Blog Housekeeping


I’m being pulled  in a lot of different directions lately but I still want to keep this blog going so here’s me, yet again, saying I’ll try to be better about writing.

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Summer is a time of family gatherings—weddings, open houses, and reunions. Are you taking advantage of your family time to build on your genealogy research? Even just sitting around and sharing photographs can spark great family storytelling! That’s what Grandma Trotter, my aunts, and I were doing in this picture.

 

One of the projects I’ve been working on for the last few months is an update of my research on Grandma Trotter’s family (my paternal grandmother) accomplished through solo research and a big crowdsourcing project amongst my distant cousins. The sharing was an interesting experiment. I pulled together all of my notes in a register report from our earliest known York ancestors and then one of my cousins sent it out by email to family all over the country with orders to send corrections and additions to me.

Some of the corrections made total sense, some were confusing, some totally contradicted each other. We have step-children, illegitimate children who are still blood related, we even had the moment where I had to look at two people’s additions repeatedly before I understood that representatives from two different wings of the family had married—not uncommon, just confusing in the corrections. But it was a wholly rewarding experience… marred only by the fact that I can’t attend this particular reunion.

[Trotters and Yorks—I’ve been working on our genealogy for years so I know mine is not the only family effected by the reunions being in the same month.]

Happy hunting!

Jess

PieChartBeacuse it’s been a hot topic in my corner of genealogy, this is just a quick heads up for those interested in DNA testing.  Today is DNA Day and sales are running for at least Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA. It’s about as low a price as they ever go.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Stow-Davis Furniture Company Employees

Not to mention… the Johnsons, Packers, Sufflings, Holdens, Burroughs… The list goes on. I’m about 0% Native American. I’m a child of immigrants from Germany, the British Isles, West Africa (those last weren’t voluntary). They took the jobs no one wanted. They served our country in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. They helped make Grand Rapids the furniture capital of the world for a time. They were policeman, teachers, and ministers. They worked hard for a better life and to pursue the fundamental right of religious freedom. This country was built on the hard work and perseverance of immigrants and refugees. America’s historical dealings with immigrants and refugees are shoddy at best but I still expect infinitely better than I’m seeing today.

In the picture above there’s a grumpy looking individual dressed in black with his arms crossed, directly below the “w” in “Stow”. I believe this is my Great-Great Grandfather Cornelius Packer. He came to North America as a child from Rainham, Kent, England; grew up in Ontario, Canada; and came as an adult to Grand Rapids, Michigan to work during the lumber and furniture boom around the turn of the century.

What’s your immigrant story?

Jess

So, the blog has suffered greatly in the last few months (okay, really a couple of years now but work with me) for any number of reasons—new job, day-to-day life, me trying to overcomplicate things… etc. But it’s also happened because I’ve had so many neat opportunities recently—presenting, researching, and writing. Blog posts still may be hit and miss for a time while I work out my new reality but I’ll try to be better about posting.

In the mean time, I’ll be presenting:

  • Finding Non-Traditional Records at the Michigan Genealogical Council’s* Delegate Meeting on Thursday January 12th at 11 am. (rescheduled due to weather) Thursday, March 9th at 11 am.

*Don’t forget to check out their events list for Michigan (and national) genealogy events.

Happy hunting and happy New Year!

Jess

So… it’s been forever. On the plus side, I’ve definitely been working on my genealogy. But outside of answering your very encouraging and informative comments–thank you all for those!!—I’ve mostly been trying to figure out what to write next. Part of my issue is that I’m researching in probably way too many directions at once… but I also have to get over the need for a perfect post. I forget sometimes that I wanted to track the journey here as much as the findings. So, I have a goal to get past this bit of writer’s block and continue my research journey here.

Wish me luck & happy hunting!

Jess

Is this the blog post I’ve been trying to put out for weeks? Of course not!

But these are appearing in my Facebook feed and looked fun–Thank you Kris R., Cousin Marcia and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. They also played into a thought I had the other day listening to an article about the the Lansing State Journal’sMichigan Best Small Town” competition currently in the Final Four round.  Though I don’t quite know how I got around to it, it occurred to me that I am part of a 7th generation of children born and (mostly) raised in Michigan. Smith Lapham and his Gilbert in-laws were here in the Washtenaw County area in the late 1820s… which, mind you, I found fairly boring when I first started out, but it made for a great learning experience when I was starting in my research.

So, here’s my 5-Generation Birth Location Chart. Looks pretty good up to this point. It starts going nuts in the next generation with question marks, more immigrants, and, of course, more Michiganders.

Happy hunting,

Jess

5GenLocChart

20151227_165455The holidays are a (mostly lovely) distraction from my research, writing, etc. but they also lead to so many questions. Are you still doing genealogy? How far back have you gone? Are we really Irish?

Yes, I’m still doing genealogy.  Yes, I’m still working on your part of the family. If I could work on all of them at once I probably would, but I do tend to jump around in the branches. How far back depends on the line. And, yes, the Packers and Sheas are definitely part Irish but with a healthy dose of English and Scottish… you know those Packers came straight from Kent, people—you can’t be all Irish.

But as the dust settles, I find myself reviewing the years’ work and, yes, trying to formulate goals for the new year.  Here on the blog I was relatively quiet but it was a good research year for me. My only real research trip ended up being a big one—my first trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah where I happily immersed myself in British records to deepen my understanding of my Alison family and slave and Reconstruction era Arkansas in hopes of breaking down a few more brick walls surrounding my Bradley County families.  But the release of large digital collections at places like SeekingMichigan.org and Ancestry.com  gave me more than enough to do from home.

Throughout the year I connected with fellow researchers and distant family. I took a number of great classes, and taught a few too. I donated research time for a local Family Center’s annual auction and had a blast working with the winner. I continued to work as a volunteer indexer for one of my societies and “consulting librarian” for another. And I took a little time for crafting to share some of my findings with the family. All and all 2015 was a good year.

So, what will this year bring? Hopefully more of the same with a little more travel. New York and Arkansas are on my radar, though the latter might have to coincide with the next reunions in 2017. Salt Lake is a definite possibility.  We’ll have to see. Regardless, I’m starting the year right with a lot of ideas, leads, and friends and family.

Happy New Year and happy hunting!

Jess

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