Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Go on an extended family vacation as an adult.  It makes traveling with a baby much easier.

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 2014 was "savor" and while I tried, I'm not sure I did as well as I could have.  For 2015 my word is going to be "passion" which is based on this post a bit.  I want to focus on things I love and leave the rest behind, both in action and in stuff in our apartment.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin had a son, Connor, and my friends had daughters, Anna, Penelope, and Maddie.  Lots of ladies in my infertility group got their miracle babies, as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thankfully.  We did go to a funeral for a friend's grandmother.

5. What places did you visit? Worchester, MA, Providence & Newport, RI, Toronto & Kingston, Ontario, Detroit, MI.  Plus the usual trips around Central and Western NY.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?  A trip to see friends in NYC and a trip abroad.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? May 30th, which was Julian's 1st birthday and my two cousin's weddings (September and November).  Not the exact days, but when Aaron's employer closed and when he found a new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?   Julian turning 1 as a happy, healthy, curious little boy.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not exercising nearly enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I sprained my ankle, which is still an issue at times.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My spot at GRIP.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I'm keeping my answer the same as last year: My husband.  He is amazing with Julian.  I couldn't do it without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The reactions of many to the killings of unarmed black men and boys.

14. Where did most of your money go? Daycare.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Julian continues to do awesome things, like walking, which always amaze and excite me.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014? You are My Sunshine.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, though I'm finally working with a doctor to get my PCOS under control.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, thanks to Aaron's new job and a decrease in daycare in November.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Enjoying the moment, saving money, exercising, genealogy, blogging.

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

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2014? Saturday before Christmas with Perrines, Sunday before at Christmas caroling party, Christmas Eve with Casells, Christmas morning at my mom's, afternoon at Acquards, and evening watching Into the Woods with my husband and two of my favorite people.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014? It just keeps getting better with my two main men.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Criminal Minds.  Also rewatching Gilmore Girls and How I Met Your Mother.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2014? I had off from work and went to lunch and coffee and the doctor by myself.  Don't remember at night.  Went to a play, Albertine in 5 Times, a few days later.

24. What was the best book you read? Fiction: What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty, Non-fiction: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, Book club: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Kids: We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems.

25. What did you want and get? My article proposal accepted!

26. What did you want and not get? To win the lottery.  I ought to start playing ;-)

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Into the Woods

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I met some great people at work.

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If Julian's play vacuum actually worked; I'd have the cleanest house ever ;-)

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Sweaters and tang tops with jackets for work.

31. What kept you sane? My family and friends.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? The Pope, again, and the Ebola aid workers.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The killings of unarmed black men and boys by police.

34. Who did you miss? My Grandpa Acquard.  I wish he could have met Julian.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Worry less, it will work out in the end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 2

I Got a GRIP! Notepad
GRIP intro post and day 1 post. GRIP 2012 posts.

Day 2 of GRIP began with Dr. Hal Learman, PARI co-director, discussing "Geography, Gazetteers, and Maps."  I love maps, which comes in handy when researching a country such as Poland, whose borders have changed continuously throughout its history.  Some of the best maps to use for Polish research include the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Polish and Kartenmeister.  He also recommends Google searches and the FamilySearch catalog.  There are numerous books of Polish maps available as well.

Our second lecture of the day was "Using's Catalog, Indexes, and Digital Images."  This was a case study on finding foundation documents to push your family back to their ancestral village.  Ceil said to remember to always bring a pedigree chart to archives and libraries and to start with that, as it is impossible for the person there helping you to keep all of your information sorted in their head.  Check death certificates, passenger records, naturalization records, census records, and WWI and WWII draft cards for the name of the town your ancestor was born in.  Once you have found the American records, you can check FamilySearch for Polish records as well.

Wawel Folk Ensemble

After lunch, we had lecture three of the day on the Polish Genealogical Society, makers of the must-use Polish genealogy site Geneteka.  Volunteers have transcribed over 1 million names in civil records from throughout Poland.  Many of the transcribed names also have scanned images available.  I really cannot exaggerate how useful this site is.  For a a marriage record, the transcriber also gives the parents names and birth year and location of the bride and groom, which can easily lead to more records for your family.  While the site is not complete, they are continuously expanding it.

Our last lecture was "Poznan Project: Civil and Parish Marriage Index."  The Poznan Project is a website dedicated to transcribing the records of Poznan, which is commonly a problem area for genealogists.  If you have ancestors from this area, make sure to check out this site.

Our evening lecture was actually a performance by the Wawel Folk Ensemble.  Wawel had 10 people, 5 male, 5 female, and each "couple" dressed in an outfit from a different region. According to their blog, the regions were Kaszëbë, Podlasie, Biłgoraj, Rzeszów, and Sieradz. They would describe the outfit and region and then do a few dances.  It was fascinating to see the different outfits and dances they performed.  I'm also pretty sure life would be much better if we still had neighborhood get-togethers full of dancing and music.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 1

You can also read my introduction post on GRIP 2014 and my posts on GRIP 2012.

Polish Panorama
The official start to GRIP was Monday and the first lecture in the Polish genealogy course was on the Polish Panorama at PARI given by PARI director Ceil Wendt Jensen.  The Panorama has 106 figures representing Poles from peasants to Pope John Paul.  Each figure is 30 inches high, moves along the stage on an automated track (bottom middle and right) and was designed by Zbigniew Baran.  My favorites were the peasant woman with her baby (top left), the winged hussar (middle right) and the partitioned Poland in mourning (top right).   There is also a mural designed by Marek Żółtak showing important churches of Poland (bottom left).

We then had two lectures on the Polish language for genealogists.  It began by looking at some of the records available for genealogists, including some that you cannot easily find online, such as a "list of souls", estate and manor records and travel documents.  We then got to practice Polish pronunciation with Eugenia Gorecki, who is the in-house translator at the Polish Mission.  I'm not sure Genia was too impressed by any of us...

The last lecture of the day was on the identification and history of ancestral villages.  This was of particular interest to me, as I have not found the exact villages my Polish ancestors emigrated from.  It is important to look at as many items as possible to try to find the name of the village.  They recommend WWI draft cards, naturalization papers and ship manifests.  There are a lot of online gazetteers that can assist in finding out where that village was at the time your ancestor lived there.  Considering all of the border changes in Poland, using maps from the correct time period is of utmost importance.

In addition to the course lectures, GRIP offers evening lectures, which are also free to the public, on different topics.  The first evening session was given by Polish Mission director Marcin Chumiecki on some of the projects they are currently doing.  The one that most amazed me is "Forbidden Art," an exhibit on the art prisoners produced in Auschwitz and Birkenau.  Currently on exhibit at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Kansas, this looks both fascinating and heartbreaking.  There is a short online tour which I highly recommend (see YouTube video above) and I hope to make a trip to see this in the near future.

Monday, August 4, 2014

GRIP 2014: Polish Genealogy

I arrived yesterday for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh's On the Road week in Orchard Lakes, Michigan for the "Advancing Your Polish Genealogy: 300 Years of Records" course.  I attended the inaugural GRIP in 2012, missed 2013 due to having a newborn, and when I saw the Polish offering at the Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI), I knew exactly which course to sign up for this year.

Detroit Train Station
Getting to Orchard Park was quite the trip: we left Syracuse at 4 pm, met my mom and gramma for dinner in Waterloo, then Julian and I headed to Buffalo while my husband headed back home.  We arrived around 8 and I took a nap.  The train was supposed to leave the Buffalo-Depew station at 11:59 pm (she's leaving {leaving} on a midnight train to Detroit...), but due to delays and the water issue in Toledo, didn't leave until around 2 am.  We arrived in Toledo around 7:30 am, then took a bus to Detroit where I had quite the layover, which just got longer when my train to Pontiac, MI was over an hour late.  I finally arrived in Pontiac about 24 hours after I first left home where the wonderful director of PARI (and also one of my instructors this week), Ceil, picked me up from the train station and we made it to campus a little before 5.

Polish Panorama
I registered, met my lovely room mate Linda, got settled in the dorm, and headed to the opening night dinner.  After dinner, we got an overview of the Polish Panorama from Ceil, which I will discuss in detail on my post tomorrow.  All followed by an early bedtime.

I'll be posting about my experience at GRIP daily this week; let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Plans

Summer has arrived!  It has been pretty great so far, with sleeping in, visiting out local coffee house's garage sale, going to Polish Fest, and having ice cream.  Here is our summer plans:


  • 3 weddings
  • 2 baby showers
  • 3 birthday parties
  • Take Julian to his first baseball game
  • Spend a week at my mom's
  • Jazzfest
  • New York State Fair
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Red House
  • Miscellaneous other local fairs and festivals
  • A weekend in Massachusetts
  • A weekend in Detroit
  • A trip on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad
  • GRIP on the Road Polish Genealogy Course
  • Research in Buffalo and maybe Niagara Falls and Southern Ontario
  • Visit the graves of my husband's great grandparents here in Syracuse
I also want to take Julian for a walk most nights after work, go to the park often, and try to make it to the local splash pad.  I have monthly book clubs, an exciting presentation related to work, and a lot of cleaning/organizing/selling no longer needed stuff plans.

It's going to be a busy summer, but also lots of fun!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Motivational Monday: Conferences

I adore conferences.  I've attended conferences for libraries, genealogy, Phi Theta Kappa, tourism management, and different church things, particularly when I was younger.  I've also planned a few conferences in my day and continue to work on committees for program planning and local arrangements.

The energy and new ideas always make me excited and motivated to work harder and try new things.  For the first time, I get to be the keynote speaker at a conference today, and, I hope, motivate and excite others on customer service within libraries.

If you're interested, you can see my slides for the Library Management Institute below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Motivation Monday: June

 Goals and plans for June.

*Post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: Medieval Astronomical Clocks

Wanderlust Wednesday: Places I've Been, Places I'm Going and Places I Want to See

Rostock, Germany
I recently saw an article on medieval astronomical clocks throughout Europe.  I have been lucky enough to visit two of the clocks listed in the article, those in Prague, Czech Republic and in Rostock, Germany.  It is amazing to me what people were able to build over 1000 years ago.  I will be going to France next year and hope to visit a few more of these.

Monday, June 2, 2014

And Then He Was One

Dear Julian,

I'm not sure how it happened, but you're 1!  Beyond a doubt this was the fastest and best year of my life.

One means pulling up on everything and cruising everywhere.  One is play dates at the park, banging things together to make noise, and instigating games of peek-a-boo with a huge grin on your face.  One is mimicking words, giving high fives, and going for long walks with daddy.  One is playing at daycare, helping turn the pages of books, and reaching up for mommy.  One is happiness, exploration, and curiosity.

In your first year you visited Canada, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  There were many, many trips to Buffalo to see my side of the family, plus most Friday nights seeing Hama, Papa, and Kelly.  You have been to museums, mommy and me yoga, an olive oil tasting, coffee houses, two poster sessions, and a family reunion.  You even made the cover on a local parenting magazine with your birthday buddy.

You aren't a fan of grass, most meat, and bath time.  You love saag paneer, "flying" with daddy, and your Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy.  I think for your birthday you really wanted a working cell phone, real keys, and an all-access pass to the doors we keep closed around you, mainly the bathroom and refrigerator.

At one you are 18 pounds, 10 ounces and 29 inches tall.  You wear 18 month one piece outfits, 12 month two piece outfits, and still fit in 9 month pants.  You have at least 4 teeth, with a couple more on their way up.  You had 3 family birthday parties, plus one at daycare.  You are so very loved by so many people.

It amazes me how much you have changed since you were born and how each stage is better than the next.  Happy birthday, Little Man!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Half Way

I'm not sure when half the year flew by, but we seem to have made it to June already.  I'm doing alright with my goals for the year.  I've got the Julian ones down, am 1 book ahead on reading according to GoodReads, and I think I've hit a new place each month, including visiting Providence for the first time.

I have not kept up with blogging despite my best intentions, so I'm going to try that again for the latter half of 2014.  Jenica posted about #blogJune and I am going to join in.  Not necessarily every day in June, but more days than not.  I miss writing and connecting with others, plus it gives me motivation to work on genealogy and write about libraries and travel.

Here is day 1.  Anyone want to join in?

Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancesors: #2 Stanislawa Frances Karpinski

Amy at No Story Too Small has challenged bloggers to post on 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.  I am hoping to post each Sunday.  I am going to use my pedigree chart starting with my great grandparents and go in order.  This might get a little hairy later on, but at least it will give me some things to research/write research plans for and will help with filling out my chart for 2014.

Pedigree #9, Ancestor 2/52: Stanislawa "Stella" Frances Karpinski Acquard, the wife of ancestor #1, Florian Dana Acquard.  Stella is my great grandmother and one of 2 great grandparents I met, though I unfortunately do not remember her (she died shortly after I turned 5).

Stella was born 6 May 1914 in Buffalo, Erie, NY to Franciszek “Francis” and Jozefa “Josephine” (Szydlik) Karpinski.  She was the fifth of 6 children.

She married Florian Dana Acquard on 28 December 1932 in Bennington Center, Wyoming, NY.  They had 6 children, including my grandfather, Theodore.  When her husband died in 1948, she married his brother, Walter John Acquard.  They did not have any children.

Stella died 26 January 1987 in Batavia, Genesee, NY of thyroid cancer.  Stella is buried next to her first husband in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Bennington Center, Wyoming, NY.

A few personal things about Stella are that she knitted my christening outfit, which my sister and some cousins also wore.  We took many photos of my son in the outfit as well.  After Stella had been widowed a second time, she moved into a home across the street from Attica Prison.  This always amazed me as a child, but my mother told me Stella said it was the safest place to be - after all, who would escape from the prison and go to the house directly across from it.


  • Marriage License
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Marriage Announcement
  • 1920 Census
  • 1940 Census
  • Find A Grave Memorial
  • SSDI Index


  • 1930 Census (
  • Obituary (


  • Birth Certificate (Buffalo)
  • Death Certificate (Batavia)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge: Post 1

I joined Joy's Book Blog's New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge, where you read 1-4 books relating to your New Year's resolution.  I chose books that focused on on my word of the year, savor, in a variety of ways.  Though I won't finish them by the end of January, I think having them to read throughout the year will be a good reminder of what I am  working on in 2014.

My books are as follows:
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    • This is actually a reread for me.  It is the read along book for the challenge and fits my focus pretty well.
  • Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
    • A great book that lasts all year focusing on appreciating the little things in life.
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
    • Savoring life will be much easier if I'm not stressed by my to do list pile at home and work.  This book has come highly recommended from a multitude of people, so I have high hopes.
  • Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thích Nhá̂t Hạnh and Lilian W Y Cheung
    • A Buddhist leader and a Harvard nutritionist offer cutting-edge science and deep Buddhist wisdom on the subject of eating with one's health and the welfare of the planet in mind.
As I mentioned above, the read along book is The Happiness Project.  The first set of questions were to be discussed today.

1. The first question is borrowed from The Happiness Project Reading Guide at HarperCollins. Gretchen argues throughout The Happiness Project that striving to be happy is a worthy, not selfish, goal. Do you agree? Do you think that Gretchen was right, or not, to devote so much time and attention to her own happiness? Do you spend much time thinking about your happiness?
I think it is definitely a worthy project, so long as you do not do it to the detriment of others.  I think at time she went a bit too far, but overall I think it was a good plan.  I don't spend nearly that much time thinking about my happiness mainly because I don't have that much free time or a book contract to do so.
2. Of the three topics covered in the first three chapters (Vitality, Marriage, and Work), which area would you like to improve the most in 2014? Why? Would some of the techniques that worked for Gretchen work for your situation?
I think I would like to focus on my marriage most.  Not because it has problems, but rather because we're still learning how to focus on each other while being parents.  I think she has some great tips in here and in her second book.
3. What idea from the first three chapters of The Happiness Project could use today that would likely make you happier?
"If you do new things — visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people — you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities."

I'm all about seeing and learning new things and definitely find that I am happier when pushing out of my normal routine.
4. What idea from the first three chapters of The Happiness Project are you pretty sure wouldn’t make you happier at all, even if it seems to work for Gretchen?
She definitely has much more time to research and think about her happiness.  I, unfortunately, can't just spend hours a day reading, thinking. and writing on my happiness.
5. What do you think of the structures that Gretchen uses to facilitate her Happiness Project? Would something like a Resolutions Chart help you? What about the concept of tackling a different theme each month?
I think a resolutions chart may help, but that would require a level of organization that I don't currently have.  I very much like the idea of a different theme each month, though within the overall framework of my year, which I guess is what she is doing though on a broader scale.  For instance, for January I am focusing on organization and increasing my productivity (hence book 3 above) so that I can more easily savor what is occurring without feeling rushed or stressed.  I'm still figuring out the rest of the year.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 Florian Dana Acquard

Amy at No Story Too Small has challenged bloggers to post on 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.  I am hoping to post each Sunday.  I am going to use my pedigree chart starting with my great grandparents and go in order.  This might get a little hairy later on, but at least it will give me some things to research/write research plans for and will help with filling out my chart from Saturday.

Pedigree #8, Ancestor 1/52: Florian Dana Acquard

Florian and Stella's Wedding (right)
Clarence Stafford, Best Man, and Alfreda Karpinski, Maid of Honor (left)
Photo is a scan of a photocopy I received from Dottie Wyckoff
I guess it's good to jump right in with one that I need to work on.  I have not done much research on my father's side of the family because I have a great aunt and great uncle who have traced the family very far back.  I need to ask for scans of vital records and other sources they have as soon as possible.

Florian was born the 9 August 1899 in Bennington Center, Wyoming, New York, the 11th of Joseph and Mary (Kohley/Kollin) Acquard's 12 children.  He married Stella Karpinski on 16 December 1932 in Bennington Center and had 6 children, Theodore (my grandfather), Ronald, and one son and three daughters who are still living.

Florian died young, at age 49 on 28 December 1948 of a cerebral hemorrhage.  According to my great aunt Dottie, he died because "he fell from a wagon when the part holding horses to wagon broke.  He landed on his front part of head.  A week or two later he had a cerebral hemorrhage."  He was buried at Sacred Heart Catholic Church Cemetery, Bennington Center, Wyoming, NY.

My father has the middle name of Florian after him and my uncle looks very much like him.  It is nice that part of him has been carried on.

Found on 4 January 2014:
  • Newspapers from Old Fulton Postcards
    • Death Announcement
    • Multiple Tax Announcements
    • Announcement on Administration of his Will
    • Wedding Announcement and 1 Year and 10 Year "Remember When" of Wedding
    • Birth Announcement of son Ronald
    • Miscellaneous Social Column Items
  • Vital Records from
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Marriage License
  • WWI Draft Record (Ancestry)
  • 1930 Census (Ancestry)
  • 1940 Census (FamilySearch)
  • Probate Record (Wyoming County Surrogate Court)
  • Find a Grave Memorial
  • Information from Aunt Dottie's Acquard Genealogy Binder
To Do List:
  • Federal and State Census Records (Ancestry)
  • Birth Certificate 
  • Death Certificate 
  • Newspaper Birth Announcements of Other 5 Children
  • Religious Records from Sacred Heart
  • Land Records
  • Get better copies of photos

Saturday, January 4, 2014

SNGF: What's Your Ancestor Score?

From Randy at Genea-Musings:
1)  Determine how complete your genealogy research is.  For background, read Crista Cowan's post Family History All Done? What’s Your Number? and Kris Stewart'sWhat Is Your Genealogy "Score?"  For comparison purposes, keep the list to 10 or 11 generations with you as the first person.  

2)  Create a table similar to Crista's second table, and fill it in however you can (you could create an Ahnentafel (Ancestor Name) list and count the number in each generation, or use some other method).  Tell us how you calculated the numbers.

3)  Show us your table, and calculate your "Ancestral Score" - what is your percentage of known names to possible names (1,023 for 10 generations).

4)  For extra credit (or more SNGF), do more generations and add them to your chart.

5)  Post your table, and your "Ancestor Score," on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.

My Table
As you can see, at 10 generations I have 15% done, but at 12 (the furthest back I can go), I have only 4%.  It will be fun to see if I can add to this at all this year.  I have to admit that this chart makes me jealous of those with New England ancestry :-)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Goals

Source: Facebook
It is time to write down my goals for the year and send them out into the universe.


  • Move with intention for at least 10 minutes every day and track on SparkPeople.
  • Blog at least 3 times a week remembering that though this started as a genealogy research blog (if only I could get the posts to transfer over...), recording my current life story is important as well and should be included.  I would love to have a life record written by my ancestors.
  • Spend time each day nurturing relationships with my husband, family and friends.  This includes having a sit down family dinner at least Friday-Sunday (nights my husband doesn't work).

    • No screens around him Monday-Friday night, except for texting photos and stories about him to my husband, sister and the grandparents.
    • Read every single night.
    • Stop worrying so much and just marvel at how amazing he is and all of the changes and developments he has.
    • Read 30 books and track on Goodreads.
    • Work on genealogy, either research, organization, at least one hour every week.
    • Go to at least one new place every month.

    Back to Basic: July

    July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...