Farewell to 2023: My Year in Review

2024 Happy New Year

As I prepare to say farewell to 2023, I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads both personally and professionally. This past year went by quickly as there always seemed to be something to do, or deadlines to meet. There was also a fair amount unexpected closure due to dealing with the deaths of two important people in my life: my aunt/godmother in October, and a dear college friend, two months prior (in August 2023). Professional closure came as well as I decided to shut down my online course website, Research, Write, Connect, and then just a few months ago I learned that Internet Genealogy Magazine was going to cease publication (I was a regular contributor for more than 15 years and I will miss working with them).

But 2023 had many bright spots as well. I continued writing articles for Family Tree Magazine and became a regular contributor for Reunions Magazine. I also moderated classes for Family Tree Univesity and presented webinars for Legacy Family Tree Webinars (my September 2023 webinar on “50 Family History Writing Tips in 50 Minutes” made their Top 10 list for October). I also presented webinars for a host of genealogical societies (I enjoy giving virtual presentations) and delivered 5 in-person lectures for The Czechoslovak Genealogical Soceity International Conferene in Milwaukee, Wisonsin in October 2023.

When I looked back to see what my post was last year on December 31st I was surprised to realize that I had not written one!  I don’t remember why but there must have been a good reason.  At any rate, in previous years I had summarized key things that I accomplished in my genealogy research and as a writer and lecturer. I also started choosing a word for the coming year. In my “Farewell 2021: My Year in Review” post, I chose the word RESET as my word for 2022. It was a fitting choice as I implemented changes in my daily routine and my work.

Since I didn’t choose a word for 2023, I need to start again with choosing a word for the coming year.  For 2024, I have seleted the word DETERMINED.

The definition of “determined” according to Dictionary.com is:

  1. adjective
    resolute; staunch:
  2. decided; settled; resolved.

I like this word because it sums up my attitude moving into this new year.

So, in 2024, I am determined to:

1. Write more. I have made good, steady progress on a creative nonfiction book that is long overdue for publication. And I have several other ideas for other writing projects that I need to start working on, including sharing more stories about my ancestors Stay tuned for updates.

2. Stress less. I need to have more of a work-life balance. I work all the time and I want to try to work smarter, not harder in 2024 so I can spend more time with my husband, and plan more in-person visits with family and friends. I will also schedule time for myself to rest and relax.

3. Declutter and organize. Four years ago I parted with a lot of possesions due to downsizing and the sale of our house. But i still have A LOT of stuff! Since space is at a premium (and I want to be ready for our next move wheneve the time comes(. I plan to actively start a routine of sorting through documents, photographs, and other possessions and only keep what I feel is most important and meaningful. It is an ongoing process.

I am looking forward to 2024. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

As always, I would like to extend a special thank you to my readers for your continued support

I wish you health, happiness, and peace.


Copyright 2023, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Fearless Females Blogging Prompts Series Back for 2023


In March 2010, I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the “fearless females” in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. I’m happy to say that this series is still going strong and is back for a 13th year.

Badge graphic courtesy of Denise Levenick; edits by Lisa Alzo

So, to mark National Women’s History Month, I’m listing the 31 prompts below.

Also, you can download the free badge above to use on your blog to indicate your participation. [A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, who created the original version of this badge especially for me for the 2016 edition of Fearless Females].

It is a perfect time to start writing about your female ancestors.

[Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c00288]


Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

You can choose to do some of the prompts, or all of them–there’s no pressure–it’s meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told!

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines. Post an image of it or link to it.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Fold3 Memorial Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you’ve selected and why and then post a link to what you’ve created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Also during the month of March you can save 30% off the Finding Your Female Ancestors course on my online education website, Research Write Connect (regularly priced at $99; now $69.30 with discount). Click here to register and use coupon code FEARLESS2023 to claim your discount through 31 March 2023. The course is self-paced with no start or end date so you can purchase at the discounted price and start the course whenever you choose.

Copyright, 2023, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved