Deciding to Go for It!

The book on bottom I’ve had for 5 years.  The book on top I recently bought.

In 2013, I had a feeling my long-time job at the hospital was going to end.  And it did.  They outsourced the work I did to a national company, at which they had secured a position for me if I decided to work there.  I had no other choice, so I went to work for the national company and began planning for a change.

It took 5 years, but I was able to put medical transcription behind me and move forward with my Muze position.  I can’t even tell you the normal lab values for SGOT right now and those used to roll off my tongue!

When I first began planning my career change, I was moving in the direction of becoming a professional genealogist and consultant for this area of Indiana.  I did a lot of pro bono work, watched a lot of webinars, attended seminars and conferences, and volunteered at the historical society.  One thing I had planned on doing but could never fit into my schedule as it was a 19-month program was a ProGen Study Group.  A ProGen Study Group is held virtually and covers the information in the books in the photo (currently, only the top book is being used).  You are part of a group of 7 other students and a mentor who is certified by the BCG or accredited by ICAPGen.  You work on all aspects of becoming a professional genealogist, from an education plan to business practices to actual genealogical work.  That work you do is then peer reviewed.  The waiting list is long; I signed up during the spring of 2017 and was first contacted a year later.  Since signing up, though, the program was adapted to be just 12 months long.  You spend on average 20 hours per month working on assignments.

I was contacted about joining ProGen38.  This came at the time I was transitioning into my new role as Muze Executive Director, so it didn’t feel right.  On the other hand, it didn’t feel right to leave behind my goal of becoming a professional genealogist either.

So, when the invitation came for ProGen39, I didn’t think twice.  I jumped in with both feet and am preparing to begin this journey in September!  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll push myself a bit more and go “on the clock” once I complete the course.  You fellow genealogists know what I mean!  Apply for certification through BCG.  A giant step for me but what I’ve been planning for all along!

From StEPs to Paths!

I’ve had a couple days off from the Muze, and I’ve done the following:

  • Finished up the newsletter for bulk rate mailing! If you are so inclined, go here and click on July to read the newsletter (.pdf format).
  • Watched three webinars (intro to digitization; vision, mission, and planning; website updating)
  • Created a schematic detailing the “paths” on which we find ourselves (path to: vision, logo, virtual exhibit, website overhaul, and digitization)
  • Started planning for my Trunk of Curiosities to go with my presentations…here it is:
  • Started reading the StEPs workbook
  • Did a price comparison on different items to share with the Board
  • Getting the News You Can Use email ready to roll on August 1
  • Sent out my weekly update late Sunday night (just about slipped my mind!)

In my downtime, I have been working on:

  • DAR duties (finishing chapter yearbook, finishing plan for the year, creating a letter and first agenda, reviewing bylaws, creating an email to send out to create a bylaws committee)
  • Reviewing the chapter master report

Every once in awhile, a thought will cross my mind…don’t forget ProGen39!!  My mind, it is a’swirlin’!

For something non-work-related, I watched a couple BatDad videos on Facebook. 😀

One More StEP…or Maybe Two

My historical society took a big leap of faith and approved our entry into the StEPS Program through AASLH (American Association for State and Local History).  StEPS stands for Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations.  It is a self-guided process wherein history organizations take a good hard look at policy and procedure and their future.  We will receive a workbook to work on different aspects of our organization, e.g. mission and governance, audience, and collection.  I am very excited about this!  We plan on reviewing it through the rest of this year and actively working on what needs attention beginning in 2019.

Drawer from Thaddeus Coffin desk

I am so grateful for the Genealogy Library we have at our historical society (named after Clarence H. Smith, some day soon I’ll tell you more about him).  When I began pondering career changes, professional genealogy seemed like the path I wanted to follow.  Volunteering at the historical society opened my eyes to the wonder that is our local history.  This position as director fulfills my genealogical passion, as well as teaches me unique things about my county.  If I don’t learn something new daily, then I consider it a nonproductive day.  These new things I learn can come from any nook of the Museum…our oldest book was published in 1789…a child on a tour showed me a new piece of wood in our Thaddeus Coffin desk (made of nearly 57,000 pieces!)…a lovely weed had found its way into our entry pavilion!  Even though I’m the executive director of a historical society and museum, genealogy still plays a large role in my life.

Bronze on wood trunk I bought today to use for my presentations! “The Trunk of Curiosities”

That is why when I recently received the invitation to join the ProGen Study Group 39 I jumped at the opportunity.  I had tentatively set aside my goal of achieving professional genealogy certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), but, by signing up and participating in the yearlong ProGen course of study, I believe I might move forward with my BCG goal.  We’ll see in a year!

Census record I may use for ProGen or BCG

Thank you to those who voted on the skeleton key poll.  What do you think of this one?

Skeleton key on gentleman’s black top hat

And by “flourish” I mean…

Scrapbooking is a form of art that I can wrap my head around and understand, unlike sewing (knots, I’m looking at you!).  I was not tooting my own horn as if I am an expert, but I am experienced and learning more every day!  I’m getting ready to place my first order for items to update tools I already own and looking at my calendar to carve out some time to hold a “crop.”

What’s a “crop”?  It’s where other people interested in scrapping get together and work on their albums.  They can bring their own supplies or use mine.  They can try out tools of mine to see if it’s something they’d like to add to their own stash.  Maybe pick up some new papers!  Paper Buffet, anyone?  More about that later.

I was thinking more about how scrapbooking relates to genealogy and another thought came to mind.  While scrapbooking, we are creating and saving memories for our future generations.  I would give anything for a scrap of information about my relatives who immigrated from Ireland and lived out the rest of their days in Cincinnati but nary a scrap to be found.  I guess it’s about leaving your legacy, accomplishments, failures, the good and the bad, what makes you YOU.  Put your thoughts down in your own handwriting next to a picture of yourself in an album that will stand the test of time and be there 200 years from now.

Struggling

That’s right, I’ve been struggling to find a way to merge my passion for family history challenges and my creative side.  Since you all know my background regarding my love for genealogy, let me explain my “creative side.”

My creative side is paper-based.  I like working with paper art.  I can’t draw; I’m not great at fiber arts…but, with paper, I flourish.  Ideas spring to mind, mixing colors and patterns with pictures, bringing memories to life to last, well, forever.  About 15 years ago, I was putting together Creative Memories (CM) scrapbooks…loved their books and products.  Loved them so much that even my then-husband even bought tools at the time so we could create books together.  Time for scrapbooking fell to the wayside with the raising of our sons and working full-time and my MT career taking off, as well as my newfound interest in genealogy.

Now, I’ve been yearning for some say to join the two together.  Regarding CM, they had had financial issues in the recent past, and I thought they had gone bankrupt.  I knew Archiver’s had closed.  I do have a Cricut machine and supplies with which to make cards, but that is a bit different.  On the off-chance, I did a Google search for Creative Memories.  Lo and behold, they are alive and well!

I dusted off all my old CM tools, which still work just fine, and gathered all my paper supplies.  I then scoured their website and took the plunge.  I am now a Creative Memories Advisor!  My next step is to update my tools and supplies and begin scheduling workshops.  I have literally 300+ photos from three events that I want to print and put into scrapbooks so I’m good there.  I do have to learn more about digital scrapbooking, which is now part of CM.

If you are interested in learning more about CM, check out my site.

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Where I am not struggling is with my genealogy life!  I have since become the Assistant Director at the historical society where I put in 13.5 hours/week.  I have been researching some really interesting genealogical situations and have created a digital newsletter for the society, as well as helping create our newest exhibit.

ECIGA is going great…we have 15 members so far for 2018 and have a lot of great stuff on the schedule for this year.  We are using our portable scanner and laptop to scan in record sets from east-central Indiana that are not digitized anywhere yet.  We will have a booth at the 2018 FGS Annual Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana…come say hi!

In April, I’ll be attending the Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Conference…looking forward to that meeting and learning more!  In May, I’ll be going to the Indiana DAR State Conference where I will have the opportunity to meet our President General…how exciting is that?  Also, in May, my local DAR chapter and the historical society are partnering together to present 100 Years of the Red Poppy: A World War I Commemorative Event for the community.

I have a lot on my plate for 2018, all of which I am thoroughly excited about.  Genealogy is very important to me, as is preserving those memories for generations to come.  I can help you learn your history and then preserve it!

I Did It!

I *finally* fixed that typo on my home page!!!  “Challenger” is gone; challenge is in its rightful place (if you’ve been following me for awhile you’ll understand).

And, I did finally resign from my medical transcription job.  Today, as a matter of fact.  Am I retired from the career as a whole?  Who knows what the future holds at this point.

Well, I do know a little of what my future holds and that is my new position as Assistant Director at the Henry County Historical Society!!  I am beyond thrilled to work for the Museum.  Not only do I get to work there, but I also will still be able to volunteer!  Not having my part-time day job opens up more hours for me to help out at the Museum.  Our major project starting after the holidays is utilizing our PastPerfect software.  INVENTORY PARTY!  I will also be holding a monthly after-hours meeting at the Museum where I combine a DAR Museum program with items in our Civil War era collection, preparing a World War I commemorative event, and, of course, keeping up with social media and some trivia (2018 will be My Name Is Henry County).

Along with working/volunteering at the Museum, I will also be ramping up my genealogical research consulting business as much as possible and doing a little artsy genealogy too.

I have to admit that in my old age I’ve become more and more assertive.  The position I’ve earned at the Museum was not previously a position.  I asked that it be created for me so I could resign from my day job and devote more hours at the Museum.  Never in my life would I have dreamed I’d do something so gutsy.  This is the type of job where you think to yourself “they pay me to do this?”  Honestly, if I was independently wealthy, they would not have to pay me to work there.  I love how I’ve combined my love of local history with my passion for genealogy and will have the ability to help and share with others who are on their journey.

Check back here for tales from a small house museum historical society genealogical junkie!

Twists and Turns!

Life is full of them! And a twist and turn are in my very near future.

As of Monday, December 11, I will be available full-time to conduct genealogical research. Plus, I’m adding another side venture, a combination of paper craft and pedigree chart. I’m working on building my website for that and will share here when it’s ready.

I’ve been insanely busy this year with volunteering at the local historical society, my local DAR chapter, and my genealogical society. Plus, I’m attempting to write an article about my Abbott ancestors for the IN Genealogical Society. Whew! I visit a local assisted living facility once a month and help residents with their online family trees on FamilySearch.org.

I also tried making a dream catcher…epic fail! I’ve tried needle felting. Nice way to get out some aggression by punching a super sharp needle into wool roving to create cute 3D objects.

I am on the waiting list for an upcoming ProGen class. Excitedly awaiting that!

As for medical transcription, my career in that is ending soon. Bittersweet. End of an era, for sure!

Watch for hopefully more frequent updates here!