Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week One: Research Practicies

I decided last week that I was going to participate in Cycle 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over as a way to get back to my research after two months.

Since this is kind of a Do-Over Go-Over for me, I'm focusing on just my research practices for this week. I've reviewed what I did last time, which you can find in the "Best Practices and Guidelines" tab above, and I'm still happy with it.

I want my research to be fun and enjoyable, but I also want it to be intentional. I want to have goals and approach each one with all of the tools and practices I have learned and remember to follow these practices until they become habit. So I have taken eleven of these practices, printed them and framed them to hang above my computer desk for easy reference each time I sit down to research.

Popping down the occasional rabbit-hole chasing a BSO (Bright Shiny Object) without a definite goal in mind can be fun and has its place in my research I think, but if I'm going to do that once in a while, I still want to do it on purpose or intentionally so that I don't end up frustrated because I sat down with a solid goal in mind that I didn't come close to accomplishing.

I believe that these practices will keep me focused and help me make the most of the time, and let's not forget money, that I spend on my family research.

EDIT: Here is the link to my previous post for Week 1 of the Do-over. There you can find links to the sources for my practices, which I adapted from other Geneabloggers, including Thomas MacEntee.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Military Monday - Military Service in Sweden

A big thank you to the Swedish American Genealogy Group on Facebook.

One of my unexpected finds in Dad's secret stash was this photo of my great-grandfather, Carl Johan Anderson, in military uniform.

Carl Johan Anderson - Back row, center.

Also in one of these envelopes was a rudimentary will and letter that included a bit about his early life including the fact that when he "was 21 years old I was taken for Military Service to "Frista Hed" in year 1887. Service lasted 21 days."

Wikipedia told me that compulsory military service in Sweden didn't start until 1901 and 21 days seemed a bit of a short stint to me, so I went to the Swedish American Genealogy Group and they were able to help. It seems that at this time men 21-25 years old were required to do 42 days over two years.  My grandfather never did the second 21 days, it appears, because he left for America in late March of the following year.

One of the members of the Facebook group also helped me with a little research. And found me a link to a blog (in Swedish) with photos from the camp where Carl Johan trained.  I love that group. If you are ever in need of assistance with Swedish research, you will more than likely find it there!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thank You Michelle and Thomas

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Michelle Taggart and Thomas MacEntee for featuring me on May I Introduce To You... on Geneabloggers this week!

It was such a lovely compliment to be asked and the experience was pleasant and very easy, I hope the interview was interesting to read!

If you are visiting for the first time, although I haven't been able to do much research lately, I hope you can find something of interest to you here.

And coming this Sunday: Donald and I are planning a trip to Castle Clinton on Saturday, weather permitting. One of the things I discovered digging through Dad's secret stash, is that my great-grandfather Anderson entered the US through Castle Garden, the New York State immigrant processing facility at the time, in 1888. Although we need the rain here in the NY metro area, I am keeping my fingers crossed for enough dry weather on Saturday to make the trip.  If we make it there, I will be sure to share my photos and experiences with you on Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Do-Over

Life has felt a little bit like a ride on the Scrambler lately!
It has now been about two months since I have done any research. It has been wonderful to spend these last few weeks immersed in the finds from my father's "secret collection" but I couldn't tell you the last time I looked at my research plan, and I'm starting to feel it.

That isn't to say I haven't come across any information among the photos and books, etc. I now know the name of the church my grandparents and father attended when they lived in Chicago, that my Swedish great-grandfather did a short stint in the military before his immigration to the US and as I posted last Saturday, I know now that my grandfather's brother was his best man and that he and a sister appear in photos and home movies that I have from that day.

Even so, I've been spending so much time purging and rearranging and organizing that I feel a little removed from all the good work that I put in earlier in the year, and I've decided that the best way for me to get back in the swing is to start another Do-Over cycle. This will allow me to reinforce those improved research habits, like always sitting down with a plan, and to finish some things I started, like the toolbox.

I can't wait to get back into it again. Especially with the new information from Dad's collection. Cycle 4 starts Friday, but I hope to be back with another post before then.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Family Recipe Friday - Garden Special

For anyone who doesn't know already, I was finally allowed in my step-mother's basement this month, ten years after my father's death, to go through and take family photos, documents, furniture,  keepsakes, books, etc.

Among my finds was a copy of "The Joy of Cooking" given to him by his Aunt Isabel and Uncle Elmer Anderson in 1961. Taped in the back of the book was a recipe from another aunt, Anna Anderson, one of the Anna's for whom I am named.

It is a fairly simple and straightforward recipe for meatloaf. Actually, I have to admit that it is so simple I'm not so sure it is one I would try. But the reason I found it interesting enough for a blog post was the last ingredient; Garden Special. My first thought was that this was some kind of discontinued seasoning, but a pint of it? That would be too much.

That is where my mother came in. When I found the recipe she was sitting next to me on the couch, going through things with me and she was able to tell me what this mystery ingredient is.

According to my mother, Garden Special is whatever veggies are left in the garden at the end of the summer. No need to make sure you have specific ingredients on-hand, just chop up whatever you've got, as long as it makes the amount you need.

So, what do you think? Would you ever try my Aunt Anna's Meatloaf recipe, or do you make something similar? Or are you more comfortable with breadcrumbs and ketchup and some nice bacon on top?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Undeniable Truth

When I reposted this photo as my Facebook profile picture today, I realized that I had found many, if not all, of the photos seen on the mantle, this weekend in my step-mother's basement.

I am so grateful to have found them and more, but there is one undeniable truth; I'd rather have the people back than the things.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two THOUSAND Negatives

So, I don't think that Military Monday post I keep writing about is going to happen...

Two THOUSAND negatives found in my step-mother's basement. 1,185 of them are from my grandparents' trip to the Near East in 1938. There are more photos, too.

We also brought home two dozen books, more decorative housewares we'll call them and about a dozen Bibles, some belonging to great-grandparents, some to grandparents, and even one to a great-grand aunt. Two are in Swedish, one is in Greek and another very small one has olive-wood covers and was purchased by my Grandmother Matthews in Jerusalem in 1938.

Donald has been so helpful even as our apartment turns into a shrine to my family. I really do owe it to him to get as much done as possible today. But I will be back with something in the next few days, I just can't get over to my mother's to get Grandpa Smith's medals to photograph for that post.

Happy Sunday!
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