Family History Research

NGS HSC Lesson 11

Did you hear me cheering in Chicago this morning? I finished Lesson 11 on migration and census analysis! Whew! That lesson took many hours to complete because I had to do a transcription of roughly 100 people on two censuses that included my ancestor. After I sent the boys off to school today (another cheer moment) I finished the migration portion of the lesson and dropped the entire thing off at the post office.

Four lessons to go and I think my new deadline to complete them will be December 31 rather than April 1 when ProGen ends.

Now, using the census analysis I did for my great-great grandfather Joseph Kokoska, I am going to write an article for the Czech and Slovak American Genealogical Society of Illinois’s Koreny journal. I started writing articles for them at the end of 2010 and three were printed. Their journal comes out four times a year. I suppose my unofficial goal is to appear in at least two of their journals a year. One of the members told me my last article on Robert Brouk was very interesting and one of his neighbors actually dated Robert way back in the day. How cool! Nice to know someone is reading my stuff too.

Stay tuned as I continue down the NGS HSC path. The end is in sight!

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Military Monday – NGS HSC Lesson 14

I continue to work my way through the graded version of the NGS Home Study Course and am getting closer to reaching my goal of completing it by April 1, 2012. ProGen ends in April and my plan is to finish both and begin focusing on certification.

Today I submitted Lesson 14 on Military Records. I learned some new things about pre-Civil War records which is very helpful considering my newest clients have families that go back that far.

My assignments were to first choose one of my grandfathers and create a list of all wars he could have participated in during his lifetime. Then list all his known male ancestors and the wars they may have participated in during their lifetimes starting with the Revolutionary War and working forward. That part of my assignment was super short. My grandfather on my mom’s side was an immigrant and didn’t serve. I didn’t even list him. I listed my paternal grandfather who was a first generation Bohemian-American. He served in World War II in the Naval Armed Guard. His father was the immigrant and could have served in World War I. End of assignment one.  I have pretty short roots on most of my lines here in America.

Assignment two allowed me to compare and contrast a World War I Draft Registration Card to a World War II Card. I used my great grandfather, Joseph Kokoska for this assignment. The one big informational difference between the two cards was his address. Pretty much everything else, even his occupation and place of employment remained the same.

At this point I have six lessons left to complete. Lesson 6 on marriage and Lesson 10 on local land records I will partially finish next week and read those lessons. I need to visit repositories to complete one section of each lesson and will do that so I can submit both lessons by September 5 before I go to FGS.

I’m still transcribing the 1910 U.S. Census for Joseph Kokoska for lesson 11 and that is only one part of that assignment. My goal is to finish that by October 1 along with Lesson 7, Church Records.

Lesson 15, Kinship will take a while so my goal is December 1 submission. Then when I receive the word it is complete I’ll start Lesson 16, Biography which I plan to finish by April 1. If I reach my goal it will have taken me almost a year and a half to work through all three CDs.  Gosh time flies when you are having fun!

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Motivation Monday – Going for Certification

Michael Hait wrote some very interesting posts recently called, How Not to Become Certified, part one and part two. Today’s post, So, Are You Ready for Certification? was an interesting read also.

Last summer when I started my genealogy business, Generations, I thought I was ready for certification. I got the application guide and started working through some of the pieces. I quickly realized I needed more client work and education behind me or I would fail miserably.

Here I am one year later with almost two of the NGS Home Study Course CDs finished and the third on its way, I’m over half finished with the ProGen Study Group, and increased my conference and meeting attendance over the last year. I even published a book and have had several articles published in a couple of journals and magazines.

Am I ready for certification today? No but I’m closer than last year. I downloaded the updated BCG guide to review over the coming weeks. I plan to seriously look at the process, what is required and make a plan to start the work. ProGen ends in April and I plan to complete the NGS HSC by then as well. Both plus all my client work will put me in a much stronger position to work on the portfolio starting next summer.

I plan to be one of those names you see on the certification list for Illinois. Right now there are eight listed. Will I succeed the first try? I hope so, but if not, Michael Hait has given me a lot to think about if I am rejected. It isn’t failing, but a major learning experience that will only help me grow as a researcher. I am a lot less afraid to give this a try in the spring than I was. Thanks Michael for being so honest about what you went through to achieve certification!

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Thriller Thursday – NGS HSC Land Assignment

Ok this really isn’t a thriller type post in the sense that I discovered something about one of my ancestors. But it is thrilling because I received my NGS Home Study Course Federal Land Records assignment in the mail and it was marked COMPLETE!! I am thrilled!!!

This is great news because I am finished with that lesson, I got great comments on it and I do not have to stop in Springfield, IL, at the archives on my way to Missouri next week. I can sleep in and head to my best friend’s house late morning.

This week I completed Lesson 8 on Probate and sent that in. Next month I plan to get to IRAD at NEIU and look at marriage records unless I decide just to use DuPage County instead since I’m at the courthouse every week anyway. We’ll see. Either way I have a plan to finish CDs 1 & 2 by the end of September. Would like to finish the 3rd by January but we’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned!

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