Thunderstorm woke me this morning, and although I'd been planning on writing a post today, it changed a bit the tenor of it. First of all, I woke up not with the crash of the thunder but with the three Stooges-esque escape my three kitties attempted from my bed when the storm started. Poor babies are so skittish about noise, and this was a good, loud storm. So, 30+ lbs of scrambling kitties are going to rouse you, you know?
But, I digress from the subject at hand. March Madness. No, not the basketball kind. The crazy 'I can't catch my breath because there's so much going on' kind. I have been so busy being busy that I've hardly had a chance to do any research. Thankfully, my weekend at ACPL helped me get a grasp on what I need to do to get things rolling again.
For someone who isn't working full time anymore, I sure am busy. I started the ProGen Study Group (15) in February and although the homework isn't that much I find myself framing a lot of what I do on the subject that month. Last month it was citations (too many interesting, and funny, discussions about that to summarize here) and this month it's Education. I'm a lifelong learner, so it goes without saying that this subject really intrigues me. What I'm finding is that I haven't tapped into anywhere near the amount of educational material that's available, often for free, on the Interwebs. I started a spreadsheet (they're becoming a theme among my Genea-friends) of all the webinars, podcasts, Powerpoint presentations, etc. that I want, or need, to review. Again, there's so much out there and I want to take advantage of it while I can. Are there resources out there that you use to find great genealogy educational material?
Work for me has been disappointing at best. Although my corporate Archives client is still keeping me on, it's a bit frustrating that I'm dealing with the same challenges I was a year ago, and in some instances, two years ago. However, I'm finding my voice in asserting that there is a minimum requirement for a professional, corporate Archives, and I believe that the person I'm reporting to is finally starting to get it. That or pity is finally taking over. Heh.
My historical collection client is on hold until the Library Board decides what their next move will be. In the meantime, I'm fortunate that they've agreed to pay me to assist people who are using the collection for research. This collection is a genealogical treasure trove! There are hundreds of carte de visite or cabinet card photographs of individuals, identified. Plus, corroborating material like memory books, letters, programs, wedding invitations, and a huge assortment of other personal material. Cap it off with both Court and Probate records for the Townships and a transcription of the 1960 (local) Census (that's right, I have NO idea how she got it, but the lady responsible for the bulk of the collection transcribed the records for the 1960 Census) there's enough material to make a genealogist do the Happy Dance. But, for now, only I have access to the Finding Aid. If you know of anyone doing research in Kane County, in Blackberry and/or Virgil Townships, and/or in the town of Elburn, send them my way. I may be able to help them. Oh, and the Cemetery: The Blackberry Township Cemetery, also known as the Elburn Cemetery or the Union Cemetery before that; I have access to their records as well.
I have two small client projects that I worked on during March and that are in the final stages of completion. One was a wonderful Archives project: taking an original group of Meeting Minutes (c. 1930s) from a local chapter of a Club, digitizing them and creating a facsimile for use. The minutes themselves had been stored away all these years, and although they were a bit delicate they were in relatively good condition. The challenge was the group wanted to show them off and asked my help to do that. Not wanting to expose the originals to the environmental changes inherent with being on display, or handled, I suggested a high quality copy that can be handled on a regular basis while the original is carefully stored. I can't wait to get the copy back from the vendor! I worked on a genealogy client as well this month, providing a second pair of eyes on 20+ years of research on another genealogists hard work. I enjoy this kind of work, because I know the frustration that comes from hitting your head on that Brick Wall over and over and then one day picking up a piece of paper you've had that has the answer right on it. Ugh. Anyway, she requested that I review her research, analyze her methodology and report back. I was able to look at her base document at the ACPL while I was there, and that gave me more confidence in being able to provide suggestions on how she can proceed.
While all this was going on, I was working on getting my business up and running. My entire adult working life I've thought about being a business owner; how it would be to work for myself instead of answering to someone else. Of course, as Professional Genealogists or consultants, we know that you ALWAYS answer to someone else: the Client. Anyway, I have the infrastructure in place for my business, and that's exciting. Unfortunately, I've been too busy to even have the time to celebrate a life long dream; odd how that happened. But, it's here and though it wasn't done with the fanfare I would've liked, it's my business. For now I'm going to quietly work on solidifying what I can do for my clients; I want to help educate people about how to handle and care for their genealogical collections (you know, the 'stuff' you've worked for years to acquire) as well as assist others in their research. That's it in a nutshell for now; I'll have more details about it soon.
I ended the month with two days of workshops for my other hobby: fitness pole dancing. I know, I know, before you go all "Ewww..." on me, it's NOT in any way, shape or form, exotic dancing. It's athletic, acrobatic, gymnastic-type stuff. I had the opportunity to learn from two of the US Pole Dance Federation's best (you didn't know there WAS a USPDF, did you?) Althea Austin and Karol Helms. Talk about challenging! The best thing about pole dancing is it's opened my eyes about what I 'can't' do. Because, there really isn't anything that I can't do; there are just things I haven't learned how to do, yet. So, they promised that I would do things at least two levels beyond where I was, and I did!! The result was truly amazing and I felt it was a great way to end a mad, mad, mad month.
So, April, whatcha got for me? Shockingly, I have NOTHING on my calendar. Which is really good, because I want to use April for gathering resources, organizing those resources in usable format, researching my own lines and preparing for the onslaught that will be May. May Mayhem...? I can't wait!
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