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Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 highlights: I lived it to the fullest!

What a year!  From giving classes and workshops and lectures all year to finally integrating social networking and making some really great friends on Twitter, it really has been a blast!

1.  The year began with teaching classes at a workshop held in the middle of the country in Ridgeway, South Carolina.  We previewed what was then Record Search pilot as well as FamilySearch Forums and FamilySearch Wiki.  Needless to say, attendees were literally blown away.  A couple of friends attended, and they were able to go home and search Record Search pilot and find documentation on ancestors that they had been trying to document for years.  Now each of these resources has been incorporated into the new FamilySearch site:

2.  I was able to teach a volunteer at the Columbia Family History Center how to use FamilySearch Forums. We started a Social Group there, and he has just about single handedly indexed each book at the center.  He is now indexing surnames and adding them to the Social Group.  Anyone can access the Social Group and search for information on the surname they choose.  We started an unofficial blog for the FHC. Thanks Bill!

3.  I continued contributing to FamilySearch Wiki and Social Groups I started on FamilySearch Forums.

4.  The new resources listed above have greatly enhanced African-American research.  I taught a class on African American resources at a workshop in West Columbia, SC where I incorporated FamilySearch Wiki, FamilySearch Forums, and the African American Resources Social Group.  Most of the participants in the class were not African American.

I shared my belief that we of Southern ancestry should not avoid records known to document the opposite race.  We should search all the records.  I had also explained that my slave ancestors had slave masters who were also their fathers.   After the presentation, one of the attendees approached me obviously very touched by my story.  He thanked me for helping him to have hope in the believe that genealogy helps to restore families.  He is seeking to unite both the descendants of the slaves and slave owners.  I was deeply touched by his resolve.

5.  My daughter chose to present "How to begin researching your family history" as her high school graduation project.  She gave a workshop at the FHC and invited her friends and teachers.  She also created a presentation that was evaluated by the school district.

I was so amazed at the knowledge that she had gleaned and her presentation.  It really felt wonderful to see her love for family history being so young.  She even takes out time to contact family members across the country.  I am glad to see she will pick up where I leave off one day.

6.  After 18 years of pouring everything into my daughter that I thought she would need to face the world, I am able to sit back and watch her take flight now.  I was there from homeschooling (pre-school to Sophomore year) to high school to middle college and at the crossroads afterschool everyday when the front door opened and shut and I would hear "Mom, guess what happened today?"

My middle college graduate

Look out world!  There two of us now!

More time for hubby....

and all those wonderful genealogy adventures.....
Camden, South Carolina

7.  It's funny how when you are ready, the teacher always shows up.
I had the opportunity to attend a webinar given by Jason Alba (social media guru). I learned everything I needed to do to incorporate social media with my areas if expertise and interest.  I was able to identify  where I could make some improvements so that I would be able to link to other people like me.

I went home that night and revamped everything I was doing on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.  That was at the end of April, and now I have to say I am connected to the most awesome people in genealogy and social networking.  I implemented everything so well, I was asked to give a workshop
for job seekers.  There was one person present at this seminar who I literally saw a light bulb go on in his head.. I could tell he was very good with technology.

I learned a few weeks later that he had followed the instruction given and had found a job.  That made me feel so good.  To be able to just help at least one person was worth the effort.  That is the purpose of social networking.

So I began a blog for job seekers.  Just the other day, my daughter asked me how to set goals for landing a job after college. I was so excited to be able to point to my blog.  She started right in.  I guess I will have to keep that updated just for her.  "What goes around comes around", my dad always said.

8.  I looked forward all year to be able to return to teach again at the Charleston Stake Family History Center Workshop held in October.  I had a great time again this year. One of the classes I taught had to do with sharing family history with extended family. See Sharing the Legacy. I was moved to discuss my belief that sharing family history unites families.  I was surprised at myself when I said, "This is the reason for the work I do."  Many in the room were moved to tears.  It is funny how you can learn so much about yourself as you serve others.

9.  I learned that I had a twin this year :).  I started following @LCAfricana on Twitter.  In a very short time, we started reading each other's minds and finishing each others thoughts.  She is an awesome lady.  She can also really burn the midnight oil.  My dad used to say that sometimes you have to do that to get a handle on things :).

Toni is accomplishing a great work of which I am sure no one can yet see the full effects.  There are so many of my genfriends doing their 10 and more (Restore the Ancestors Project).  We met finally in November at St. Helena's Heritage Days Celebration.  I knew who she was the first time I saw her.
Toni is seated on my right.

It is wonderful to know someone else so rabid about sharing history.  She has me far.  I am looking forward to linking to some of the records at the Restore Project in my quest to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War on my new blog, About Our Freedom.

10.  2010 saw an increase in vocabulary:  genfriend, #FF, #ShoutOut, follow, tweet, gentweet, #RootsTech, Gentech, genresources. All of which I try to help others decipher in my columns on The Examiner, which I discovered through @familytreegirl.  She is another great genfriend who made me feel comfortable out on Twitter.

I could go on, but I will stop at ten.  I hope you enjoyed my highlights, and I hope we can make more genmagic in 2011!

Robin (@SavingStories)


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