It's been a strange year with more than the usual ups and downs for me, personally. The year started with some not very good news and then it just got worse, especially the first four months. But it did get better, and it turned out to be one of my best years ever for genealogy research!
I returned to Indiana in mid-December when I was informed that my Mother's physical ailments were more than we had been told. She was diagnosed with cancer and started treatments on January 10th. She did very well the first three weeks then went downhill fast and passed away on February 15th. As you can imagine, it was a very rough time, to say the least.
Three weeks later, after getting Mom's apartment cleaned out and her things taken care of (with considerable help from my niece Tami) I headed out on the road again. Georgia was the first major stop - to visit another niece and her family to deliver some things Mom wanted her to have. I also enjoyed a few days on the beaches of Anastasia Island in Florida and a visit with Denise Barrett Olson, author of the Moultrie Creek Gazette.
I was in southwest Georgia on March 17th, just 10 days after leaving Indiana, and on my way to points further west when I was informed that a dear friend, Lorene Joslin, had a series of strokes and there was nothing more they could do for her. I met up with my cousin Babs and we went to Springfield, Missouri in order to help the family in whatever way we could. Lorene passed away on March 25th. Getting to know and enjoy these two little girls and their parents was a real joy during that time of sorrow.
After getting Babs back to her home in Alabama, I continued traveling westward. I made it through Texas and barely into New Mexico, experiencing high winds and soaring temperatures along the way. Dealing with a nagging knee/leg injury and (I'll admit) probably a bit of depression, I returned to Indiana in April for a short time and a visit to the doctor.
On May 2nd I was heading westward once again. After a brief stop in Topeka to visit a very, very, very distant Joslin cousin I took a meandering route through Kansas, into Colorado and then northward to GeneaMecca where I met up with Carol Stevens on May 19th. We spent nearly three weeks together there (she stayed on for a week longer). Along with some intense research which resulted in several Happy Dances, we enjoyed lunchtime strolls through Temple Square with the beautiful, amazing varieties of flowers and meeting new friends.
But all good things must come to an end. On June 9th I left Salt Lake City and went back to Indiana for a doctor's appointment and to spend some time with family and friends. A few weeks later I was in eastern Ohio to do some onsite research on the Rupert and Switzer families. A heat wave making its way across the midwest cut short my visit to Columbiana County and I headed northward into Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. A highlight for me was visiting the house in Traverse City where my Grandmother had lived a hundred and two years ago!
Before I knew it August had arrived. The drive through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was wonderful – cooler weather, waterfalls, gorgeous sunsets, and strange creatures. By the middle of August I had made my way west to South Dakota and the Joslin Family Rendezvous.
Then it was on to the Badlands National Park where I had an incredible experience with a herd of Buffalo! In Wyoming I had several more Close Encounters of a different kind and also spent a few days at Yellowstone National Park.
Montana was the place for me in September! I stayed for a few weeks at the vacation home of friends, saw Creatures Great and Small, rustic barns, beautiful sunsets, and spent a few days with Sue and Fred in Glacier National Park.
With intentions of staying on the coast for a while, I made it to the Pacific Shores of Oregon. The beaches were lovely but after traveling for most of the last 2+ years, I realized I was just plain tired and decided to take another break. And where does a family researcher go to get “refreshed”? Why, to Salt Lake City, of course!
Seven weeks were spent in GeneaMecca and I must say, it was incredible! I gathered a tremendous number of deeds and estate files as well as other records, and even found another ancestor.
Hoping to find warmer weather for December I was southward bound. A few hours at Bryce Canyon and a night at Zion National Park, and then I was out of Utah. Mother Nature was not at all cooperative the first two weeks of December and I made a change in plans. After a short visit with my friend/cousin Diana in San Antonio and an even shorter visit to Padre Island, I made it “home” to Louisiana for the holidays.
So, with that, I bid the year 2011 farewell. When I first started writing this post I started it by saying that I was glad it would soon be over. But I took that out, because, you know, after reviewing the year, I think it turned out pretty darned good overall...
And this has got to be the most "link intensive" post I've ever written ;-)