Saturday, March 2, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - Finis

For the month of February, I participated in the 2013 Family History Writing Challenge.  I did write every day and accomplished my mission.  I only pledged to write 250-300 words per day since I wanted to be sure I completed the challenge.  I actually wrote 13,619 words for an average of 486 words per day.

Participating in the challenge helped me find holes in my research.  As I wrote about a topic, there was a need to research for other information.  I also found new ways to use the census records.  I had never before explored the non-population census returns.  Using these helped me find out what crops were grown in southern Illinois in the 1850s-1880s.  When I found that they grew Irish or sweet potatoes, I understood that Irish potatoes referred to white potatoes and Indian corn has now evolved as a reference to corn.  Today when we think of Indian corn, the image of the tri-color corn sold as a fall decoration comes to mind.

There are still naturalization records to find as I realized when I wrote about Becoming Americans.  I did find one for my paternal great-grandfather Georg Burbach.  It gave me the month he and his family arrived in the United States and established the port of New York as the point of entry in July 1856.  Now for a visit to the Castle Gardens records.

My research is far from over but the Family History Writing Challenge helped my realize what areas need more attention.