Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time To Close The Door

The year has finally come to an end. As I do every year, I try to take a look back and remember the events, the good and the bad, for the past twelve months. I try to celebrate the good events, and learn from the bad events. I hope that taking stock of events allows me to learn and grow as a professional, and as a human being.

Personally, this has been a good year for me. I have had the pleasure of serving a third year as the President of the Georgia Genealogical Society. Working with this group makes me appreciate the generosity of the many people around me. Every member of the board and some folks not on the Board of Directors, give a great deal of time and energy to guarantee the success of GGS. I admire them for that.

Beyond work at GGS, I was able to visit my Grandparents home in Nebraska, for the first time. I had never been to Alliance, Nebraska. My lovely and tolerant wife was patient enough to endure a very long road trip, to travel to western Nebraska to visit the old homestead. After my visit in August, I am really looking forward to a return trip. I hope my wife will remain tolerant of my traveling eccentricities and keep me company for another long drive.

This year, I was also able to begin publication of my own periodical/newsletter. After several years of internal debate and planning, I was able to launch the North Georgia Family History Bulletin in October. It is truly an emotional rush to publish this electronic magazine and send it out to people who might be interested. I can only hope that the interest remains and the publication continues to grow.

The failures and the stress in this past year come from the economy. It is discouraging to read of so many genealogical societies and historical institutions that are forced to reduce services as a result of the economy. Just today, I was reminded of this when the Missouri Historical Society posted their reminder that, because of budget cuts, public hours of access have been reduced. Just searching through my blog posts reveal a number of other institutions that have suffered and taken similar steps. Nationally the economy has taken its toll on libraries and museums.

But, there is a positive side to the economic stress. With the realization that “there by the grace of God …,” the suffering of other institutions reminds me that we need to take steps to insure that our homegrown institutions do not suffer similar problems. I have written several grants and tried to develop an annual financial appeal for GGS. Hopefully, with more work in the coming year, a solid foundation will be created for the Georgia Genealogical Society.

As the year comes to a close, I am proud of much that I have accomplished in 2009. With the help of so many people, it has been a successful year. Now, I have the challenge of creating goals for 2010, goals that will help me grow and develop. I am closing the door on 2009 and opening another door to opportunity in 2010. May the coming 365 days be as productive and successful as the past year.

And to everyone, May you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Digitized Newspapers in North Carolina

The following webpage came courtesy of Laura Carter and Elaine Nell. Some interesting digital newspaper pages have come available, on-line, from North Carolina.

You may want to check this out:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, the holidays have arrived. Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the season. The shopping (hopefully) is done. The tree and house are both decorated. And, the Christmas dinner is planned and ready to cook. So now, turn off the all of the lights in the house. Turn on the Christmas tree lights. Cue the music and enjoy the quiet time of Christmas.

Now is the time when thoughts of Christmas past come rushing into my brain. Several times, this past week, I have told my wife about the aluminum Christmas tree my family had. It lasted only a couple of years. And with the passage of time, the ugliness is forgotten and I now know that was a beautiful tree! The silver of aluminum spinning on a music stand, playing that symphonic rendition of “Jingle Bells,” the color wheel spinning blue, green, red shades on the shimmering aluminum; if you look beyond the nauseously garish decorations, it had to be a beautiful tree.

The more important traditions also come to mind. Many years ago, long before I was even a cognizant being, Uncle Jack Brubaker made Dad two Christmas tree ornaments out of walnuts. Every year, to this day, those walnuts hang on the tree. Often they hang right in front, at eye level, so that everyone can see them. Both Dad and Uncle Jack have died, but generations of Brubakers remember these two men that loved each other and loved their families. Those two tree ornaments are more than simply walnut decorations.

The traditions and memories we have accumulated with our families, these are important details to think about during the season. So, take some time in the next few days. Sit back and enjoy the memories of holidays past. Think about the traditions for a few moments.

And finally, have a safe and happy holiday season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Life During the Civil War" Reviewed

I have found an interesting new study that may be worthwhile for any one that has any interest in the Civil War involving their family history research. Family Chronicle Magazine has recently published a 100 page collection of articles that may provide some new direction for Civil War research. Life During The Civil War details the day to day life of participants in the Civil War. The articles were all written by David A. Norris and cover a variety of topics on daily life during the war period.

Every wonder what camp life was like for your great-grandfather? Or, how did my ancestors pay their bills while working on the farm? What were the greenbacks that great-grandfather kept referencing in his diaries? What was the music like that they used to sing in the 1860s?

All of these details, and more, are included in the pages of this magazine. The information on these pages makes for an interesting read. The down side of this work is that there are no references, no footnotes, nothing to direct for further reading. But, for research, for the opportunity to get a feel for how our ancestors lived during the Civil War period, this is a brief study that can help provide some information.