In the nearly four years I’ve been blogging, I have written a retrospective on New Year’s Eve looking back at my personal year. What fun stuff did I do? What genealogical finds did I discover? What worked? What didn’t? I may be the only one that reads this particular post every year, but it has become a rather meaningful tradition in my life. Last year, I called 2010 a “year of transition”…I guess I have arrived at wherever I was going, because I end 2011 a lot happier, healthier, and content.
Genealogically speaking, I’ve connected with so many cousins over the last few years that I didn’t think there were any left to find. But there were! This year I made several new connections. On my mother’s maternal side, I was “found” by my second cousin Tricia and her mother Mary Jane. On my mother’s paternal side, I had fun talking to my first cousin twice removed – yes, my grandfather’s cousin! Although my grandfather would be 100 next year (if he hadn’t died at age 60), his cousin Ed is a robust 83 and even uses Facebook! His granddaughter, my third cousin Catie, scanned some photos for me that I had never seen before including my grandfather’s brothers and my grandparents. Finally, I connected with a cousin on my father’s paternal side. While I know tons of cousins from his maternal side, I didn’t think I could find any from the Pointkouski side. Fortunately, my dad’s first cousin, Marilyn, found me!
While I didn’t write as many posts about my genealogy research as I would have liked, I did make quite a few discoveries. I found my Piątkowski 2nd great-grandparents’ marriage record from 1863 online and now I’m in hot pursuit of their birth records. Through my newly found cousin Marilyn, I discovered the married name of my grandfather’s missing sister! More to come on her soon… I also found an obituary that filled in missing information on a branch of the family and discovered a reference to my 4th great-grandfather in a German newspaper from 1813!
One of my big projects this year was launching another blog! The Catholic Gene was born from the many friendships I had formed with other genealogists. Though many of us had different ethnic backgrounds, we all shared the same Catholic faith. I thought a blog would be a great way to collaborate and write about how our faith has intertwined with our family histories. Ten authors, four months, and sixty posts later, I’m proud of the result and I hope next year is even better.
I had fun at two genealogy conferences this year. The first, the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, was tons of fun. It was great to hang out with many of my online friends – and we didn’t miss an opportunity for fun, that’s for sure. I think the hotel staff is still talking about the piñata incident… In October, I met more friends and attended the conference for the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in which I gave a presentation for the very first time. My second speaking opportunity came just two weeks later at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Speaking about genealogy was something I wanted to try for a while, and both presentations went well.
The highlight of my year was my trip to California with Lisa Alzo. In addition to going to Hollywood (okay, just to Burbank, but we did drive to Hollywood thanks to Denise Levenick) for Jamboree, we spent time in the San Francisco area with Kathryn Doyle and Steve Danko. Despite a chilly Golden Gate Bridge, a freezing Stinson Beach, and a rainy Napa Valley, we had the BEST TIME EVER! All that laughter was good medicine!
In some ways, my theme for the year was improvement. For example, my cooking improved considerably and I’ve added chili, roasted cauliflower, and pork chops to my repertoire. In the world of home improvement, I started off the year with a mostly new kitchen – including a much needed heated floor – and ended the year with a completely renovated bathroom – including a much needed expansion. Work improved – I’m in the same job as last year with the same tasks and same people, but I enjoyed it more. Some relationships improved, too, as I learned about forgiveness, trust, and having fun.
I spent time enjoying my parents’ company, and I also enjoyed watching my niece Natalie dance and my niece Ava read to me. Nephew Nick likes to sing out loud, and nephew Luke gives the best hugs I’ve ever received. 2011 was the year of an earthquake and a hurricane two weeks apart, neither of which “did” anything but stir up the local news media. The Philadelphia Phillies stirred up the entire city…only to fall short in the end. Get ‘em next year, guys, I’ll be watching!
I kept myself entertained this year by catching up on older television shows: Mad Men, The Tudors, Big Bang Theory, and Castle. Train provided the soundtrack to my California trip with Save Me, San Francisco and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger matched my mood. The world lost a great singer I had always hoped to see live, Cesaria Evora. I read a ton of books, but once again I failed to keep track of what I read. I do remember Anne Fortier’s Juliet, Karen Harper’s Mistress Shakespeare, and Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. Donald Miller reminded me to live a good story in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.
All in all, 2011 had its moments once I stopped to think about it. What does 2012 hold in store for me? I’m not sure, but I am certain about one thing – I’m back to enjoying the ride. Here’s wishing all of my family, friends, and readers much happiness in the new year!