Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Other activities - the Genealogy Do-Over interlude

Sometimes I keep a diary.  And sometimes I don't.  And, when I don't, I often look back and wonder what I did for all those days! 

So, for my own future reference (and for any descendants who ever wonder what their "x times great" grandmother did), here are a few notes.  Firstly, I resurrected another hobby - sewing.  Prompted by the thought that the Saturday night banquet at the Guild of One Name Studies Conference has seen me wearing the same dress for a number of years, I decided to make a skirt - which then developed into making a skirt, top, evening bag and several other items just for the fun of it.  Getting the critical items finished on time did involve stitching at 5.30 am on the morning of the banquet but, since I'd woken up early anyway, it seemed like a good use of my time.

Finishing the sewing so early at least left me free to chat to people in any spare time during that day.  And chat I did, as the Conference is a great time for catching up with "old" friends, as well as making new ones.  Some of the conference sessions were recorded and the videos are available on the Guild's YouTube channel - I am looking forward to watching some of those sessions I missed, due to there being two sessions running at the same time.  It would be hard to pick highlights from the Conference, as it was all so good, but I think Jim Benedict's interactive session on "Succession-Proofing your ONS" probably stands out as providing the most laughs, as the various groups debated why *their* method of succession-proofing was best (Debbie, have you bought that spaceship yet?).

We heard more about the Guild Members Websites project over the weekend and I took the opportunity to chat with Mike Spathaky about his Cree Study site, and the various different options for producing websites.  It was Mike who had asked me, on the Guild hangout in February, why I was thinking of moving my PARRY ONS site to WordPress.  As a result of our discussions about the benefits, and potential longevity, of html, I now have a few more reasons for not doing so.

For the first time at the Conference, on the Friday afternoon there was an informal meeting for those interested in DNA testing.  Despite me being totally disorganised, having arrived at the hotel later than planned, and then walking all the way to my hotel room, only to discover that my key didn't work, so that I was still carrying around half my belongings at the time the meeting began, things seemed to run smoothly as we all shared about our various levels of involvement with DNA testing.  No doubt we will all be building on this in the coming months and years. 

I have frequently come away from the Conference with some snippet of Parry information, whether it has been from Marriage Challenge certificates passed on to me, or references I have found in books on the bookstall, or in someone's talk, etc.  This year was no exception, as Jo Fitz-Henry very kindly supplied me with photographs of some Parry gravestones that she had come across.  I'll write more about those on the Parry ONS blog.

The Conference was held at Brigg in Lincolnshire and my route there provided an opportunity to drive past RAF Scampton, one of the bases where my mother had been stationed in her WRAF days.  When planning my conference attendance, I had originally thought of contacting the museum on the base with a view to arranging to visit enroute to Brigg.  It was probably a good job I didn't do that, given how time went.  But that's now on my "To Do" list, for another occasion.

Moving on from the Conference in March, the next main event was the WDYTYA? Live Show in April which, for the first time, was being held at the NEC, Birmingham.  This provided another incentive to do some sewing!  Several years ago, Dick Eastman blogged about the Progeny Charting Companion program and its ability to produce an embroidery pattern from your family tree.  "What a wonderful idea," I thought, and soon after that, I was able to replace my 35 year old sewing machine with a new one capable of following such a pattern.  Then came the "busy-ness" of the last few years.  I still haven't tried that program but, ever since I discovered some ancestors who were "artisans in fireworks", I have had an idea in my mind - and I finally managed to execute that in time to wear to the show.

Okay, the hall was too warm to actually wear the hoody *in* the show, but I'd achieved my goal!  I'm now on the look-out for other items I can embroider with bits of my family history!

At the show, I was helping to man the ISOGG stand (ISOGG = International Society of Genetic Genealogy).  We were so busy throughout most of the time that I was amazed I hadn't lost my voice - it seemed like every time I sat down, another visitor would arrive with a query.  Hopefully, we will be seeing a rapid increase in DNA testing in the UK over the coming months, especially now all three of the main companies (FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe and Ancestry) are marketing their products here.  Another enjoyable aspect of WDYTYA was meeting many of the ISOGG members who came across from the United States to assist with the practical aspects of testing on the FTDNA stand.  Although ISOGG itself is an independent organisation and, as far as possible, information is always presented without bias, many of us would admit to having a personal preference towards FTDNA, not least because they are the only testing company that support the YDNA and mtDNA projects.  (Having taken the autosomal test at all three companies, I think it only fair to mention that I can find pros and cons for each of them.)

There was a fair amount of catching up to do, after the three days of "doing nothing" at WDYTYA, which was followed by a deadline for some paperwork.  But, now that's been met, I find myself actually restarting my Genealogy Do-Over. 

I wonder whether I can get to week 13 without any further interruptions!

Genealogy Do-Over "restart"

It's time to restart my restart!

As I described in my last post, I needed to postpone my Genealogy Do-Over, as other activities have had to take priority recently.  However, I'm now back again - and, amazingly, back before the repeat of the scheduled Do-Over week that I had paused at.  So that gives me a bit of time to refresh my memory of what I had been doing (seems to be an increasingly necessary task these days!)

There has still been some - almost unintentional - progress on the Do-Over topics in the interim.  I have bought a new laptop, as the start up of my previous one would have been beaten by a snail doing a marathon.  Unlike previous occasions when I have changed computers, this time I do not intend to just transfer everything across in one go, thus maintaining (and perhaps being limited by) the old file structure.  Instead,  I will take the opportunity to redesign my filing system - which was one of my aims for the Do-Over.  Since I am keeping the old laptop to use whenever I run a stand for the Guild of One-Name Studies at a family history fair, the new laptop has also been a good opportunity to purchase full and/or up-to-date versions of the programs I'm going to be using from now on, such as Legacy and Evidentia.

So the next couple of weeks will be a steep learning curve, as I start to get to grips with these properly, as well as continue trying to build the use of programs such as OneNote and Evernote into my routine, in order to maintain a good system to my research files and the Parry data collection, in particular.  Thankfully, many of the programs have active User Groups, which I imagine I shall be making frequent use of!