PCA/ACA Conference 2016

Lisa Oberg, UW Librarian, and I had the chance to participate in the genealogy track series of lectures for the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) 2016 annual conference held in Seattle a week ago.  This was a special track for the conference and one they had not had before.

Over 250 speakers presented in a wide variety of tracks from Academics and American Culture to Women’s Studies.  I was most interested in the Cemetery & Grave markers, Genealogy, and the Civil War tracks.  Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the Genealogy track and then only part of it. (although I did sit in on a series of short presentations on comics one of which was about one of my favorites, Calvin & Hobbes, and its youth sports parallels)

The genealogy track began with a documentary by Julia Creet, York University, on the business of genealogy, “Need to Know: Ancestry and the Business of Family.”  While not an expert at genealogy she became interested in the business of family history when she started looking at her own heritage.  She interviewed the developers of Ancestry and the CEO of Family Search.  She  journeyed to Iceland to learn how their one country database is unique and even more unique when combined with medical data and DNA studies.  The ethics of privacy were discussed in the film.

Lisa Iversen, a private practice psycho-therapist from Bellingham  (Center for Ancestral Blueprints), spoke on the role of clusters and family in her presentation, “Ancestral Blueprints and the American Soul.”  Individuals who are mentally damaged by trauma are usually very disassociated from their  family cluster, both the descendants and ancestors. These clusters, as they are re-created or re-revealed, are important to “ground” one in the reality of now.  This is great confirmation of what we do as genealogists and the journey we take.  Lisa I., Lisa O., and I had great conversation over lunch.

A look at the bias within the show “Finding Your Roots” was  reviewed in the presentation by Christine Scoldari from Florida Atlantic University in her talk “Recuperating Ethnic Identity through Critical Genealogy.”  She observed that there was an overt supporting of northern Italians over southern, where southern Italians were routinely described as “maybe mafia.” I hadn’t observed that but it was not something I was looking for either.  I will watch for that.

Susan Hutchinson, presented a discussion in support of Coming to the Table, a group which supports using ancestral discoveries of slavery and slave ownership to serve as a catalyst for a discussion about slavery, guilt and racism. Susan was followed by Dionne Ford, independent scholar and present Board member of Coming to the Table, spoke about researching her African-American roots and finding and meeting her ancestor’s slave owner’s descendants. They also spoke of differing reactions of the “stars” of Finding your Roots to the discovery of ancestors as slaves and slave owners. At one extreme was Ben Affleck to some of the “stars who speak of their fear of “turning the page.” But, Dionne also spoke of lost opportunity by Gates to probe the reaction of the guests and a tendancy to attempt to find some “redemption” ancestor–some ancestor that campaigned for Civil Rights or illustrated exceptional sensitivity in life– to balance the slave or slave owner.  This talk fit in very nicely with Lisa and my talk “Rootless: A Retrospective of America’s Fascination with Its Ancestry” and the differing levels of interest in genealogy by a variety of cultures and their motivations.

Lisa and I proposed “Rootless” as a way to look at the interest in genealogy over the centuries.  It was very difficult to fit even a small portion of our findings into the 20 min limit per speaker that was imposed upon us.  But, we also are aware of how much “hit the cutting room floor” and we will present the topic in all its longevity (about 90 min.) to the South King County Genealogical Society on 9 June 2016. We are discussing presenting it to Seattle Genealogical Society after the end of September.

Some basic themes did emerge in our research for “Rootless” —

  • motivations have changed in three cycles since Medieval times to the 1860-1940 to now.
  • fraud has been, unfortunately, a component of genealogy when the societal stakes were high (life/death or proving high society lineages)
  • Professionalism of genealogy has been difficult to advance due to the small number of voices calling for scholarly rigor, although there have been notable exceptions beginning with the 19th century.

Segments I attended ranged from very interesting and even inspirational to simply boring where the author “made much of the molehill.”  But we had a good time, met some terrific people and I learned about how to present at academic conferences.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  conducted two classes in “How Swede it is! Beginning Swedish Genealogy” at the Swedish Club, firmed up a deal with the Nordic Heritage Museum for a class in October 2016, reached out to BYU to find out which presentations they wanted when, set up a time with a client to discuss her outcomes and did an interesting exercise of mapping the birth locations of my ancestors by color.



Nordic Immigration Conference: 15-18 March 2016

This past week I attended and spoke at the “Nordic Immigration in the Pacific Northwest from Then to Now” conference (also called the Nordic Immigration Conference) held in Seattle 15-18 March. The conference was hosted by the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. I was only able to attend two of the three days but I thought I would give a short synopsis of the presentations I did hear and some outcomes of my attendance.

First of all, this was similar to an academic conference with papers presented in 30 min. blocks of time–20 min. for presentation and 10 min for Q&A. The typical day for the conference included presentations in the morning with a lunch break and a tour of some site important to our Scandinavian heritage in Seattle in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 16 March
Keynote presentation was by Diana Pardu from the Ellis Island Museum on “Becoming a National Immigration Museum.” Diana discussed the history of the Ellis Island Museum and site, with special focus on its exhibits and how they have evolved over time. She also discussed the upcoming changes as the exhibits become more comprehensive, including Castle Clinton, and more global in its diversity rather than ethnically segregated. The Nordic Heritage Museum is raising money for a new museum and I am sure that many of her ideas were ones that will be incorporated into the new building.

I was the first of the short presentations with my “The ‘Push’ and the ‘Pull:’ Decision-Making of the 19th Century Emigrant.” I had to cut my usual 50 minute presentation drastically.  I covered the genesis of the terminology “push” and “pull” as it relates to migration (Ravenstein, 1889) and then discussed some reasons why our ancestors made the difficult choice to emigrate from their homeland. It seemed a good topic for the kick-off of the other academic papers. (Diana Pardu nodded her head vigorously when I spoke about how immigrant’s names were not changed at Ellis Island!)

2016 0316 NICHarald Runblom, Emeritus Professor in History, Uppsala University, spoke on “Ways to WA: Scandinavian Migration to the Pacific Northwest in a Global Perspective.” This presentation was very compatible with mine. Harald noted that I had covered some of the principles he was covering but he went on to  look more closely at emigration statistics and global migration patterns. Of particular interest to me was a group that traveled from Sweden > Finland > Estonia > Ukraine > Sweden  before being disenchanted with Sweden and emigrating to the US in the early 1900s! It explains my Swedes who traveled from Sweden > Iowa > Canada.

Next up was Steinar A. Sæther, Associate Professor, Latin American Studies, University of Oslo who spoke on “Norwegian Sailors, Whalers and Workers between Tierra del Fuego and Alaska, 1848–1914.” Steiner described the voyages of a Norwegian sailor who traveled multiple times in the 1800s up and down the western coast of the Americas from Alaska to Chile. He noted that Chile was such a popular spot that a group of Swedes asked Chile if they could establish a colony with their own governance, money, language etc.  Chile government denied their request.

The day ended with Terje M. Hasle Joranger, Lecturer in North American Studies, Department of Literature, University of Oslo, on “Creating a Sense of Place: Norwegian Ethnicization in the Pacific Northwest, 1870–1900,” a look specifically at the town of Poulsbo, Washington, and its Norwegian settlement and heritage.  He spoke of the maintenance of the Norwegian culture and the eventual assimilation but with physical remembrances in the names of businesses, a Sons of Norway chapter, the church and the festivals of the town.

Friday, March 18
Friday morning, we learned about the establishment of the University of  Washington’s department of Scandinavian Studies from Terje Leiren, Professor and Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies Department of Scandinavian Studies, in his paper, “Establishment and History of the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, 1909–2015.  Most are integrated with Germanic Studies; UW is one of those with with stand-alone programs: University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Berkeley being the other two.

2016 0318 NICThe history of the Swedish newspapers in the Puget Sound region was also interesting. Ulf Jonas Bjork, (and UW alum) Professor, Department of Journalism and Public Relations, School of Liberal Arts, Indiana University—Indianapolis, covered the mercurial life of a Swedish language newspaper as it moved from Seattle to Tacoma to eventually broaden to be the Puget Sound Posten. His paper, “The Role of the Swedish-Language Press in Tacoma’s Swedish Immigrant Community, 1889–1935,” was a vivid reminder of the importance and unfortunate demise of a foreign language paper.

Knut Djupedal, Director of the Norwegian Museum of Migration, reviewed the life of a single male Norwegian who immigrated, worked his way from Minnesota to Montana to Seattle and then “boomeranged” back to Norway when he was, as Knut said, “not able to pick up the gold off the streets.” Not every immigrant settled and had the “good story” to tell the descendants.

Hans Wallengren, Ph.D. Lund University, Dept. of History and the Swedish Emigrant Institute ended the conference with a presentation of his research into the ethnic composition of “Hoovervilles” in Seattle during the depression in “Scandinavians in the Pacific Northwest—Not Only a Success Story,” which told of the struggle of young Nordic men during the 1930s. The composition of the shantytowns, especially the one south of the (now) Starbuck’s headquarters was disproportionately not native-born and Scandinavian.

So, you can see the range of topics was wide and the lecturers came from a wide variety of Scandinavian country. Each brought unique perspectives to the issue of migration of individuals. It certainly broadened my knowledge of the migration patterns (much more varied than my Sweden > Midwest mindset). There was discussion at the end of the conference to publish the individual papers, so stay tuned.

I met and re-established contact with a number of individuals from the Seattle Nordic Heritage Museum and two of my students from my previous class at the NHM were in attendance due to my inclusion of information about the conference in my post-presentation website–that was cool. I also now have a contact for Pacific Lutheran University as I would love to teach a regular Swedish genealogy class there but we will see if that comes to fruition.

Note: NIC also had the best goody-bag ever: two books, two CDs, the requisite pen and paper and two samples of Aquivit! 🙂

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: worked on the above presentation and the one for next week’s Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association joint conference. I have to submit my proposals for National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies this weekend for their conferences in 2017. I did get my syllabi submitted on time to Jamboree and solidified my two speaking engagements when the family visits Cape Cod in July.

What’s New in the ‘Hood: Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive

Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive
425 SW 153rd Street
Burien, WA 98166
Ph: 206.349.6242
Email: info@PNRA Archive.comcastbiz.net
Hours: The archive is open by appointment.

If you have been a regular reader of this blog you may remember that in 2014 Historic Seattle organized a series of tours of repositories in the Seattle area as part of a “Digging Deeper” series organized by Luci Baker Johnson. Due to popular demand, the program was again offered in 2015 with a completely new set of archive tours. With growing popularity of the program it is again being offered in 2016 with a couple of new features noted at the end of this article.

Because I am on a writing sabbatical, I was unable to attend this tour and so Luci Baker Johnson was kind enough to contribute as a guest blogger!  Thanks, Luci.


RRM groupHistoric Seattle’s “Digging Deeper” 2016 series was kicked off on Saturday, February 6th in Burien. A group of ardent individuals visited the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA) to learn about the unique records that are archived and managed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. PNRA preserves the heritage of the classic railroads that have shaped our region since the 1880s, then makes that information available to everyone over the internet.

Executive Director Gary Tarbox welcomed attendees and explained that PNRA was formed by a consortium of non-profit Railroad Heritage Organizations (RHOs) to own and operate an archive facility in Burien. The RHOs use affordable space and services to preserve the histories of their railroads. He went to explain that the facility is not a museum, but an archive that provides internet access to the collections from the following RHOs:

  • Boeing Employee Model Railroad Club – bemrrc.com
  • Cascade Rail Foundation, representing the Milwaukee Road in Washington state milwelectric.org
  • Great Northern Railway Historical Society – gnrhs.org
  • Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association – nprha.org
  • Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Historical Society – spshs.org


RRM boxA little history and background about the railroad operations. The Burlington Northern Railroad was the product of a March 2, 1970, merger of four major railroads—the Great Northern Railway, Northern Pacific Railway, Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad—as well as a few small jointly owned subsidiaries owned by the four. When this occurred materials (ephemera) was saved by railroad employees, rail historians and fail fans. These items were stored in basements, lockers, barns, etc. By now these ambitious individuals are in their 70s and 80s. The need to preserve was and is prevalent!


So, in 2009 the PNWA was created by a group of Railroad History Organizations (RHO) who pooled their resources to create a World-Class Railroad Archive in the Seattle area. In 2010 their dream became a reality. Through generous donations and loans they were able to purchase a 7,500 sq. ft. building in Burien. They were able to build-out the building to accommodate the vast amount of archive materials that had been previously stored by individuals. These materials include

  • Photographs
  • Station Plats
  • Authority for Expenditure (AFE)
  • Valuation Maps
  • Architectural drawings
  • Track Profiles
  • Time Tables
  • Special Instructions
  • Equipment Diagrams
  • Dispatcher’s Train Sheets
  • Yard Diagrams
  • Property Change Records
  • Annual Reports
  • Manufacturer’s Catalogs
  • Railroad History books
  • Geographic Maps
  • City Guides
  • Newspaper articles
  • and First Hand Accounts

RRM plansFollowing the presentation, Bob Kelly outlined three case scenarios to demonstrate how they assist researchers in their quest for information. There were many questions, all of them answered. 🙂

The bottom line that the archive folks told us was – just ask! That is, if you come across anything that may involve a railroads, which were plentiful in the Pacific Northwest history, send them an email with your inquiry. These expert volunteers – yes, ALL volunteers – will guide you to materials that you may have never dreamed existed!


We have added a couple of new features to the program. Specifically we are offering two hands-on-workshops that will assist researchers in techniques in record searching.

The first 3-hour workshop will take place on Saturday, July 9th and will be conducted by Carol Shenk and Greg Lange from the King County Archives. It’s an expansion on what they introduced in 2014 and was blogged about here: What’s New in the Hood: King County Archives.

The second 3-hour workshop will be the last one of the 2016 year and will take place4 on Saturday, September 24th. “Analyze Your Built Environment, an Observational Approach” will be led by non-other than professional genealogist and licensed Architect, Jill Morelli – the author of this blog.

You can sign up for any or all of these programs by going to Digging Deeper 2016.

Guest blogger,

Luci Baker Johnson

Preparing for a visit to the Family History Library

fhlIn a few days, I will be traveling to Salt Lake City to conduct genealogical research at the Family History Library,[1] the largest collection of genealogical material in the world.  If one spends the money to travel to SLC and does not have a plan for the research you wish to conduct, you will 1.) be overwhelmed, 2.) miss problems that should be researched and 3.) prioritize poorly.

I prepare for the trip by planning to maximize my efficiency.

First, I identify all problems I wish to work on.  For each of the many genealogical problems I identify, I check the FamilySearch.org catalog to see if there are online resources or if the FHL does not have the information I seek.   If the resources are available online or if FHL does not have the records I seek, I set the problem aside and do not consider it for further work related to the trip.  If, on the other hand, there are resources available at SLC that are available nowhere else or in disparate locations, I keep that particular problem “in the pool”.

Secondly, a small research plan is developed for each of the problems that are still “in the pool.”[2] This research plan, about one page long for each problem (I have one that is 15 pages long with all attachments), will be narrowly focused and will include a statement of what I am trying to solve,  summarize any background  information, description of known information, and a list of some of the resources I wish to use at FHL to answer the research question.  If applicable, I will also attach copies of the documents I have already gathered.  This makes a “problem packet”–one problem, one packet.  I may have 5-6 or even more of these for a three-day visit.

These problems can be a simple look up which might take an hour or can be more complex or even require successive conversations with a consultant. These can take multiple days to complete.  There is also no guarantee that a problem will be resolved while I am there and instead might result in a new research plan which identifies other repositories to visit or contact to obtain information.

But, I am not done yet.

Thirdly, I develop a schedule for each day.  This prevents me from ignoring one problem at the benefit to another or missing an educational opportunity.

I check to see if there are any lectures at the library I wish to attend. (January Lecture Schedule)[3] Working around the class schedule, I anticipate the amount of time each problem will take and then place them on the schedule.  I usually put the most difficult problem first and then fill in with the simpler problems towards the end of my research time.  Of course, I am not always right in my estimate but I will then adjust the schedule with full knowledge.

I always take more problem packets than I think I will resolve for two reasons–historically, I have finished early on one or more of my problems and I like to a backup to fill in my time. Sometimes, I can do no more work on a problem until I go visit another repository or if the film is in the vault resulting in a delay until I can access the film (hopefully, I have identified these in step 1.). I then use the other packets to fill in.

So far I have identified 5 problem packets.  These are not in order:

  1. Frederich Eilers: Mr. Elusive, the second husband of my great-great grandmother, seems to have shown up for the wedding in 1862 and then- poof!–disappeared.  I do not know his birth year, his residence at the time of the wedding, his occupation or when he emigrated from Germany.  I do know his place of birth in Germany, that he must have died/ disappeared/divorced by 1871 when gggrandmother and  the family moved to Iowa. I have only one document where she  used his surname and he was not mentioned in any of her three obituaries.
  2. Swedish Tax records:  I wish to compare two of the three copies of the taxation records taken between the years of 1748 and 1815 to see if there are any differences for a particular person I am researching. This will take about 4 hours. I am not anticipating big differences and in fact there may be none.  One is supposed to be a copy of the other.
  3. Swedish Farm Registers: Again, I need the expert translators to look at the documents and interpret some of the esoteric marks on the diagrams.
  4. Comprehensive review of all Illinois, Michigan, Iowa records for my Bode clan: This will take the most time with the (probable) least return. Since Hendrik Bode was a minister, I have many locales to research. Each locale will be a separate problem packet because the resources are so different.
  5. Daniel Suhm and his probable daughter, Anne Kirstine Danielsdotter Suhm: This is a perpetual “problem packet” for me. I always check with the consultants to see if there are any new Danish methodologies which might help me answer the question concerning this military man. The goal is to find Daniel’s location of military service in Denmark just prior to his retirement and (hopefully) tie Anne Kirstine with direct evidence to Daniel and his wife Zidsel. If not, I probably need to write this up as a proof argument based on indirect evidence and get on with it!
  6. Uphusen (Germany) film: I have much derivative source information on my ancestors that I would like to update to primary.  Since the Bode clan (my mother’s patrilineal line) lived in the Uphusen area back to the beginning of extant record keeping, there is a lot of direct lineage and collateral line work to do.  This is basically a fill-in problem packet.  This will be low on my list of priorities as I can order the film and do this in Seattle.  This work also takes me away from work on my portfolio.

The development of the problem packets must be completed by 17 January when I leave for SLC!  I will be giving updates on my travels on Facebook.  You can find me there.  Twitter might also be another place to look

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: retired!!  I am not doing too well with it yet.  I am doing a few things for the office to wrap up–not much tho’. Attended a lovely party this pm and had coffee with my next door neighbor which I have never done before. Worked on the registration form for the Swedish genealogy classes at the Swedish Club.

[1] Family Search (https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/family-history-library-886274?lang=eng : accessed 22 December 2015).

[2] I also do a research plan for the other problems as well, but it is not my highest priority prior to the trip to SLC.

[3] I am interested in the class on indexing Italian records, tips and tricks to using the FHL Record Collection, and will definitely attend the Norwegian class on using Digitalarkivet.

Mapping 19th Century Land Occupancy in Sweden

I was cruising along in the ArkivDigital site looking at Swedish records for Höks harad–and “what to my wondering eyes should appear” but something that looked like a map! You know I love visual representation of events. As an architect, I absorb information visually quicker than I do from narrative and I absolutely retain it better.

These “maps” illustrate ownership of parcels of land in Sweden over time. It is unclear who drew these maps or for what reason but a quick check with Kathy Meade, the North American representative for ArkivDigital, indicated that these maps are so rare, Höks harad may be the only jurisdiction that produced such diagrams of ownership.

Each map represents one farm. The beginning date  of occupancy is the middle of the 19th century. The transference and division of the land is then visually recorded until early in the 20th century. Sometimes there were numerous splits and sometimes there is no subdivision of land and the transference is direct from one to another to another. Included are the names of the land occupant (probably did not “own” the land), their spouse and some critical dates. These diagrams show the 19th-century phenomenon of splitting the land into ever smaller segments until the early 20th-century phenomenon of greater consolidation of those same land segments.

Below are three of the farms of my ancestors. It is interesting to think about what is the “family farm in Sweden,” since each of these three is a strong contender. (note: they are within 2500 yards of one another.)

Slide1Högaryd: This is the farm of residence of my great-grandparents, Bengt Peter Andersson, Johanna Jönsdotter, his wife, and family at the time of emigration. (Bengt Peter’s name is circled at left.) [1] They moved to the Högaryd farm at the time of their marriage and assumed the farming responsibilities from Johanna’s father, Jöns Bengtsson. After they emigrated in 1881, the farm responsibilities were transferred to Bengt Svensson and his wife, Petronilla Jönsdotter, a couple whose relationship to the family is unknown. Petronilla is not the same-named sister of Johanna, as Johanna’s sister emigrated with her husband, Sven Persson, with Bengt Peter and Johanna in 1881.

Slide1Hankshult/Handskhult/Handskholman: This is the first home in Hishult parish of Anders Helgesson and Anne Maria Eriksdotter Beekman, my 4 times great grandparents. They occupied the farm starting in 1752 and three generations of land occupancy occur before the first identified land owners show on this map (circled). The land originally passed to Anders and Maria’s daughter, Margreta. Although I cannot (yet) find Margreta’s birth record in any parish record, land inheritance, especially to a woman is strong evidence of a very close relationship. [2] Since Margreta’s earliest appearance in the record with Anders and Anna Maria is when she is about 2 years old and prior to that the family did not live in Hishult parish, I am confident that Margreta is a biological daughter but this confidence needs to be backed up with analysis. The land occupant shown is Torkel Bengtsson, the uncle to my emigrant ancestor’s father Jöns Bengtsson.  If this all seems rather confusing–it is. I have first cousins that marry in two successive generations.

hishult rishultRishult: This farm transferred through Pernilla Andersdotter, the wife of Johannes Nilsson (circled). Pernilla is the grandchild of Bengt Andersson and Johanna Troedsdotter, the grandparents of my emigrant ancestor, Johanna Jönsdotter. through another line.[3]

I find it interesting that in all three cases, the land transferred to the next generation through the women. In the United States at this time, the laws shifted property to the husband upon marriage. This started to change in the years 1840-1850 in the US but seems to be acceptable in Sweden even prior to the mid 19th century.

I keep a fan chart showing the relationships close at hand at all times so I can figure out who is who, and even then sometimes I get confused!

Isn’t this a great find?

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: talked to the Swedish Club about an opportunity to conduct genealogy classes to their members. Did my first Skype call to a friend who is active in the Federation of Genealogical Societies and spoke with her about how to be involved. I retired from the University of Washington–and yes, it feels weird but I hope not weird for long. And, I can tell, retirement for me does not mean I will be sitting back eating bon bons.  Presented my Swedish Taxation presentation to the Scandinavian Special Interest Group and my Myths presentation will be given tonight to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State. And, I am getting ready for my Winter Genealogy Junket.

The hardest part of this assignment was doing the citations.  Tell me what you think?  Could these be improved?

[1] Hök Haradsratt, Register: Skummeslöf, Östra Karup, Hasslöf, Ysby, Waxtorp, Hishult, Knäred, Ränneslöf (Halland County, Sweden), records of farms, C111c: 1, image 246, Hishult parish, Högaryd farm no. 1; ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.net : accessed 11 January 2016). AID v109251.b256.s387.

[2] Hök Haradsratt, Register: Skummeslöf, Östra Karup, Hasslöf, Ysby, Waxtorp, Hishult, Knäred, Ränneslöf (Halland County, Sweden), records of farms, C111c: 1, image 226, Hishult parish, Handskholman farm no. 1; ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.net : accessed 11 January 2016). AID v109251.b256.s387.

[3] Hök Haradsratt, Register: Skummeslöf, Östra Karup, Hasslöf, Ysby, Waxtorp, Hishult, Knäred, Ränneslöf (Halland County, Sweden), records of farms, C111c: 1, image 257, Hishult parish, Rishult farm no. 1; ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.net : accessed 11 January 2016). AID v109251.b226.s351.

My Genealogy Goals for 2016

Happy New YearDo you make resolutions?  I decided to identify goals instead. My resolutions tend to  be broken in the first month and then not looked at again–at least that’s my pattern. I work continuously on my “Goals” and if I don’t get it right the first time I keep working on them.  Here are my Genealogy Goals for 2016.

  1. Have Fun!  Lucky for me, I have fun practicing genealogy and observing every day improvements.  Having fun to me includes sharing my passion, my knowledge and my experience with as many people as possible.  This sharing will include more lecturing, more writing, more mentoring and more researching than in the past.  I feel I am on track with  this goal with retirement on 6 January. I know this goal isn’t as measurable as Amy Johnson Crow would like (Click here to go to her blog about setting genealogical goals.) but I can live with that.
  2. Submit my portfolio to the Board of Certification for Genealogists.  Notice that the goal isn’t to “pass”–that would be a bonus! The “resolution” is, however,  to submit it before the National Genealogical Society conference in May.  There are a couple of things that could derail that schedule but Plan B is to submit the portfolio before the end of 2016.
  3. Become a well known regional expert in Swedish research. I am working at this very hard. I would eventually like to extend the definition of “regional” to national, but for now, I will be happy with a strong reputation in the WA, OR and even BC area. Present status: some genealogists in the Seattle area view me as knowledgeable. 🙂
  4. Attend one or more of the major institutes in 2017: SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy), GRIPP (Genealogy Research in /Pittsburgh) and/or Gen-Fed, the newly resurrected NARA course (yea!!). SLIG and Gen-Fed are on my “cross-hairs.”
  5. Technology:
    1. get my website up and running
    2. change the look of my blog…it’s looking a little stodgy these days!

In 2014 I also identified goals for 2016 for a ProGen class assignment (has it been that long?) focusing on lecturing. Here are the items for 2016 as stated back in 2014.  Since actions in 2016 are usually predicated on applications you make the previous year, I have placed comments concerning achievement on each:

  • Speak at WSGS (Washington State Genealogical Society) and two other major seminars: WSGS has morphed into the NwGC, Northwest Genealogical Conference.  I will be out of town for the conference this year. I will, however, be speaking at Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and two academic conferences here in Seattle.  I think those count!
  • Speak at Puget Sound chapters (2): I will well exceed this goal, probably by the end of January!
  • Speak at NGS 2016: goal achieved.  I will be presenting twice in Ft. Lauderdale. This is my first year speaking at NGS.
  • Speak at SCGS Jamboree: goal achieved.  I will be presenting twice in Burbank. This is my second year speaking at Jamboree.
  • Apply to SCGS Jamboree 2017: I will do this as soon as the Call for Papers comes out. I can never assume I will be selected in the next year just because I spoke at the last one.
  • Apply for NGS 2017, Raleigh, NC: The Call for Papers has just been announced. I will submit eight.
  • Apply for FGS conference 2017: I will do this as soon as the Call for Papers is announced. I wasn’t selected for 2016.
  • Submit one article to NGSQ: This will probably be my case study, which I will have submitted for my portfolio. (Note: I have just been informed that the editors wish to print my Gender Balance article if I can respond to the reviewers comments appropriately. Woo hoo!)
  • Submit two articles to other genealogical publications: I am totally up for this once the portfolio is submitted.

The above 2016 goals (made in 2014) assumed I had submitted my portfolio and was certified, so I have had to modify some of the goals from the previous years.  But we move on! Generally, I am about 1 year ahead of my ProGen goals, which is a good thing.

Thanks to each of you-my readers!  It is great to know that some of what I write is of interest and I hope a bit of a help. I wish you each achievement in your genealogy goals for the new year.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  I have been working on my Case Study.  I will write about the process soon–lots of little discoveries. I also am getting ready for my first webinar for the Southern CA GS. You can register here: http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/webinar/jes-index.html.  I was informed of the NGSQ article which I am thrilled about–but I admit, some of the comments are conflicting. I am mentally and physically getting ready to retire.  It’s a little scary, but exciting too.

Genealogy Junket I: Winter 2016

Clock 4I am going on a genealogy junket–actually two of them in 2016!  I am very excited.  All of this is made possible because I am retiring from the University of Washington after 10 years on 6 January 2016.  After that date, my genealogical career stretches in front of me!

But– not so fast!

There’s a submission to BCG that calls me (and sometimes weighs heavily on me) to complete.

Here is a general itinerary (note: I am driving, which my husband thinks is a little nuts because of the roads etc. in the winter, but you are only “young” once.) The dates are subject to some variation

17 January: leave Seattle for SLC
18 or 19 January: arrive SLC
goals: research in the library. This is the week after SLIG. I will share some of that time with my friend Trish from Seattle.
23 January: leave SLC
24 January:  arrive in Silverthorne, CO
goals: start writing like crazy and meet up with a friend from OSU who lives now in Denver and continue my conversation with Annette. I will be up in the mountains.
28 January: leave CO
29 January: arrive Santa Fe
goal: meet up with cousin and reconnaissance on future possible retirement spots
1 February: leave for Tucson, AZ
2 February: arrive in Tucson and stay at a friend’s “la casita”
goal: “complete” portfolio; I suspect I will still have some missing documents but I want to get it to 98% ready to submit.
22 February: fly to Savannah GA
goal: annual meet up with WAUA (Women Association of University Architects)
25 February: fly back to Tucson
26 February: leave Tucson for San Diego
goal: visit brother and sister-in-law and long time friend from Ohio
29 February: leave SD for Fresno
goal: visit with Ostfriesen friend in Fresno
2 March: leave Fresno and head north to Seattle

In the summer I will do a similar marathon to the Midwest. Along the way I will attend three genealogy conferences (BYU, Ostfriesen and FGS) and a milestone high school class reunion.  I will also drive and take about 6 weeks.

On the to do list: prepare for SLC, i.e. work up a research plan for each of the issues that I want to explore while I am there.  If I have a good plan or series of plans then the writing will come easier when I am in Tucson.

I have to be back in Seattle no later than 10 March as I make presentations for two national academic conferences back-to-back: Nordic Immigration & Emigration conference and the Association of Popular Culture (co-presenting with Lisa Oberg).

If your travels or your life intersects with any of those stops, I would love to have coffee/tea with you.  Let me know.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: submitted 3 proposals to Legacy for “member bonus” webinars; mostly worked on getting ready to go to CO for Christmas, baked biscotti like a maniac to give as gifts at work. Heard back from Minnesota Genealogical Society–I will be doing a webinar for them in November of 2016.