Join me in a 30 x 30 challenge?

30x30 challengeLast summer, I did a personal 30 x 30 challenge, in which I committed to doing 30 minutes of family history research for 30 days. It had a number of benefits, the most obvious of which was that I accomplished 15 hours of family history research that month!

With the holiday season, travel, and the addition of a puppy to our family, I got precious little family history research done the last month or two of the year. So I decided that the new year was a great time to start a new 30 x 30 challenge.

I intended to start it on January 1, but I woke up on New Year’s Day with a cold (and a bit of a hangover), so put it off until January 2. I did research on the 2nd and 3rd and completely forgot about it yesterday.

So today, I’m starting a new challenge, which will run from January 5 to February 4. I’m working on my Adams line this quarter, so I will be focusing on the Civil War pension file for my union ancestor George Washington Adams, as well as checking my sources and making sure my electronic documents are properly filed for my other Adams ancestors.

Let me know if you’d care to join me in a 30 x 30 challenge this month!

Competing priorities

IMG_4877 (1)I’m happy to announce a new family member, but not one who will show up on my family tree. It’s our eight-week-old standard poodle puppy, Bix, who comes with his own impressive pedigree. (We got him from Dianne Janczewski of Clifton Standard Poodles.)

What does this have to do with organizing your genealogy? Well, Bix has proven to be an adorable distraction. Thanks to the constant vigilance I keep over him (house training is an all-encompassing activity), not to mention all the playing, training and socializing we’re doing, I’m not finding much time to blog, let alone conduct family history research. Or, really, do anything else. (Somehow I do find time to post pictures of Bix on Facebook and read all the comments about his cuteness.)

I should mention that my husband works from home, so I share the puppy duties. But Barry sleeps later than I, so my precious early morning hours–the time I ordinarily devote to things like blogging–is eaten up with puppy care. Bix is in his pen chewing on a chewy as I type this morning. He’s a good boy.

Bix’s time as a puppy is precious and socialization is critical. My genealogy’s not going anywhere. So I’m going to cut myself some slack and probably just satisfy myself with thinking about genealogy, rather than doing research, for a little while. I will keep blogging, of course, but I’ll ask your forgiveness if my blog posts are shorter or less meaty than you might hope.

A tangible gift idea for genealogists

A beautiful gift for a genealogy enthusiastLast week I wrote about giving clutter-free gifts for genealogists and had a list of suggestions, mostly of non-tangible items. But today, I can’t resist telling you about one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry, one that think would make a great gift for a genealogist.

It’s the Family Tree Necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. I blogged about mine in September 2014. The necklace, I think, is intended to be worn by moms whose children’s first names are stamped on it. The one I ordered one for myself had my grandparents’ surnames on it instead. I love the connection to my ancestors I feel when I wear it. And I think it’s a pretty piece of jewelry.

My Family Tree Necklace, purchased in 2014, was made of pewter. I see that the current offering is i sterling silver. If you have a pendant-wearing genealogy enthusiast on your list, you might consider this lovely gift. Since the item is hand-stamped, I’m not sure if it will be ready in time for Christmas. But I’m sure it would be appreciated, even if the gift arrived in January.

Hint: If you sign up for Lisa Leonard’s email newsletter, you’ll be send a 15% off coupon (or at least that was the case when I signed up!).

Clutter-free gifts for the genealogists on your list

gifttagcroppedAs a professional organizer, I frequently help clients declutter their physical possessions. Over and over again I’ve seen how difficult it is for most folks to let go of an item they’d received as a gift, even if they don’t use or love it.

This realization has changed the way I give gifts. As I’ve written repeatedly on my organizing blog, I think it’s much kinder to give a gift that doesn’t have a chance to turn into clutter. So I find myself giving these types of gifts:

  • digital gifts (iTunes gift certificate, for example)
  • services (gift certificate for a massage or a float)
  • ephemeral goods (like edibles and cut flowers) and
  • experiences (an outing or meal together)

If you have any genealogy enthusiasts on your list, you’re in luck. There are all sorts of opportunities to give clutter-free gifts to those folks. Here are some ideas.

  • A subscription to an online service, like Ancestry, Fold3 or MyHeritage
  • A membership in a local society or other association, like the NGS or the Southern California Genealogy Society (so they can have access to the webinar archives, my pick for deal of the century)
  • A gift certificate to work with professional genealogist
  • A handwriting analysis of one of their ancestors
  • One or more of my Orderly Roots guides (you could download it for them and email it, or contact me for a special code they can use to download a guide you pay for)
  • Your help with their genealogy (maybe offer to spend a couple of hours on one of their brick walls)
  • Your help decluttering or organizing their research space
  • A trip together to a cemetery or research library
  • Registration for a genealogy conference
  • A donation in their name to a worthy genealogy cause (like Preserve the Pensions or their favorite genealogy society)

If you do want to give a physical item, be sure it’s useful. You could consider a Flip-Pal mobile scanner or a ShotBox portable photo light box.

Before you buy anything, check out the Genealogy Bargains area of the Geneabloggers website to see if there are any special deals to be found!

Illustration by Traci Gardner via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.