2013, A Year of Firsts

With 2013 almost over, everyone tends to start thinking back over the past year, while at the same time thinking about what they want to do in 2014.

I’m not a New Years resolution person. Never have been. Probably never will be. Instead I tend to make a goal for myself somewhere along the way relating to a task or project, obviously with the aim of achieving it. While some of you might call that a resolution. Me, I just call it a goal. And it can’t be a “New Years resolution” as such as I don’t do them at New Years either! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So for this post, I’m taking a leaf out of Kenneth Marks’ The Ancestor Hunt blog, and have chosen not to do a “Best and Worst of 2013” type post as many have, but rather a modified version of it. I’m going to look back at a number of “firsts” that Iย  achieved throughout 2013.


Memorabilia House

No. 1 FIRST FOR 2013 – Heirloom Blog
My first ”first for 2013” started in January 2013, which was the beginning of Memorabilia House blog. I created this with the idea of recording my family’s heirlooms and the stories behind them. My family has been fortunate enough to inherit nearly ‘everything’ from at least one side of my family, and as such has a house full of ephemera and heirlooms, I thought it should be catalogued. So that is the purpose of this blog. To catalogue items that our family has, and note the significance of them. And I chose to do this as a blog so my wider family can also see what we have, together with others who might find connections.


logo - RootsTech 2013No. 2 FIRST FOR 2013 – RootsTech
March was super exciting, as I got to go to the biggest genealogy conference in US, RootsTech. After hearing everyone rave about it for the past couple of years it was on my buckt list of things to do, and 2013 was the year I got to do it. Going to RootsTech gave me lots of ‘firsts’ for the year. My first trip the Utah, my first trip to the US, my first time meeting so many wonderful people I knew from online, my first trip to the Family History Library, and the first time I shoved an autograph book in front of everyone I could … oh and how could I forget … my first time of ever seeing snow fall! YES, SERIOUSLY! For more about my adventures there, check the links below.
A Day in Salt Lake City
Next Stop Hollywood??
Genealogy Royalty and the Autograph Book
Conference Bling from RootsTech 2013
Memorable Moments in Salt Lake City


logo - About TimeNo. 3 FIRST OR 2013 – South Australia’s History Month
May has become South Australia’s history month. Organisations big and small host events right around the state, and open their doors to the public to show them their contribution to South Australia’s heritage. This year Mr Lonetester and I took part in it for the first time, and browsed through the huge booklet of events (over 500 of them), and found a tour of Artlab Australia listed. So I booked, and off we went. For those who don’t know, Artlab Australia is the premier conservation company, and does restoration and conservation work for museums and similar organisations, as well as individuals not just in Australia but overseas too. I was this organisation that recently restored the Eureka flag. For more about the tour, click on the link below.
Going Behind the Scenes with Artlab


Family Tree Photo Wall

No. 4 FIRST FOR 2013 – Family Tree Photo Wall
This first is actually probably an ‘only’, as I don’t expect to be doing it again. Anyway I was looking through old photos of reli’s that I had scanned and stored on my computer, and thought how nice it would be to display them. But then rather than just creating a photo wall which was my initial idea, why not put them in some order which shows their connection to myself and Mr Lonetester. So after a big storm back in May, which resulted in us having no internet or phone for about a month, I decided that was as good a time as any to get started on my photo wall. You can find more info on this on my earlier posts. Admittedly it took me till November to get it complete, but it did sit idle for a number of months in between, but is now as complete as it can be until I get a few remaining pics.
Family Tree Photo Wallย  Part 1: Getting Started
Family Tree Photo Wall Part 2: Almost Done


Gumeracha and District Past and Present 500No. 5 FIRST FOR 2013 – Local History Facebook Page
As a follow on from finding out about my family’s heirlooms, I started scanning a stack of pics that relate to my ancestors and the areas they come from. So after thinking about it for a while, in August I bit the bullet and decided to create the Gumeracha and District Past and Present Facebook page as a way of sharing what I have with others. And I love having the connection with others who have a passion for the history of the area too. If you have an interest in the history of the district, please come and join me.
Gumeracha and District Past and Present on Facebook


genchatNo. 6 FIRST FOR 2013 – GENCHAT
October was when I hit on another first. And that was participating in my first GENCHAT session (also known as a Twitter chat session). With a specified topic, at a specified time (and once I worked it out to my local time), I just log on to Twitter, and wait for the questions that relate to the topic, and then respond via Twitter, while also interacting with others from all around the world who participate as well. The topic I took part in was”Sharing Your Research with Blogs, Gifts, Books and Crafts” which was great fun, and the contributors had lots of great ideas. For more about genchat, check the links below.
GENCHAT – Genealogy Twitter Chats
#genchat continues in 2014


The end of October was my 15 year anniversary with Mr Lonetester, and I wanted to get him something. But he is seriously the “hardest-person-on-earth-to-buy-for”, and we don’t normally do anniversary gifts anyway … so I was stuck for ideas … at least until I thought of a photo book. That allowed me to document our 15 years together, and is a great, unique gift (not to mention a great record as well)! So if you’re after a present, trust me, a photo book is a good one.
A Photo Book is the Perfect Present


logo - YouTube 200No. 8 FIRST FOR 2013 – YouTube Video
This was a complete surprise first for me, as I’d never expected to head on into the video side of things at all. But it was early November when I was trying out my laptop’s camera and sound to see how it all worked and sounded, and I actually managed to taped something. After looking back at it, thought it wasn’t too bad, and I even worked out how to pop it onto YouTube.
My First Ever Video


Geniaus HOA Books

No. 9 FIRST FOR 2013 – Hangout On Air
Later in November was when I participated in my first Hangout On Air event. This is kind of like a combination of an informal seminar and skype video combined. Jill Ball (aka GeniAUS) hosted it, and for this HOA the topic was books, and she asked attendees to share with others their favourite books. I shared three of mine, which I then also wrote about in a blog. The HOA is viewable on YouTube, and the link for it on the blog below.
The Topic is Books


FH By Numbers - wordcloud #6No. 10 FIRST FOR 2013 – My First Geneameme
And to finish off the year, in early December I created my first geneameme. Titled “It’s All in the Numbers” it’s something that’d I’d been thinking about for ages, and eventually it worked it’s way into a geneameme. If you like the idea of using numbers, and linking it them to your family history have a read of the links below.
It’s All in the Numbers Geneameme
My Response to “It’s All in the Numbers” Geneameme


You know I felt that I really hadn’t done much research all year, and looking back I can see why!! I knew I was busy with other things, but till writing them down, I didn’t realise how busy. But it’s been a good year, with lots of learning – and obviously lots of new experiences.

I know there will be more firsts for me next year too, so “roll on 2014”!

10 Responses to “2013, A Year of Firsts”

  1. Anne says:

    That’s a lot of “firsts”. Sounds like a full and exciting year.

  2. Alex Daw says:

    Well of course I think this is post is just the bees-knees. You are so very clever for having done ALL of these things – the travel, the meme-ing, the video-ing….I haven’t been half so brave. Well done Alona. A fantastic effort. You’ve done us proud! And thanks for the tip re Genchat…hadn’t heard of that…don’t know if I’ll be able to participate but will give it a red hot go. Wish my mother was still alive to do the photo wall thingy…she’d be much better at it than me…..

  3. Fi says:

    That’s a great list, Alona. Congrats on all of those ‘firsts’. I have no doubt your research will only benefit from all these extra-curricular activities ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Pauleen says:

    Wht a lot of achievements you’ve had this year Alona. like you I don’t like New Year resolutions but grabbing opportunities, or a specific goal, that’s a different story. I’m still pondering a relevant numbers genea meme response.

  5. Judy Webster says:

    Congratulations on all the new skills you learned during 2013. I am filled with admiration!

    • Alona says:

      Thank you so much Judy. I was very surpsied at just how many “firsts” I came up with when I really thought about it. So I know that although I got bacially no research was done all year, I was learning all along the way in other ways. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before ending I am reading this fantastic
    article to improve my experience.

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