2016 Report Card

It’s the end of the year so that means report card time.

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least a year you’ll know that at the end of the year I post the year’s goals and review how well I did at reaching them and then I set new goals for the new year. Often, even if I don’t reach the goals in the year I made them, I will reach them in a different year. It never ceases to surprise me how the universe seems to work to meet my goals if I put them out there. Most years I put my goals out to the universe and don’t look at them again until the end of the year. It’s always a fun surprise to see how things turn out.

Last years goals:

1. To learn who my 3rd great grandfather Charles SEELY’s parents were. (Research goal)

You can read previous posts about the SEELY’s at these links:

#22882- Charles’ marriage to Sinthia FOSTER.

#25722- the Arkansas copy of the deed for the Georgia property.

#23404- the multi-part story of Press SEELY- grandson to Charles SEELY.

#20760- June 2015, a more in-depth post about Charles Seely.

So I didn’t find out a lot about Charles this year despite going to Lawrence County, Missouri to look for records. If you open your eyes and pay attention though, you’ll find that life is very cyclical and I’m certain that Charles will decide to be found in a future year when I don’t expect him to show up. I did acquire his Homestead file from National Archives. Charles homesteaded land in Lawrence County, Missouri in 1857. The documents are of poor quality and unfortunately did not give the amount of detail I’ve found in other ancestors’ Homestead files. Charles paid $100 for the Northwest quarter of the Southeast quarter of section 31 in Township 27 of Range 28 containing 40 acres at $2.50 per acre. The document was originally filed in the Receiver’s Office in Springfield, Missouri.

Charles’ land was located where the red circle is on this map of Lawrence County, MO.

This year, the person who really wanted to be found (and who kept cropping up all year long) was my 3rd great-grandfather, John BATES. You can read some of his posts at these links if you want:

Post #16413 written in January 2015.

Follow-up post #25406 guest written by my cousin Troy Bates.

My mom and I were able to go to the Benton County, Arkansas courthouse and find a deed record pertaining to John’s widow and then later in the year Bart and I were able to make a trip to Georgia and I found the counterpart to that deed in a courthouse in Georgia. The deed had to be filed in both states since the property was in Georgia but by that time, his widow had remarried and moved to Arkansas.

So as far as Charles SEELY- I found him on a couple of documents but I don’t feel I made any real progress as far as who he was, who his family (parents/siblings) was, or where he came from.

2. To blog at least once per month. Also, to convert some of my blog stories to articles and try to get them published in small local or specialized genealogical or historical publications. (Combined writing and sharing goals)

This was a win and not-a-win all at the same time. On the one hand I blew the blog goal out of the water with more than 54 (!!!) blog posts this year. The publication goal? I did a little research into potential publications to contact but didn’t actually send any material in for possible publication. This year was not at all what I expected it to be. I’m glad for the things that happened- they just didn’t further the genealogy goals.

3. To start over in reviewing and organizing my family history utilizing ideas from Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over Challenge. (Organizing goal- keeping the same goal since I didn’t meet it last year.) You can learn more about the challenge here.

Once again, I didn’t get much done in the way of organization other than cleaning up my digital family tree because that part is necessary before I can consider a blog post publish-worthy. Beyond that- I didn’t do anything worth noting here. However, for Christmas I requested a table that I could set up in my home to utilize as a work area for all my genealogy “stuff” (some of which has been packed away for more than a decade!). My parents were kind enough to get me a table. I’ll be setting it up between Christmas and New Year’s and will begin unpacking all my genealogy, organizing it, digitizing it, and setting up a work area. I’m really excited about this! Thanks Dad and Mom!

4. To attend a conference/workshop/educational event. This year’s choice is Family History Conference of Northwest Arkansas 2016 (same as last year). It’s a free event with some good workshops. If you’re interested you can find more information here. (Self-Improvement Goal)

I went to the conference in 2016 and enjoyed it. This coming year I will be teaching one of the workshops. I’m pretty excited about that and I hope to see some of you there. It’s still free. The 2017 schedule should be up soon. You can register now if you want. The link above is still valid.

In summary, while I didn’t meet some of my goals or met them in a way I didn’t intend/anticipate, I still feel it was a pretty successful year. In addition to last year’s genealogy trips, I was able to get trips in this year to Tennessee/North Carolina and Georgia as well as local trips to the courthouses in Benton County, Arkansas and Lawrence County, Missouri.

New Year, New Blog

Now it’s time to set new goals and then to talk about the 2017 blog setup since it’s going to change some.

2017 Goals

1. Learn more about my 3rd great grandmother Hester Ann Eglentine MITCHELL DRAKE – anything about the end of her life or the very beginning (well…really just anything at all!). (Research goal)

2. Continue to blog but with a more regular schedule and begin including some of Bart’s family stories as well. (Writing/Sharing goals)

3. Set up a research area in a spare room and FINALLY get started on those organization goals I’ve had the last couple of years. (Organizing goals)

4. Create a successful class to teach Spring, 2017 at conference. (Self-Improvement Goal)

Blog Changes for 2017

In 2017 my blog will change. I plan to start telling some of my husband Bart’s stories as well as mine. I also plan to have somewhat of a schedule so I don’t necessarily have to announce when each blog post goes live. I will still advertise each blog post on my Facebook but I won’t necessarily be tagging people each time I post. I would like readers to be able to depend on a schedule and know ahead of time what I will be posting so they can go find the information on their own. I would especially like to get away from tagging everyone on Facebook for each individual post.

In order to accomplish these goals I will be making a new blog post every Sunday. On Sunday I will list the specific days of that week that new blog posts will go live. That way you can check back on those days if you’re interested in the topic and find it on your own. For instance, the first week of January I will be posting the week’s schedule on January 1 because it’s a Sunday. It will look something like this:

January 1: Schedule for the week PLUS stories about James M. BULLOCK (my maternal 2nd great grandfather) and Theodor H. MOELLER (Bart’s maternal great grandfather).

January 3: Stories about Laura BULLOCK RITER (my maternal great grandmother)

January 5: Stories about Nancy CHAMBERS HUBBARD (my paternal 3rd great grandmother)

January 6: Stories about Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL (my paternal 4th great grandmother)

So now you know that the first week of January you can expect blog posts on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. You will also know whether I’m talking about mom’s family (maternal) or dad’s family (paternal) or Bart’s mom’s or dad’s families. So if you miss my Facebook link about a particular person that you’re interested in you can just come here and read it. Bookmarking my blog on your computer or subscribing to an RSS feed of my blog will be the easiest/fastest way to access my blog on your own without Facebook links.

I hope this coming year will be a great year for all of us and I hope you will come back to read the blog throughout the year. I’m looking forward to telling our stories for future generations to enjoy. Please feel free to contribute stories if you have some about the people listed on each Sunday’s schedule. I’d love to include your stories here. For now though, I’m going to celebrate the coming new year with some cupcakes. You can find the recipes for the cupcakes here: Gin and Juice Cupcakes from A Soulful Twist blog and Red Velvet Red Win Cupcakes from A Night Owl blog.

Until next time,

~ Lisa at Days of Our Lives

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