Sunday, December 24, 2017

My 2017 Dear Genea-Santa Letter

This year Randy Seaver didn't have the Genea-Santa letter as part of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, but it's a fun tradition to maintain, so I'm writing one again.

I tried to be a good genealogy girl again this year, but I admit I slipped up later in the year.  I still do a lot of genealogy volunteer work, including editing three publications and sitting on three boards.  I moved from California to Oregon but found a new Family History Center at which to help people.  I attended four genealogy conferences, three one-day seminars, many in-person presentations, and several dozen Webinars, plus I taught twenty-nine classes.  I have not been able to keep up my blogging as well since I moved, as I'm still (!) unpacking boxes, but I do post regularly, at least once a week and usually twice.  And I have managed to continue researching my own family and helping others with their research.

I did receive some very nice genealogy gifts during 2017.  In July I connected with a cousin on my paternal grandmother's side of the family, from a branch on which I had little information.  She provided me with enough info that I was able to add a lot to my family tree, and we'll be working together more in 2018.  In March I was contacted by someone related to one of the families I've been writing about for Treasure Chest Thursday.  The person who wrote to me shared documents, photos, and stories that helped me learn more about the individuals.  And in January a reader was able to help me identify a found photograph and return it to the person who had lost it.

As much as I appreciate those gifts, I didn't get any of things I actually had on my list, so this year's requests are going to sound familiar.  But I've cut down the number of items by almost half.

• My absolute number-one priority is still that I want to help my now 92-year-old aunt find and make contact with Raymond Lawrence Sellers, the son she gave up for adoption 72 years ago, or his descendants, or at least find out what happened to him.  We haven't made any progress since last year.  She did a DNA test through Family Tree DNA, the results of which are also on GEDMatch.  (Unfortunately, AncestryDNA was unsuccessful at processing her test.)  She still doesn't show any close matches besides family members we already knew had tested.  Maybe her son didn't have any descendants, or absolutely none of them has decided to try DNA testing.  It is so very important for her to find him, so I really am hoping for this one.  It's the most important item on my list.

• I've seen more and more stories about surprise discoveries of stored-away documents in Eastern Europe, so I would love for someone to find a treasure trove of previously unknown surviving Jewish records from the former Grodno gubernia.  If some of my relatives were mentioned in them, so much the better.

• It would be really nice if optical character recognition (OCR) scanning of old newspapers could become more accurate and reliable.  I swear I heard that someone had come up with a way for computers to assess poor-quality spots on newspaper pages (torn, ink blobs, type dropped out) and try logical infilling, rather than merely scanning them as is and having something that looks like a bunch of control characters come out as the search text, but I haven't seen anything more about it.  Does anyone else remember reading about that?  Can you point me to a reference somewhere?

So that's my shortened list for this year.  Please, Santa, see what you can do, okay?  I have a really nice Port I'll be happy to share with you.


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