Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As 2014 closes and 2015 Opens Genealogy reflection

Usually as each year goes by, things are pretty stable when it comes to my family. Usually I have a number of members who are fighting, other that are getting along, and some are just completely ignored. This is within a normal year.

2014 was so very different.

Refinding Family
I found a whole group of cousins and other relatives on two different continents I didn't know anything about. Stunned as one of the bigger group lived only minutes away from where I did most of my growing up before I moved to Australia in 1997. This stunned me as I thought my mother's brothers were both gone forever when I was young. Only to find, one had died, but the other was very much alive and living not far from where I used to live.

Even after getting used to this idea for months, I'm still appalled I didn't know him or any of his children growing up. How could anyone blank out a whole sibling for some reason?  I know siblings fight and don't get along - I've had 2 sisters have haven't gotten along in over 30 years - but we still acknowledge the one sister even though she's a pain in the butt. Further, I do know if she ever needed anything, we would all be there no matter how mad we are at her, but to just blank someone out completely? Wow. I couldn't ever think how or why this would be done.
Sounds like a great thing - National Red Cross Societies in Europe are publishing 180 photos of people looking for their missing relatives in the hope of reconnecting families.

Thankfully, I have now connected with my maternal paternal (my mother's father's side) cousins and am getting to know them even if its slowly. Hopefully one day we will be at the point where we can meet when we go over to visit face to face.

I have also, connected with the maternal maternal (my mother's mother's side) cousin as well and again am getting to know her slowly too. This area is a bit more complicated as she speaks Polish and I only speak English. I can see me trying to learn Polish somehow which would make better communication for us.

For those new cousins I have found, I am very grateful that we've had the chance to meet and I can't wait to know you even better over the next amount of years. 

Information Waterfall
I have started to learn more about my ancestors (as you can tell by the above reconnections) as the information is now starting to come online and is very helpful. In fact, what was once a drop of water here and there is now a full blast waterfall. This is one reason why I haven't posted here for some time. I'm trying to capture as much information as I can.
I can imagine I would have looked like this earlier this year

Not this is bad at all. In fact, the slow drop of water was one reason why I shook my head and put away my researching for years. Sometimes its better to admit the time isn't right and set it aside to restart later. My later came this year after I finished one of my certifications and I found myself looking up some information and actually finding some good information.

In fact, I've tried to step back from this for the past few weeks now because it was starting to consume my life. Have I stopped completely? Nope, I'm just getting my paperwork in as much order as I can, so when I start to go forward again, I'll have direction.

Education for all
In the last bit of the year, I was asked to write up a short course for doing genealogy. Wow. There's so much information that you have to know and know how to do.  Then how do I explain it to everyone? That's another hurdle in itself. I sat down and thought of things from scratch and outlined things quite a bit and came up with an 8 week course, and then a 5 week course.

Then I delivered the 5 week course. People liked it, but I know it can be done better. The question is what do I leave out and what do I leave in? I do have to cover the parts beginners do by mistake only because they don't know any better. Thing about it what's the sense in doing family history if the people you are teaching are going to be making those same mistakes that annoy those of us who have been doing this for years? Better to nip them at the start rather than try to get them to stop later on.

Where can I see 2015 heading?
2015 is going to be another busy one for me.

Direct Family
Gauquie's & Rampaye's
There's the family I'm determined to find out how the Gauquie's and the Rampaye's are connected. I mean really determined. My game plan is this:
Fan tree

1. In the last few weeks, I've taken to start going through each of these names and writing down the relatives information on FamilySearch. I will keep on this until I've exhausted this research tool.

2. There are a few other sites I've found these families in, and I will add these to the information in step 1.

3. I will then try and connect all the names as much as I can. This is all called the fan method I learned the other day.

4. If all else fails, I will contact others directly asking them about people. I've already posted on a forum about my ancestors and so far I haven't had any responses back and its been about 2 weeks.

Wojtkowski's & ƚlepowron's
This is a bit more difficult than the one above. This is because they are in Poland (along with all the different languages) but also because the communities are small and I think whatever relatives where there have either been murdered by the Russians or have moved to other sections of Europe.

Because of this, I've asked my father to do a genealogy DNA kit. He has agreed and as I am writing this it is on its way to him in the USA. I will then be able to see what DNA is his and what DNA is my mother's. I'm hoping to have some hits with his DNA - if people will email me back that is.

This is one of the maternal maternal (my mother's grandmother) families I found this year. One of them is my great cousin in Poland I mentioned above. However, there are other relatives in the US we both want to reconnect with. Hopefully, this year I can find out more about them and contact them. It would be great to get to know more about them too.
The Jagodzinski brick wall which will take bricks out of eventually - just give me some time

Jagodzinski's - Brick wall
This is another family with is out there some place. I know there are others due to some slight research I have done. I have called in my maternal grandfather's alien paperwork and found out some interesting information. However, this is still one of my main brick walls that are out there. I keep telling him I will find his family - somehow.

I have been asked to do a few smaller classes on searching family history websites. It should be interesting to see what I come up with there. Further, there is talk of a group meeting in a community space to talk family history.
The community space in Knox City, Victoria Australia in 2014.

Then there is the longer class information I will have to go back and tweak to get it to flow better.

I will have to look to see if I can find anywhere that teaches Polish. Last time I did this a few years ago, there was no one that currently did this.

Giving back
In 2014, I learned how to do what we call indexing. Not only did it help others in finding information, but it also taught me what information could be found in some of the documents. For anyone reading this, please give it a shot and give back. Its free through FamilySearch and one batch takes less than an hour to do. I would recommend it to anyone.

I will need to get back into do this as life has taken over some aspects of things and indexing was one such thing.

Family Growth
As much as I love reconnecting and growing my family through research, we have also been trying to grow our tiny family at least one more tiny person - a baby. This past year we've done 3 rounds of IVF and with still no positive outcome.
After a transfer in 2014

In 2015, we are looking at doing at least one more round. I think the specialist is throwing everything she has at it this time. Hopefully, round number 5 will be for us.

As I close this post, please keep in mind, those relatives around you won't be there forever - cherish them no matter how angry and upset you get at them. One day, they will no longer be around for you to feel that way about. Besides you can never have too much family. Think of those people out there that have no family whatsoever - you don't want to become one of them due to things you have said and did.

All the best & stay safe in 2015!