2019 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2020

No resolutions and no promises were made for 2019. I wanted to work on whatever needed to be researched, reviewed, or updated.

Researching and writing without a schedule worked for a while. I wrote about my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH’s estate and the strange goings-on in the lives of his sons John and Alex, my 2nd great-grandfather.

With the questions on the CLONCH line answered, I realized I needed to formulate a research plan and/or schedule. Which families or geographical areas did I want to work on while leaving me time to keep up with new matches on my brother’s AncestryDNA test?

My children’s ancestors had been covered from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents during three rounds of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors. The 6th great-grandparents were waiting to be reviewed, researched, and written about. The posts were supposed to be short and informative but the couples I started with were a bit more complicated than expected.

Johannes HAMES (c1756-1826) and Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ (1755-1836) were first up and I was able to write about them in a single post. While researching Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798), I felt I needed to prove his parents and her parents which led to proving their parents. I ended up writing a series of seven posts. The same thing happened with  Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851) and with Hubert CORNELY (ca. 1753-1816) and Margaretha EVEN (1756-1839). I wrote five posts for the first couple and three for the second. At this rate, I’d not be getting one couple done per week as I’d hoped. But I was getting some great research done as well as discovering new generations of ancestors for these lines.

The Slave Name Roll Project was put on ice in April as I worked only with Luxembourg civil and church records. It’s a bit difficult to find slave names when you aren’t working with US records.

My DNA results were ready in October. Research and writing were put on hold while I set up all my tools and worked on matches I didn’t have in common with my brother.

In December, wanting to get back to blogging regularly, I wrote about Holiday Traditions. These short posts about the season reminded me that genealogy also means saving the stories of the present and not only the past.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the content I added to my blog this year and the stats look good.

A Milestone in 2019

On the 4th of December, the total blog followers reached 500!

Posts, Views, and Viewers

During 2019 I wrote less than one post a week. This will be the 50th post, one less than last year. In comparison, I wrote 88 in 2017 and 129 in 2016. Views will be a little below 2018 while visitors remained the same.

Top posts for 2019

ThruLines™ Introduced by Ancestry: TrueLines or TrueLies?

I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia

Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

Look Who’s Finally Taken the Autosomal DNA Test

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks! – a reminder to check the FamilySearch catalog

Referrers

Google Search brought the most visitors and views to my blog followed by Facebook, WordPress Android App, and WordPress Reader. Number five referrer was Linda Stufflebean’s Friday’s Family History Finds on Empty Branches on the Family Tree. Thank you, Linda, for the mentions.

I Published a Book

One of my proudest moments in 2019 was when I received my first blog book. Now I need to find time to get the rest of the content of my blog ready to print.

What’s Coming in 2020?

  • I want to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set.
  • I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
  • The Slave Name Roll Project will come back monthly.
  • Several updates on older posts are in the works.
  • The Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series’ final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about over 150 photos, still needs to be written. This was promised back in March 2017 and I never got around to working on it.

Happy New Year 2020. May it bring peace and hope for a better world and new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

In 2016 I’m Going To….

….get my money’s worth out a 6-month Ancestry.com subscription.

I believe one of my ancestors was looking out for me over the holidays. Ancestry.com was offering $10 off their regular $99 price for the 6-month gift subscription of the US collection and I wanted it.

gifttinyI tried to get the offer but was thrown in a loop going from Choose gift to Pay now to Choose gift to Pay now to Choose gift. I could NOT get to the billing page. I was told to try another browser or call in. I gave up before the offer ran out on Christmas Day even after I found a browser I don’t use which worked. I’m kind of stubborn that way.

Two days after Christmas I see 50% off on the regular $99 price!! Stubbornness on my part or someone looking out for me? Whatever, this time billing worked!

In May 2013 when Ancestry said, “We’ll be seeing you” they didn’t know it would be two and a half years later. 🙂

ancestryThe four Virginia Vital Records databases at Ancestry, primarily “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,”  were the reason I finally caved in and took this great deal for six months. Let the research work begin….

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

A Visit to the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg

logo_klengLast Saturday I participated in an interesting visit of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (National Library of Luxembourg) with my genealogy society Luxracines.

A Brief History

The origins of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (BnL) date back to 1798, a time when French troops occupied the former duchy. In 1802 part of it’s most ancient collections, the manuscripts from the Benedictine Abbey of Echternach, were moved to the National Library of France. The library went from being a central library of the Département des Forêts (during French occupation) to ownership by the city of Luxembourg after 1815. The Luxembourg state, after gaining independence through the Treaty of London in 1839, reclaimed ownership in 1848 when the name was changed to Bibliothèque de Luxembourg. In 1899 following a rise in national sentiment among the Luxembourgish population, the name was changed to the present form, Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg. It’s role as an encyclopaedic library to the education system prevailed during the early years. Today BnL is also a heritage library.

012 fixedThe BnL has been housed in the former Athénée grand-ducal (Athenaeum), located next to the Cathédrale de Luxembourg, since 1973. To give you an idea of the age of the building, the Athenaeum was originally founded in 1603 by the Jesuit Order. Steel beams have been added in the old building to support the weight of the collections housed there.

Luxembourg’s national library is a small institution compared to other national libraries. It is the largest repository in Luxembourg with 1.5 million physical documents and a growing number of digital publications. The library is bursting at it’s seams and at the moment documents are located at several different sites.

Introduction by Mr. Pascal Nicolay

Before taking us on a tour of the premises, Mr. Pascal Nicolay, librarian and documentalist, explained the mission and collections of the library.

An important role of the library is the collection of cultural heritage of Luxembourg. Materials printed on different media (books, periodicals, video, CD, DVD) and produced nationally are preserved for the future generations. Because several languages are spoken in Luxembourg publications are usually simultaneously produced in Luxembourgish, French, German and English. This means that the number of copies kept is greater than in a country with only one language.

Through legal deposit BnL collects and makes all Luxembourgish publications accessable in their comprehensive collection. This is a legal requirement to submit a certain number of copies of a publication to a repository, usually the national library of a country.

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Léa Linster signing books Nov 8, 2011 in Bitburg. Photo credit: Egon Meder, used with permission.

They also collect works published in other countries which deal with Luxembourg in some way. If a book published in another country includes a biography of a well known personality from Luxembourg, the library takes steps to acquire the required number of copies of the publication. For example, a German publication on restaurants in Europe may include a section on the Luxembourgish chef Léa Linster, gold medal winner of the 1989 Bocuse d’Or, the first and to date only woman to accomplish this.

More importantly, for the genealogist, the library collects publications that may mention the not so well known people. Top of the list are newspapers followed by town bulletins; political parties paraphernalia; local fire department anniversary brochures which often discuss early members of the corps, history of the “house names” and town; yearbooks. Imagine the stories that can be told about an ancestor mentioned in any of these.

The Tour

We began the tour by visiting some of the rooms accessible to the public. The periodical room where, for example, patrons can read the daily newspapers or recent publications that may be harder to find on the local newspaper stand. The tiny microfilm room where newspapers can be viewed and prints made. Very old newspapers, from 1850 and earlier, can be found and searched on BnL’s eluxemburgensia site. The general reference (dictionaries, encyclopias, etc.) and more specific reference (agriculture, science, etc.) material also has a place in the library.

The best part was when Mr. Nicolay took us “behind the scenes” into the areas not normally accessible to the public. We saw books stored in electrically powered shelving systems and hand crank shelving systems.

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Shelves filled with old, old books!

 

 

 

 

We climbed up a spiral staircase to the attic where old wooden beams held together by wooden dowels could be seen along the full length of the building.

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Banana boxes filled with books are stacked in the spaces between shelving.

Fire extinguishers are everywhere. The fire department can be on site in five minutes. However there is no modern sprinkling system in the building.

Back in the public area we saw the multi-media room where material can be viewed or loaned out for a week.

Finally, in the projection room, Mr. Nicolay explained how their collections can be searched from the library’s homepage using the new joint search interface of Luxembourg’s libraries’ network a-z.lu.

With a free library card patrons can order material online that they are interested in borrowing or viewing at the library. Orders can be picked up at the library a half hour later.

Unlike other national libraries, the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg is a loaning library and allows patrons to “check out” books, periodicals, multimedia, etc. with a valid library card.

As mentioned in the begining the library has outgrown its location. Last month a ground breaking ceremony took place for Luxembourg’s new National Library. The construction is is estimated to take four years to complete.

This was the first time I’d set foot in a library since I was in college in 1977. One of my favorite pastimes while going to school was the hour once a week when we went to the library. Beelining to the biography section or fiction for the newest Nancy Drew, learning how to use the card catalogue and how to research. I didn’t know at the time that those skills would help me later with my genealogy research.

Next time I go to Luxembourg City I’m going to apply for a library card. I want to learn how to use the National Library before they move into their new premises, hopefully, in 2018!

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey