28 November 2013

Thankful Thursday - Thankful and Happy

I woke up this morning with the "Meow? Meow?" of Conway in my ear and then, before I opened my eyes, the loud purring of Villy as she sat next to my pillow. It was clearly past the time I was 'supposed' to be up; it's Thanksgiving morning. 

What a difference a year, or two, can make. Here's a link to last year's post : Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving Redux

If we're thankful in our hearts, not just in the words we put on paper (literal or virtual), life's bounty is endless. As I re-read last years post, the first thing that popped off the page was my statement about "four feline friends"; sadly, Tootsie is now at the Rainbow bridge with our beloved boys, Butch & Kid. 

Conway, Villonia (Villy) and Goober are very much alive and kicking. We were just discussing, this morning, our "thankful" list and they are at the top. Not only are they amazing creatures but they awoke Love in our house. At a point in our lives when Love had fallen into a deep sleep, they none-so-gently roused It by bringing in laughter, which woke up Love.

And so, today, we have much to be thankful for. We've stripped out the unhealthy, be they people, habits, or things and in their place are now more healthful choices. We have added things that make us laugh and smile; these are the things we now cultivate more passionately. We never forget the challenges behind us, because they help to prepare us for the challenges ahead. There are many: some short term, and some much longer-term. But we'll be taking them on as a team.

We're going to be celebrating, as we did last year, spending this afternoon with Cas's family in Chicago. We're having 'non-traditional' food this year, including the fabulous goat we took into the City last weekend, other yummy Filipino food, ham and my Gram's famous oatmeal cookies I made yesterday. Oh, and the little steamed cakes I made this year, they're called puto in Filipino, and I realize it's a not-so-nice word in Spanish. But that's what it's called, and I decided to try to make it so that when we visit my mother-in-law I'll be able to show her that I learned how to make it! 

Saturday, part of my family will be here to celebrate, and I'll be cooking the turkey and making Granny's fabulous potato coquettes (mashed potatoes rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried; a once-a-year treat that is really too good for words). I am looking forward to having a house full of guests enjoying good food and the warmth of sharing what I have with others.

There is so much going on, for which I am incredibly thankful, in both my personal genealogy and work, but that will have to wait for a future post. Has to wait, which will be explained hopefully very soon. What I will say is that, other than my family and fur-babies, there is nothing I'm more thankful for than my work. I am so blessed. 

Thank you, especially, to those of you who continue to read this blog. It's been a bit of a herky-jerky year; I'm very glad to say that will be ending very soon. Please, enjoy the holiday. It's only once a year we officially take the time to be thankful, and I fear this day is being diminished by the commercial nature of our world. So, take a moment to hug a family member, share in the hospitality of the day, and be thankful. 

Tomorrow is another day.

04 November 2013

Motivation Monday - Let's All Go Fishing!!

On more than one occasion I’ve discussed the benefit of ‘starting over.’ It can be something as simple as transcribing a document you’ve had for a long time to completely recreating a genealogical database. I understand the trepidation in doing this: it takes time and energy in large quantity. However, effective problem solving requires perspective and the application of critical thinking skills and, because we work alone more often than not, reviewing information is part of what we must do. This is how we uncover the mistakes we make; yes, we ALL make mistakes.

What’s the payoff? The more critically you review materials, the better you get at it. It’s a skill. A skill that serves us really well as researchers. Rather than having to go back over materials time and time again to gather the tidbits that are *right there*, those clues wave their little hands saying, “Lookit me…lookit me!!” (You didn’t know they had hands, did you?)

So, as I’ve been processing the material I gathered while on my research trip to Ohio, I realized that I can only look at the same stuff for so long before I stop ‘seeing’ what’s there. I’ve been working to analyze a LOT of material, but even switching between photo editing, transcribing and analyzing …well, I was getting tired. I decided a ‘fishing expedition’ was in order to spice things up a bit and to give myself a much needed break.

I started with MDLandRec.net: Maryland land records. I was going to be *good* and only look for my Richards surname going back beyond the generations I *know* are mine to gather evidence to use later when beginning to prove the next generations. And I did, locating a long list of records that I’ll be able to analyze later to determine if any of them are mine. Once I was finished with the Richards surname, I decided I had a few extra minutes and that I’d look for my Penn family as well. The three lines, Richards, Penn and Sargent are intertwined, intergenerational (same first names among multiple generations that overlap one another) and confusing as all get-out. I’m determined to unsnarl them to the best of my ability in the next oh, 50 years or so, heh! Then…uh, what’s THIS?!

The yellow arrow shows what I was looking for; an entry with the Penn surname. That tidbit waving? Yeah, that’s a nugget from my mom’s maternal line, not the paternal ones I’m focusing on. Yep, good old Cornelius Poulson, right there in Frederick County, Maryland. Only trouble is that the Poulsons lived in New Jersey, NOT Maryland. Or, that’s what all the compiled genealogies I’ve read say, and we all know that everything we read is true, right? Wait…what?

This piece of evidence is going into my Evidentia database for when I shift to researching and analyzing that Powelson/Poulson line. In looking with fresh eyes, not only did I see what I was looking for, but I also saw what else was on the page. 

I'd love to hear if you've gone on fishing expeditions or taken a break and then located something that helped to break down a brick wall, or even just knock out a brick. Any other suggestions for ways to more critically analyze research (beyond the GPS)?