Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Revisiting Journaling in a Planner

Record keeping by way of journaling seems to be a challenge, but with the new year, the opportunity to attempt journaling presents a fresh new outlook.

The daily/monthly planner that I keep appointments, and important events in has become my new journal. And so far, I've found it to be rewarding. I now keep my planner with me wherever I go: a novel idea I saw another woman doing. (Why didn't I think of that earlier?) And by keeping it with me, I can jot down even the little things that happen throughout the day. And at the end of the day, all of the lines in the planner are filled.

I'm really liking this new way (although its not really new) of keeping up with all of the miraculous, trivial, and vital things that happen in my life. And like I've posted before, by doing this, I've been so grateful for saving an event or purchase in my journal because it has saved the day in a few instances. Like when I couldn't remember the exact date of my last eye exam, so I could schedule another one a year later.

On top of the charge to keep a journal, I'm finding a burden is lifted while writing. I feel like my life and personality are being kept in those pages. And not just events, and vital happenings, but also the emotions. I like to add one-word exclamations, both good and bad, so when I later review my history, I can remember how exciting or how awful that particular day was.

A new year and a new challenge (which I'm excited about) to heed a request to journal for posterity!
The goal is to keep this going as long as there's a pencil handy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Inheritance

An inheritance:
Inheritance is something you get from your ancestors, whether a possession or a characteristic. In times past, land was considered an inheritance to be given to descendants. In more modern day, an inheritance might be defined as a possession left to family members in the way of money, silverware, jewelry, a set of tools, etc.

But considering the word inheritance, it requires us to look back to our ancestors, for what they’ve left for us. If we look forward, we look to our posterity. Our children.

So on the other side of the question, we could ask, what we are saving or intending to give to ourchildren as their inheritance. Would it be a possession, a sum of money, or a knowledge of something that is important to us? What we consider to be worthwhile and valuable, will be important to our children and grandchildren, and they will treasure and cherish their inheritance from us simply because it was possessed by us. And this will draw them closer to us. Hopefully they will give ear to our values and bring honor to their name.

Now that's a grand inheritance!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just Write It Down, For Heaven's Sake!

Too often we put off documenting the stories we've heard from our parents, grandparents, and beyond, because we want to get everything together and in order first: the pen and paper, a recording, a meeting time with that person, etc. So by and by time goes on, and although the thought keeps gnawing at us to get it written down, it just doesn't get done. Then we find that so many memories get piled up that we risk losing one if we don't write something down.

Such was the case with me. Many years ago I put in the back of my mind an experience my grandmother had with her sister when she was a young girl. She had told it to me a few times while I was growing up, and because I thought it was so funny, I figured it wouldn't be too hard to remember later to write down. Years passed and my grandmother passed away. Any chance of getting all the details correct by asking her directly about it had slipped away. I had always meant to write it down but never did. That memory, along with several others, lurk in the back of my mind waiting to be recorded and documented for my children and grandchildren to laugh about and possibly relate to when they read it.

I have recommitted myself to write down any past memories and memories of my childhood, good and bad, in chronological order or not, just for the sake of history. Who cares if it's in my journal or in someone else's, at least it's written down!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Say What?

Each era, generation, and time period has its common, acceptable slang and verbage. It is interesting to read and hear about how family members describe events in their own words and use phrases and sayings common in their day.

I remember my grandmother using a phrase to describe a repaired little rip on a skirt, and making light of it, saying, "You'll never see it on a galloping horse." When I asked her about it, she said her mother (my great grandmother) used to say it quite often with the children at home.

Another word my grandmother used was, "fiddlesticks!" She'd say this when something went wrong or she forgot something.

Recording these sayings is valuable to readers and quite interesting. It helps us to know our ancestors better and appreciate the era they lived in. And it is important to record them because they're too often forgotten!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Interesting Discovery

If you dig deep enough into anything, you'll find a treasure. So it is with my family history. While growing up, I'd heard tales of polygamist families living in Mexico, but didn't quite connect the dots that my family line would be part of it, until I began seriously researching family names.
In my search, I've asked questions of friends who's family's were also part of the groups that migrated south for freedom to practice plural marriage, but still haven't verified any family names on any records. This is what I'm currently searching and the information I've gathered so far is really quite eye-opening.

In the late 1800's, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who chose to practice plural marriage in the United States were fined up to $500 and imprisoned for up to 2 years. In order for this practice to continue, families migrated north to Canada and south to Mexico to establish settlements or colonies. Land was purchased from the government and the people went to work turning barren land into beautiful, growing communities. Homes were built, crops planted, a church building and schools erected, and a church organization established, all typical of Latter-day Saint communities. Any visitor to these colonies would see order and a welcoming atmosphere. The colonies in Canada were easily established and flourishing after only a few years, while those in Mexico experienced a bit of a rough road with many trials involving bandits and government deception.
It is in one of these colonies in Mexico, that my family line is taled to be: the Jones family. Birth records show them to be in one colony, Oaxaca, but after a devastating flood, families are reported to have joined another colony. Movement from one place to another due to weather and lack of resources make it hard to track who went where. This is where some kind of record or hard evidence is needed, and that's where I'm at in my search.
Note: Plural marriage, or polygamy, was declared to be officially discontinued in 1890.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voice Recording a Personal History

I'm practicing on my husband, recording his earliest experiences on this little voice recorder. In an earlier post, I suggested using questions ranging from childhood through adulthood. I used these found here: http://www.chiptin.com/genealogy/family_history_questions. I'm sure there are other sources for questions, or just make up your own.

My thinking is that as I transcribe the information, it'll be in a question/answer format, rather than a narrative, in third person; it'll be like a written interview.

So far, it's going great. I plan to print this life history/sketch in a book format, but I'll think about that later when it gets closer to being printed.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Generous? Or Stingy?
One of the first things we learn at home as toddlers is how to share. Little children are quite possessive with toys, clothes, food, etc., until they learn that they must share with others, which, for some is a hard lesson to learn. But, they eventually learn it.
So why is it that when children grow into adults, they begin to revert back to stingy practices again? "What's mine, is mine!" "Go get your own!"
Such was the case with my grandmother when she asked a niece for some information on her family line. The niece wouldn't release ANY information, and even said that she didn't have any records (which was untrue). Stingy!
Granted, a lot of time goes into researching, paying for, and entering birth/death records on official sheets for a book of remembrance or journal, but at the very least, a relative could be pointed in the same direction to get the same information.
My husbands' aunt spend countless hours and money researching, documenting, and compiling a huge book of remembrance for her family's line that went back as far as she could find information (which took years). When she was finally done, she offered the compiled book to her sisters for the cost of the book/pages/copies. What a great gift to offer her sisters. Of course, each one paid for a book and it remains a treasure to each, to be passed down through their children.
I had the opportunity to copy an entire book, complete with pictures, of a 1-1/2 inch thick book of remembrance for my sister-in-law. I scanned pictures, retyped passages, cut, pasted, and mailed to her this labor of love at my cost, so she would have the same information as I had. Even though it took a few months to complete, I felt happy that I could do it, and she was very grateful to receive it. I was thrilled that she saw the same value in this book that I saw, and I felt that it put us on common ground with regard to the excitement of learning about our ancestors.
However, sometimes, it can be hard to let go of the important information we've spent hard hours finding, so someone who hasn't lifted a finger to help, or who hasn't seemed interested, can take it and file it away, never to look at it again.
The point of doing genealogy, writing journals, and creating a history of our families is so that SOMEONE will appreciate it and we'll know we've done well for ourselves. Because, by and large, people don't really care much about their roots, or keeping tally of their experiences. Those who do, always recognize and cherish the value of a joural, and can appreciate the time and work that goes into such an endeavor as a compiling a book of remembrance.
Sharing goes a long way in building families stronger. Lesson for the day: Don't be stingy, BE GENEROUS!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This is a Journal?

At the risk of stating the OBVIOUS, a few ideas for journaling are:

BLOGS: Family or personal blogs are a great way to track your happenings, especially if you include pictures. Since the idea is to always back up your records, blogs are perfect for journaling. Just print out your blog and paste it in your journal notebook. You may have to adjust the chronological order, but it turns out great.

CALENDARS: Sheet calendars, pocket calendars, daily planners, anything that has your detailed schedule triggers memories that you can add to when writing a journal, or simply use it as is (depending on the size) and add more details.

A CHECKBOOK? The register is another great source for recalling memories. Use it as a bulleted outline for writing. For variety, cut out a page and paste it into your journal to remember those great times. Or even better, use the cancelled check from a memorable purchase: your first sofa in your apartment; the crib you bought for your first child; the check to the orthodontist for braces! Be creative!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Family History software

When filling out family records, it's great to have the same paper format throughout your records.
The FamilySearch.org website offers a Personal Ancestral File program that can be downloaded for FREE onto your computer to make keeping your familys' records easier. PAF, as it's called, allows you to record your information on forms which can be printed blank, with or without pictures, and you can view pedigree charts, family group sheets, individual records, and more.
Then, you can visit FamilySearch.org to search census indexes, and many other records, online to add to yours. Valuable resource!

Back to Basics - 2

And now for the Family Group Record.

The Family Group Record has more space for writing details, and is relatively simple to understand. If there are more than three children, copies can be made.

When a husband or wife has been married more than once, a number is added next to the name to indicate a previous marriage. A separate family group sheet is filled out for the previous marriage with any children born to the union, and is filed in printed form in a notebook behind the current marriage and family.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to Basics -1

When you want to organize a family history, you can start by filling out a Family Group Sheet, or a Pedigree Chart. If your mind works in outline style, a pedigree chart will get you off and running. If you like more details first, a family group sheet is the place to start.

Let's start with the PEDIGREE CHART. THE BIG FOUR!

This chart holds four generations, and each column is a generation.

Your name goes on line #1. Notice that under each numbered line there's space to fill in dates and places - "Born/Christened, Place; Married, Place; Died, Place."

Fill in YOUR full, legal name on Line #1, (the left middle line) with your birthdate and place, marriage date (if it applies) and place, and ignore the death date and place. Write the full name of your spouse on the line labeled "Spouse of #1," if that applies.

Example: Martin John Smith, 3 Mar 1966, Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas.

Okay, now on Line #2, (the line just above your name) write your FATHER'S Full Name, including any extensions like, Junior, or titles like, Dr., Capt., etc.

Example: Dr. John Quincy Smith.

Then, on Line #3, (the second line just below your name) write your MOTHER'S full, MAIDEN name, which was her last name as a child. Example: Mary Ann White

When there were other marriages, the husband's or wife's names should reflect a previous marriage.

If John was married previously, add a "(2)" next to Mary's name, indicating that Mary is John's second wife. If Mary was married previously, add a "(2)" next to John's name.

Example, Dr. John Quincy Smith (2), meaning John is Mary's second husband; or Mary Ann White Smith (2), indicating that Mary is John's second wife.

Clear as mud? It'll be easier to understand when the family group sheet is discussed.

When filling in dates, it is common to write: dd/mm/yyyy (ex. 10 Oct 1834), and places of birth, marriage, and death should always include city, county, and state.

Ex: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

Okay, with lines 1, 2, and 3 filled out, the first column is finished! Sometimes, the next column (lines 4, 5, 6, and 7) can be challenging, and the last column even more difficult. But with a little perseverence, you'll have completed a Four Generation Pedigree Chart!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Family Togetherness

We've discovered a way for all of us to keep in contact (which we do anyway) in a way that's more private than email. A friend told me about http://myfamily.com/ where we can have a private gathering of posts with questions, answers, pictures, news, etc.

Anytime during the day, we can touch base via the internet and pass along news, thoughts, and just about anything. It's a fun way to keep in touch. Create your own site with free backgrounds and within minutes be ready to add news, upload pictures, make comments, etc. Or, upgrade to a better level (for a fee), and get more choices of backgrounds and less advertising.

For us, it's been great! Give it a whirl!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our Family History book, update

I've been working on our familys' book for about two months now and have found it to be quite fun to add things to. I've included some favorite songs, recipes, events (minor and major), and slowly, but surely, it's getting fuller.

Recap: I bought a 2-inch, 3-ring binder to begin our book. I had some white and pastel colored card stock, and some miscellaneous scrapbook paper, along with some fancy-edged scissors, and a few glue sticks (which work better than regular glue). I added some copies of some of our favorite music, put recipes on cutsie card stock, dressed up a few other pages, and every once in a while, the kids will look at the book and remember things we did as a family. I'm not a scrapbooker, so my pages are "interesting." I've tried to remind the kids that this is OUR family book, for the FAMILY (not just another "Mom" project), and anything they'd like to add should be included. The book is kept in a safe place (almost too safe, because sometimes I forget where it is - out of sight, out of mind), but still accessible. It has been fun, so far, to add events to our book.
The only hard part is to choose WHAT to include, and remember to add pages. The days and weeks race by. So I decided to choose one day a week to spend evaluating the week's activities and collect, cut, paste, and write about the happenings in our family to add to our book.

This is something that'll add quite a bit of variety to our family when all the photo books come out for a reunion, and hopefully others will be sparked to copy.

(Okay, so I wasn't going to share pictures, but how else will you see how I did it?)

Walk Away

There are times when working on genealogy can be quite frustrating.....like when your papers get all mixed up, when you hit a dead end with searching for a family members' name, or when (like stated previously) you lose all the information stored on your computer.

Frustration is quite common. Just walk away for awhile, leave it alone, take a vacation, give it a rest; and when your mind is clear again, you can pick up where you left off and move forward.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 15-generation chart

For those who have completed a 6-generation pedgiree chart, with all the names filled in (which is quite an accomplishment, indeed), you might want to move on to a 9-generation or a 15-generation pedigree chart which allows you to see more of your ancestry. These charts aren't very common, but if you're interested in documenting your family names, you'll want at least one of these.

One family history web site, called "The Family History Store" has several selections of smaller pedigree charts you could display on the wall of your home. When you visit this site, click on the "Charts" tab, then the "Misbach Genealogy Charts" picture to see the 15-generation chart. You can enlarge it to get a better look.

The 15-generation chart is invaluable for the "at a glance" ancestry we claim.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Backup! Backup! Backup!

A lesson I learned (again) about having a second copy of family records: BACKUP EVERYTHING IMPORTANT.

After recording on a computer program some family names on a pedigree chart that extended back some 7, 8, or 9 generations (and some lines went even further back), I somehow lost the entire file! I think it got deleted accidentally while trying to download and save some other files from the internet. I had been compiling information from old family records onto one master pedigree chart, and had really been making some fantastic progress; in fact, I was getting close to finishing!

I do have a hard copy (pedigree charts and family group sheets I copied as I filled them out, and put in a notebook), but now I have to start all over with the computer program. I should have copied it onto a flash drive, but didn't. A few months ago, I tried to burn a CD with all the information, but the file was too big to put on the CD, so I just forgot about it.

Good thing I had this notebook with all the family group sheets and pedigree charts in it! Now, the daunting task of re-entering the information onto the computer program again!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Book of History

Starting today, gather things that represent a slice of your life: store receipt, child's progress report from school, museum map, a copy of the recipe you're going to use for dinner, gas receipt, etc., and glue them onto a blank piece of paper with today's date. If there's room, write why you were there, who was with you, if anyone, and whatever else you did during the day. This is your "A Day in the life of..." beginnings of your history.

Then, over the next few days, when memorable things occur, write it down and include, if possible, something that represents why it is memorable. For example, on the first day of school you could include a wish list from a teacher, a copy of that first paycheck on a new job, the receipt from a barber after the haircut that left way too much on the floor, or the business card from a real estate agency you were impressed with. After glueing or taping these things on paper, and writing notes, even brief notes, about them, put them into a three-ring notebook. As time goes by, you can dress up the pages if you want, or leave it as is. At least, you'll have a personal history, a family history, a book of memories to look at and remember.

For more serious matters, there should be a separate place to keep important documents like birth certificates, immunization records, citizenship records, death certificates, wills, vehicle purchases, financial information, etc. These records/documents should be kept in a safe place, all together where they can be reached easily. File folders or expanding folders work great for keeping important papers together. Copies of these documents can be added to your book, if you so desire, and will be interesting to thumb through much later.