In the spirit of the Olympic Games and in honor of my ancestors who have hailed from four different countries, I have chosen to compete in the Genea-Blogger Group Games. The event will correspond roughly to the 2008 Summer Olympics, but will involve competition quite different from what we'll see in Beijing. They might not seem like Olympic events to you, but activities related to preserving family history can sometimes take similar preparation and perseverance. Backing up data, scanning photographs, citing sources, preserving family artifacts: these tasks all take dedication (and sometimes even physical endurance, since I do much of this in the wee hours of the night).
In time for the opening ceremonies, I have put together my "game plan" as a competitor in the 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games. Follow along with me on my three family history blogs as I work toward some specific goals during this two week period.
Unfortunately the "balance beam" event, which may have originally been on the schedule, was cut from the games. According to Donna Poinkouski, I was one of the favorites in that competition. (Thanks, Donna, for the vote of confidence.)
Kidding aside, here are my serious plans for competition:
Category 1: Go Back and Cite Your Sources!
Ever since I purchased my copy of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills (actually, well before that) I've been meaning to spend some serious time citing. Here's my chance to get re-inspired about this project. My goal: To cite as many sources as possible (documents, photographs, artifacts, letters, etc. that pertain to my family history). If I make it to 50 or more sources, I'll be awarded a "platinum medal", so they say. More importantly, I'll be on my way to having my family history facts documented so that I can properly share them with others. Time to sit down with my copy of Evidence Explained.
Category 2: Back Up Your Data!
For the amount of time I've spent on researching my family history over the years, it would be devastating to lose my digital records, photographs and other documents for some reason. Time for me to stand back and take a look at how I am protecting the information and items that I have collected, and take steps to ensure that such a loss never happens. My goal: To prepare a comprehensive back-up plan for both digital and hard copy materials, store both types in waterproof containers and backup all data. If I accomplish this, I'll be "going for the gold" in the Genea-Blogger Group Games, but more importantly, I'll have taken steps to preserve items and information that would be irreplaceable for my family.
Category 3: Organize Your Research!
Doing genealogy in fits and spurts for so many years, I've collected quite a few pictures, documents and artifacts, not to mention scraps of paper and digital files. I've tried to keep everything organized, but these types of things grow and I need to play a little "catch-up". Inspired by the Genea-Blogger Group Games, I plan to make an effort to get my organization up to date with my research. My goal: To organize the loose file for each of my ancestral homes and family surnames placing into its corresponding notebook the documents and other items of importance, to re-organize digital genealogy files (currently living on two hard drives) using the same surname and place system where appropriate, to organize photographs (which are in many different sizes and formats) by surname, and to begin scanning many of these photographs in bulk (instead of one or two at a time, which I have been doing). If I accomplish all this (doing 20 of each task), I'll be a "diamond" medal-winner. Even better, I'll be starting of the school year feeling happily organized and ready for more research.
Category 4: Write, Write, Write!
The fun part of genealogy for me is fitting all the pieces together in the puzzle of my family history. That is one of the reasons that I enjoy writing my three genealogy blogs so much. As part of the Genea-Blogger Group Games, I plan to do the following writing tasks. My goal: To rethink and possibly revise the blog summaries that I've written on each of my blogs, to participate in both the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival and the Carnival of Genealogy, and to prepare a few posts as drafts to be published when things get busier for me in September. I've already signed up to host a future carnival (my very own Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture), so that one's taken care of. If I accomplish all of these tasks above, I'll receive a "diamond medal". I'd better get writing!
Category 5: Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
Connecting with others researching the same families, places and subjects is always rewarding. It is exciting to share with others what I've learned. My goal: To complete my application for the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, comment on a few blogs that are new to me, join the blog networks of other genealogy bloggers, and invite a few other family historians to connect on Facebook (new to me just this week). If I accomplish all these tasks, I'll be competing at the "diamond-level".
Think my goals are quite lofty? So do I, but I've learned that I work better when I set my sights high. Please wish me luck as I embark on this family history endeavor. I hope to make some exciting progress in these areas, and have some fun at the "games" along the way. Look for me at the "opening ceremonies" on AnceStories.
In the spirit of Olympic competition and in honor of the homelands of myself and my ancestors (the United States of America, Ireland, Hungary and Croatia): Let the games begin!
Thanks to Miriam of AnceStories, Thomas of Destination: Austin Family and Kathryn of the California Genealogical Society & Library blog, the 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games committee who crafted the idea for this competition. Thanks to footnoteMaven for designing the games logo and the medals for the participants and champions. Let the games begin!