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Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

This week I have been busy volunteering at the Association for American State and Local History Conference which just so happens to be here in St. Paul, MN, this year.  It has been a ridiculously cool experience and I am enjoying learning from all the speakers and presenters!

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I loved this quote from yesterday's keynote speaker, Garrison Keillor: 

"The discovery that unbeknownst to you amazing things were happening in your vicinity, and if you'd have known about them they'd have changed your life. This is history."

It is neat to see your stomping grounds from someone else's perspective.  Of course there is a lot to do, so I am going to keep this short and sweet!  If you are here,  be sure to say 'hi'!  

Tara Cajacob


Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Mid-Week Inspiration

Who doesn't need a little more inspiration in their life? I've found myself feeling a little spread thin lately with the busy, busyness of fall, running a company and preparing for a big launch -- so I can sure take it wherever I can get it!  

I wanted to share with you this quote that spoke to my soul:

"A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance."  --Gary Hamel

This is what sharing and working in history means to me, it is my noble purpose and yes, it does all those things.  I won't go into it again, because I know I have shared many times before why my love for history runs so deep and why I hope everyone can some day find joy in it.  

What is your favorite quote?  Have you found inspiration somewhere unexpected this week? If so, share in the comments below!

 


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Sneak Peek! Family History Research Planners Coming in October!

Things have been so exciting here!  The launch of the new ebook The Purposeful Family Historian is right around the corner, and on that note I have even more big news!  I have been working for nearly two years to perfect The Historical Research Planner System which will be debuting this October!

UPDATE 9/15:  We are having a Historical Research Planner Giveaway!  Three lucky winners will get pre-release bundles with all three packs included!! Enter for your chance to win now!

Those of you who are on the mailing list got the news first but I have new exclusive details today.  Not on the list yet? Sign up at the bottom of this post to get all the details first AND the Free Photo Memories Workbook in your inbox. 

The system is available as three separate packs, which integrate seamlessly with one another or are useable one at a time, all of which are printable PDF Smart Forms with Fillable blanks:

  1. The Calendar Pack - to help you set goals, break them down into tasks and schedule them for increased productivity and focus.
  2. The Genealogy Pack - with forms to organize your entire family tree while keeping everything color coded for efficiency and organization. 
  3. The Filing Pack - has everything you need to file your whole project, utilizing coordinating color-coded box labels, file labels and binder tabs.  

Are you as excited as we are? Let us know below! Keep checking back to get updates about the launch!

Tara Cajacob


Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Grandparents Day: A Celebration of Family

There are 70 million grandparents in the United States ranging in age from 30 to 110.   National Grandparents Day is September 7 and its a great excuse to get in touch with your grandparent if they are still with us or to do something in their memory if they are not.

Not only can your grandparents help you fill in the branches of your family tree (if you haven't read our blog posts on oral history you can do so here), but also, they are a part of who you are.  For activities, games, icebreakers and more ideas relating to Grandparents Day appropriate for both kids and adults, check out The Legacy Project's page.

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Beat Procrastination With Scheduling

September 6 is National Beat Procrastination Day, and the productivity seeker in me couldn't pass up the chance to pass on some goodies I've learned about using scheduling to take down procrastination and make insane progress on your family tree!

So here are my tips to beat procrastination and amp up your productivity by scheduling:

1. Schedule goal-setting sessions.   Everyone else gets a chunk of your time, so why don't you? Set up some time with yourself to figure out what you need to get done.  Make 4 separate 20-30 minute appointments with yourself on different days. In these appointments you will come up with annual, bi-annual, monthly and weekly goals.  

**Make sure you are making your goals reasonable.  A good rule of thumb is to use SMART goal setting and start with one goal for each time period.**

2. Break each goal into tasks and schedule those tasks.  Figure out how many tasks you have, and divide them evenly over your time period.  Do this first with your longest term goals and work toward your shortest term goals.  Schedule the tasks for days and times when you are typically free to work and concentrate.  Remember, none of this is set in stone, just like you can reschedule your dentist appointment if something comes up, you can reschedule these tasks if you just can't do it. 

3. Give yourself credit and schedule rewards for accomplishing goals.  The importance of this step cannot be overstated.  Even if you understand the importance and value of achieving your goals, the subconscious, reward-driven Id in your brain will still pitch a fit like an unruly two-year-old if you ignore it for too long.  Everyone needs a substantial 'atta-boy every now and again.  If possible, match the reward value to the difficulty of the goal.  More difficult goals that you have been working toward for a longer period of time should have a more substantial reward assigned. 

I hope these tips help you beat procrastination!  What tools and tips do you use to make sure you optimize productivity when you are working on a big project? Share with me in the comments!


Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Labor History for Labor Day

Labor history is very a interesting and controversial aspect of history. Did we do it right? Are things the best they could be now? The answers are varied and indelibly rely upon a mix of politics and personal perspectives.

My opinion? Have things been worse? Yes. Could they get better? Of course.

The most interesting stories about labor history come from America's transition to industrialization beginning shortly after Reconstruction (from the Civil War). The truth is, while industrialization changes the parameters for what is possible in a society (like the ability to mass produce weapons that allowed our successes in the World Wars) or the ability to move raw material quickly to plants and factories across the country, the process of becoming industrialized isn't without its shortcomings.

The plight of the factory worker, a pioneer in a new industry in which profit is king, was a serious one. Perhaps the most clear challenge was to craftsmen and skilled tradesmen who had spent lifetimes honing their art. The advent of Taylorism, which broke large complex projects into individualized, repetitive tasks (think assembly line) made the skilled worker practically obsolete if not replaceable entirely by machines. The men who could find their livelihood on the factory floorfaced grueling work hours, unsafe conditions and low wages implemented with strict oversight emphasizing productivity above all else.  Perhaps the most resilient group of workers were the unskilled laborers, whose work was largely unaffected by these transitions.  These men performed physical labor often moving from job to job in order to seek better conditions and wages. In order to overcome the obstacles that had arisen due to industrialization, workers organized and formed unions which would unite them in pursuit of a common goal.  Successful strikes encouraged more union involvement and the establishment of new unions. 

Change is always a struggle, but the fruit of this difficult time can be seen by analyzing the face of labor today. Unions, government oversight including a minimum wage, even the technology we use, all got their start here with Industrialization.

This Labor Day, let's be thankful for change and for having the ability to forge our own way.

Source: Steven Diner, “A Very Different Age: Americans of the Progressive Era,” 1998, pp. 37-65.




Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


Back to School

It's that time of year.  Nothing is more inspiration or exciting to me as fresh highlighters and G2s in pretty colors all on sale for back to school prices.  Is it bad that I still get giddy to get a five star notebook?  I don't think so.  Hey, it's the little things, right? (C'mon, just agree with me so we can move on...). 

Being as things are always a little hectic this time of year, I'm going to post an article from the archives of my Zimmerman Today column for your reading pleasure:

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 My first year as a “Zimmerman Zebra” was as a fourth grader in Mrs. Blattner’s class. The halls seemed dauntingly large, and the sixth graders appeared to tower above me. What I remember most is the most amazing playground I had ever seen. From the jungle gym to the spring-loaded balance beam, that place was enough to erase all the fear in a nine-year-old’s heart.

Zimmerman Elementary has been in operation since 1957. For over fifty years it has been an epicenter for educating the city’s youth, imagine in that time, the number of residents current and former who have walked those halls, the multitude of lessons taught, and the echoes of childhood laughter that must still swell in the space between the walls. But have you ever wondered what was there if you were to go back another 50 years? Back to 1903, where did the children go to school? What was where Zimmerman Elementary stands now?

The site of Zimmerman Elementary was farmland belonging to Hans Mickelson and his wife Sarah. Hans was born in Norway in 1850 and Sarah in Wisconsin in 1863. The couple was wed in 1879 in Beaver Creek, Minnesota. Together they had nine children: Mabel, George, Luella, May, Harry, Clifford, Theodore and Mary. Hans worked as a farmer through much of his residency in Lake Fremont, acquiring a sizeable chunk of land.

In the early 20th century, there were several schools throughout the area, small one room school houses where classes were held. One was located on the land of Mary Tildon, it is possible that she may have been a school teacher, or she may have provided boarding to the woman who was. The school would have been near what is now 269th Avenue and 5th Street West. The Mickelson children would have walked from where Zimmerman Elementary School is now to sit in a one room school house heated by a wood stove to listen to their lessons.

While the story of Hans and his children may be different, it is still very much the same as the story of my childhood and the story of your children’s first day of school. Even a hundred years ago, children still squirmed in their desks waiting to be excused, teachers were still overworked and under paid. For all the differences, so many things remain the same.   

 

Where did you go to elementary school? What are your first day of school memories? Share them below in the comments!

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here


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