Cemeteries in January in Minnesota

The combination in the title is not one I’d recommend, but this is a strange January in Minnesota, and while there was too much snow to make it easy to trudge around cemeteries today and see every stone (some had icy snow on them), it definitely wasn’t a complete hindrance.

Today was my last day of a 10-day stint off from work, and my parents and I drove about 45 minutes to Chisago County, which is where one-half of my dad’s Swedish immigrant ancestors landed in the 1850s (one family emigrated in 1853, but we don’t know for sure where they were between then and 1857, when land was purchased in Chisago County; one story has them in Iowa for a time) and 1887.

We hadn’t called ahead to see if we could access the historical society, but had a few cemeteries to look at (mostly for my benefit because my parents have been to them, but I hadn’t). First, however, we headed to the Recorder’s Office in the Chisago County Government Center to see if we could access old vital records that aren’t available at the state level.

Access was pretty easy, as long as we wanted records more than 100 years old (this isn’t quite the policy at the state level, but was sufficient for what we wanted today). They have tall tables where you can stand and view the books, so we requested the book that included the marriage record for my great-great-grandparents Frank Strum and Minnie Tolberg, and the book that contains the marriage record for Minnie’s parents, Alfred Tolberg and Mary Peterson. The book with Alfred and Mary also included the marriage record for Alfred’s sister Sophia and Julius Johnson.

The only hitch? They don’t allow digital photography, even without the flash. So, today I was able to utilize the transcription skills I learned during the earliest part of the BU genealogical studies certificate program. However, there are lots more records we’d like to obtain, so it might end up being a few trips to get them all, with the writing and standing. Now I just need to get the ones from today typed up.

Mr & Mrs Strum -- Almelund Cemetery

Most of the cemetery visits today were for my familiarity of where they are, but there’s one where I recently found a “Mr. and Mrs. Strum” listed with no first names or dates (the county historical society has done great work documenting the many county cemeteries), so we thought we’d see if we could find the stone(s) to see if they might be Frank’s parents, Carl and Stina, whose graves have so far not been located, but their death certificates indicate they were likely buried at this cemetery. We found where Mr. and Mrs. Strum are buried, but there are no stones for them. In the photo, they’re between the Bengtson stone and one behind it.

My mom and I found someone in the office of the church that manages the cemetery, and it turns out he serves on the cemetery committee. We wrote down the info for the graves we’re interested in and who we think might be in them along with their vital info, and he agreed to look into their records to see if there’s more information about who is buried there. Even records of when the burials occurred would help confirm their identity. It would be great to have found Carl and Stina, and then we can look into adding markers for their graves.

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January Goals and General 2012 Goals

I haven’t been “doing” genealogy all that long, really only deciding to take a stab at it last April. So, I didn’t have any 2011 goals, though I accomplished quite a lot for my first nine months of genealogy.

In 2011 I started this blog, I worked like mad on an Ancestry.com member tree, attended my first national and local genealogy conferences, and started and completed the Boston University Online Genealogical Certificate Program (I’m patiently waiting for the verification I actually earned the certificate). Somewhere along the line I discovered that staying away from genealogy, for the most part, because it was my mom’s thing was one of the silliest mistakes I could have made. How much time I lost! But maybe it was meant to be this way, because if I hadn’t discovered my passion at the time I did, perhaps I wouldn’t have realized it’s what I want to do professionally.

Right now I’m nearing the end of 10 days off from work. I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to, but I did do at least a couple of things that were part of my January 2012 goals.

  • Join my local APG chapter (I also joined the Second Life chapter, which wasn’t part of my plan, though I had been thinking it might be fun to get involved with the Second Life genealogy community).
  • Order the National Genealogical Society‘s Home Study Course. You’d think I’d have had enough education for a while, but while the BU program is pretty rigorous and I think I did pretty well, it also proved to me that there are some deficiencies in my experience and knowledge base. I actually ordered this at the end of December, received it a few days ago, and I’ve read a large part of Lesson 1.

A few other things I’d like to do yet in January include:

  • Visit the Chisago County Historical Society and/or other places in Chisago County, which is where a good part of my Swedish immigrant ancestors ended up. (This is about a 45-minute drive from where I live.)
  • Come up with a name for my genealogy business.
  • Edit my APG profile to be listed in the directory, once I actually receive my BU certificate (assuming I do). I have no idea at this point what to write for the biography section.
  • Start working on business stationery templates.
  • Start working on an idea I have for making “click-and-type” macros for census citations in Microsoft Word. I know it can be done because I’ve done this sort of thing for my job, I just need to do it.
  • Attempt to get through the first lesson or two of the NGS Home Study Course.

Overall 2012 goals include:

  • Once I have a bit more experience with archives and that sort of thing, sign up for ProGen.
  • Work on my “real” tree in RootsMagic. I’ve started this, but because I’m trying to document and include digital images of everything as I go, it’s going to take a while! My Ancestry.com Member Tree is very documented, but I’m not going to add things there (for the most part, anyway) that aren’t available on Ancestry, like I will in my “real” database.
  • Blog more. I don’t want to set a random number of posts I can’t live up to, but overall I’d like to post at least twice a week.
  • Add surname pages to this blog.
  • Start delving into client work.
  • Complete the NGS Home Study Course.
  • I’d love to attend one of the summer institutes, though I’m not sure it’ll work out financially.
  • Attend at least one national conference. (I have no idea which one. RootsTech is out of the question, NGS is only a slim possibility, and FGS is a little far to make transportation affordable.)
  • Attend the local conference in October. Josh Taylor is the principal speaker. I won’t be missing it. I also won’t be the youngest person in the room! (I’m sort of kidding. I don’t think I was the youngest person at the conference this past fall, but it sure felt like it sometimes.)

My Rooted Technology Meme

You can’t begin to imagine how sad I am that I can’t attend RootsTech 2012. Perhaps someday I will have a job that doesn’t keep me from traveling January to May. If that happens, I could attend RootsTech AND spring training, which I’ve been wanting to do for a number of years. Not to mention SLIG and the NGS conference. Why are so many great genealogy (and baseball) events scheduled for these months?

In any case, I do love me some technology. Though I’m somewhat more cautious than I used to be, I am often an early adopter of new electronics, and though I’m not as plugged into social media as so many are, I read a lot of it and participate when I can. This meme started by Thomas MacEntee at the GeneaBloggers blog is right up my alley.

If you want to join in the fun and show off your own tech cred, here are the rules for the My Rooted Technology meme:

  • Technology you already use: bold face type
  • Technology you would like to use or learn more about: italicize (color optional)
  • Technology you don’t use, have no interest in using or no longer use: plain type
  • Explain or give opinions in brackets [     ] at the end of each bullet point
  1. I have a tablet computer such as an iPad that I use for genealogy [I have an iPad, actually my second because my first was wi-fi only and I wanted 3G coverage. I don’t use it for research so much yet, other than to look up my Ancestry.com trees when I’m on the go, but I do have every copy of NGSQ, NGSM, APGQ, and NEHGR (I’m actually still working on this one) that is available as a PDF loaded on it.]
  2. I have downloaded one or more apps to a Smart Phone or similar device.
  3. I belong to a genealogy society that uses social media.
  4. I use GEDCOM files and understand the various compatibility issues involved. [More or less, anyway.]
  5. I have added metadata to some of my files and digital photos.
  6. I have utilized an API from a genealogy-related application or website.
  7. I have taken a DNA test related to my genealogy research.
  8. I have used the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  9. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly for genealogy. [I have only connected with a few genealogists there, but would love to connect with others! I’m at http://www.facebook.com/kstrum.]
  10. I use tech tools to help me cite my sources in genealogy research. [I just finished the BU program where I spent a good deal of time learning how to craft citations. Using tech seems a bit like cheating! Though I am just getting started with RootsMagic, and hope those templates help.]
  11. I have developed a genealogy-related app for a Smart Phone or similar device.
  12. I use a genealogy database program (Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic etc.) [I have the latest versions of both Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.]
  13. I use cloud computer resources to store my genealogy data. [Mostly I just use Dropbox to share genealogy documents with my mom at this point. Everything else is on a flash drive, backed up on a computer. I don’t have enough space at Dropbox to save it all, but might end up paying for it someday as extra backup.]
  14. I have made one or more contributions to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  15. I have attended a genealogy webinar.
  16. I have organized and administered a DNA testing group related to my genealogy.
  17. I use apps involving GPS and Geo-caching for my genealogy research. [I have apps for this on my phone, but haven’t had a chance to try them out yet.]
  18. I have a Google+ account and use it regularly for genealogy. [I follow a lot of people, but don’t participate as much as I’d like. I hope to do better this year!]
  19. I have created and published a family history e-book. [I suppose I might do this someday, but I need to get a handle on my mom’s research as well as my own first.]
  20. I have created a wiki related to my genealogy research. [I love wikis. I hadn’t though about doing this before, but it sounds like a great idea.]
  21. I have conducted a genealogy webinar as a presenter. [I really don’t see myself doing much in the way of public speaking, but you never know, I suppose!]
  22. I read genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [I only wish I had more time to read them and comment! At least I finally found a Chrome extension that helps read comments without having to leave Google Reader. I just wish more folks used something so I could be notified of follow-up messages, because I rarely remember to go back and see if a comment I left was responded to.]
  23. I have one or more genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [This is the only one. One of these days I hope to start getting actual research on it, create surname pages, etc.]
  24. I have a Twitter account and use it regularly for genealogy. [I don’t really like Twitter all that much, perhaps it’s just “too much,” but check on it to see what folks are talking about.]
  25. I have one or more genealogy-related websites which I run and administer.
  26. I have created a screencast or video related to genealogy and posted it at a video sharing site (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).
  27. I use one or more digital tools to capture and record my family history. [I received a digital voice recorder for Christmas, so I guess that’s a start!]