Just One Week

Yes, just one week until I’ll be at my first genealogy conference, FGS 2011. I suspect the week (two days of travel and four days of conference is nearly a week, anyway) will be overwhelming, both educationally (and this is besides the fact that during the conference it’ll also be the first few days of the BU certificate program) and people-wise (ah, the life of an introvert), but that’s why I took an extra day off after returning, right? Hmm. I hope one day is enough.

As far I can recall, I’ve never been to any kind of conference, and I haven’t known for very long that I could attend this one, so I’m trying to prepare as best I can. I’ve been to a couple of Stampin’ Up! conventions, and I imagine there are a few similarities, but this is still very new territory. Biggest question: What to wear? I’m guessing it’s probably business casual, and I have very little that fits that bill, since I pretty much wear jeans to work every day. As long as it’s warm enough I’ll be okay with some nice capris I bought for those SU! conventions, but then I have to figure out shoes. I’m all about sandals from about April to October, but I don’t have any that really qualify as “nice.” Ah, well, I still have a few days to figure it out.

More than wearing the right clothes, though, I fear being intimidated by all the folks who have so much more experience with genealogy than I do. Will I even be able to keep up with conversations, let alone participate in them? But hey, I’m going to be there to learn, so as long as that happens, it’s all good.

A Busy Time

My attention has been really divided lately. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on things related to my Stampin’ Up! business, but at the same time I’m trying to spend some time reading (at the rate I’m going I’ll never finish A Game of Thrones) and work a bit on genealogy. And it’s only going to get worse the next couple of weeks, but since most of it involves genealogy in some way, it should all be fun regardless of how busy I end up.

This weekend we’re having a family reunion for my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. I can’t wait to see who turns up! It wasn’t planned very long ago, but it’ll nice to see whoever makes it.

On September 6, I’ll be starting Boston University’s Online Certificate Program in Genealogical Research (this is why I’m trying to fit in extra time for reading right now, since I don’t know how much time I’ll have during this program). It’s a 15-week program, so I’ll be finishing shortly before Christmas. I hope I’m ready for it! I didn’t want to wait until the spring session because the fall is a slower time at work, so hopefully my strategy works out. I am far from being new to genealogy, but sometimes I feel like I am because it’s only been a few months since I started embracing it as something I really want to do, beyond helping my mom out with a project here and there. If someone asks me how long I’ve been doing genealogy, I have no idea what my answer will be. I should probably figure that out sometime.

Also on September 6, I’ll be heading to Springfield, IL, for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 Conference!  I had been hoping to go to this since the NGS annual conference is at a bad time of year for me right now, but then realized my grandma’s 80th birthday is September 11, which is kind of a bad conflict for someone who values her family. However, late last week I found out she’s going to be off visiting our relatives in British Columbia at that time, so there’s no longer a conflict. Mom and I figured this out too late to get approval to take time off from work too late for online registration so we’ll be registering onsite, but this evening Mom made arrangements for our hotel and got us signed up for the bus from the Minnesota Genealogical Society. I’m so excited not just to attend my first genealogical society, but also to start meeting other genealogists. It’s not always easy for me as an introvert, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

So things are busy, but at least I should have some things to blog about, right?

So Much Fun!

I’ve been spending a little time lately balancing out my life, so that genealogy isn’t the only thing I’m doing during my spare time. I tend to get into a zone where I concentrate on one thing for a time, then switch to something else for a time, and while that can be helpful, usually I end up feeling out of sorts, and like I’m really missing some of the other things I like to do, like read or knit or stamp some cards or solve a Sudoku puzzle. In particular, I’m in the midst of reviving my Stampin’ Up! business, and I haven’t spent hardly any time over the past week or so working on genealogy.

Because I’m mostly in a stage of data collection and verification, most of what I’m doing is just working on finding what I can find on Ancestry.com. This is primarily census records and whatever other typical records (like draft registration cards) turn up. So, yes, this is mostly about shaking leaves right now, but it’s not like I accept anything that turns up. I use my best judgment looking at all the other information I have before accepting a hint.

Besides the shaking leaves, though, I do my best to fill in the gaps the leaves sometimes don’t fill in for me. Maybe a census record doesn’t turn up automatically because of a typo or whatever; I track down as much as I can. And while maybe it isn’t terribly important for me to trace all the collateral relatives I run across, especially at this point, it might be one of the things I’m having the most fun doing. Whether the person I’m working on is my second cousin twice removed or the “mother-in-law of sister-in-law of 1st cousin 1x removed of husband of 2nd cousin 3x removed” (copied from someone I was working on today) doesn’t really matter to me; I’m just having so much fun collecting everything I can!

I’m really starting to hope that one day I can do this as my “day” job.  I’m trying to spend some of my time learning all I can, but I really need to figure out the next best step.