Sunday, January 3, 2016

Good Intentions

If I had been one to make New Year's resolutions, I would already have broken one. That's just how good I escaping being boxed in.

There is something about the "resolutions" mentality that I just can't help but rebuff. You can call them goals. Perhaps dub them dreams. Or vision. And I'd be okay with that. But no resolutions.

"But they're all the same thing," you might protest. And I would be quick to disagree. Resolutions mean there's no backing out—no way to get around doing that very thing you've determined to do. For some perverse reason, that is exactly what conjures up that twisted obstinate something deep inside to find a way to rebel.

That certainly doesn't get the job done.

So I bank on good intentions. If they work, great. If they don't...hey, at least I have a dream. And you know what? Somehow, I stand a better chance of approaching that intention when I call it a dream than when I call it an absolutely-gotta-get-done resolution.

Then there was January first. I really had intended this year—perhaps "intend" slides perilously close to "resolution"—to get back to regularly indexing records at And, just as I do for my bi-monthly research report, include an accountability post for how my indexing progress is going. (Of course, there is the side story of the hope that you might read and get inspired to follow suit and sign up for some indexing projects of your own.)

The only problem was, it's been a while since I last did any indexing. Like, long enough to buy a new computer. And take a year to migrate from my old one. (Did I mention I am a technology Luddite?)

That meant, of course, that I had to upload the entire indexing program on to my "new" computer. Which I did.

And nothing happened.

Who knows. Perhaps that was the very moment at which the IT gurus at FamilySearch decided to take the system down for those annoyingly inconvenient regular updates. At any rate, after installing the indexing program on my system, I got...a blank screen.

I tried everything, to no avail. Well...everything short of calling my technologically precocious daughter or her brilliant father.

Shutting down the computer, rebooting, scanning for bugs, standing on my head, batting my eyelashes: nothing worked. It was time to put the project to bed for the night.

The next morning, I was at it again. Chalk me up for foul mood number one of 2016. I don't like it when things don't work. Especially computer things.

Now, you may be wondering: "Isn't that the way things always go with computers?" Keep in mind, though, I've done indexing on my older, slower, clunkier computer with nary a problem—in the past. Generally, you can download a batch—selected at your preferred level of difficulty, even—and be done with it in a half hour. It is a logical progression, with instructions to take you, step by step, through the process. If you can read and type (with at least two fingers), you can index.

Somehow, that wasn't in the works for Indexing 2016. Not, at least, for me. This is not how I intended to start out my New Year of Good Intentions.

Eventually, I wangled my way into the indexing project for "U.S.-Illinois County Naturalization Records, 1848 to 1945." The program served up a batch that someone else had started and—apparently—run from, screaming. Lovely.

It wasn't so bad. I quickly got my bearings and soldiered through. Even went back and fixed up what had been entered incorrectly at the beginning (discarding duplicate pages).

But the one I had wanted to index was a project with a bit higher level of challenge—in a gradation of difficulty ranging from #1 to #5, this one landed safely in the middle at #3. It was for the Illinois-Chicago-Northern District Petition for Naturalization, 1906-1991. I hadn't been able to upload the batch the previous evening, nor even earlier in this attempt.

Not to worry, though. Among those good intentions is my plan to stick to a schedule of indexing a batch twice a month. To help me keep on track, I'll make an accountability post of it, here at A Family Tapestry. See how you keep me on the straight and narrow? So, if not today, I will get back to that Northern District Petition for Naturalization file, soon.

As another conqueror was reported to have famously said in history, "I shall return." 

Above: An 1897 landscape, "Snow Fall," by Russian artist Mikhail Germashev; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Ah, a regular schedule of indexing. Brilliant. I index but it's sporadic and more recently has been an alternative to boredom and I'm rarely bored. At the risk of creating a resolution, I should set a schedule too.

    1. I think it helps. Like you, Wendy, I did what I could, when I could. But frankly, I can't even remember when the last time "I could" was.

      I find a little accountability measure goes a long way in making progress. I'm a strong believer in incremental progress. I'm not a really adept one-fell-swooper.

  2. Good for you! I would like to try indexing when I get some free time. I am off on Monday to my Daughters she is having a minor surgery on Tuesday. The Forgottens will continue as if I were home:)

    1. Isn't the Internet grand?! It converts all of us to 24/7 masters!

      Hope all goes well with your daughter's surgery. She will be in our family's prayers.

  3. I would find it really frustrating to try to volunteer to do something and not have a program (or something) cooperate!

    1. Yeah. I'm just hoping it was down time on their side of the divide. I never had that problem when I had downloaded the program to my other computer. Glad it eventually worked out. But something to keep in mind: check it out a second time.


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