In so many ways, 2016 was an interesting and productive year, and 2017 looks even more promising.
One of my favorite things is teaching, and I had the opportunity to do lots of that! Some of my highlights were beginning to give talks on DNA, presenting a webinar on probate records, and speaking at several local, state, and (inter)national conferences (including the 2016 Celtic Connections Conference, where both John Grenham and Brian Donovan attended my Cornish research talk).
I also had interesting client projects. I started the year with a coaching project for a client working with early nineteenth-century land records in New York and helped another client to validate and organize his research. Then I helped locate vital records for the numerous children of a family in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ohio and Maryland. The year’s client projects ended with analyzing and adding to a client’s research to strengthen her proof argument for the parentage of a female ancestor who lived in Colorado, Illinois, and New York.
In the volunteer arena, I concluded my second term as President of the Association of Professional Genealogists Northland chapter. We were thrilled to receive APG’s Golden Chapter Award in 2016! I continue to serve as Registrar for the Lake Minnetonka chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where we welcomed twelve new members in 2016, and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Minnesota, where we welcomed three new members and went live with a new website I helped create. I also continued to work with ProGen Study Group‘s ProGen 27 cohort as coordinator. I continued to help with the Minnesota Genealogical Society’s English-Welsh Interest Group and was part of the teams planning the Celtic Connections Conference and Hennepin County Library‘s Family History Fair.
Some really great things happened in my personal genealogy, too. Educational highlights were studying Advanced Genetic Genealogy with CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and completing the University of Strathclyde’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in genealogy, along with some shorter online courses.
With the help of DNA matches, I was able to solve a longstanding problem connecting my ancestor Hannah Lutz (1818-1890) to her parents and also to connect my husband’s ancestor Christopher Mackin (1821-1867) to his brother James. Some exciting things also happened on my father’s Lithuanian side–DNA connections expanded what we know about my great-grandmother Eva Kruchkas (1874-1948) and her family (although we still don’t know her Lithuanian place of origin). The Abromitis/Abromaitis/Abromaijtis DNA project is still ongoing, boosted by some documentary breakthroughs using the digitized Lithuanian parish records at ePaveldas. We were greatly helped by the generosity of Lithuanian- and Russian-speaking contributors to the Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society Facebook group.
In 2017 I’m looking forward to more speaking and teaching and more DNA-assisted research. I finish my term as DAR registrar and my coordinator responsibilities for ProGen 27 in March and April, opening up space for personal research and writing. I have already had the opportunity to lead two online APG discussion groups on running a successful APG chapter, and I get to lead two more in February on creating classes and workshops. I’ll be continuing to write for The Septs, journal of the Irish Genealogical Society International. (I’m working on a Mackin case study now for the April issue.) I’ll be traveling to Milwaukee to be the principal speaker at the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society’s spring workshop in April. My big educational venture will be the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Researching Family in Pennsylvania at the end of July, although I’m also looking forward to participating in Robert Charles Anderson’s Elements of Genealogical Analysis: A Class in Methodology, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, online.
In personal research, DNA matches may be pointing the way to finding the Irish origins of the Mackins, as well as to connecting more of the worldwide branches of my Trewren family. Now that both my husband and I have two siblings who have tested their autosomal DNA, I can work on visual phasing–assigning DNA segments to specific grandparents. I’m also working on extracting church records from the Abromitis family’s parish of origin in Lithuania.
Exciting things are in store!