Key West: update

This week I got to meet with my Dad twice to talk about his memories of Key West and the Underwater Swimmers School. On Monday we went through some letters and documents, making sure I understood what they were about. I recorded most of that meeting for future reference. At one point we were talking about a TAD (temporary additional duty) and he asked me to turn the recording off. Then he told me some details about that assignment that was very surprising and very off the official record. Not sure how we are going to handle that story. I’m pretty sure all the people who might be adversely effected have died and it is a story that I really want to include so I hope we can figure out a good way to include it. I’m not sharing any detail here in respect for my Dad.

We got together again today and worked on getting things in chronological order, if we end up writing it that way. I put together some hanging files in a file box to organize it. I’ve got most things organized on my computer but that doesn’t help when working with my Dad. He wants and needs to see the things and seeing it on the computer just doesn’t seem to work for him. I’m really glad about how much he is involved in this project. I’m learning more about him and the interesting things he did when he was in the Navy.


Writing Challenge: day 10

The Key West Citizen

Today I hoped to find some online newspapers for the Key West area from 1954 to 1957. I learned that the “Key West Citizen” has been around for a super long time. I found copies of the paper for earlier years but none for the years I want. I expanded my search to include the Miami area but the only thing I found for that time was a Jewish paper that seemed to be very tightly focused on World War II crimes. While certainly important it isn’t any help in my project. I spent almost an hour and a half and there may still be something out there. The closest I found were on microfilm in a library in Florida. I don’t think that is going to help either. I’ll keep my eyes open and maybe do some more checking but It is time to move on with following Lynn’s suggestions in The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge.”

Next up is the story arc. While my goal was to start writing on Monday, I think the story arc is going to take me some time to figure out. I’ve been thinking about it but don’t have any idea how I’m going to plan this out. So Monday I’ll be focusing on the story arc and hope for an aw-ha moment.

Writing Challenge: day 9

I didn’t make my goal for today in my plan following The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo. I did get a chance to talk to my Dad about his Navy experience so not a complete failure. Plus I spent a few minutes looking for newspapers etc for the 1950’s in Key West but didn’t find anything yet. I’ve been thinking about the story arc which is the last step in preparation to write but haven’t got a clue yet how to put that together. I’ll try to catch up by putting some time in tomorrow and reporting on my progress here. Have a great weekend and thanks for sticking with me through this challenge.

Writing Challenge: day 8

Key West Timeline

my timeline for Key West 1954-1957 created in Scapple

For today’s challenge I work on putting together a timeline as suggested in The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo. It took me while to do the social history part of it. My Dad was at the Navy’s UWSS School from 1954 to 1957. It was interesting to learn the types of events and advances that were happening then. I included the few years leading up to Key West as a reference for me.

At this point I don’t really envision how it is going to help me in writing but I trust that it will. I used Scapple to put together the very simple timeline above. I think I should see if there are some local newspapers or historic events for Key West to add to it, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m supposed to be doing the story arc tomorrow too. We will have to see how it goes. This is the first of the prep goals that I haven’t really met but I’m still feeling good about my progress. I put in 2.5 hours today, the most this week.

Writing Challenge: day 7

from circa 1950’s

It has been more than a week since I started following The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo, to help me write the narrative for a history for my Dad’s time as an instructor at the Navy’s Underwater Swimmers School in Key West, Florida. My goal is to be ready to actually start writing next week. So far I seem to be on track. But I’m so new to this kind of writing that I might be way off. Only time and moving forward will show me where I’m lacking. So forward I go.

Today I finished up organizing my sources. Since my Dad is my biggest source this wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. We will see if I’ve done the job right down the road. The good part is as least the need to organize my sources is now on the radar. I found a website with information on citing internet sources. Maybe someone else would find it useful too.

Internet Citation Guides for Genealogists

I did a little work ahead today on tomorrows goal of putting together a timeline. Lynn suggests using a mind-mapping tool. I’ve been interested in trying one out for a while now so I downloaded Scapple by the makers of Scrivener and watched the tutorial. I hope that it is fun and helpful to use this type of tool. That is all for today. See you back here tomorrow.

Writing Challenge: day 6

First UWSS Class – 1 November 1954

Day 6 of following the plan in The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo and on to organizing sources. I feel clueless about this but decided to start with the photos I have. Most of them are from my Dad’s personal collection so hopefully I don’t need any more information than that. I few of those are official Navy photographs that need to be credited as such. I have a few other sources for photos and so I decided to add that information to their metadata, so I’ll always have access to it. InDesign also has a captioning feature that you can use to put an auto caption from any field in the metadata. I’ve never used it before but I thought it might be very helpful.

If you are interested in the photos I’ve found on the internet, here are two sources.

There are some photos on flickr that I need to check out too.

That covers my work for today. I’ll check back in tomorrow and share my progress.




Writing Challenge: day 5

“All Hands” from March 1959

Continuing my plan to follow the advice in The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo, today’s task was organizing my photos and documents. I was pretty sure this was mostly done but I checked through the folders on my computer and the hard copy materials I have and everything seemed in order. I might find that my organization scheme needs adjusting but it is the best I know how to do now.

I also spent some time searching on the internet for more information on the setting up stages of the Navy’s Underwater Swimmers School. I came across the “All Hands” magazine from March 1959. It has some information on the UWSS. I think it is interesting because it is contemporary to my Dad’s time in the Navy.

Tomorrow I’ll be attempting to organize my sources. I’ll need lots of luck on that one. I’ve allowed myself two days to get that done. I hope it goes quicker than that.

Writing Challenge: day 4

For today’s writing challenge I went back through The Companion Guide to The Family History Writing Challenge” by Lynn Palermo, to check Chapter 4 – Creating a Work-Flow because the next things I need to do to prepare to write are part of the work-flow. Two of the three steps seem pretty straight forward but the third one is new ground for me.

First off is gathering my research. I think that I have most of my stuff already gathered and organized in folders on my computer. I’m going to make sure and check through my physical stuff for more items.

Step three is identifying where I’m going write. I had already decided to use Scrivener. I’ve heard about from several sources. A few weeks ago I downloaded the trial version and did the tutorial that comes with it. Lynn also recommends Scrivener. It is designed for writers and I’m excited to try it out.

The second step is bibliography and citations. Lynn recommends using a citation manager. But I just can’t wrap my head around it. So I have to do it by hand. Hopefully I won’t have too many sources outside of my Dad and his personal documents. I may have to change my mind on this in the future but at this point I’m not going to embrace it. Maybe it is just too much for this non-writer, designer brain of mine.

Next step is make sure that all my documents, photos etc. are logically organized and ready to reference during the writing process. I’ll check back in here on Monday at let you know how things are coming.

Organizing, as simple as cake

I love Kristin’s analogy. I’m going to try this the next time I feel overwhelmed. (It might even be tomorrow.)DOABLE Sidebar O


Organize Professionally

Some of my clients have a lot of difficulty visualizing how they are going to finish organizing because they feel overwhelmed and defeated.  I say let them eat cake!

Have you ever tried to bake a cake without a recipe?  Maybe those geniuses on Top Chef

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