Feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your genealogy to-do list? Oh my gosh, me too!
Last month I decided to let my ancestors guide me through what should be done next to tell their stories. I started by printing a monthly calendar from Family Tree Maker. Each day lists an event in the life of one or more of my ancestors. I worked my way through the events in chronological order, keeping in mind that some of the people who appear are less of a priority than others. That sounds terrible; I hope you know what I mean; a direct-line ancestor trumps a 3rd half-cousin four times removed.
I was both pleasantly surprised (how logical!) and deeply disappointed (you’re missing what?), but I made it through the whole month:
05 Nov 1901 – My 2nd-great-grandmother Maja Stina KARLSDOTTER died at age 62 one-hundred-and twelve years ago in Gothenburg, Västra Götaland, Sweden. A second look at the entries pertaining to her on my family tree reminded me that I need to translate and transcribe two pages from the Swedish parish records that refer to her imprisonment. Miraculously, the image below was accurately labeled and filed correctly in my only-somewhat-organized Dropbox. Transcription/translation is in the works.
06 November 1962 – My great-grandfather’s 2nd wife Judith T. (Peterson) TOLF died in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. A second look at her entry on my family tree showed a missing marriage date. This reminded me to scan the divorce papers showing the dissolution of Harry TOLF’s 1st marriage (to my great-grandmother Julia THOMPSON). And provided a moment of levity when I saw Harry’s draft registration. Perhaps he should have married women with less-similar names:
08 Nov 1917 – It was the second look at the wife of my half-1st great-granduncle Lucille (Jasper) Mangels that made me realize how few of my Mangels’ ancestors had been added to Find A Grave.
10 Nov 1888 – A second look at the aforementioned Julia Christine Thompson, born in Chicago, Cook, Illinois on this day 125 years ago, reminded me about some personal stories recently shared by a distant relative. That prompted a phone call and a delightful conversation with another of Julia’s descendants.
12 Nov 1814 – My 74-year-old 5th great-grandfather Claude SCHMITT died on this day 199 years ago in Hellimer, Moselle, Lorraine, France. I took a second look at my favorite free French web site http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html and (drum roll please) found Claude’s 1740 birth record in Boulay!
13 Nov 1818 – 195 years ago my 4th great-grandparents Matthew CLARKE and Rebecca Margaret RIDENOUR were married in Washington County Maryland. I just found a Capt. Matthew Clark in Baltimore in the 1820 census. This requires a second closer look.
21 Nov 1900 – 113 years ago Amanda Sofia Karlsdotter TOLF married John PETERSON in Batavia, Kane, Illinois. I’ve had no luck finding their burial place, although death certificates show Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery. I’ll have to save this in-person second look for next summer.
22 Nov 1864 – My 2nd great-grandmother Maria Fredrika PETERSON was born Tånnö, Jönköping, Sweden 149 years ago. Legend has it that Mary’s first job in the United States was on Nobb Hill. I’ve had no luck proving that, but with new records popping up all the time, Mary’s first years in America may be uncovered soon.
28 Nov 1874 – My 2nd great-grandparents Jacob K. MUELLER and Elisabeth SCHMITT were married on this day 139 years ago. Elisabeth had been married previously, and a second look at this couple reminded me to order my 2nd great-grandmother’s divorce papers. Done.