2014 In Review

Taken by NikiMarie in 2014 in Cancun

Taken by NikiMarie in 2014 in Cancun

Geniaus once again has their Accentuate the Positive 2014 Geneameme! I did this last year as well and like going back to see how my year has gone and make some goals for 2015.

So here is my year, accentuating the positive!


1.  An important vital record I found was – I shouldn’t say found… more like looked at closer. It was definitely the burial record where I think Lillie (McLeod) Witherell was buried. Looking at the owner and finding out he was married to a Katherine McLeod gave me a huge hint to where Lillie’s family could be!

2.  A newly found family member shared – This year I was introduced to a Raifsnider family member thanks to this blog (LOVE that!). I finally got to meet her over the holidays and she shared with me this wonderful picture of my 2x great-grandfather’s brother (which happens to be her 2x great-grandfather). I have no pictures of my 2x great-grandfather so this is especially precious to me.

3.  A geneasurprise I received was – I had ordered records through NARA before but my 3x great-grandfather’s Civil War records was quite a surprise! There are over 100 pages in the file AND a record explaining why I could not find his marriage record. I was very pleasantly surprised by everything that was in that file – well worth the money!

4.   My 2014 blog post that I was particularly proud of was – By far, it was the Lillie McLeod post where I began to look into her grave record. This was also a Boston University assignment that I am probably the most proud of besides one other. I also loved how I could finally figure out how to make my footnotes appear as links that go to the bottom where the source was cited (copy and paste it from Word!).

5.   My 2014 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was – I realize that my genealogy posts don’t always get a lot of comments but my biggest one was about John Witherell when I was still doing the 52 Ancestors. That Witherell line is still my main research focus in my own work.

6. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was – There are two actually but by far my favorite is my new Copper Leaf Genealogy page on Facebook.  I post a lot more than just my blog posts on there! I also post items that have to do with genealogy as well as sales/bargains (for genealogists) that I see posted elsewhere. Go check it out!

The other one I have kind of enjoyed has been wordpress for my business page, Copper Leaf Genealogy. I only say kind of because I don’t know how to transfer my blog over there at the moment. I had done that initially but it looked so weird that I had the person who set up my blog to just put a link to my blog at the top instead. I do want to move it but now I’m not sure what to do. Do I delete all the pages/posts that were transferred over when I first uploaded the blog and then re-upload it since I have so many new posts? And then I have to deal with the formatting too. Oy. SO – if anyone has some wonderful WordPress tutorials they feel will help me, please share!

7. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was – It would be the NGS Conference in Virginia of course! I learned SO much from that conference and LOVED meeting so many other genealogists. It is probably the highlight of my genealogy year!

8. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to – This was actually my first presentation as a professional genealogist but it is one I’m proud of: the online educational resources for every genealogist! (See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5). I am working on another presentation about citing sources (I am presenting that in February) and another generic presentation about genealogy that I hope to give to interested groups.

9. I taught a friend how to – I didn’t blog about this one but I did take a friend through some of Saginaw County’s records. I LOVED sharing this with her! I showed her how to find death/marriage/birth records in the Clerk’s office and where to find land records and wills. Then we headed to Hoyt Library in downtown Saginaw to show her the wonderful genealogy collection there as well as the census records they have there that she can view without Ancestry. It was wonderful to be able to share that with someone!

10. A genealogy book that taught me something new was

488 Books

These two books have been great! There are more than just these two books but these two came to mind right away. I am working on writing house histories (I get to play with land records, which I LOVE and I get to explore homes – win win!) as a niche for me and this book was recommended as a good place to start. Also, the photo detective book is to help me figure out time frames that will help me to identify people in photos. I am very excited about both ventures!

11. A great repository/archive/library I visited was – Hoyt Library in Saginaw! I go there often and love the place! Not only is it my favorite library in Saginaw, but it has a lot of wonderful information and a knowledgeable staff.

12. It was exciting to finally meet – I met so many genealogists at the NGS conference! So many amazing and helpful people who gave me ideas and their card so I could get in touch with them later if need be. I love the genealogy community for things like this! Not to mention some of the speakers at the conference – our genealogy celebrities if you will – were very exciting to meet and hear in person.

13. A geneadventure I enjoyed was – The Boston University’s 15 week Genealogical Research Certificate Program! It was as time-consuming as they claimed and I LOVED every challenge that was thrown my way. It really made me feel incredibly positive about choosing this as a career and very excited about the possibilities such a career choice can hold. I don’t think I can quite express how wonderful this course was in words and I can’t recommend it enough!

14.  Professional genealogy items/goals I achieved

490 card2 489 card1

By far, this has to be one of the most exciting things for me! I officially started my own business! I never thought that I would do something like this to be honest. It is weird to realize that I left a safe career to go into something that had been a hobby and now am working on making this my full-time career. It’s all very exciting (and stressful)!

15. Another positive I would like to share is – This was a great year for me overall and I want to set some goals for next year that I’ll look back on and make sure that I am following through with! So here are some of my goals for 2015:

  • Clients! I would love to work with at least three-five new clients this year (if not more, let’s be honest). The number may seem small but I think it is accurate for the area I am in and for how new I am to the field.
  • Writing! As the St. Joseph County genealogist for Indiana Genealogical Society, I have to write an article a year so I’ve already got some ideas for this. I really want to sharpen my genealogy writing skills over all so I would like to not only have my first article for IGS this year but also have another printed or almost printed this year.
  • Speaking! As I mentioned, I already have one speaking session lined up for 2015 but I would like to do 10 speaking engagements this year. That is a very high goal and I understand that I won’t be paid for every one but I feel like this will introduce people to me and my work (which helps with my first goal) and introduces people to what I can teach (which will hopefully lead to more speaking engagements – paid ones too!).
  • Social Media! I don’t want to get into my plans for this just yet but I have had some ideas brewing for a bit that I really want to do this next year. I’m excited for it!
  • Education! As always, I plan on continuing my education! I am on the waiting list for ProGen and really hope I’ll get to be in the next session. Along with that, I have some conferences lined up and there may be an institute coming in as well. Not to mention the virtual institutes/conferences that are offered! Plus there is always reading journals/books to help keep my mind focused on genealogy writing.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

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  1. What a great 2014 you have had. I’m sure your 2015 will be even better! Your future in the genealogy field is bright and I’m so glad that I’ll be able to say I knew you when! Happy New Year, Niki!

  2. Thanks so much for your response NikiMarie. It is so wonderful to read of your activities and to find a new blog to ass to my RSS feeds. Best wishes for your endeavours in 2015.

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