O. Lounge
     of the New Haven R.R. Station. Time is
5.55 - we leave about 6:30 for Sampson. at
the recruiting office there was a Marine Sargent
and he said he had a quota to fill and some of us
were it. He picked several fellows who
thought they were going in the navy and put them
in the marines. For awhile I sweated bullets. 
After that we went out and ate dinner which the Navy
Paid for; and also went to the show for half price. The Navy
gave us a slip showing us to be Navy Personell[sic]and we got in

   FROM Edward H.Smith
        U.S. Navy
on that. Then we went back and
got our supper tickets. After supper
we went bowling. I bowled 70
Pretty low huh! From the windows
here as I write I can see the sound
it is very beautiful. I'm with those
two brothers Mom knows John + Joe.
I'm feeling fine now after the
goodbye's and sech [sic]! Don't worry!
take care of yourself and Sharon.
They have treated us swell so far
               all my love  Eddie 

[postmarked] 3 NEW HAVEN
               MAR 3
               11 AM

[addressed] Ruth G. Smith
            197 King St.
            Bristol, Conn.

Bubba's own words about his first full day away from home and officially in the Navy stand for themselves, so I will leave it at that

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

04 February 2011

Genealogy Organization–January 2011 Recap–Getting it done!

My desk is clean, but that picture only told part of the story. DearMYRTLE’s January 2011 Organization Checklist was full of important organizational tasks. Here is how I completed the rest. 

Backup Your Genealogy Data
I will freely admit here among my reading friends, that I am paranoid about backing up my photos and genealogical data. MJ is in I.T. (Information Technology), so our home computers sit on a server and are backed up nightly via Windows Home Server. This home backup is then backed up off site. Please don’t ask me where. I don’t know. Somewhere, out there, in the cloud.

Because I am backup crazy, the aforementioned backup, even though fully sufficient according to MJ, doesn’t placate my neurosis. I like to be able to have a physical backup in my possession. On my desk, I keep a 1TB Western Digital My Book to backup all of my files, including images.

In my travel bag I keep a new Seagate Expansion 640 GB portable hard drive with my entire photo library. I also have two older portable Lacie hard drives, which I will most likely re-purpose for backups of Bubba’s slides. 

The frosting on top of all of these backups is DropBox, which I use primarily to back up all of my genealogical stuff. A few days ago I upgraded to 50GB so that I could add more photos. DropBox is convenient because I can access these files from either my primary notebook, my Lenovo ideapad or my Adroid phone. In my DropBox, I also keep a Scrappy Genealogist folder with all of my blog related files.

Clear Off the Computer Desk and Make Piles for Everything
You saw this in the photo challenge along with my new organized piles.

Check Your Office Supplies
This is the fun task. Who doesn’t love a trip to Staples? This month I replenished my supply of page protectors, Avery Clear Pocket Dividers and Avery Heavy Duty D-Ring binders in dark navy.

Instead of the oversized tabbed dividers, I use Avery Clear Pocket Clear Label Dividers.  With these dividers, which are also oversized, I have a pocket for each individual into which I can quickly place either research in progress, notes or to be filed items.

Set Up the Computer Desk
My desk works well, but the old kitchen chair is outlasting its usefulness. My wish list includes a comfortable rolling chair, as I have an L shaped arrangement. 

The Golden Clipboard
You must read about the Golden Clipboard. What a fun idea. I actually don’t need one, as I share my bedroom with my very own computer nerd! Does that make you curious about the clipboard?

Bright Idea – Hanging File Box 
To quick store surname information, I keep a file drawer with three different file colors; one for my family surnames, one for my husband’s family surnames and one for place names. I still may make a portable alphabetical file box to temporarily store documents, but not sure if I will use it as much as my surname files.

Surname Binders
In 2009 I started creating my coffee table binders as suggested by Ol’ Myrt. You can see them on the shelf:

The labeling isn’t pretty, but is sufficient for now and easily changeable. Wow, am I glad that I followed this nugget of advice. Creating coffee table surname binders is almost like and can include scrapbooking, which I love. It is vital to get your surnames out of your files and computers and into books that your non-genealogically minded family members will enjoy perusing. If you still have doubts, be sure to read the story on page 11 of the January [2011] Organization Checklist.

Digital Filing System
This is another area I was lucky to start back in 2009 with a folder for each surname. The only change now is that I  keep all of my genealogy files in DropBox. My main genealogy folder has folders for surnames, places, finding aids, resources, forms and seminars. 

Scanning and ScanFest
My primary scanner is an Epson 4490, which I have had for years. My newer scanners are the Flip-Pal and the Magic Wand.

I got snowed out of the December ScanFest hosted by Miriam Robbins Midkiff at AnceStories.  When I saw that Ol’ Myrt recommended attending the January ScanFest event, I put the family on notice and locked the library door. All that is required to attend ScanFest is to head to Miriam’s site at the appointed hour. I arrived on time and was thrilled to get a spot. The full house included both newbies and experienced scanfesters. I was able to get some technical questions answered about scanning slides and noticed lots of others sharing tips and tricks.  

While it was tricky to type, read, scan and file, I eventually found a productive rhythm. When I attend again there are a couple of things I will do differently; have a pile of items ready to scan and scan all items into a To Be Filed folder. It would be easiest to scan a group of related items; all photos from one event, one child’s school papers, etc. One thing I know for sure? I will definitely be at the next ScanFest on February 27th at 2PM Eastern Time.

January Organization
There was a lot to get done this month, so don’t feel badly if you haven’t finished. I certainly haven’t. My ongoing projects include creating more surname binders, scanning and digital filing. This month is more about getting your structure in place so that you have places to put everything.

If I was ever a cheerleader, I would come up with a great big ‘M’ is for Myrtle cheer to thank her for leading us on this organizational journey, but alas I was not. So, thank you Ol’ Myrt from the bottom of my genealogical heart! You are a true inspiration.

Time to get busy with the February 2011 Organization Checklist!

Happy Organizing!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!
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