Saying Farewell to 2020: My Year in Review

 I realize I am stating the obvious when I say I am so happy that this is the final day of 2020! 

What a year it has been. Like everyone else, I saw life as I knew it change due to COVID-19. After March 6th I ceased all of my travel as in-person conferences/events were canceled. Hunkering down at home, I had to make new plans for replacing lost income and adjust to things I had not done before, such as ordering groceries online and switching to mostly virtual meetings and appointments. 


In previous end-of-the-year blog posts, I would reflect on my personal or professional accomplishments. This year that somehow doesn’t feel appropriate. But as bad as 2020 was, I did find a few silver linings. 

1. Family and Family History.  Despite the physical distance, I found I stayed in touch more regularly with family members in the U.S. and abroad (thanks to technology). I also spent more time working on my own genealogy, including collaborating with a cousin on learning more about our great-grandmother’s family.

2. Faith. More time at home meant less distraction and stress. During times of uncertainty and anxiety, I found strength and comfort through prayer and meditation, and long walks during the summer and fall. I have learned to manage my time better, and give myself permission to just “be.” This has changed my perspective on life, adversity, and my work.

3. Fortitude. The word fortitude is defined “as courage in pain or adversity” (Middle English: via French from Latin fortitudo, from fortis ‘strong’). Instead of mourning all the things I did not get to do in 2020 or dwell on the disappointments, I found strength in handling the challenges. The truth is that I managed to stay safe and healthy, and sadly I am aware that others and other families are not so lucky.  The small sacrifices I had to make are nothing compared to those of previous generations. I was inspired by the stories of how my immigrant grandparents faced their obstacles, and from the many life-altering events my Slovak and Rusyn ancestors endured. 

Which brings me to my “word” for 2021…

Last year, I chose the word “transform” as my word for the year. I outlined this in my “Saying Farewell to 2019: My Year in Review” blog post.” I wrote in part:

“While 2019 was a year to simplify various aspects of my life and work, 2020 is the year I plan to make some big changes including where I live and what type of work I do. While I don’t have all the specifics in place, I can say that I will be doing more creating/writing and online teaching, and virtual presentations. and less traveling/speaking at in-person conferences/events.”

Perhaps that post was a bit prophetic.  While circumstances prevented me from changing where I live (I had planned to move), the unprecedented time forced me to halt travel and in-person conferences and work more virtually as well as focus on creating/writing. I had to pivot in my business and transform my goals and thinking. 

Hello 2021!

According to Forbes.com ‘Resilience’ is the word for 2021 because it implies hope, faith and possibilities.” (See “Why The Word For 2021 Is ‘Resilience’ And How It Affects Mental Health” 6 December 2020).


So, I have decided that RESILIENT/RESILIENCE will be my word for 2021. I will be honest in saying I have no idea what 2021 will bring. However, as I prepare for the new year, I do have hope and faith and I look forward to new possibilities!

I would like to extend a special thank you to my readers for your continued support in 2020. 

I wish you health, happiness, and better days in 2021!

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

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If  improving your genealogy and/or writing skills is on your list of goals for the coming year, then check out the Black Friday Bonanza Sale at Research Write Connect!

Whether you are a beginner who wants to explore family history, understand DNA testing and specific record sets, or an experienced researcher hoping to write your family history, or master using Scrivener writing software, then take advantage of our Black Friday Bonanza Sale and save 50% on all classes and 1:1 Coaching services at Research, Write, Connect through Monday, 30 November 2020!  (Note: Offer is not valid on past purchases).

All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule! These are the lowest prices of the year on our courses/coaching so you don’t want to miss out on this deal!

Use promo code THANKS50 at checkout to claim your 50% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 30 November 2020.

Learn more about these courses by clicking the links below.

Genealogy Courses

  • The ABCs of DNA (with Regina Negrycz), regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $43.50 USD – click HERE to purchase!

Writing  Courses

Coaching Services
 
Save 50% on purchase of a one-hour writing coaching package with professional writer and instructor, Lisa A. Alzo, regularly priced at $120 USD per hour, now just $60.00 USD – Click HERE to purchase! 
 
View the Research, Write, Connect Store for more information.
 
Offer expires 30 November 2020
 
Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
Research, Write, Connect
All Rights Reserved
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Back to School Sale: Save 30% on all Research Write Connect Courses

September is here and it is the unofficial end of summer. As students are heading back to school, it is also time to think about your own genealogy education plan!  

Whether you are a beginner who wants to explore family history, understand DNA testing and specific record sets, or an experienced researcher hoping to write your family history, or master using Scrivener writing software, then take advantage of the special back to school sale and save 30% on all classes at Research, Write, Connect through Tuesday, 14 September 2020!  


All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule!



Use promo code LEARN30 at checkout to claim your 30% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 14 September 2020.

Learn more about these courses by clicking the links below.

Genealogy Courses

  • The ABCs of DNA (with Regina Negrycz), regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $60.90 USD – click HERE to purchase!

Writing  Courses

View the Research, Write, Connect Store for more information.

Offer expires on 14 September 2020.

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved
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Announcing New Course on Using City Directories at Research Write Connect

Curious about how city directories can help you with your genealogical research? Want to learn how to locate directories online or in print? 


You can learn how to located and use these directories and more in a new course at Research Write Connect Academy, “Using City Directories for Genealogical Research: Windows to the Past” with instructor Diana Crisman Smith.

Click here to register today and save $10.00 off the regular price with promo code DIANA10 through 15 July 2020

Course Description:

Learn to use directories (city, rural, occupational, and others) to mine the many gems of information they contain. The details in directories are not only useful facts in themselves, but also serve as clues in the search for more details and documentation for a clearer image of the lives of our ancestors.

What You’ll Get

1. Self-Paced StudyThere is no required start or end date. Simply log in and begin your course immediately! You can work through the materials and exercises at a pace that suits your own schedule, experience, and learning style. 
2. Tips & Techniques: This new three-week course is designed to introduce students to the gems in city (and other) directories. The written lessons are supplemented by videos [closed-captioning provided], and a  handout with resources and websites.

3. Interactive Learning: Practical exercises will provide an opportunity to explore city directories, putting the concepts into action as you move through the course. Interact with your instructor via a designated Facebook Group.

View the full course outline here.

If you ever wanted to find a window to the past of the lives of your ancestors, city (and other directories) can provide that helpful glimpse! 

About the Instructor


Diana Crisman Smith has been researching her family history since grade school. She has been attending conferences, writing, teaching and presenting to genealogical audiences for over 40 years. Her research experience began with her own families in Denmark, Canada, and the US – including three Mayflower ancestors. She has added client research, aiding patrons at the local LDS Family History Search Center as a lay librarian for more than twenty years, and traveling to genealogical repositories around the country (and in Denmark) to explore family history resources. 

Diana has written feature and how-to articles and product reviews for online and print publications, including Heritage Quest, FamilyTree Magazine, Everton’s Family History Magazine, Genealogical Computing, Digital Genealogist, Family TreeMaker Magazine, APG Quarterly, NGS NewsMagazine, and others. She was an instructor for FamilyTree University, including courses on Land Records, Military Records, Civil War Research, Scandinavian Basics, Death Records, City Directories, Census Records, and RootsMagic software. 

She is also on the faculty of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, with a course on Danish Research. Diana is past board member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG), the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and the Florida State Genealogical Society, as well as the Great Lakes Chapter of APG and various local societies. She has presented a wide variety of topics at conferences throughout the United States, at sea, and via webinar. Since concluding a career in software consulting, she is concentrating her efforts on genealogical pursuits including researching, teaching, writing, and speaking.

Hurry! Register Soon

The special discount for this course ends on Wednesday 15 July 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Register now with promo code DIANA10 and get this course for just $77 USD.

Sign up today and learn how city (and other) directories can provide windows to the past for your ancestors!

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
Research, Write, Connect

All Rights Reserved.

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Special Sale on Writing Courses and New Course Announcement

Are you struggling to get that family history writing project off the ground?  Want to learn how to write your memoir or learn how to use Scrivener?  

The courses at Research, Write, Connect can help you accomplish those goals.



Save 40% on all writing courses at Research, Write, Connect

Register for one of these courses using promo code WRITE40. NOTE: The special promo price for these courses has been extended through 5 July 2020 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Discount is valid ONLY on writing courses. Included courses:

NEW COURSE! Crafting Your Memoir, regularly priced $97,00, now just $58.20 – click HERE to register!

Write Stuff: Telling the Story – Writer’s Edition, regularly priced at $149.00, now just $89.40 
Click HERE to register!

Write Stuff II: Advancing the Story, regularly priced at $149.00, now just $89.40 – click HERE to register!

Write Stuff III: Selling the Story, regularly priced at $169.00, now just $101.40 – click HERE to register!

Mastering Scrivener (101), regularly priced at $179.00, now just $107.40 – click HERE to register!

You must apply promo code WRITE40 at checkout to claim your savings!


New Course on the Genealogical Proof Standard

Do you ever question whether you are doing genealogy the right way? Have you heard others talk about the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) but find yourself intimidated by the term, or confused by exactly what it means? Do you wonder if it’s something you need to use if you are not a professional researcher?

Then check Research, Write, Connect for a brand new course with Cheri Hudson Passey The Genealogical Proof Standard: A Guide for Your Genealogy Journey.

In this four-lesson self-paced class, you will learn why every genealogist should learn to use and apply the 5 elements of the GPS. Register now and get started learning and practicing how the GPS is a fundamental “Guide for Your Genealogy Journey.”

Now through 7 July 2020 you can take $20 off with promo code GPS20.

A Message from the Instructor



“The Genealogical Proof Standard is a necessary tool to help ensure you are on the correct path to discover your ancestors. In this course, you will learn how to put the GPS into practice.”~ Cheri Hudson Passey


Click here to learn more about the course and register now. 



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Celebrating 14 Years of Blogging: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Today marks the 14th anniversary of this blog!  It seems like yesterday since my first post on June 28, 2006!



When I created this blog, my goal was pretty simple: to share information about my two favorite topics: writing and genealogy! 

My second blog post detailed why I decided to name my blog “The Accidental Genealogist.” In it, I wrote:

“Here I’ll share my thoughts, experiences, profiles on some of my favorite ancestors, and other useful information for genealogists who like to write, as well as tips on writing and publishing for writers who happen to be genealogists.” 

A lot has happened in the genealogy world over the past 14 years both in my personal research and in my role as a writer and educator.  I have enjoyed sharing news about my personal goals, books, speaking engagements, research finds, travel to my ancestral villages, and more. I participated in Blog carnivals and challenges, and even created my own blogging prompt series “Fearless Females” in 2010 to help share stories of female ancestors in March during Women’s History Month. 

I have written about research challenges I have tackled and have also had the opportunity to connect with cousins and fellow researchers around the globe.  

On the professional side, I have shared posts about new databases [affiliate link], software, and other technology tools such as Scrivener [affiliate link] to help with the research process, and writing family history, and online education opportunities I provide with my own webinar bundles, and through Research, Write, Connect AcademyThe National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and Legacy Family Tree Webinars [affiliate link].

(See my post “Five Ways to Learn Virtually with The Accidental Genealogist“)

A Look Ahead

As a result of the  COVID-19 pandemic, all of my 2020 scheduled in-person appearances were either cancelled, rescheduled to virtual presentations, or postponed until 2021,  This has provided more time for me to look further into my family history, finish some writing projects, and develop more educational materials. 

As my research interests change and my business evolves, I recognize the importance of being able to pivot and try new things. I have plans to change my websites and newsletter, and I have a new blog in the works too. Stay tuned!

A Word of Thanks

Thank you to everyone who has commented on this blog over the years, contacted me via email, or approached me at a conference or speaking engagement to tell me how much they have enjoyed reading my posts.  I appreciate your encouragement and support.

[While I have turned off the comments function of this blog for now, readers are welcome to contact me through the contact form at the top of this page.] 


Copyright, 2020, Lisa A. Alzo


All Rights Reserved

[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing any products mentioned above, which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business].



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Learn How to Research U.S. Government Records in New Course from Research, Write, Connect

Have you ever wondered if there are untapped federal records you can use in your genealogy research to find your ancestors? Not sure where or how to begin to find them? 

Then check out the new course, Researching U.S. Government Records (101) by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG®, FMGS, FUGA at Research, Write, Connect


In this self-paced, 4-week “drip” course, you will learn how to research the treasure trove of federal records of the U.S. government and mine the rich personal and other details they contain to compile a better picture of your ancestors and their families.

Sign up by 31 May 2020 and receive $20 off with promo code PAULA20. Click here to learn more and start your course today!

Course Details

Researching U.S. Government Records (101)

In this course, you will get:

  • Self-Paced Study – 1 Lesson Per Week. There is no deadline to finish this course. You will receive an email with a link to begin your course one day after purchase. Lessons will be “dripped” via email message to you on a weekly basis so you can work through the materials and assignments at a pace that suits your own schedule, experience, and learning style. 
  • Tips and Techniques – Easy-to-understand lesson materials and short simple videos will cover how to start, understand terminology, organize your research, avoid common mistakes, and learn what types of records are available and where to find them.
  • Interactive Learning – Assignments will provide an opportunity to begin the process of building your tree by putting the concepts into action as you move through the course. Interact with your instructor via a private course Facebook Group.
Course Description

Federal records are found with the U. S. National Archives (in many locations), Library of Congress, Depository Libraries, Family History Library/FamilySearch, state historical societies, university libraries, state archives, and via many of today’s genealogy subscription websites. Others remain with the designated federal agency. Many are one-of-a-kind documents. 

The details found in the records are astounding and help to compile a better picture of our ancestors and their families. From birth, marriage, and death details all the way to how Great Great Grandpa Earl’s leg was injured or what happened to the family business can be found. The federal census and military pension records you know about are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

As such, the family history details found in material created by the United States federal government are voluminous. This course will introduce you to records you may not know about and how to find them. 

Click here to view a detailed course outline.



A Message from the Instructor

“Ten years in a row spent in intensive researching at the National Archives in Washington, DC and College Park, Maryland. Then research at several of the regional locations of NARA. I knew I had to share details and discoveries with others so they could enhance their own family history. Once I was back in DC in December of 2019, I knew how I wanted to share more about the unbelievable records of our federal government. I hope you enjoy this four-session introduction to a variety of records, finding aids, and both online and in-person access. The syllabus that accompanies this is extensive and provides more detail.’

~ Paula Stuart-Warren, Instructor

About the Instructor

Paula is a genealogical and historical researcher, lecturer, writer, and research coach. She is based in Minnesota but research has taken her to locations and repositories across the U.S. She has done presentations on various topics for national, state, and local groups in the U.S., Canada, and on cruise ships. Her specialties include unusual records, analysis, research planning, problem-solving, manuscript and archival repositories, railroads, and Native American genealogy. For ten years, she lived in the Washington, DC area for weeks at a time while researching at the National Archives and other area repositories. She last researched at the Archives in DC at the end of 2019. She has also researched on-site at several of the other NARA locations. Her other extensive experience with federal records has been with microfilmed, digitized, and published material found in other repositories and online. She has written books and many articles about family history and records and is an active volunteer in many organizations. Her contracted research has assisted authors, law firms, television shows, historical societies, and others with projects. Paula is a course coordinator and instructor at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, an instructor at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and an instructor for Ancestry Academy, FamilyTree University, and Legacy Family Tree Webinars. She has served on the boards of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and Minnesota Genealogical Society. She was the first President of the Northland Chapter of APG. She has received many awards for her work, most recently the 2019 Association of Professional Genealogists Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy. She is a member of many genealogical and historical organizations. Her ancestors came to the U.S. from eight other countries and she has also researched the southern roots of her father-in-law. Sharing the knowledge and experience of her years in genealogy is a vital part of her life which also includes her own continuing education.


~ Paula

If you are ready to get started, click here to reserve your spot.  Use promo code PAULA20 at checkout to get the special ($20 off) introductory price today.


Offer ends 31 May 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. [Offer valid ONLY on the U.S. Government Records 101 Course.]

[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing these products which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business]


Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

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Learn How to Jumpstart Your Genealogy with New Course at Research, Write, Connect

New to genealogy, but don’t know where to begin? 

Then check out the new course, Beginning Genealogy: Starting Off Right by Cheri Hudson Passey at Research, Write, Connect


In this self-paced, 4-week course, you will learn the basics of beginning your genealogy journey! Sign up by 31 May 2020 and receive $20 off with promo code CHERI20. Click here to learn more and start your course today!

Course Details

The desire to discover our ancestors continues to grow in popularity with the addition of online trees, genealogy TV shows, and the popularity of DNA tests.  How do we begin to create our family tree and know we are researching the right lines and adding the right people? How do we know where to look for the information we need and if it is correct? 

The process can be overwhelming.

Class Description

Beginning Genealogy -Starting off Right will teach the basics of beginning your genealogy journey. During the four-week class we will learn how to start, understand terminology, organize your research, avoid common mistakes, and learn what types of records are available and where to find them.

Assignments will provide an opportunity to begin the process of building your tree by putting the concepts into action as we move through the class.


Whether you have never filled out a pedigree chart or have been researching for a while with Cheri’s help you will build the confidence and skills you need to climb your family tree!

In this course, you will get:

  • Self-Paced Study – There is no required start or end date. Simply log in and begin your course immediately! You can work through the materials and assignments  at a pace that suits your own schedule, experience, and learning style. 
  • Tips and Techniques – Easy-to-understand lesson materials and short simple videos will cover how to start, understand terminology, organize your research, avoid common mistakes, and learn what types of records are available and where to find them.
  • Interactive Learning – Assignments will provide an opportunity to begin the process of building your tree by putting the concepts into action as you move through the course. Interact with your instructor via a designated Facebook Group.

Click here to view a detailed course outline.

A Message from the Instructor


“Register today and join me on a four-week adventure learning the steps involved in building your family tree. Watch the videos, read the lessons, and then put it all together by completing the homework assignments. Your tree will begin to blossom as you learn the basics of beginning your genealogy journey and make sure you are Starting Off Right.”
~ Cheri

If you are ready to get started, click here to reserve your spot.  Use promo code CHERI20 at checkout to get the special ($20 off) introductory price today.



Offer ends 31 May 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. [Offer valid ONLY on the Beginning Genealogy: Starting Off Right Course.]

[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing these products which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business]


Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved


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Mother’s Day Special: Save 40% on Courses at Research, Write, Connect

Looking to research or write about the special women in your life? 

Then, check out the special Mother’s Day sale and save 40% on all classes at Research, Write, Connect through Monday, 11 May 2020!  


All courses are self-paced with no set start or end dates so you can begin at a date and time that suits your schedule!
Use promo code MOM40 at checkout to claim your 40% savings!

Offer good until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 11 May 2020.
  • The ABCs of DNA, regularly priced at $87.00 USD, now just $52.20 USD – click HERE to shop!
[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing these products which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business]


Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved
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Celebrate National DNA Day: Save on Courses at Research Write Connect

In celebration of National DNA Day (April 25, 2020), Research, Write, Connect is having a sale on DNA courses taught by instructor, Regina Negrycz.

New! Using Mirror Trees to Identify Ancestors – Save $20 Now!

Learn how to use mirror trees and attach them to  DNA results to identify ancestors.
For a limited time, you can get this course for just $69 ($20 off the regular price).  Offer expires Thursday, 30 April 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

Click here to learn more and view the course outline.

Key features of the course include:
  • Self-Paced Study – No start or end date. Log in and begin your course immediately! You can work through the materials at a pace that suits your own schedule!
  • Tips & Techniques – Easy-to-understand lesson materials and short simple videos explain how to create, navigate, and use mirror trees Learn how to link mirror trees to DNA results to identify ancestors.
  • Interact with your instructor and get additional video content through access to a Facebook group.


Use Promo Code MIRROR20 at checkout!

                                    


The ABCs of DNA Course – Save 40%!

Also on sale: The ABCs of DNA taught by instructor Regina Negrycz.

The ABCs of DNA Course
The ABCs of DNA

By taking this course today, you will quickly learn the core concepts of using DNA for genealogy, which test to take, and the next steps!

Key features of the course include:

  • Self-Paced Study – No start or end date. Log in and begin your course immediately! You can work through the materials at a pace that suits your own schedule!
  • Tips & Techniques – Easy-to-understand lesson materials and short simple videos explain DNA terminology, who to test, types of tests, and more!
  • Interactive Learning – Ask questions and interact with your instructor and other students in a dedicated DNA Facebook Group.
For a limited time, you can get this course for $52.20 (save 40% off the regular price).  Offer expires Thursday 30 April 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

Click here to learn more and view the course outline.

Use Coupon Code DNA40 at checkout!

                                    


Check out our other courses and coaching services too!

[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing these products which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business]

Copyright 2020, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved
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