Two New Beginnings

I’ve added two new starts to my new job position: DAR Chapter Regent and the first meeting with my ProGen39 group.  Both happened within days of one another.  These two positions plus my executive director position at the Museum are my three main projects to tackle for the foreseeable future.

This gavel was handed down to me as Chapter Regent.  Our chapter just celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.  What an honor to hold this in my possession until the next Regent takes over.  I also received the Big Bag o’ Stuff that I have yet to inspect!

Officers: Me, Stacey, Rose Marie, Georjean, and Marianne

A beautiful rose in bloom with my office at the Museum in the background.  Three days before, it was just a bud.  It will take me longer than three days, but I hope to grow just as wondrous as it in the future.

My ProGen study group will last a year…an intensive course in preparing oneself to become a professional genealogist.  This is a peer-reviewed group that includes a lawyer, a teacher, and others with great experience.  We all want to become better genealogists and hold ourselves accountable for completing assignments, providing valuable feedback on others’ assignments, and attending a monthly chat.  In my case, I don’t have time to take on clients, but I am able to assist many folks researching their east-central Indiana roots.  I want to provide that service at the highest level possible so they may find their genealogical story.  If I feel I am successful at this endeavor, I will most likely seriously consider BCG certification, though I would prefer to attend a genealogical institute before attempting certification.  An institute, you say?  Why yes!  I’ll explain about those in an upcoming post since it will be something I explore for my educational plan assignment.

 Will ProGen help me decipher this?

Right now, I have no less than four events to plan for, one more step to go in the grant process (and if that goes well I’ll be writing grant #2), preparing my evaluation for the Board, creating a Constitution Week poster, reading three chapters and writing an educational plan for myself, and I’m constantly thinking about 2019.

Whew!  Time for some sleep and start all over again tomorrow!  I wonder what new thing I’ll learn??

Connecting Descendants with Their Ancestors…Always a Pleasure

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Lori Lee Sauber…a Washington State resident with Hoosier roots.  I was able to connect her with some old family documents that gave her more insight into her Hoosier ancestors’ lives in the early to mid 1800s.  This is hands down the best part of my job!  She contacted our historical society well in advance of her trip, enabling me to pull items for her to review, thus a major time-saver.  In the photo below, only a small portion is shown of the table of items we examined.  I was thrilled to be a part of her journey!  Follow her story by clicking on her name above.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you about the L2Scrollio!  I asked Lori Lee if she could bring one so I could see it in person.  I got to check out her very own L2Scrollios!  She created these on her own, a very creative and ingenious tool for any researcher.  And, as she conducted her research, she did refer to her L2Scrollios when determining different ancestors who had the same names.  I could envision this as a very handy visual at family reunions when explaining to your cousins who your 3rd-great-grandparents are or explaining generations removed.  I’m a believer!  For more info, just click on her name up above.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending the morning researching with Lori Lee and am so happy that she was able to visit our historical society and county.  Not only was this trip beneficial for Lori Lee but I also benefited as a researcher by learning more about her ancestors, knowledge I will be able to share with future guests and descendants of this family.  Win-win!


Sauber holding an original document of her family’s.


Sauber’s ancestors in Harrison Township, Henry County, Indiana

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

Why We Do What We Do

I shared the following post on the historical society’s Facebook page and thought I’d post it here, as well:
“Just wanted to share…why we do what we do: We had some visitors this week who dropped in to see some portraits of their ancestors that they knew we had. These portraits hang in the Museum. We told them we might have some more family information in our genealogy library. They were then able to hold in their hands the sermons that their ancestor had held in his hands, written in both English and German, around 150 years ago, here in Henry County. This is why we exist, to preserve the bountiful history of our county to share with people today and future generations, for the descendants of our early Henry County citizens to make a connection with their ancestors. This particular visit made me stop and think about what the importance of Henry County history means to so many generations and what an honor it is to be a guardian of the treasures of yesteryear.”

Later on that week, we had a member stop by to donate a ticket used by the Union Traction Company of Indiana (Interurban).  He asked what we did with our transportation artifacts, photos, and documents, if we ever put them on display to be shared.  Oh, how we’d love to have the space to do that!  We have *so much* stored away just waiting on that special person to come look at it and learn from it.  I tucked the train ticket into an archival-quality envelope so that it wouldn’t get lost in the Interurban file.  Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to virtually display more of our collection.  I entered the ticket into PastPerfect and soon will have the ability to add the picture of it, as well.  For right now, though, here it is:

Our database continues to grow!

Have I Mentioned…

how much I am loving my new position?

At first, I was somewhat apprehensive going into it.  I felt like I didn’t know enough; I felt like I was leaving my genealogical study and research behind; I was worried I’d fail miserably.

So far, so good!  Of course, it’s early on, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable in picking up the phone to call someone.  I’m delegating tasks so that I’m not doing everything myself.  I ask questions and give advice.  And, I feel like I’m actually making a difference.  I heard that phrase so many times in my previous career, and it must have resonated within me.  I am thankful for those years working at the hospital and learning what I did; it has transferred nicely to my Muze job.

I attempt to use customer service skills, too.  Customer service goes a long way…something as simple as actually actively listening to a person’s story or spelling their name right or giving them a heads up about a DNA test deal really make my job so worth it.  I like being able to help people along on their family history journey or talking to them about our local history or listening to their stories about our county.  My goal is to learn something new every day; so far, my new position has not let me down!

Now, I need your help! Pick your favorite:
A
B
C
D

Thanks!

Living the Muze Life

One month down!!

Major accomplishment:  Migrated our entire membership from an Excel spreadsheet to PastPerfect!  Someone before me…years ago…imported a spreadsheet into the database…big no-no!  We have over 1500 entries…not huge, I know, but I never claimed we were.  After entering our membership, I went entry by entry to remove duplicate entries, make all addresses consistent, add titles, etc.  FINISHED TODAY!!  Included are all members, volunteers, staff, and folks interested in our organization, plus business contacts and other historical organizations.  Whew!  Now, onto entering our entire collection…

The very first entry was a World War I canteen:

Along with PastPerfect duties, I have also written a new policy regarding our copier, accepted several fascinating donations into our collection, given tours, fed a couple chipmunks (Chip I and Chip II, respectively), written two thank-you’s where I forgot to sign my name, came into the Muze to find a large framed hair wreath had fallen off the wall (that was today), and moved my computer twice.  I attended a fundraising workshop on my birthday and took a call about bugs on a Sunday.  I took pictures at our Memorial Day parade:

<– Our 1930 Chrysler!

And, the Muze hosted a paper rose workshop where we learned how to craft fancy flowers.  Our teacher made a rose bloom to resemble the American Beauty Rose, which used to be grown in New Castle in the 1910’s.

<– The blooms were said to have been the size of a dinner plate, and a dozen sold for $72!

Not bad for my first month!