Let me take a short break from “Lest We Forget” to talk a little about the BU course in Genealogical research. I’ll admit the course is a little tougher than I expected. Especially when I submitted an assignment and anxiously awaited the results. Well, the grade cam back at an abysmal number: “You seem to grasp all of the concepts in this module and all of the information is well presented. However […dontcha just love “however’s”…] you missed the central goal. You’ve written a report that….
And on and on… The grade, as I said, was abysmal and I figured I’d have to ace every single element for the balance of the course to keep my head above the line. I sent a “private message” to the grader in a feeble attempt at reconsideration. HA! Reconsideration…. That was out of the question. I know that because I got a response that didn’t even address the points that I made in my plea. Instead, the TA sent a note to all the students to explain that this module has 3 assignments: 1 is graded on a scale based on 30 points, then another 30 and finally 40 for a total of 100. Well, that puts my “junk” score back in the running so I felt much better. Can’t wait to submit this week’s work!
All in all, this course seems to run from really easy “stuff” that I’ve been doing for a while to really hard “stuff” that I never even considered… Well, that why we take these courses.
Between all the drama over the past few weeks, I can look back and say that this was bad timing to start an on-line course in genealogical research. It’s not as easy as it sounds…not that I thought it would be a walk in the park! Here are some concepts I can’t get my head around: A birth certificate is a source, but is it original or derivative? And what about the information it contains? Is it primary or secondary? Then you have evidence. Evidence can be direct or indirect. What about a photocopy of an original birth certificate? Original or derivative? Is the information it contains primary or secondary? Does it constitute evidence? Is so, is it direct or indirect? Are you with me on this?
If you really need to know all that, let me know! In the meantime, the next assignment isn’t due unitl next Wednesday, but I’m also supposed to be an active participant in the “Discussion Groups???
To be honest, my grades have been coming back a bit better than I expected them to be. Especially considering that I just blew through some parts of the assignments. I’ve been doing this a while, but relatively unsctructured…organized, but unstructured…and they insist on certain terminology which, if I’m working in my own little world, isn’t critical. They even have a Glossary! So, BU brings the structure….I just have to adjust to the rigidity of it all
Weather much the same I did a little work Carried water and filled the barrells
In the afternoon I went to the drafting room stay about 3 hr while Steve and Cullerne were working in the car. Stene went to the big Caldy [?] in the morning
Not much “construction” going on today…maybe too cold? If you can enlarge the photo, can you figure out what the “big Caldy” might be?
I’m getting caught up this morning on the past couple of days of diary entries in order to get ready for the next BU module. So far, everything seems to be going well with the course. But I’m also scheduled to be in Brimfield this afternoon to teach session 3 at the Hitchcock Free Academy. That’ll be 3 down, 1 to go!
Tomorrow is January 16, 2013. Not a particularly auspicious day, but it will be the first time I’ve been back in school in over 40 years! Well, saying that I’ll be “in school” is a stretch because in the 21st century you can be “in school” and in the living room at home at the same time. So, we’ve broken at least one of the basic tenets of physics: an object can now be in 2 places at the same time! And I’m here to say it works.
I’m not intimidated about taking a class even if it is Boston University, but I’m a little intimidated about the fact that it wasn’t cheap and I feel highly motivated to be successful…no pressure!!! Making a time commitment; doing the reading; writing the assignments; passing…and all in a mere 16 weeks. Wish me luck!
The class will be a very intensive course in genealogical research. In it, I hope to expand my knowledge of where to go to get the data I need and what to do with it once I’ve found it! It’s not good enough to just find something at somebody’s web site and transcribe the information. It’s all about documentation, sources and proof. There are certainly many challenges, many of which I’m likely not even aware of.
I’m always aware that I don’t know what I don’t know, and that’s what makes this new adventure so interesting. Since I obviously don’t know what I haven’t learned yet, the prospect of improving my skills in multiple areas is a pretty exciting prospect. Although I’m arguably a bit of an expert in my “other career”, genealogy can be a daunting field to undertake. Just reading blogs from other expert researchers over the past year or so shows that just having a subscription to a couple of genealogy web sites barely scratches the surface.
I’ll continue to post about the course….if I have the time!
Below is the diary entry for January 14, 1913. There are a few words on this page that I can’t figure out, but I’ve come as close as I can. For example, I don’t know what a “clavor” is or an “elavor” for that matter. If anyone out there knows, post a reply! For now, it’s the best I can make out from the handwriting. Maybe a “clavor” is a railroad term or maybe it’s hard to read because his hands wouldn’t stop shaking from the cold! Good grief….15 below!!!
If you’re at all interested in the Grand Trunk Pacific, there’s an article at this link at Wikipedia.
Here’s the transcription of what he wrote 100 years ago today:
Weather a little warmer about 15 below. We stayed in the car all morning. Cullerne went west on the mixed he had some work on the line. In the afternoon Steve and I went out and staked out the clavors/ elavors at Stony Plain worked about 2 hours. After supper Steve and I had 2 games of Pool. Then went home to bed. 9.30 good hours.
Anyone near Wilbraham, MA tonight is welcome to stop at the Wilbraham Public Library tonight. It’s the 3rd in a 4 part series “Introduction to Genealogy”. Each week there have been more and more participants so feel free to call the library at 413-596-6141 to make sure there’ll be room! Based on the popularity, I can see that there just might be some future programs. The last in this series will be held February 11th where we’ll work on individual pedigree charts and whatever other subjects may come up.
This series is “sponsored” by the Western Massachusetts Genealogy Society (WMGS) in an effort to help people who are interested in family research and encourage them to take part in courses such as these and introduce them to WMGS. Annual membership is only $20 and includes 10 monthly meetings held locally.
Over the full 4 sessions, we cover the basics of research, web sites (free and low-cost), definitions (soundex, vital records, etc), specific resources, naturalization, immigration, Ellis Island, name changes, spelling variations and “myth busting”!
Hopefully, some of you can make it tonight! See you there.
Today I begin a 16 week on-line course with Boston University to refine my genealogical research skills and, hopefully, learn, learn, learn! I hope that it pays off, mostly in the content that I’ll be able to present in the courses and classes that I’ve been conducting! Wish me luck!!
Last night was Session 2 of a 4 part class I’m holding at the Wilbraham Public Library on the basics of genealogy and family research. The first session went very well and everyone in attendance seemed to get a lot out of it. Well, I guess it was a good session because last night, about twice as many people as the first session showed up!! A wide variety of participants in the group: Some have done a substantial amount of research but most have only dabbled or are just beginning. We spent most of the night discussing web sites and went to a few so I could show them some shortcuts to their research. Lots of great interaction and we actually went over by about 45 minutes in the Q&A!!
Next, I finally registered to attend NERGC, the New England Regional Genealogy Conference. Karen and I went to the last conference which was held down the road in Springfield. Next year’s conference will be in Manchester, NH. I really got a lot out of the last one and I’m looking forward to this one. Many speakers, many subjects covered and much to learn. The easy part is registering; the hard part is trying to pick the sessions to attend. There are probably 5 or 6 different subjects being covered in each time frame such as DNA/genetics, the National Archives, immigration and naturalization, writing and publishing your work, advanced on-line research techniques and many more. I’ll also be leading one of the discussion groups at a luncheon on Saturday sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
And at last, I was able to register for the on-line “Certificate in Genealogical Research” course at Boston University. It begins January 16, 2013 and runs for 15 weeks. When that’s complete, I’ll begin the official certification process through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). As I get deeper and deeper involved in specific areas of research, I discover that I don’t know what I don’t know! Basically, it ain’t easy!