Powering Through

I had the daunting task this week of taking my car, and both children, to the dealership to get the trusty commuter car worked on for my husband. It was going to be an afternoon of fun, let me tell you. After packing the box of Legos and the video games for the kids I turned my attention to how I was going to keep myself busy for several hours. Can you guess what I did? That’s right, I furthered my genealogical education.

While I was at the dealership, I took a class through Family Tree University. This week I signed up to take the new Power Course, “Tear Down That Wall!” I knew I could find a couple hours during the week to listen to the two videos and read the handouts that came with it. Thankfully, it turned out I had an afternoon away from home that I could do it all at one time. I did learn a lot. Plus I picked up a few great tips to get me started on some of those people I thought were brick-walls.

As an example: I was stuck on several maternal lines of the family. I started to think outside-of-the-box on where I could look for information. Recently I had been out to the Daughters of the American Revolution website to use their database. In their descendants search I started to put in the last names of my ancestors. Then I would scroll through the results, looking for anything that popped out at me. After 30 minutes I had the moment I was waiting for. A name jumped off the screen at me that could be a member of my family. That one name has led me on a two day journey, through 150+ years, over four states, and into my family tree. When I have the results all typed up I will share my findings with you, as well as how I got there!

I have lists of things to do and places to look this next week before the family holiday visits start. I really can’t wait to take the next power class on immigration called “Coming to America.” I have some relatively recent immigrants on my and my husband’s side I would love to figure out. That, and it drives me batty that I can only get to his second great-grandparents in one line; they were, of course, the children of immigrants.

In addition to that I just want to tell everyone that I have come to love the early Christmas present my husband gave me: an iPad2. Yes, he got me one of these to help me with my research. Isn’t he wonderful?! I have to say that I am loving the fact that I no longer have to print out the PDF’s I want to read away from home, or lug my laptop to the library as I search the stacks. Of course, I am having tons of fun loading genealogically useful apps onto it. I even got rid of my paper calendar book, which came as a huge shock to my darling, as he has been trying to get me to do that for YEARS. Within the first week I mapped out all the local free Wi-Fi spots as well. Of course, the fact that the library is one of those places is plain dangerous. I will really be putting this new tool to good use!

Photo by Andrew Kelsall

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Shannon Bennett of Locust Grove, Va. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

Want to learn more about the same Power Courses Shannon took? Click here.

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