Grateful & Excited

So, it’s the start of a new year. I love this time for reflecting on the past and figuring out what I’d like to see in the coming year. How did I do on my goals for the last quarter of 2022? Pretty good, I think!

Education and Skill-building: After years of trying to fit this into my schedule, I finally took the Mount Pleasant Cemetery tour with Kathy DiPhilippo, executive director of the South Portland Historical Society. This cemetery is in my neighborhood and I was happy to attend in October.

Photo of the entrance to Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Congregational Church in South Portland and headstones.
Headstones in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

It was a beautiful day to walk among the headstones of trailblazers of the South Portland community and hear their stories. Plus, hear about the beginning history of the cemetery itself. Men such as Benjamin W. Pickett, a master shipbuilder, are buried at Mount Pleasant. He built wooden ships pre-and post-Civil War in the Ferry Village section of South Portland. Shipbuilding was a big part of the economy in those days and of the history of this area.

We also learned of Daniel Goold, who was mortally wounded in the Civil War, not from a battle, but from an accidental musket shooting incident in South Portland. I’m sure I have walked by his headstone a dozen times, and never knew his story.

Also, in my journey to become a professional genealogist, I continued with the ProGen Study Group and have taken many seminars from the APG, Association of Professional Genealogists. They not only have educational programs on genealogy but also on the business side of genealogy…something I need to learn more about.

And my computer skills are improving with two webinars from WordPress, one on blog pages and the other on home pages. Working on a website is fun, but sometimes challenging. I’m sure there will be many more webinars in the future for this task.

Volunteering: While I was at Mount Pleasant, I took headstone photos trying to help others with their family history. Requests are made on the Find A Grave website and fulfilled by volunteers like me. You can make a photo request for your family and hopefully, someone near that cemetery will take a photo for you.

DNA: I didn’t do a lot with DNA, but there’s always next year…

Organization: I’ve also started organizing and digitizing photos. All of my pictures have been stored in manila envelopes and thick boxes, which I’m sure has done them no good.

My pictures in old boxes

So, even though this will be a very long process…I had to start. First, I took all photos out of their envelopes and started organizing them by topic. I had to stop myself from going down memory lane with every picture!

Pictures in groups on the floor

Most are just snapshots, but others are keepsakes that I want to protect. I investigated archival boxes and found them to be very expensive. As an alternative, I took the advice of Thomas MacEntee, a well-known genealogist, who suggested storing pictures in an acid-free box that wasn’t quite so pricey. These are found on Amazon and I figured it was better than manila envelopes! (I get no compensation for recommending these, just showing you what I bought).

Photo boxes from Amazon

I didn’t realize it until they arrived in the mail, but I had purchased these before, just in another color. I will rethink buying the more expensive archival boxes when I want to store my dad’s scrapbooks, but for most pictures, these shoebox-type containers will be just fine.

Now, what about the first quarter of 2023?

Picture of the numbers 2023 written in the sand at a beach
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Many goals for the first quarter of 2023 will be an extension of last year…

Education and Skill-building: I will continue with the ProGen Study Group (graduation in June) and with webinars and classes from various sites including Legacy Family Tree Webinars, APG Webinars, and the Utah Genealogical Association. I do love to learn!

The one big educational item will be a week-long institute from SLIG, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. In January I’m taking an Advanced Methodology class. This was my Christmas present. I’ll let you know how it goes. I can’t wait!

Volunteering: No plans for this in the winter months, but you never know what might come up!

DNA: My husband has a DNA match on his list that (so far) I can’t figure out who he is! The ProGen assignment for January is all about DNA, so perhaps this will finally get solved.

Organization: January is definitely the month for this! Those photos need to be organized along with my office (an endless task…LOL).

The one thing I am going to try differently this year is to have a word to focus on. I have accepted the 2023 One Word Challenge from a blog I’ve started to follow…Heart of the Family by Elizabeth O’Neal. She invites bloggers of family history to share their stories with one another at her Genealogy Blog Party

So my word for this year…EVOLVE. By definition, it means to develop. This is the year for me to evolve into the professional genealogist I want to be.


Do you have a project that’s been on the back burner? It’s time to dig it out and just start. Happy New Year!

Genealogy Tip: Some projects are going to be big and seem overwhelming. Break them down into smaller tasks and tackle those one at a time. Even a small amount of work done over time adds up to finishing those bigger goals!

4 thoughts on “Grateful & Excited

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: