Friday, February 5, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over : Month 1

For 2016, I decided to participate in the revamped twelve month Genealogy Do-Over as presented in the "Genealogy Do-Over Workbook" by Thomas MacEntee (link opens to, provided for convenience, I am not an Amazon affiliate nor do I receive any consideration or compensation for providing the link).   My genealogy was (still is) in a bad state and starting from scratch seemed as good a way to proceed as any.  Thus, my personal excursion into the Genealogy Do-Over.

Month 1 of the Genealogy Do-Over has a two point to-do list:
  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
I'll address each of  these in turn.

Setting Previous Research Aside 

My research is a mess.  I've been researching my family history for nearly 20 years, not always with the best practices.  Add in a half dozen or so moves (including 2 in the last 5 years), and inconsistent office space to work in a few locations (and 2 kids) and you end up with chaos. At one time, my research was carefully stored in well sorted and organized hanging folders, but no longer.  Before I started this is what my research looked like:

File boxes and paper boxes, mostly unsorted and completely chaotic shoved into the closet, out of sight.

So, I sorted through the boxes, making eight piles, two per grandparent of my children, one pile for papers to be stored away and one pile for those documents that were either obtained as the result of requests for documents or obtained on trips (those documents in which either significant time and/or money have been expended upon).  The stored away boxes went back into the closet and the retained documents have been neatly stored under my genealogy desk.

Preparing to Research

The second item on the to-do list is to create a list of current research habits, the processes that you use and so forth, then determine what from that list works and doesn't and what changes you might make.  The biggest issue I've had for the last few years is that I really haven't had any processes or research habits that I consistent apply.  Rather, I'd steal the odd 15 minutes here and there to research when the opportunity presented it, not really with any plan or organization.  This lead to poorly documented work, unnecessary rework and general chaos.  This doesn't work and needs to change, and will be dealt with in Month 2.

A good start to the program, I think.  More on this in late February or early March.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

52 Weeks/52 Ancestors, Week 3 - Anna Martha Myers

This week, I'm taking a little bit of a shortcut by featuring the wife of Week 2's subject. Also, I've realized that I tend to write predominantly about male ancestors, and that needs to change to provide a more complete story.

Anna Martha Myers was born 17 August 1855 in Blair County, Pennsylvania to Harry Bender Myers and Maria Mock, the 5th of 8 children, although it is likely that there were additional children that I have not identified based on the five year gap between Anna and her next older sibling. 

The facts of her marriage and children are covered in the blog post on Thomas Christopher McNally. She survived Thomas by a few years, passing away on 11 April 1915 in Potetown, Blair County 
There are obituaries for her death which support this date, but I have yet to find a death certificate for her, even browsing through the digitized images on Ancestry. I haven't done a comprehensive browse of all death certificates from 1915 in Pennsylvania, but that would be next. 

Like Thomas, she is buried in an unmarked grave, most likely at the cemetery at the Albright Church of the Bretheren in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania. Neither obituary lists the place of burial, but I have been told she was buried there but the grave was never marked. On multiple occasions, I have contacted the church to ask about burial records for the cemetery, but I have never received a response of any kind. I have not contacted the local funeral director yet, something I probably should do.
One of my long term goals is to verify where she is buried, and maybe at some point arrange to have a marker placed for both her and Thomas. They deserve that at the very least.

Note:  I'm a little behind schedule due to going on vacation last week.  I'll get caught back up in a few weeks.  Thanks.