Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What To Do ... a test of organizational skills

The mess begins here!
This is not a "what to do" day.  It's an "I need motivation day."  Actually I'm not lacking for motivation, but after traveling all summer, it seems strange to be home with nothing on the agenda for a few weeks.  I returned Sunday from another jaunt here in Nebraska.  Looking at my luggage, I don't want to think about traveling any too soon.  I can pack it with my eyes closed ... well almost.  Since early May my various pieces of luggage have been kept in waiting in the extra bedroom.  It has been a fun-filled summer of lecturing, book signings and travels.

YGGG #2 just returned from her vacation in the Wyoming mountains.  She was there without cell phone reception and obviously no Internet.  Locked out from the real world, I hope she got caught up on her genealogy reading.  While I was wrestling luggage in and out of hotels and going through the packing and unpacking routine, she was peacefully watching the sun go down over the mountains and then counting stars in the sky.

To make the best of today, my granddaughter will be here this afternoon after an early-out at school.  She will be helping with chores around the house, like those little things I have not done all summer.  Also on the list is my computer/genealogy room.  It has been organizationally neglected all summer.  Books are askew on the shelves, the closet is piled with carrying bags and supplies.  It's like open door and throw something in.  I am behind on reading genealogy periodicals.  Eventually I may get caught up, but in the meantime I need some order.  They seem to be here, there and beyond, such as in the living room, dining room and kitchen.  Some were packed in my luggage and never made it back to the genealogy/computer room.

This brings up the question as to how to keep track of my genealogy periodicals.  I cannot part with them because I continually browse through them looking for ideas and references.  Perhaps I should start by determining the spaces available in this room.  There aren't any.  I have filled up almost every corner and cranny.  Isn't that the life of a genealogist?  We are hoarders.  Not only do we collect ancestors (not just names, dates and places), but we collect everything that goes with collecting ancestors.  I can't resist books, I can't eliminate any of the my genealogy subscriptions and periodicals, and I can't find room for any more. Because I know there are organizational aids, such as storage boxes, bins and containers, maybe I should start by visiting my local office supply store.  I definitely need a plan.

The last two days have been spent non-stop writing on my latest book.  That means there are books and documents and papers piled all around the desk, on the floor and elsewhere.  I think I am about two-thirds done and then I change something and I am back to half done.  I need to stay home and finish it before the snow flies.  Of course, I'm still thinking about genealogy-day-trips when the weather cools.  I need to explore cemeteries, go to libraries and courthouses and collect more "stuff" for my genealogy/computer room.  Maybe I shouldn't put the luggage back in the closet.

Today is the day I am going to make organizational plans for my genealogy/computer room.  It's the day I will not think of traveling and packing luggage.  It is the day I'll will put my genealogy life in order ... I hope.  While I'm doing this, YGGG #2 is putting things away, doing mounds of laundry and avoiding genealogy, the computer and Internet.  She knows what awaits her ... hundreds of e-mails.  The genealogy world can change in one week.  Maybe that is why I am so unorganized.  At least I can blame it on a changing genealogy world!

You Go Genealogy Girl #1    Ruby

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Girls Stay Home, The Girls Travel

After being home exactly one week from attending the Family History Expo in Overland Park, Kansas, I am enjoying the comforts of home, but also longing to get Lil' Red back on the highway.  YGGG #2 has been home most of the summer and she is anxious to get under some wheels and travel.  Unfortunately we are going different places at different times.  She and her husband are going on a much needed camping vacation and I am leaving in less than two weeks for my high school class reunion.  Notice I didn't precede it with a year!

Summer is far from over even though school bells will be ringing here in a couple of weeks.  They can just ring because I am not going back to school.   At least I'm not going back to school in a building with regimental classes.  I can select my classes.  Genealogists are not exempt from the learning process.  There is always something new to learn.  That is why this year's theme for the Family History Expos is appropriately titled, "Where Ol' Dogs Learn New Tricks!"

This summer I purchased books at the various Family History Expos.  Many were from Family Roots Publishing's booth in the exhibit halls.  As my genealogy grows and develops, I have to stay informed of techniques, records and resources.  Internet does a great job of supplying information, but some of the best is still found in genealogy books.  Christine Rose's new book, Military Bounty Land 1776-1855 was one of my first summer purchases.  An older publication I purchased is Inheritance in America From Colonial Times to the Present by Carole Shammas, Marylynn Salmon, and Michel Dahlin.  I am not anxious for cold weather and particularly not for snow, but a stay-at-home day with my books would be welcome.

After those school bells ring my plans are to continue traveling.  I have long accumulated research needs in eastern Nebraska.  A trip to the east coast to visit family and relatives, as well as do genealogical research, is also anticipated.  Fall is a great time to travel and see the country in different colors, at a slower pace and with renewed vigor for research tasks.  I will stuff the books in my bag and read as time permits.  There are always evenings to learn new genealogy tricks, or while on airplanes, or even when camping.  Both of the You Go Genealogy Girls hope you never stop learning.

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 -- Ruby

Monday, August 1, 2011

Attending a Family History Expo

Not many of the attendees of a Family History Expo or any genealogy conference know what goes into getting everything ready for the event.  A year or more ahead of time plans are made for where, when and how the next year's Expos are going to be held.  It just doesn't happen.  The staff and vendors arrive ahead of time to set up and coordinate.  Many people get involved, hours tick by and even though tired, they are dedicated to presenting a top notch event for genealogists.

I just returned home from the Family History Expo in Overland Park, Kansas.  As you can see by the photos, there is a good deal of thought that goes into setting up.  Some of the vendors have their props and signs shipped and others bring trailers, some fly from one location to another and others drive.  It's like old home week when finally get together.

Once things are in place, the rush and sometimes confusion begins the next day.  If you are attending an event, keep in mind that we are all human and errors happen.  Even computers are not perfect.  Smile and be patient!  People register and are given their packets or hand out bags.  They ask questions and we try to answer them.  Then the classes begin.  Unfortunately attendees can not take in every class and hear every speaker.  They must choose between several tracts.  However, they can use their syllabus to read what they missed.

As a speaker I enjoy seeing genealogists, meeting them and learning from them.  Yes, I learn also!  If they attend my class and go away learning just one thing, I'm happy.  That's my goal as a speaker!  There has not been one Family History Expo this summer where I have not met a relative or somebody that I have met through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or blogging.  The world tends to be small and getting smaller.

One of the exhibitors brings his children.  They are polite, cute kids.  If you meet them, you won't forget them.  Rachel is a young artist.  She draws what she sees or what she imagines.  I commissioned her to do a painting of me in one of my classes.  Rachel doesn't go into the presentation rooms.  She stays in the vending area, so she drew what she imagined it would look like, including the escalator which was beside the exhibit hall.  Rachel did a good job and I will treasure her drawing.  She drew a good likeness of me.  Notice the blonde hair.

A friend of mine has attended three Family History Expos this summer,  as well as the Civil War Conference here in Nebraska.  She said she thought she was becoming a Family History Expo Groupie.  Even if you are not a joiner, you can attend one of many enlightening genealogy conferences this summer, fall and next year.  Be sure to put the Family History Expo on your calendar!

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 --- Ruby


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