Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections


re flec tion
(noun)
A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
A thought occurring in consideration or meditation. [1]

Every December when I send out our family Christmas newsletter, I review the highlights of the previous year. Sometimes I list them by family member, but lately I've been ticking them off by month as I look over our calendar pages. I thought as a prelude to my Resolutions post, which will be my submission to the 63rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, that I would review the highlights of my year in genealogy and in blogging:

January
A conversation with my children's paternal grandfather and a post by Terry Thornton about walksheds prompted my post, "Every Eleven Miles." It was the most-read article of my blog in January and was published the following month in print form by the Memphis Buff, the newsletter of the Memphis Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Association.

Google Book Search sent a local film crew to my home to interview me as a part of their video series on different hobbyists and professionals who use Google Book Search for a variety of purposes. The video was released on YouTube in June and can be viewed here.

At the request of several of my Beginning class students, and with the recommendation from a couple of them who were also employees of the Community Colleges of Spokane, I taught my first Intermediate Online Genealogy class, a six-week course, at CCS's Institute for Extended Learning. (Next session here.) I also did a presentation on Footnote for the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society's monthly computer class.

February
In response to some questions from one of the students in my Intermediate Online Genealogy class, I compiled the Confederate Pensions Databases post, which was the number-one read for the month. However, my favorite was a series on Random Acts of Kindness Week. I also posted my first Wordless Wednesday after being inspired by George Geder.

"Vital Records and Obituary Websites" was my presentation for the EWGS's February computer class.

March
I started the monthly Calendar of Events post, where genea-bloggers and their readers can find the dates for holidays, history, and heritage events as well as deadlines for the carnivals.

At long last, the marriage date and place of my great-great-grandparents, James L. YORK and Mary "Mae" E. McARTHUR was found!

AnceStories won the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Award.

April
In the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors series, I posted a brief biographical sketch, with photos if I had any, of the direct ancestors (or their brothers) of my children who served in the American Civil War. I timed it so the last post would be the day before Memorial Day, originally set aside to honor those who had fallen during that conflict.

A cousin of my children's father found a Bible that had once belonged to their mutual ancestor, Ann (WILSON) WESTABY, of the immigrant Westaby couple that came to the United States in 1850. This relative generously scanned the Bible and sent me copies via CD.

I taught my sixth Beginning Online Genealogy class, a four-week course, for the Community Colleges of Spokane. Also, the Colville, Washington LDS Church asked me to speak on military records for their annual Family History Conference.

May
My mother agreed to write her school years memories for the 48th Carnival of Genealogy and her posts were a big hit! A bonus result was connecting with her best childhood friend after the friend Googled her name and found it in Mom's posts. A trip back to Michigan this summer provided Mom and Beth to reunite.

June
The Spokane County Library District asked me to present my Beginning Online Genealogy course to its patrons.

I was honored to be a guest blogger on Shades of the Departed's "Friday from the Collectors" column.

July
After Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak's Unclaimed Persons project bought genealogists and genea-bloggers to Facebook in droves, Thomas MacEntee formed the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook (inviting me to be one of the original administrators) and then started Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-bloggers, a team effort by several bloggers, including myself.

The Northeast Washington Genealogical Society kindly invited me to give my "Frugal Genealogy" presentation.

Tom Sowa, the technology columnist of our local newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, saw my Google Book Search video and came to interview me. The article was published in print on July 27th in the business section of the paper (my second interview by the S-R in less than a year!) and was also reproduced on his blog here.

August
Let the Games begin; the Genea-Blogging Games, that is! Wasn't it fun?

I presented a tutorial on WorldVitalRecords at the EWGS monthly computer class.

AnceStories made it into the list of AllTop's top genealogy blogs.

September
As Ways and Means Chairperson for EWGS, I coordinated the Rest Stop Fundraiser.

October
The Whitman County Genealogical Society kindly invited me to give my "Frugal Genealogy" presentation.

Lisa Louise Cooke interviewed me about my best research tips and what motivates me to do genealogy for her new Personal Life Media Family History podcast. The podcast aired in November and can be heard here.

I taught my seventh Beginning Online Genealogy class for the Community Colleges of Spokane.

November
I discovered how much fun Ancestry's MyCanvas program was and used it to create family calendars for Christmas gifts (look for a post in the next week summarizing my experience and the reactions of family members).

December
I began my Tuesday's Tip column, which is a bit hit. My posts on organizing digital genealogy files (documents, photos, and miscellaneous files) bring lots of traffic to the site.

In addition, we had ten successful Scanfests and a Spring Break Scan-a-thon. There were dozens of memes and challenges, and two new genealogy carnivals to submit posts to. I may not have broken down any great brick walls, but my research went deeper and wider on individuals and families I already had. I look forward to what 2009 will bring us!

Source: 1. reflection. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reflection (accessed: December 31, 2008).

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