2013 In Review

I was wondering how to write a review especially because this was a rather big year for me. While reading other blogs on wordpress, I came across one that had their review in response to a GeniAus post about Accentuate the Positive. I think that’s a great way to look back! Here’s my 2013 Review:

Lake Michigan sunset

Lake Michigan sunset (I felt it was fitting for a post about the end of the year)

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was…

My great-great grandpa, Friedrich Langeneck. I haven’t completely figured out everything but I have made leaps and bounds with him. I can follow him to Vukovar, Yugoslavia  and I may have found his hometown. I am currently waiting (oh so patiently…) on some microfilm I ordered from the Family History Library. I ordered three – one came and I found his name and maybe his parents! But I also found that what I thought was an uncommon last name was NOT uncommon there. So I need to confirm that he is who I think he is, so I ordered two more films which are now back ordered… (I will have patience, I will have patience…)

2.  A precious family photo I found was…

Probably this:

Cassie Wilson is on the right

Cassie Wilson is on the right

The main reason is because I know so little about my great-grandpa Witherell’s life. He was a special person in my life although fleeting. I don’t remember ever hearing his real voice (he had lung cancer and his voice box was removed) but he was always smiling and laughing. He always had a peppermint in his hand whenever we came over and let us touch everything in the basement! I wish to know what his childhood had been like and that picture started to give me clues. I haven’t found out much yet but that young boy’s smile was very much the same one I remember and I love that.

3.  An ancestor’s grave I found was…

Well not found really. It’s an empty plot and right now, it’s more of an assumption. I think I have found Lily McLeod’s grave – my 4x great-grandmother (and brick wall). BUT it’s under another name and one that is mentioned as male according to records the Public Library of Saginaw put together on the graves in the city cemeteries. I have to go to cemetery office to really confirm it but my hometown is a bit far in this wintry weather. It’s on my agenda for my next trip!

4.  An important vital record I found was…

My great-grandpa Langneck’s birth record! For the longest time, I was under the assumption that he hadn’t really been born in the United States because of the record of when him and his mother returned from Vukovar, Yugoslavia. On the record, she states she had been to the US before (in 1910) but he had not. I don’t know when they returned to their hometown from PA so I wasn’t always 100% where he was born although he always said Pennsylvania. After a few months of waiting, the record finally came! (It took two tries to two different places in PA.) He WAS born in Pennsylvania. It felt very good to have that question answered.

5.  A  family member who shared…

My dad shared something new about his grandfather, Ollie Hummel, that I had no idea. It helped me to find his death record which was oddly in another county. That story isn’t quite ready to be told yet but I have no idea how my dad forgot about those memories. Even he was surprised about that when I brought it up.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was…

My husband planned a week’s trip for me in Salt Lake City, Utah so I could research at the Family History Library! He did it all behind my back, getting the tickets, the hotel, and even finding a dog-sitter. 🙂

7.   My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was…

My first one. It was the start of a new path for me. The society member’s around here are wonderful but I wanted a way to branch out a bit and see what else was out there. I found one blog which led me to another and another, and then I started my own. That also started me on finding new books, new ideas, and new resources. A small step maybe, but one I’m so glad I did.

8.   My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was…

My about me has the most! Including my own replies back. But the actual blog post that had the most was my post for the Book of Me project about snow. Many people shared their memories about their own days of waiting to see if they had a snow day.

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was…

I would not say mastered, but I’m much better at the program now and it’s my genealogy software: RootsMagic. I’ve successfully made pedigree charts, family charts, cited my sources, and made to-do lists that I print out whenever I’m going to a place for genealogy. I’ve had RootsMagic for years but this year I have done so much more with it in conjunction with my Home Study Course. It’s been great!

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was…

Facebook! Who knew there were so many groups on there! That and Google+. I’ve enjoyed the video chats with Julie from Anglers Rest and the rest of the group about the Book of Me challenge. That has been fun! Especially since I’m a bit shy so it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to start talking but then I’m normally okay.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was…

At the beginning of the year I went to one that discussed how to break through your brick walls, especially the female line. It gave me a lot of new resources to check out and things that were in my area that I had no idea existed yet! And I later found out that the presenter happened to be a far-off cousin. Small world!

I am VERY excited about attending the National Genealogical Society’s conference in May this next year. I’m a bit nervous as well but I can’t wait to attend! It’ll be my first major one.

12. A genealogy book that taught me something new was…

All of them! I have collected quite a library lately. Probably the one that has been the best for me is Professional Genealogy. It led me to the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course as well as a list of other classes/conferences that I want to attend. That has been my number one book on helping me figure out how to become a professional and get the education I need before I become certified.

13. A great repository/archive/library I visited was…

Well the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah was amazing. It has so MANY microfilms!!!

Just one of the many rows at the Family History Library and yes, each drawer is as full as that one.

Just one of the many rows at the Family History Library and yes, each drawer is as full as that one.

But also some archives that I didn’t know were in my own current city that I really enjoyed. Especially because it was mostly the actual documents, not microfilm. The whole place smelled like an old library. I LOVED it.

14. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was…

I have two: Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist by Buzzy Jackson. I read this actually a year ago but it was one that really got me going into a deeper part of genealogy and I loved her voice. Very good read!

And this book: Who Do You Think You Are by Megan Smolenyak. Another book that was just a lot of fun to read. Plus, I do LOVE that TV show.

15. A geneadventure I enjoyed was…

Salt Lake City, again. That was the furthest west I had ever been AND I also found some marriage and death records that I had been hunting for. I also learned how to order film from there and met some other really amazing genealogists that were a lot of fun to chat to. We had the same stations nearly every day and we would chat about what new things we found and what we were hunting for. It was a lot of fun!

16. Another positive I would like to share is…

The biggest thing for me this year is making this journey at all. I left a job I loved (but was leaving me emotionally worn out on so many levels) to get into something that doesn’t have a road plan like my life up to this point has had. It was a big leap but I enjoy doing this SO MUCH! I stay up late following one trail after another and I love learning more and more about the intricacy of the professional genealogist (meaning a LOT of citations). I feel like my background is helping me because I understand what needs to be cited although I haven’t gotten used to Chicago style yet… I can still use MLA in my sleep at this point. It’s a transition but one I am incredibly grateful that I am able to do. My life has become much more quiet then it has in the past but also so much more peaceful. I am beginning to feel like the old me again. 🙂

Overall, this was a wonderful year and I really look forward to 2014!


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Amanuensis Monday: Jan 24-25 1945


Amanuensis Monday: Jan 26-27 1945



  2. So pleased to meet you NikiMarie. Thank you for participating in this activity, I love the way it connects me with new genies like you.

  3. Happy new year! A very inspiring blog for 2014

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