Sunday, January 12, 2020

Census Sunday: The Census is Coming!

I remember how excited I was in 2010 to fill out a census form for the first time. I was living with my fiance in a little apartment in Syracuse and made sure to make a copy of the paper form to look at anytime, not just in 2082. I was in grad school for library science at the time, but don't remember anyone talking about the census. It was the same idea as the past few decades: form comes in the mail, fill it out, send it in.

This year, I'm a library director and we've been discussing the 2020 census for about a year now. There are a lot of changes, the main ones being it's mostly digital (aka taken online) and there is no long form option (this is now the American Community Survey).

The digital aspect is the reason library workers are talking so much about this. You may or may not know about the digital divide, the uneven access to and use of technology, particularly computers and the internet. Libraries are a key source of the internet and computers to many populations and with the census being online, there will be great need for access to the internet and help using the internet. There will also need to be explanations of why the census is so important (power and money for the area you live in), why you can trust the website and that your information is private, and how to get directions, forms, and help in your native language.

While the census is mainly online, areas that are frequently under-counted will also receive a paper form, as well addresses that did not fill out the form online or by phone after a few notices. The last option will be for a census enumerator to come to your door.

What should genealogists do? First, watch for your postcard in mid-March with instructions for filling out the census form and then do that ASAP (yes, census day is 1 April, but people should have filled out the form during the 2 weeks prior; you can update if needed). Second, consider joining or making a donation to a complete count committee to help make sure every person is counted. If you volunteer with a non-profit, see if they are working with the community on the census. There is also a need for part-time employees with the census, so if you're looking for some extra cash to pay for all those documents and databases, this is a great way to get it! Tell your friends and family to fill out the form form online or by phone as soon as they get their postcard.

Watch this space for more census info over the next few months. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Basics in 2020: Week 1 & 2

For 2020, I'm getting back to basics for genealogy so that I can focus on my goals of being a BCG certified genealogist and be a genealogist for a living. I'll update where I am (most) Fridays. Since the 3rd was still new to the year, I'm including that here.


  • Signed up for and completed the NGS American Home Studies: The Basics Course. A great refresher and gave me some ideas for when I'm presenting. I want to do all these courses this year, so I'm start at the very beginning.
  • Signed up for and am working on the NGS American Home Studies: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation course. Same idea as above. Slowly working on it.
  • Used some of my Christmas money and ordered How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide: With Specific Resources for Major Christian Denominations before 1900 by Harold A. Henderson and Sunny Jane Morton.
    • Currently reading and taking lots of notes.
  • Took advantage of the amazing 1/2 off deal to renew my Ancestry subscription
Organization: Yeah, I need to work on that. Step one for this weekend is getting my old laptop to connect to Dropbox so my file is correct in there for Legacy and RootsMagic.


  • Reached out to my committee as the new chair for the WNYGS Library Committee.
  • Attended the 1st NEAPG luncheon series.

  • Worked on my presentation for this month's genealogy round table at work. It's on how to reach your genealogical new year's resolutions. Asked in a genealogy Facebook group for people's resolutions to add to what I had come up with.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

SNGF: Genealogy Goals for 2020

It's time for some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun! Play along :-)

Tonight, Randy posted:
1)  It's the New Year, and many readers have already made resolutions, or goals, or plans for one or more tasks or projects.  Or they haven't yet, but could or should.

2)  For this SNGF, please tell us what plans you've made, or what goals you've stated, or what resolutions you've averred for 2020.  Writing them down may help you achieve them.  Do one or more as you wish.

Genealogy goals and I haven't mixed fabulously well over the past few years, but I'm going to try, try again. Like in my regular life, instead of picking actual goals, I'm going to pick a word.


I have long held the plan to become a certified genealogist and to do genealogy as a career. I got my MLS because of this. I go to GRIP and conferences and workshops and genealogical society sessions because of this. I've done a lot of research because of this.

And in many ways, I'm good on the career front. I hold genealogy round tables at my library, help others with their research, speak locally, and even take clients now and then. But the certification thing has been out of reach, due to the time and organization needed.

So that's why I'm going back to the basics this year. Organizing all the research I have. Making sure everything is in my research plans and database. Reading all the books I buy and blog posts I have on Feedly. Making a concrete plan to get certified and following it like I do with my research plans. Stop looking at every shiny squirrel out there and focus. I have the time, it just tends to be spent watching TV or playing on social media. So now it's time to get back to what's important in this arena.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

End of Year Meme: 2019

It turns out I did my first annual one of these a decade ago. Times sure have changed.

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before? Went to Oregon, bought a hybrid car

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I'm not a fan of resolutions; I much prefer a word of the year. My word for 2020 is fire. 2019 was a bit of a roller coaster. Time to rise like a phoenix in some areas and burn some stuff down in others.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 2 of my cousins and my friend Theresa

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Not close, but my great aunt Barbara.

5. What places did you visit? Oregon and southern Washington, Detroit, NYC, Steamtown, Hamilton & Toronto, Ontario, Niagara Falls, Oneonta, SPAC & CMAC, GRIP in Pittsburgh

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019? A consistent exercise routine

7. What dates from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 25, when Aaron got a new job. November 20th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Some things I don't want to share quite yet

9. What was your biggest failure? I'll keep that to myself

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes

11. What was the best thing you bought? Plane tickets to Portland; my Kia Niro; concert tickets with Lauren; fixing the house (deck & fence)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Greta Thunberg

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Our government, still.

14. Where did most of your money go? Our house. Mortgage and some repairs, including moving the fence and fixing the deck

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The fixed deck, our summer vacation

16. What songs will always remind you of 2018?  All things the Jackson 5 and Train

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 25 pounds
c) richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercise

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worry

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2019? Another Christmas morning at our house followed by dinner with friends. It's one of my favorite yearly traditions.

21. Did you fall in love in 2019? No

22. What was your favorite TV program?  The Good Place

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2019? Worked and went to Red Robin for my birthday burger

24. What was the best book you read? Daisy Jones & the Six

25. What did you want and get? A lovely summer vacation

26. What did you want and not get? Trip to Chicago

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Frozen 2 (I don't watch many movies)

28. Did you make some new friends this year? Yes

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Winning the lottery

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019? Leggings

31. What kept you sane? Walks with Andrea

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Meh.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? Children in cages.

34. Who did you miss? My Grandpa Acquard and Uncle Brian, like every year now.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019: You never know what you can do until you have to do it.

Monday, July 1, 2019

GRIP 2019: Days 2-5

The second day of GRIP for me and the last day of kindergarten for my little man. How could I not use this photo for today's post?

GRIP went quickly as always. I learned so much from Judy Russell, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, and Rick Sayer on how to use laws to advance your research. So much so, in fact, that I need to go back to see what I've missed. We discussed probate records, immigration records, land records, and records during slavery.

I also attended 2 of the night lectures, one by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson on Transcriptions and one by David Rencher. As always, I spent plenty of time at Maia's Books and looking through the BCG portfolios.

My favorite part was talking with the other attendees at meals and breaks, after classes ended, and on the trip home. I can't wait to attend again next year!

See also Day 1 of GRIP. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

GRIP 2019: Day 1

I arrived at LaRoche University in Pittsburg yesterday afternoon. I was lucky this year to ride down with 3 interesting ladies who talked about genealogy for much of the ride. After dinner and the welcome program, I relaxed and got to know my roommate. It's hard to believe it's my 6th year attending a GRIP course.

Today was day 1 of Using Legal Documents: Understanding and using Legal Documents for Genealogical Research with Judy Russell, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, and Rick Sayre.

Today we learned about civil litigation in the context of divorce records. It was fascinating to learn more about the legal process and how to find the statutes to learn more about documents created. My favorite part was discussing ethics in relation to the divorce cases. I've been reading a lot on ethics relating to DNA tests and it was a great reminder that you need to think about this for all record sets, even if the information is in public record.

I skipped the evening lecture that was on the Pennsylvania state archive and instead worked on my homework and hung out with friends. It's so great to be back at GRIP.

Monday, March 4, 2019

52 Ancestors: Wenzel Tross

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014. I am playing along this year. I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start. In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Lillian Eichorn > William Fred Eichorn > Augusta Tross

No picture for Wenzel. If anyone out there has one, please let me know. I’d love to see it!

So this one is going to be simple. I am pretty sure that Wenzel is Augusta's father. I might have a marriage record for him and Maria Strassheim, but I'm not 100% sure on that. He would have died prior to 1921 when his wife and children left Germany for New York. Otherwise, he is still a mystery.

Census Sunday: The Census is Coming!

I remember how excited I was in 2010 to fill out a census form for the first time. I was living with my fiance in a little apartment in S...