5th Blogiversary: Reflections and Goals

fifth birthday candlesIt’s hard to believe, but today is this blog’s 5th anniversary.  Perhaps it’s why I’ve been feeling something of a five-year itch with it.  Over recent months, in a scattered way, I’ve been reflecting on where I’m at with both my research and blogging. My prevailing sense has been that my blogs, and my research, have got away from me – another way to say I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, despite chewing furiously.

tiger's tailWhen I bought a large mobile whiteboard about a year ago, I wrote at the top “Beware of the tiger’s tail”. What I meant by that, was to be strategic in my blogging rather than catching hold of the tiger’s tail and having it drag me along willy-nilly. Sure, I’ve written lots of stories relevant to my research but I’m equally sure I’ve not been strategic in my approach. I’ve been tempted to take myself off to Kakadu for a couple of days sans technology and take the chance to step back and decide what’s important to my family history research, my blog and what I want to achieve in the future.

So where do I go from here…other than Kakadu?


In the past my practice has been to write up my family history in narrative form – partly because I started in the pre-computer age, and partly because it suited my style, following an example demonstrated by two academic researchers I met.

Genealogy programs tend to make me feel claustrophobic and for a long time I felt that the Australian program, Relatively Yours, solved my needs best. However the time has come to jump ship and make the move to another program, probably Family Historian. I definitely want one that permits more than a restrictive view of what constitutes “family”. After all I’m interested in my ancestors’ broad life experiences, not just the hatches, matches and despatches. I want to know the nuances of their lives, the place, siblings, neighbours and former neighbours etc as they so often break down brick walls.Revisit record revise

I have published my Kunkel family history but with so much coming online, especially via Trove, there are always new additions. Similarly I have unpublished narratives for several of my other lines: McCorkindale, Melvin, Gavin.

Project: Transfer my RY data to Family Historian. Because of the particular aspect of Relatively Yours I don’t find the gedcom works as well as it might.

Project: Prepare a spreadsheet which lets me check which certificates and records I’ve explored, hold or am still missing. Work on timelines for my tricky ancestors.


A couple of months ago I wrote a post for the Worldwide Genealogy blog called My Three Rs of Genealogy Research: Review, Record, Revise. It certainly seems pertinent within this context.

family-history-back-to-basicsOverall I feel my genealogy (the structure of who’s who) is accurate: I’m a Doubting Thomas and will worry at something like a bone until I find the answer. If it’s not certain, then I will only add it as an hypothesis in my narrative, clearly stated as such…another advantage of the narrative model.

A month or so ago I added this note to my whiteboard as I wrestled with the “where to from here” question: Back to Basics.

Project: Review my many notes in over 50 notebooks from archive and library visits, LDS microfilms etc (and continue to digitise them). Incorporate the information into my narratives and genealogy program. I will also focus on whether my assumptions have been correct or whether I need more data.


red-do-over-button - smallThomas MacEntee’s new Genealogy Do-Over Program is opportunely timed for me, as I think it will be complementary to what I’m trying to do here. However, I won’t be packing away my 28 years of research as I don’t think I need to…after all my data doesn’t come from online trees or other’s research. In (almost?) every case I’ve started with the basics and gone from there.

However, I will be going back to revisit my basics as mentioned above, and putting the research microscope over the conclusions I’ve reached, the gaps in my research, and where I can pursue further information. In short, be more strategic. I’m confident there’ll be lots of tips in the Genealogy Do-Over Program that will help me with what I want to achieve.

Project: Follow along with the Geneabloggers’ Genealogy Do-Over Program and implement strategies as appropriate.


I’m expecting 2015 to be a big year for the Cassmob clan as a lot is planned. Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle these tasks along with the family goals.

BAck to Basics flow diagramMy over-arching goals:

Be Strategic 

Back to Basics

Reflect, Review, Revise and Record.

There are also other decisions to be made about my Dorfprozelten blog, which has been languishing unattended, and my East Clare Emigrants blog.


starsAs this fifth year draws to a close I’d like to thank you all for reading. Blogging may have sometimes taken me off-track research but it’s given me a wonderful world-wide community of friends, some I’ve already met, and some I hope to meet at Roots Tech and the FGS Conference in February.

Thanks so much for reading my blog posts, commenting and being supportive!! You’re all stars!

Happy 4th Blogiversary to me!

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my adventure into the blogosphere. It was a very tentative experiment at first, arising from my lack of knowledge of webpage design. Once I learned about the Geneabloggers community, I was no longer comparatively isolated in Australia’s Top End.

Image from Shutterstock.

Image from Shutterstock.

Little did I know how many doors blogging would open, how many wonderful people would visit my site, and how many fantastic friends I’d make along the way, many (most?) of whom I’ve never met. I’ve also discovered distant relatives, and fellow descendants from the homes of my ancestors.

My blog page on Dorfprozelten is the single biggest drawcard on the blog and has helped connect up different family members –sometimes I feel like a match-maker <smile>. It’s been so popular that I eventually opened another blog called From Dorfprozelten to Australia and also a facebook page for the Dorfprozelten Diaspora.


I just want to say a very sincere thank you to all those 99,600+ visitors to my blog who’ve come to read one or more of my 553 posts. Thank you to my fellow geneabloggers who’ve provided so much support and encouragement along the way. Thank you also to the new family members I’ve met and those who share a common ancestry or place of origin with me.


I have two books which I’m going to offer as blogiversary gifts. We’re downsizing our library and while these books are good second hand ones, they’re ones I can force myself to live without. Sadly they will only be able to be sent to the Australian contingent as my postage costs would be astronomical elsewhere. If you’d like to be in the draw, why not mention it when you comment and Mr Cassmob will do a random draw of the names on New Year’s Eve.

Scan to the bottom of the page to see which books they are.


And don’t forget to drop by later, as I’m brewing up another geneameme just in case you get bored after all the Christmas rush.

Curiosity killed the genealogist?

And a question to satisfy my curiosity, my ClustrMaps profile tells me there have been visits this morning and this afternoon to my blog from:

7:11 : Adelaide, AU; 6:59 : Vancouver, CA; 6:46 : Melbourne, AU; 5:37 : Baulkham Hills, AU; 5:17 : Sydney, AU; 4:58 : South Australia, AU; 4:42 : Turramurra, AU; 3:55 : Brisbane, AU; 3:38 : Mumbai, IN; 3:35: Caboolture, AU

12:25 : Los Angeles, California, US; 12:15 : Hebron, Connecticut, US; 12:08 : Adelaide, AU; 11:58 : United States, US; 11:46 : Brisbane, AU; 10:57 : Ashfield, AU; 10:19 : Castle Hill, AU; 10:16 : Eastwood, AU; 10:03 : Mountain View, California, US; 9:39 : Milton Keynes, GB

Were you one of them?



The focus of this book is Sydney -so may be of great interest to a Sydneysider.

3rd blogiversary competition results

DSC_0356It’s now past the 27th December around the world so Mr Cassmob has done the draw for the Blogiversary competition I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

And the winner is…..drum roll…Helen Smith from Brisbane and From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard. Helen will be receiving the iPad sleeve designed by Indigenous women in Central Australia.

Fist Prize: Central Australian design iPad sleeve.

Fist Prize: Central Australian design iPad sleeve.

Second prize goes to Kristin in the USA and blog Finding Eliza. Kristin will receive the Tiwi purse.

2nd prize: the little purse designed by the Tiwi women.

2nd prize: the little purse designed by the Tiwi women.

Then because I remembered some badges I’d had made earlier in the year (in case I got a family historian for my Christmas Swap), we drew another two tiny give-aways.

One goes to Alona Tester (South Australia) and the other to Judy Webster (Queensland). The idea for these badges came from Fi at Dance Skeletons and were ordered from Cafe Press.


I’ll be in touch with everyone to get their postal address so I can send on the gifts.

Thank you to each and every one of my readers and commenters whose support keeps me engaged in this wonderful world of writing family history aka blogging. I’m only sorry I can’t give you all a little gift.

‘Tis the season, for gifts – 3rd Blogiversary competition

present‘Tis the season to be jolly (and give presents!) and as my 3rd geneablogging birthday is coming up in  on 27th December I decided a while ago to celebrate by sharing two gifts with my readers.

It’s your commitment to visiting my site, reading my stories and sharing your comments that has made blogging such an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. Thank you!

So, I have two small gifts to send out to two randomly selected, readers. Both gifts have a local Northern Territory Indigenous “flavour”.

The first is an iPad case made by Aboriginal women from Central Australia. It will fit an original iPad as a sleeve but would also fit other tablets or even just your notebook and pencil or whatever.


The second gift is a little purse by the Tiwi women from across the water north of Darwin. Again, you choose what you’d use it for.

Tiwi purse

Tiwi purse

So if you’d like to be in the draw for either of these gifts, please leave a comment below and I’ll announce the winners on my blogiversary, 27th December. I may use random.org or I may just decide to be old-fashioned and put all the comments in a hat and get Mr Cassmob to draw one out.

This little “competition” is open to all my readers wherever you may be, I’m happy to post around the world as both items are very light-weight.