Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 10 Posts of 2018

It's the thing to do at the end of the year:  tote up the numbers and make comparisons.  But it is sometimes surprising to discover what topics people found the most interesting on my blog during the year.

I knew that this year's results would be substantially different from those of previous years because I've had somewhat of a rough year and have not written as much for my blog as I would have liked.  One huge thing missing is any commentary on two entire seasons of Who Do You Think You Are?  Half of the top ten for 2018 were Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts—not actually too surprising, since Randy Seaver has good readership, and that gives everyone's posts an extra boost—and three were Wordless Wednesdays, so my family photos must attract attention for some reason.

A couple of unusual facts about this year's Top 10:  The numbers were all fairly close; #1 had only 10% more views than #10.  And all ten of the posts fell during the six and a half weeks from June 12 (#5) to July 28 (one of the #8 posts).  I don't know if that's significant, but it's definitely intriguing.

#10 on the list is a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post where Randy asked people to write about their second-most recent unknown ancestor (who in my case happens to be the father of my most recent unknown ancestor).

Two posts tied for #8 this year.  The first is a Wordless Wednesday photo of my mother and her brother standing in front of the family home, probably in Florida, circa 1950.  The second is another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge, this one to determine how many generations in their family my parents and grandparents knew.

At #7 is a photo of my Canadian cousin Ben Kushner in his apartment, another Wordless Wednesday post.

#6, the third Wordless Wednesday and the highest ranking of those on the list, is a class photo of a bunch of mathematics enthusiasts (including me) at a Math Institute held at Auburn University in 1978.

I was very happy to see that my annual tribute to Loving Day made it onto the list for the first time, coming in at #5.

A Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge holds the #4 position on the list.  That week's challenge was to determine how many individuals were in my largest family tree file.

#3 is a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post about events that happened on the day my grandmother was born.

Ranking #2 is the most viewed Saturday Night Genealogy Fun of the year, this one Randy's "Ahnentafel Roulette."

And #1 in popularity on my blog for 2018 was when I announced that I had had two talks accepted for the 2019 Ohio Genealogical Society conference.

The most commented-on post this year was for my 7th blogiversary, in January.  It was great to hear everyone's good wishes.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Make One Genealogy-related Resolution/Goal for 2019

So I was expecting something related to the new year for this week's edition of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, and Randy Seaver did not disappoint.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music) is:

(1) Did you make any New Year's resolutions, or state goals and objectives, for genealogy and family history research in 2019?  If so, tell us about them.

(2) If not, then make ONE resolution, or state one goal, for your genealogy research that you are determined to keep during 2019.  We'll check on progress toward that resolution/goal during the year in SNGF (if I remember!).

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook status post.  Leave a link in Comments to any post you make.

Well, I made my last resolution so long ago I don't remember when it was, but I've stuck to it:  never to make any more resolutions!  So I won't call this a resolution, but I guess a goal is ok.

The goal I will set for myself is:

Return to my research on Mr. X, the biological father of my paternal grandfather, and try to determine who he is.  I'm pretty sure he is a Mundy, as my father matches two different men on 107 of 111 markers on a Y-DNA test, and both of those men are named Mundy.  I already have a good candidate in Bert Mundy, who was a salesman in northern New Jersey whose wife divorced him not long after my grandfather was born.  When I was working on this previously, I became frustrated because both Bert's generation and his father's generation appeared to have no living descendants.  I don't think I had completed my research on Bert's grandfather's generation, so that's where I will be picking up.  Although I have a fair amount of circumstantial evidence pointing to Bert as the father, I would prefer to have something a little stronger if possible.

Looking back on an earlier post, this was also the goal I set for 2018.  Hmm, I haven't gotten very far, have I?

I would have preferred to make my one goal finding my aunt's son whom she gave up for adoption in 1945, but I've done as much work on that as I'm capable of.  Matters are now out of my control.  It's just a waiting game to see if anyone appropriate matches my aunt or one of my cousins, who between them are now in all of the major DNA databases.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Make a Surname Christmas Tree

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise from Randy Seaver is kind of like doing holiday crafts on the computer.

Come on, everybody, join in, accept the mission, and execute it with precision.

Back in 2013, Leslie Ann had a post on her Ancestors Live Here blog titled Wordless Wednesday — Surname Christmas Tree, which I thought was a great idea for an SNGF challenge on a Surname Saturday.  We last did it in 2014 — see here!  Are you game?

(1) Read Leslie Ann's post and figure out how you could make something similar to hers, or to mine below, or even something different.

(2) Make your Surname Christmas Tree using your ancestral surnames — there's no limit on the number of surnames — and decorate your tree as you wish.

(3) Show us your Surname Christmas Tree and tell us how you made it in a blog post of your own or in a Facebook post.   Please leave a comment here so we can all see your creation.

Here's mine:

This is how I created my tree:

• I'm not particularly creative, so I used Randy's tree as a model.
• I used InDesign to lay it out.  I made a text box and added names to kind of look like a tree.
• I also colored the names green for the tree and brown for the trunk.
• I found a Christmas ornament, some presents, and a star on Pixabay (images that are legally free to reuse!) and added them to the image.
• I exported the file as a JPG and trimmed the image of extra margins in PhotoShop.

I included lots of names from the Jewish side of my family.  Does that make this a combination Christmas tree/Chanukah bush?

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My 2018 Dear Genea-Santa Letter

Randy Seaver is getting into the Christmas spirit for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun tonight.

Come on, everybody, join in, accept the mission, and execute it with precision.  Here's your chance to sit on Genea-Santa's lap (virtually) and tell him your Christmas genealogy-oriented wish list:

(1) Write your Genea-Santa letter.  Have you been a good genealogy girl or boy?  What genealogy-oriented items are on your Christmas wish list?  They could be family history items, technology items, or things that you want to pursue in your ancestral quest.

(2) Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  Please leave a comment on this post if you write your own post.

Dear Genea-Santa,

I've had some problems this past year, but I still think I generally did good by genealogy.  I worked at my local Family History Center all year, I was involved with three genealogical societies, I volunteered to coordinate a group when the previous person had to step down, and I gave a fair number of talks at conferences and society meetings.  I'm still posting to my blog, and I did get some research done during the year.

I actually did kind of get one of my wishes from last year.  When I traveled to Washington, D.C. to give a presentation to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, I was able to visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum library.  With the help of Megan Lewis, I discovered many digitized documents relating to Jews in Grodno gubernia during World War II.  Not directly related to my family research, but helpful nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I still have not made progress on the most important item on my wish list, and this year it's the only thing I"m asking for:  finding out what happened to Raymond Lawrence Sellers, the son whom my aunt gave up for adoption in 1945.  Aunt Dottie is now 93, and I'm really running out of time on this, Santa.  I need all the help you (and anyone else) can give me.  My aunt's DNA is in Family Tree DNA and GEDMatch; Raymond's half-brother is in Ancestry; and his full sister is now in 23andMe  I have all the major bases covered — and still nothing.  Someone out there must know something.  Throw me a bone, please!

Everything else pales in comparison to getting this one wish.  If there's anything else I can do to help the process, let me know.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Favorite Winter Activity Growing Up

After a couple of weeks of "classics", Randy Seaver has a new topic this week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Winter arrives this month all over the northern hemisphere, and the daily routines of work, education, and play change along with the seasons.  

(2) What were your favorite winter activities when you were a child and teenager and young adult?

(3) Share your memories on your own blog post, in a Facebook post, or in a comment on this post.  Please leave a link as a comment on this post if you write your own blog post so that everyone can read all about it.

Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting this topic.

I grew up in warm-weather areas — Los Angeles County; Sydney, Australia; and Florida — so the types of things that people think of as "winter activities" weren't usually something we did.  Sure, we might get some rain (and it actually can get below freezing in the Florida Panhandle, which is where I used to live), but overall not the kinds of locations that come to mind when you say "winter."  Neither of my parents were into ice skating or skiing, so we didn't go anywhere to do that.

But while my family lived in Los Angeles County (we were there until 1971), we did have a tradition for at least a couple of years where my father and Uncle Tony (not really our uncle, but a close friend of my father) drove up to Mount Baldy (which I've just learned is officially named Mount San Antonio; never heard that name before!) in a pickup truck and filled the truck bed with snow.  They then brought the snow back to the house, and we were able to play with it for a while before it melted.  I don't remember if it lasted long enough for us to make anything resembling a snowman, though!

As a young adult I lived in California again, actually in Los Angeles, so it was still pretty temperate in the winter.  I think the closest thing I had to a winter activity was spending Christmas break visiting my parents while I was still in college.  At least that's all I can remember now.