12 May 2012

Month In Review: My last 30 days

Way back in February I posted a monthly goals agenda. Ironically, one of those goals was to write a monthly goal list for every month. Don’t bother to look for March – it’s not there. As you can see, I didn’t get very far in that endeavor.

I have decided to change the objective. Certainly a list of goals to work towards during the course of a month is a nice thing to have, but I already have a lot of lists. My husband calls me, “the lister”. It’s a kind of illness, actually. So, I’m not sure that I really need another list. What I need is obtainable goals that are fluid, because you have to be able to adapt in this world. Change happens fast.

This then, is my first “month in review.” I do think that one of these roughly every thirty days would be beneficial, but I’m not going to choke on it. If it doesn’t get done, then it doesn’t get done. It’s my blog; I can do what I want, right?

Here’s what happened in late April and early May. It was actually a very exciting month for me, certainly the best I’ve had as an aspiring genealogist and personal historian. Really, it was a very busy last ten days or so. Either way, it was a great month for me, and for Ancestral Journeys.

On the 23rd, it was officially announced by the editors at The In-Depth Genealogist, a new and exciting digi-mag, that I would be a regular contributor. I will be authoring a monthly column, entitled Family Atlas, along with two guest blog posts each month. My first column will appear in the June 2012 issue. Family Atlas will be focusing on research opportunities on a state-by-state basis, highlighting resources and the “unknown” genea-bloggers. Alongside this endeavor, I will also maintain the Featured Genealogist column, which will coincide geographically. 

(If you have a resource or genealogist you would like me to feature, please feel free to comment or email me.)

I started writing as the Breckenridge Genealogy Examiner, and my first article went up on the 26th. Writing about anything history or genealogy related in, around, near, or related to Summit County, Colorado. This might be challenging as time goes on, but I’m game.

For the first time, I was invited to be a guest blogger on someone else’s site, and my first post on Michelle Nahom’s The Power of Photos, entitled “Telling Your Family Story” went up on 1 May.  Michelle is a training specialist for the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, or APPO. We met on Twitter, and she has been incredibly interesting to get to know. Please make sure to visit her blog. She also posted a guest blog for me, Making A Case For Printing Your Photos was published on 10 May.

My second chance at a guest blog happened the next day, when The In-Depth Genealogist published my Quick Source: JSTOR. A review of the amazing research opportunities available through the JSTOR site, much of which you can access for free. Apparently, it was one of the top blog posts of the week for them. *Insert pat on the back here.*

I got a job. Yep, a real life, out of the house, paying me a check job. I’m really very excited about it, though. Over the summer, I will be working for the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, and for the first time I feel like the work I will be doing will actually be contributing something to society. I will be helping to expose others to the vast history of the Town of Breckenridge. There is also excitement for me in that this may lead to other opportunities with the organization, which would be wonderful. Be sure to check out their website, and if you decide to visit Summit County, Colorado any time of year, make sure you save yourself time for a walking tour, historic snowshoe hike, or the one I'm hoping to lead: the cemetery tour.

To top it all off, this was the last month of “The Puzzle of Your Past”, a family history research project I have been leading with the Leadville Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts of troop 840. (You can read about this project throughout my blog, as I have posted updates along the way, but also here.) It has been a wonderful year of discovery, and the girls are just putting the finishing touches on their projects for their May 20 “Court of Awards” annual ceremony. In the next few days, I will be working on finishing my end of the project, conducting as much research as possible in the time allowed and presenting a pedigree chart and CD-ROM to each participant for them to take home to their families. I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I have.(By the way, its the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting this year. You should check it out. No cookies without Girl Scouts!)

Along the way, I have been mentioned, retweeted, and linked by numerous “Big Names” in the genealogy field. That is always such a great moment for me; to have someone I respect so much recognize my work as useful and valuable enough to promote. It’s really mind blowing. I have never thought of myself as a writer, and yet, here I sit, eagerly committing to a steady stream of writing projects. It’s quite a surprise. Oh, and my blog? Yes. I am now up to 42 followers, so thank you so very much for supporting me. I greatly appreciate you as an audience, and value your feedback and commentary.

I’m so looking forward to seeing what the coming 30 days has to offer me, though I cannot imagine it will bring the changes and deadlines that the last 30 did. I guess we’ll find out soon. 

Hopefully it will be less snowy and filled with more lovely wild mountain flowers. 

Photo copyright Jen Baldwin,
Ancestral Journeys, 2011.


  1. Hi, Jen -- You have had a month of accomplishments, and you should be proud! I totally agree that goals are better than lists. I'm trying to sideline lists because I never finish them. Congratulations on your job at the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, where you will get both respect and money! Happy genealogical traveling!

  2. Thank you so much Mariann! You have certainly been full of positive reinforcement for me these last couple of weeks, and I very much appreciate that. Have a wonderful Mother's Day!
    ~ Jen

  3. Happy Mother's Day, JC! I'm so excited to see where your next 30 days takes you. You are doing such a great job, and I am in awe of your excitement and energy. Keep that going because you are a great part of the genealogy community and machine. You rock, lady!


    PS - You forgot to mention that your review of JSTOR was also our first review to go international! Don't forget that feather in your cap because it's way too cool not to mention. :)

    1. Thanks, Steph, to you too! I very much appreciate your support and continued positive feedback; it means so much to me. More importantly, though, is the friendships I have gained just in the last couple of months, and I thank you for that, also.
      Have a wonderful day!
      ~ J.C.


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