Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Needing a Kickstart

Do you ever need external stimulation to keep your projects going?

I sure do.

After several months of being away from my genealogy projects I’ve had a difficult time getting refocused.  Some time ago a cousin asked for information about her grandfather; and that got me going for a while.  Recently another query from someone researching a similar line got me into a temporary flurry of activity.

Now I’ve rediscovered the FamilyTreeWebinars and the juices are beginning to flow again.  Finally. 

Webinars about researching in Illinois and in Tennessee motivated me to get back in the hunt for one of my husband’s lines; and also for some of my distant cousins.

My genealogy society does not meet during the summer so I’m really looking forward to September and the first meeting of the season.  They always give me the kick in the butt that I seem to need.

If anyone reading this has some tips on self motivation, I’d be grateful if you’d post a comment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Polish Haitians

I was surprised to learn about Polish Haitians.  The topic came up at the last meeting of the Polish interest group of the Indian River Genealogical Society. The story of Poles in Haiti is a complex combination of fact and the myths that have grown around the facts. 

In the late 18th century, Haiti provided most of the coffee and sugar enjoyed in Napoleon’s Europe –supplied by slave labor.  The final years of the 1790’s saw a slave uprising and the eventual independence of the island with its own Constitution.  But Napoleon was determined to return the island to its previous circumstance as a subject of France.  To this end, he sent 40,000 troops to Haiti; 4,000 of which were Polish soldiers.  

Zena’s 2011 Black History Month blog includes a very clear and concise description of the struggle and the eventual destiny of many of the Poles who originally arrived to fight for France.

My own research doesn’t go back that far yet; but I suppose that it is possible that I have very distant cousins in Haiti.




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Now..... Where was I??

Genealogy got put aside when I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. At first my energies were focused on learning about my disease and its treatment.  By the time I had a handle on that,  the combination of extreme fatigue and the mental fuzziness of “Chemo Brain” left me pretty much unable to concentrate or focus for more than a couple of milliseconds. No way I could do any research.  So I spent the past several months reading light fluffy mysteries and playing easy computer games. 

Chemo is done!!  I’m still fatigued and still pretty fuzzy, but I’m coming back to being me.  Fortunately, I got a jump start from a query from a cousin. Good timing. She was asking about the family I’d been working on when it got set aside. 

All I have to do now is find all the information and the files and carry on from where I left off.  HAH! Easier said than done.   

I know I created the files because I printed them. So where are they?  Not on my local disk.  Not on a jump drive. Oh, they’re on my external disk.  Phew!!!  A step in the right direction.   

Where are my hand written notes?  I made notes, right?  RIGHT????  I sure hope so. 

How much updating of my tree did I do?  Was I able connect family members that I’d just recently found?

Etc., Etc., Etc……. 

I’ll eventually get it together.  It feels good to be back at it.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Coming back soon, I hope

I suspect that anyone who followed this blog has long given up on it.  It's been a long dry spell with no posts.

I've been coping with cancer for the past several months, dealing with "chemo brain".  One of the side effects of chemo therapy is a fuzzy brain - inability to concentrate and focus on anything for very long.  Genealogy requires the kind of thinking and focus that has been beyond me for a while. Even reading is not easy.  I've temporarily given up on the complex mysteries that I love, and have been making do with what I call "fluffy" books.  Easy reads.  No real thinking.

But there's finally light at the end of the tunnel.  I'll be done with chemo at the end of February; and I'm hopeful that my mental faculties with return to normal before long.  There's still 6 weeks of radiation to get through, but the end is in sight.

On Saturday I attended an all day seminar by John Colleta.  He's a great speaker who has re-ignited the flame that was just an ember for so many months.

I'm hopeful that you'll hear from me again soon.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

More cousins to look for.

I finally found the set of photos I’d asked my Mom to identify for me – and I finally really looked at them. While I knew there were distant cousins named Jankowski in Chicago, I hadn’t paid attention to another family of cousins named Polcyn.

On his arriving New York passenger list, my great grandfather Schipp indicated his destination to be Chicago. Probably to the Jankowski relatives there.  I don’t know how long he stayed in Chicago before settling in St. Paul, MN.

But who are the Polcyns??? 

Of course I went straight to census records to look for clues. That lasted one afternoon because I decided that it would be better to put this search off for a while.   I’ll get back to them when I get stuck again on my current searches. 

What's Next?

I’ve recovered from the worst cold I’ve had in ages.  It really took its toll for a few weeks; sapping all energy and motivation. So now I’m picking up where I left off on my research but I’m not sure where that is.

I’ve found my ancestral villages – at least the places where my great grandparents married and began their families. It was exciting finding their records on LDS microfilm.  But these were church sacramental records because civil records were not kept at that time.  With rare exception, they’re not indexed which means that you must know where to look and that can be a problem. So I feel that I’ve arrived at another brick wall. 

Do I try chipping away at the bricks trying to trace ancestors back into the early 1800’s? Looking for a needle in a haystack?  Just how far back can you trace Polish peseants?

Or do I take a break from that aspect, and focus on the family after they arrived in the US?

Or do I tackle another family line? 

Think I’ll take a few more days to plot my next move.,

Monday, February 25, 2013

Trendy Names

Trendy names have been with us for a long time. In recent times we’ve had thousands of Jennifers, Jasons, and Jeremys, among other cool names.  It was once fashionable to name boys after illustrious US presidents. In my husband’s ancestry are several George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons.

As I look for ancestors in Polish church records from the mid 19th century, I wonder what was influencing the trends in names. Were the name fads local or were they inspired by people they read about?

Reading the LDS microfilms, I find a year when it seems that almost half of the girls born in one area are named Josepha and many of the boys are Joseph. The next year will be loaded with Catherine or boys named Martin.  Each year seems to produce a new favorite name for each gender

My Roman Catholic ancestors were all named after saints, so I don’t find the Polish equivalent of Dweezil or Moon Unit.  Too bad.  Might make them easier to find.