It’s a New Year: My Genealogy Goals

The end of each year is often very busy. It can often be hectic and stressful too. But once they are complete and I look back, I treasure all of the time spent with family, many of whom I don’t see very often.

The New Year brings a fresh start, a break from busy holiday schedules. It is a time to get a start on goals. What stories were shared, photos were discussed, memories were made at recent family gatherings?

My goals for the next year include:

  1. Digitizing and indexing my Great-Grandmother’s journals.

    I only have 4 of them and they give a great glimpse into the busy life of a farming family.  I’m still working on the best method to share them with my family.

  2. Write a short history on a family or ancestor.

    I need some practice writing and I don’t want to pick too large of a project, so I am going to keep the focus small.

  3. Improve my German.

    I am nearly 3/4 German, but I can not speak it (although my husband can and my kids are learning it in school).  While I can find my way around German Church records and a few other documents, my pronunciation is terrible.  I have purchased The German Rosetta Stone software to try and get better.  I am also on my way to the Salt Lake Institute next week.  I’m enrolled in the Advanced German Track.

I could come up with additional 2015 goals but I will keep it simple.  I will be very happy if I can make progress in each of these three goals.

Learning Languages

Doing genealogy research will ultimately mean running into an unfamiliar language.  Whether it is Latin when reading Catholic records, reading Foreign Church records, or Ethnic churches here in the U.S. we will all need to learn some new terminology.

There are many books, websites, and wikis that can be Googled for genealogy terms or word lists to get us started.  I have been able to learn to read Norwegian, German and Latin records without a lot of formal training.  Reading for basic facts can be accomplished by learning the terms for vital records, dates, and learning patterns of records.

There may come a time when you will want to learn more.  The offerings in your area may differ.  Some community education programs offer language classes as do many colleges.  You can also Google the language you would like to learn with specific terms.  For example if you search “learn Norwegian free” you will be given many free online programs.  Some libraries such as my Hennepin County Library System offer online language study for those with library cards through their website.

In the age of “there’s an app for that” there are also applications that you can download to your mobile devices.  I was recently introduced to DuoLingo.  It is a free app and/or a website that currently offers 5 different languages with an additional 9 others in various stages of development.  My 11 year old niece has been using it to learn Spanish.  I am currently using it to help me better understand German.  Will it help me become fluent?  Perhaps not, but it will help me understand the language better.

Whatever your chosen method of study, at some point in genealogy research you will need to learn more about the country and language of your ancestors.  Thankfully we have a lot of options to choose from.

August – a time to prepare

Time seems to fly by in the summer.  This August is going to be a month of preparation.

We are currently preparing to finish our basement remodel after the excessive rain that led to flooding all over the midwest area.

The end of the month holds the reserved weekend of the Morsching Family Reunion.  My grandma’s family has been holding it for years.  The attendance has dwindled in recent years but I always try to attend.  This year I hope to share the journals of my Great Grandmother wrote over a couple of years.  My Grandma Ruth recently found them.  I hope to digitize and transcribe those pages so they are easily shared.  A couple of them are not in great shape.

This time of year is also a time to prepare for genealogy conferences.  I am looking forward to attending the Federation of Genealogy Societies Conference in San Antonio at the end of the month.  As president of the Germanic Genealogy Society (GGS) I am involved in planning our Fall Meeting in September.  This year I will be presenting at the meeting a couple of presentations on the FamilySearch.org website and how it can help Germanic Researchers.

I also have the opportunity to prepare a couple of classes to teach at my local Family History Center, one about using Online Newspapers and one about using the website Find My Past.  It is fun to teach such a variety of classes.

At the end of which I hope to complete all of my presentations, connect with other researchers at the FGS Conference and GGS Meeting, and I hope to finish at least one room in our basement remodel.

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