Are you attending Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference?

Midwestern Roots 2014 ConferenceI’m very excited! I just registered for the Indiana Historical Society’s Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference, August 1 and 2 in Indianapolis. Indy is within driving distance for me, so when I saw the caliber of the offerings at this conference, it was a no-brainer to sign up. Presenters include Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High Definition Genealogy; Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems (in fact, I found out about the conference through Lisa’s newsletter); Anne Gillespie Mitchell of Ancestry.com, and Warren Bittner, genealogical researcher and trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, among other great speakers.

I also signed up for a pre-conference session on preserving original family documents, presented by Romana Duncan-Huse, senior director of conservation at the Indiana Historical Society. I’m very interested in continuing my education on preserving inherited items.

If you’re an avid conference-goer like me and live near Indianapolis or wouldn’t mind traveling there, I encourage you to check out the program at the link above. At only $150, it’s a very moderately priced conference.

If you plan to attend, please let me know!

My research trip preparation

Preparing for a genealogy research tripI leave today for my research trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri. It’s about 3.5 hours from my home in St. Louis. I am really excited!

When I initially decided to take this trip, I felt a little anxious. I didn’t know what I would research and I knew that without a plan, I’d feel overwhelmed and incompetent the minute I walked in the door. Then I’d berate myself for not making the best use of my research time. And I’d wonder whether I could have done more.

So you know what I did to counteract that? I actually created a plan! I spent a good amount of time this weekend going through the holdings of the library online and checking my family tree to see what documents I needed. It was loads of fun to discover what I need when I have the potential to get the actual information.

Is started with a simple Pages document (Pages is the Mac’s version of Word) where I just kept a running list of what I might find and where. Then yesterday I created a Numbers document (you guessed it, Numbers is the Mac equivalent of Excel), sorted by family branch, of the info I need and where I might find it.

Because of other obligations today, I won’t get to Independence until late afternoon. The library is open until 9. My plan is to check into my hotel, grab something to eat, then go to the library to get the lay of the land and plan my day tomorrow. I’ll have a full day there tomorrow and will be able to go back to research in the morning and early afternoon on Wednesday.

I’m meeting my friend and fellow researcher, Lori Krause, whom I met at RootsTech (thanks to this blog) for some research and dinner tomorrow. Life is good!

Next week, I’ll post the list of items I brought and let you know whether I used them and what items I wished I’d brought.

End-of-the-quarter evaluation

brownfanchartAt the beginning of the year, I put together a research scheme in which I would focus on researching (and organizing the research) one branch of my family each quarter. The first quarter ended yesterday, so I thought it might be a good idea to report how it went.

Overall, I’m pleased. The first quarter of 2014 was devoted to my father’s father’s side of the family, the Adamses. Knowing which family I was researching kept me focused, which was terrific. The downside is that I certainly didn’t finish researching that family (like I ever would), nor did I finish organizing the Adams research that I had uncovered in the past. But that’s okay, because I can pick it up again in January 2015. And, of course, I can work on it whenever I want–my plan isn’t a law, after all.

So now that it’s the second quarter, I turn my attention to the Browns, my mother’s father’s side of the family. That’s timely for a couple of reasons. They’re a midwestern family for a number of generations back and I am paying a visit to the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri, next week (!). Also, there is a Brown Family Reunion in June, so I’ll be extra motivated to uncover and organize my research so I can share it with cousins.

I’m kind of excited to switch the focus of my research. I’d gotten the easy stuff out of the way with the Adams family and of course when it gets more difficult, it requires more patience. So switching gears is quite welcome.

I think it’s a little early to proclaim my quarterly research scheme a success, but at this point I can certainly imagine doing it again next year!

Discovering genea-fiction

inthebloodcoverBack in the 90s, when I was a dog writer, there was a series of dog lovers’ mysteries whose protagonist was a dog writer.  There is at least one set of mysteries whose main character is a professional organizer (my current profession).

So I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a whole genre of genealogical mysteries. I guest I should be surprised that it took me this long to discover that fact!

Last night I started reading In the Blood, by Steve Robinson. Jefferson Tayte, the book’s main character, is a professional genealogist. I’m already hooked.

I think one of the things I love about doing family history research is that I’m solving mysteries. And of course I love reading mystery novels. Throw together family history research, historical fiction, and the particulars of being a genealogist and that’s a recipe for success, in my book.

In the Blood is the first in a series, which I’m sure I’ll read. When I’m through with that series there are plenty of other series from which to choose, including Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s Forensic Genealogist books, and Jimmy Fox’s Nick Herald Genealogical Mysteries.

If you read genea-fiction, I’d love to hear any recommendations for other titles. What are your favorites?