Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

April Ruminations

About this time last year, my cousin Mary Lee was putting the finishing touches on a family book she'd conceived two years before. She'd been gathering information for several years with that goal in mind, and her plan was to finish and distribute copies of the book at the family reunion. She made it.

The book, called Trees, Branches, and Twigs of the John and Gertie Krentz Family, is more than 800 pages solidly packed with stories, photos, documents and family history research. Picture a ream of paper and you'll have it about right in your mind. It's an astounding volume of family information, beautifully organized and very entertaining to read.

I am completely in awe of the focus and determination it takes to accomplish such an undertaking. I think most people would be. But it really points up to me how Attention Deficit Disorder manifests itself in the way I do things. While Mary compiles huge family books (this was the fourth one she's done since she started researching family history in the late 1990s), I opted for writing a four-page family history newsletter on an unscheduled basis. I published The Krenz Intermittent, 22 issues, from January 1997 until March 2004. (I fell short of my goal by two or three issues, but I don't rule out the possibility that I may do them at some point.)

Even blogging is a challenge for me. It's not that I can't sit still at the computer--I can and do; I lack the hyperactivity component of ADD. But it's a struggle for me to stay focused and complete things. Right now, though, I'm making great progress with my Surnames project, and have managed a daily post for two full months in a row. Three factors have contributed to this success:
  1. The goal is finite and doable: a lineage post for every surname in my direct lines.
  2. The format of each post is the same. It's a relatively simple matter to plug in the facts.
  3. I'm working about a week ahead, so an occasional unfocused day doesn't leave me without a post. In fact, if I'm feeling unable to focus, I choose a surname with a simpler lineage and push through it, and sometimes I ride the crest of that little success and complete a second simple post, or just get a draft started for the next one.
These little details really aren't important to anyone but me. I make note of them here as a reminder to myself of something that seems to be working for me. I have enough surnames remaining to assure myself of a daily post through the month of May with an occasional post on a different topic. As I continue this project, though, I hope to make some plans for June to keep the momentum going.


My favorite blogospheric activity this month happened between Heather, of Nutfield Genealogy, and Leah, of The Internet Genealogist. Read Heather's Cousins Collaborate on a Genealogy Story first. There you'll find links to the relevant posts at Leah's blog, where she's transcribing an excellent memoir. Heather followed up later with Cousins Collaborate (and more relations appear!) to share some cool repercussions. That was some fun reading all the way around, and the synergy was pretty thrilling, if you ask me. Don't miss it!

If you haven't been travelling with Becky Wiseman yet, you must free up an hour or three and click on over to Kinexxions for the trip of a lifetime. Becky is an amazing photographer, and she's shooting one spectacular photo after another. She's having great adventures, and has met a number of our fellow geneabloggers in her travels. Her blog is the next-best thing to being there!

Stop by at Two Sides of the Ocean too. Cheryl has been hard at work this month on The Family Kolberg/Colberg, a series chronicling her adventures in researching that line. It's a good read, full of great memories and useful ideas.


April Accomplishments
  • Daily posts two months in a row! Wow!
  • The Surnames project is more than two-thirds finished!
  • As a result of the Surnames posts, several of my fellow geneabloggers have let me know that we are related through one ancestral line or another. To keep track of all my new cousins I've added a special page, Cousins in Cyberspace, to Before My Time. There I've listed my cousins along with links to their blogs and a short explanation of how we're related. The page has been well-received, and several people expressed a wish to do something similar at their own blogs. I'd love to see that happen. I think it's a great way to increase awareness not only of kinship, but also that we're a family history network.
  • As a result of verifying a date for one of my surname posts, I came upon some information that seems to have resulted in locating the proper Prussian place-name to search for records pertaining to my Buss ancestors. The microfilms are on the way!
  • I finally did my taxes! Myself! And got them all done (two states this year) with two days to spare. Pshew!
And in the other column . . .

My Legacy database has languished this month. Not only have I not added any sourcing, I've even neglected to add new ancestors I've found. Now that's sloth!


Wendy said...

A family book - what a great endeavor.

Hey, daily blog posts are definitely an accomplishment that deserve a pat on the back! And you've certainly been busy with your surname posts, so great job there. :)

GrannyPam said...

Posting every day, wonderful. I remember when I could get that done. I agree, a project (like the surnames) helps. I really like your "cousins in cyberspace" page. I have found some, but not any who blog (yet). If I do, maybe I will steal your idea, with a credit to you.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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