Sunday, January 17, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Self-Assessment

I missed last week's challenge, as I did not get to the library due to other busy-ness. But this week's challenge has these instructions:

You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

My life is documented out the yang! In fact, my life is much better documented than that of any of my ancestors. Let's see:

Birth certificate -- I have TWO of them! One from the State of California and one from the U.S. Naval Hospital at Long Beach, where I was born. The latter has entries made in my mother's handwriting, and my footprints!

Marriage announcement, marriage certificate and wedding pictures. And our champagne glasses and the guest book.

Birth certificates of our daughters, and the registration information slips I got in the mail along with 'em.

Elementary and high school report cards -- a nearly complete collection. And my high school transcript and my diploma.

College transcripts, degree certificates, course-completion certificates for non-degree courses, and other records from other courses I've taken over the years

Initiation certificates into various academic bodies including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, various subject-specific fraternities such as Pi Sigma Alpha (political science), Beta Phi Mu (library science) and Phi Alpha Theta (history).

Initiation certificate, pledge pin, and sorority pin from Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority (Alpha Kappa chapter at Florida State University). Also other documents and lots of photographs.

Membership certificate, awards, published articles, uniform items, photographs, certificates for completion of courses in such things as radio communications, and other memorabilia from my time in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which was BIG fun (involved taking our boat out into the St. Johns River and doing patrols and actual rescues)!

Enlistment papers, commissioning certificates, uniform items, some photographs, and my service record (reserve version and active-duty version) of my 13 years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Purchase and sale agreements, mortgages, deeds, photographs, tax records, and other papers relating to the houses my husband and I have bought. This category also includes survey maps of each property. We also have blueprints for two houses which we had built.

Federal Income Tax returns.

A few papers, including my nursing license, from the time when I was a registered nurse.

Papers from my employment as a librarian at the Jacksonville Public Library, and from when I worked for the IRS. This includes a completed work copy of the dreaded Form SF-171, on which a prospective federal employee must document his or her ENTIRE LIFE!

Journals: (1) when I went to Port Orchard and Seattle, Washington to be a bone marrow donor for my brother, an effort that unfortunately failed. There's an insurance company on my you-know-what list. (2) my journey to and month living in Seville, Spain, when I went to do research in the General Archive of the Indies (AGI). Living in Spain was hard on me; researching at the AGI was my version of Heaven!

Two published books, so far: Booking Hawaii Five-0: A Critical History and Episode Guide to the 1968-1980 Television Detective Series and Non-Federal Censuses of Florida, 1784-1945: A Guide to Sources. As you can see, my focus has changed!

Letters, letters, letters -- to and from family and friends, and letters of praise or complaint I have written over the years to companies and agencies. Some of my complaint letters are entertainingly caustic! Also including letters to and from my husband on his various deployments while on active duty in the Coast Guard, and when either of us was in training or on staff at the Coast Guard Reserve Training Center at Yorktown, VA.

These and other documents fill three 2-inch binders so far, as well as at least one file drawer!

The only gaps are in the stories that I have not written down yet. I have made a start, and written down several tales from my childhood,about the death of my father, about our move from California to Florida, and about my grandmother. There are many other stories I need to set down. As for censuses, I won't show up until the 1950 census is released in 2022, and I'm not sure I'm going to be around then, so that will be up to my descendants to fill in. I just have to hope they are going to want to.


Claudia's thoughts said...

Wow I suppose I should gather and document my life. Somehow I had never thought of doing that. It will be one of those things that I would hope my descendants would find one hundred years in the future.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

One good reason that it works for family historians to have a packrat gene!

Ray Whidden said...

... and when I saw this category, I said, "I've done that" but compared to this list, I'll never get it done. Complete set of report cards - long gone. And much of the rest you mention. I did an anecdotal account of my and my Dad's lives (two separate accounts) and that will have to do. Realized I could the same for my Finnish born Grandpa so that's my challenge.

Ray/Edmonton AB

Karen Packard Rhodes said...
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