About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Singing out 2011 . . . Singing in 2012

I have been a sporadic blogger for the last part of 2011. I broke my foot just before Thanksgiving and for some reason, that seemed to negatively affect my ability to focus. But I have received permission from the doctor to put weight on the foot (actually, the ankle still hurts worse - I sprained it badly) and now I am trying to catch up with the end of 2011 and get ready for 2012. It is a time for resolutions, I guess . . . though I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions (if something needs changing, waiting for a calendar page to change is just a form of procrastination and is not likely to lead to true change). However, I do have some plans for 2012.

At the end of this current year, I was elected to the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Genealogists. This comes with some responsibilities, among them being familiar with the APG bylaws, reading the APG Mailing List, and making as many meetings as possible. I have been working on all of these, even though I am a few days away from taking my official position. OK, so that should really read "a few hours."

I am also registered for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, taking the Problem Solving class, the end of January. I am excited about this because the problem I am going to work on is one I have been dealing with for as long as I have been doing genealogy. In September I made a promise to my great-grandmother at her grave (does that sound weird?) that I would find her ancestors, if they are findable, sometime during 2012. Is that a resolution? If so, well I made one, but I started on the project (by collecting all the data I already have) back in October.

After SLIG I will be attending APG meetings, but will miss the other Salt Lake events (the APG Professional Management Conference and RootsTech). I need to be back on the homefront before Groundhog day. Nevertheless, from now until I depart for Utah, I will be rather busy getting prepared for the trip.

As the recently appointed Director of the Corona Family History Center, I will be busy trying to organize some regular instruction in that venue as well as training new staff members. And I continue in my role as the President of the Corona Genealogical Society (those two entities will join together on August 4 to present the 3rd annual Corona Family History seminar . . . we have a great line-up of speakers). And I continue in my role as Southern Calif. Chapter of the APG where I will be involved in pulling off this year's mini-Professional Management Conference on March 31 (we have some very helpful presentations scheduled, dealing with web presence for genealogists, the latest on the technical front, writing for genealogy publication, and tips on public speaking). 

I have decided to organize my genealogy and music bookings so that I can more efficiently book future gigs. A spread sheet that details each of the past (and repeating) groups (meeting location, round trip mileage from my home, day and time of meetings/classes, and web page URL) and when I presented which topics. This will help me keep from repeating a program at a single location and assist in advising presentation options. It is looking good and I think it will be one of the most helpful tools I have created.

I will be working closely with the SCGS Jamboree in 2012, working to spearhead the Ask the Experts table to be operated throughout the 3-day conference. I already have some willing helpers and hope that anyone reading this who plans to attend in June and is able to assist as one of the experts will get in touch with me.

Likewise, in the month prior to that, as Secretary for the Genealogical Speakers Guild, I will again be coordinating the introductions for the NGS conference speakers. I hope to have more control over the project than I did last year! I will be setting up the sign-up on line so I don't find myself trying to keep from double-booking things! I'll also be doing a couple of presentations there (in Cincinnati in 2012) and helping with the Youth Genealogy Camp.

I continue my articles for various publications and have one in the works for the Summer issue of APG Quarterly. I am also creating a course for the Institute for Genealogical Studies. The next two issues of Family Chronicle should each contain articles with my byline and my latest articles for NGS Magazine and Crossroads have been well-received (both came out this past autumn). I continue to produce bi-monthly columns for GenWeekly, though I was unable to get a Lost Lexicons piece done for December (it was a broken foot thing).

So my 2012 promises to start (and continue) with a focus on Family History. I will attempt to record some of my experiences on this blog as well. And I hope to return to my investigations of the NARA, Pacific Region, Riverside, microfilms. I have an interesting story to share on my Bohemian ancestors, whose letters were translated early in 2011 by the German girls who stayed with us for a few months. I plan to reprint them here, including an explanation of how they relate to the research process. Of course, I will add a musical post or two as time and material permit. I have a good one about a violin that I want to share, but am trying to get a photo to go with the tale.

I am singing out 2011 in a number of ways. I had a great time in the Gold Rush Country (RVing with a good friend), spending Christmas day with folks at a campground - a potluck where three other folks and I made a lot of music with a banjo, two guitars, and a piano. Of course there will be some music on New Years Eve. In the past, it was WFMT's Midnight Special program out of Chicago, but that does not seem to be accessible to me this year, so I will select something as comparable as possible. And 2012 will be welcomed with music, too - assuming I don't fall asleep before midnight! Well, if I do, I'll catch up somewhere along the line. Meanwhile, I have a number of music programs scheduled for 2012, so it promises to be a great year.

I wish my blog followers, friends, neighbors, family members, and associates in the fields of music, folklore, genealogy, Church, etc. a peaceful and healthy New Year with, especially, a safe evening of celebration.

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