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


It’s truly amazing how time flies…where does it go?

It’s amazing how I never expected to be as busy as I am when I moved to part-time hours.  I’m busier now than I ever was working 40 hours/week.  It seems like I’ve created some sort of full-time genealogy/social media position and do a little transcription on the side.

It’s amazing how much I enjoy communicating via social media!  I love engaging people to talk about the Museum or my cousin’s art studio or genealogy in general.

It’s amazing how complete strangers can come together and work together to make something great happen.  And, it’s amazing how short-sighted people still are.

So, what have I been up to? … … …

I started this post on 16 September 2016.  It is amazing.

ECIGA is going strong…still holding monthly meetings and learning lots!

I’m almost finished with my third Genealogy Education Program course through the DAR, just waiting on my final graded assignment.  I then hope to hold a couple workshops this summer as I will be an official Volunteer Genealogist!

I’ve begun volunteering once a month at a local assisted-living facility, helping residents utilize to organize their genealogy and learn more.  I truly enjoy helping those folks out…what a blessing!  Our little group is called Project Pioneer.

I still volunteer and am on the Board at my local historical society…always looking for ways to get some exposure (check us out!).  Next on my agenda…learn to write grants to secure some much-needed funding!

I’ve been writing more and more and am feeling a lot more comfortable doing so.  With permission from folks I’ve helped, I might share some things here that I don’t plan on using in my BCG portfolio.

Speaking of which, once I get my son graduated in the next month, I plan to go “on the clock!”  I’ve been working on compiling the different parts of the portfolio and, as I mentioned above, am feeling more comfortable with writing and piecing information together coherently.  One thing I’m considering doing as a presentation is breaking down the Genealogist’s Code of Ethics that one must sign when completing a portfolio.  Not only do I want to sign it, but I also want to fully understand it and share that info with others.

I still work part-time from home as a medical transcriptionist.  However, it seems as though more often our workload runs low…most likely an effect of the work being sent to India or being replaced with point-and-click technology.  I urge people to carefully read reports they receive from their doctor to ensure the information is correct!  The human element of checks and balances regarding catching errors on medicolegal documents is going away so be aware of what is in your chart, at your doctor’s office, at the hospital you visit, at the clinic, anywhere or anyone who provides care for you.

That’s pretty much the update!  I’ll try to blog once weekly now, maybe every Sunday since that’s a quiet day for me, to keep up-to-date, especially when/if I go “on-the-clock.”

Before I go…this is AMAZING…check out Genes For Good, a Facebook app.  Participate in a few health-related surveys and receive a DNA kit and testing for free!  Offered through the University of Michigan. 🙂

Keeping Me On My Toes!

Where have the last 3 months gone?  Here, it seems as if I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth…or at least blogosphere.  What’s been going on?  Let’s see…

  • ECIGA is off and running!
  • I’m a member of the historical society board so I’m putting more time in there.
  • Getting my part-time business ready to go.

Today at the historical society, however, I came across an article and a name jumped out at me, a name I had deciphered from an 1840 letter written from my 4th-great-grandfather to his son, Aaron Ballard.  The name was William Deatherage and was in an article about Charles A. Beard’s grandmother.

Background: Charles A. Beard was an early educator in Henry County, IN.  Charles was born in Henry County in 1874, a son of William Henry Harrison Beard and Mary Payne.  William Henry Harrison Beard’s mother was Caroline Martin, born in Guilford County, North Carolina, in the year 1812.  A sister of Caroline’s, Sallie/Sarah, married a William Deatherage, became Mormons, and moved to Missouri in 1850.

More background: Aaron Ballard’s father at one time lived in North Carolina.  In 1840, when the letter was written to Aaron, it was sent from Grayson County Courthouse in Virginia.  In it, Amos, Aaron’s father, wrote: “I have lately learned that Asa Ballard did not join them but three of his family did so your auld friend William Deatherage from Stokes gave me the information about Asa he was with me this spring and made inquiry about you.”

My first thought was I have to write about this!

ECIGA, our home-grown genealogy group, is coming along nicely.  We nearly have the entire year of 2016 planned out and are beginning to plant seeds for 2017! It’s still hard to believe this is actually happening!

Since I went part-time with my MT job, I’ve been volunteering more at the historical society.  We opened for the season the first Wednesday in March and guess what I did the couple days before that? Revamped the website, revived our Twitter page from the dead, and began an I Spy interaction on our FB page. Oddly enough, I’m the social media guru for them! I even presented an update at the last board meeting!  If you’re interested in the historical society, click here to go to their website.

And, I’ve been working on getting my other part-time business off the ground.  Consultant, research assistant, what have you…Life/Citation Genealogy Services is in biz.  Scary? Yep. Exciting? You bet! I put a small ad in our local “great deals” magazine, which advertises everything local and goes out to 14,400 households.  I’m on the research list on APG and IGS.  Trying to get my name out there.  Updating my website, FB, and Twitter (along with the museum’s).  Signed on with 17hats and Hootsuite to keep it altogether.

Don’t be surprised if you notice some changes to the blog…I’m thinking about a slight overhaul.  And that’s where I’ve been the last 3 months.

Almost forgot…I need to write an article…I’m thinking about how I used social media to pull our historical society into the 21st century. Thoughts??


BRVGS is now…

East Central Indiana Genealogy Alliance! Or ECIGA.  Check out our website here.  Follow us on Twitter.  Follow the Facebook link on our website to like the page.  So very much has been happening with this project.  We serve five east-central Indiana counties: Delaware, Hancock, Henry, Madison, and Randolph.  Right now, we are planning for meetings to begin in January 2016.  We have the first four planned.  We have a membership application that we’ll be rolling out on December 1, 2015.  The major thing I need to do right now is set up a checking account so we can connect PayPal and Square to that.  Before I do a checking account, though, the bylaws must be approved.  I have been working like crazy on those, getting the wording just right, etc.  We’ve been trying a free platform for project management type things, Wiggio.  Technology is still scary to a lot of folks though so we just keep practicing.  I’m kind of afraid to bring up Trello!  We finally settled on a logo; now, I’m focused on newsletter type things.  I lost track of how many hats I’m wearing!

I have had such a wonderful reception from folks regarding this group.  Their knowledge and experience they bring to the table is phenomenal, and I am so thankful to have them on-board.

ECIGA logo 3

This project, plus my new appointment to the board of the Henry County Historical Society, has kept me insanely busy.  I made up 35 DAR Yearbooks, 15 for state officers and 20 for our chapter; created a notebook for ECIGA hard copy documents; and got a binder together for historical society business (not only did the gutters have to be replaced but the boiler went out…eek!).  I’ve had one contact since being named Henry County Genealogist so I helped out there, and I’ve been contacted to run over to Rush County to try to find some probate records.  No downtime for me! I’m helping plan the annual family Halloween party so that’s next on my agenda.  And, I still have to put in 40 hours at the day job.  Bear with me folks…I haven’t forgotten you!

Happy Announcement!

The Indiana Genealogical Society has a County Genealogist program in place.  Volunteers apply for the position and, once approved, remain in that position for 2 years.  My home county of Henry did not have a designated genealogist.  They do now!

I have just been approved as the Henry County genealogist for the IGS County Genealogist program.  It is an entirely volunteer position that I am thrilled and honored to hold.  I have a list of local repositories, their phone numbers and websites, ready to go.  One of my responsibilities is to write an article for the IGS Quarterly once a year…already have started one for 2015!

I am indebted to two ladies who believed enough in my skill for local research that they kindly wrote letters of referral for me, Ms. Elizabeth Edstene, Executive Director of HCHS, and Ms. Marianne Hughes, registar of the Sarah Winston Henry Chapter of the DAR, most recently the regent for several years.  I thank both ladies from the bottom of my heart.

Also newsworthy, I have been approved to be a member of the board of our local historical society, the Henry County Historical Society and Museum.  Also too much excitement in my genealogical world!!