Thursday, December 29, 2011

Twelve for '12

I like setting goals for genealogy and writing. Below are my 2012 goals, and also the “report card” for how I did with those goals I outlined in my "Eleven for '11" post.

Goals for 2012

1. Continue to diversify my freelance career to achieve a financially successful balance between writing, speaking, and teaching.

2. Publish a new book.

3. Publish Kindle, iPad, and Nook versions of my Baba's Kitchen and Three Slovak Women books.

4. Step out of my comfort zone and branch out into new writing markets (Query at least three non-genealogy publications and get the assignments).

5. Continue my search for information about my grandmother's brother who stayed in Slovakia.

6. Find out more about another ancestor who left Slovakia for Argentina.

7. Finally explore genealogy offerings in Second Life.

8. Develop and present more webinars/virtual lectures.

9. Learn more about Google Plus (G+) and how I can use it for genealogy/writing.

10 Continue purging excess clutter. Move more in the direction of paperless systems; organize my home office!

11. Write more blog posts (both on this blog and The Catholic Gene).

12. Eliminate any negative thoughts, energies, and activities that serve as obstacles or block me from achieving my goals.


My Report Card for Eleven for '11

[As the New Year approaches, I've composed a list of 11 genealogy/writing goals I have for 2011].

1. Follow up on researching my Alzo ancestors using information I obtained from my trip to Slovakia this summer: It seems I never have enough time to research my own family, but I believe I made decent progress on this goal. My great-grandfather was a “bird of passage” who traveled back and forth between America Slovakia to earn money to purchase land. I was able to track down passenger arrival lists to document his comings and goings.

2. Publish revised editions (and electronic versions) of my books, Three Slovak Women and Baba's Kitchen. Published print versions (and ebook version for BK) Next up: Versions for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

3. Try to find out more about my grandmother's brother who stayed in Slovakia. Still working on this with the help of researcher, Michal Razus, in Slovakia.

4. Publish a new book. Did not meet this goal due to extenuating circumstances. But I did publish second editions of two of my books (see #2 above)

5. Explore genealogy in Second Life. I created an account and poked around a bit; but never had time to explore as I had hoped. Will try in 2012!

6. Book additional speaking engagements--including some remote/virtual lectures. Did this. See Top 10 Genealogy and Writing Moments for 2011.

7. Blog more frequently and try to use Twitter more for genealogical purposes. I didn’t blog as often as I would have liked to (although I did write five posts for The Catholic Gene). I think I used Twitter as much as I had anticipated I would.

8. Continue to expand my freelance writing career. Did this and still working on it!

9. Write for at least 15 minutes per day (about ancestors or topics not associated with assignments or deadline projects). I’m happy to say that I was able to do this most days, with a few exceptions when I was on the road.

10. Finish organizing my father's scrapbook of his basketball days. I accomplished this and am so happy about it!

11. Purge, purge, purge the clutter! Organize all the other! Didn’t do quite enough, but I made an effort.

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 10 Genealogy and Writing Moments for 2011

Another year is drawing to a close. It's the time for reflection and resolutions. Last year I listed my Top Ten Genealogical Moments for 2010. This year, I am including the standout moments for me in both genealogy and writing.

10. Having articles published in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle Magazine, Internet Genealogy Magazine, and The Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (and having the cover article in the September 2011 issue), as well as online for the Experts series. Also, being invited to be a contributor for the new blog: The Catholic Gene.

9. Teaching three online courses for Family Tree University and several for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

8. Discovering that my grandparents had another baby (Mary) I never knew about. She was their first born child, and died at age 6 months of pneumonia. Nobody in my father's family ever mentioned her. I learned about her from a tiny obituary in an old hometown newspaper and was able to order her death certificate.

7. Appearing as a guest several times on Geneabloggers Radio, and also on the FGS MySociety Radio Show.

6. Being selected as a speaker for the first RootsTech conference, and also for the first time at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, in Springfield, IL.

5. Publishing revised editions of my books, Baba’s Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn Family Recipes & Traditions, Second Edition (available now at; and Three Slovak Women, Second Edition (in press with CreateSpace).

4. Enjoying visits with fellow genealogists/friends. First, during an extended visit to California: visiting San Francisco, Napa Valley, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Burbank. Then, in October, during a visit to Connecticut to attend a conference hosted by the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast.

3. Learning more about the son of an interesting cousin on my Alzo side. It’s one of those “greatness can come even out of tragic circumstances”-type stories. I plan to write an article (and accompanying blog post) about the discovery in the coming months.

2. Branching out to the world of Webinars (seminars given online). I offered several free webinars on my own in March 2011, and also presented Webinars for Legacy Family Tree and the SCGS Jamboree extension series.

It was difficult to come up with a single, outstanding moment for 2011. So, for the top spot I chose a combination of moments:

1. Having the opportunity to visit so many great cities and present at various conferences including: RootsTech, Ontario Genealogical Society (Canada), Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Utah Genealogical Association, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, as well as numerous groups and societies in Pennsylvania, New York, and other states

Looking back, I’d say 2011 was a pretty good year, and I am looking forward to greater challenges and new opportunities for my genealogical research and writing in 2012.

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Veselé Vianoce! Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve and I will be observing my Slovak and Rusyn heritage with a special Christmas Eve Supper. You can read some of my reflections on this today over at The Catholic Gene.

Sharing this image from a beautiful Slovak postcard I received this year from a friend and colleague:

Veselé Vianoce a Šťastný Nový Rok!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo

Friday, December 09, 2011

Family Recipe Friday: Auntie B's Christmas Cookies

Auntie B’s Christmas (Cut-Out) Cookies

Ever since I was a young girl these cookies have been a “must-bake” at Christmas! The almond extract provides a unique flavor.

1 c. butter
1-½ c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

4 c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda

Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

Mix together flour and baking soda. Add to mixture and mix well.

Let stand in refrigerator for about 30 min. Roll out dough with rolling pin on floured board.

Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Bake at 350 °F for 15 minutes. Using parchment paper helps to prevent cookies from sticking to pan (or you can use non-stick cooking spray—lightly coat pans).

Frosting and Decorating

1 egg white
1 c. powdered sugar
Few grains salt

Beat egg white with electric mixer and add 1 tsp. cold water; beat again.

Gradually add powdered sugar to beaten egg white and beat until smooth, with a consistency to pour slightly.

For colored icing, divide into small bowls and add few drops of food coloring of desired color.

You can find this and other recipes in my book, Baba's Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn Family Recipes & Traditions (2nd, Ed.).

Family Recipe Friday is a blogging series started by Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist (Thanks, Lynn!).

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New Family Tree University Courses Start Monday 12/5

Family Tree University has 11 courses starting on Monday, December 5th, including two courses I'm teaching: Discovering Your Czech and Slovak Roots, and Immigration Master Class (their spotlight course for this session).

Click here to learn more and register.

This is a great chance to get a jumpstart on your research goals for 2012.

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo

Disclosure: I work as a paid instructor for FTU (F&W Media)

Legacy Family Tree Webinar: Tracing Immigrant Ancestors

Come join me for a free Legacy Family Tree Webinar on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 on Tracing Immigrant Ancestors:

2:00 PM Eastern (U.S.)
1:00 PM Central
12:00 PM Mountain
11:00 AM Pacific
7:00 PM GMT

Webinar Description

America is a nation of immigrants, comprised of people who left home to find a better life for themselves and their families. Tracking down your immigrant ancestors can often be a daunting task. This webinar will show you tips and tricks for locating and searching passenger lists and other key immigration documents both on and offline to help you trace your roots.

In order to attend, you must register (advanced registration is highly recommended). Click here to reserve your space now.

Copyright, 2011, Lisa A. Alzo

Disclosure: I have been invited to present this webinar for Legacy Family Tree and will be paid a speaker's fee for my services.