A tough year for research

2013 has not been kind to me for genealogy research. I simply had no time to properly dedicate to my favorite hobby. There is of course many downsides, but one upside is the past week I have had time to start diving in again and with fresh eyes, some important discoveries have come about.

I’ve long been looking for Mary Gonyea (~1849), one of (perhaps the oldest) daughter of Louis Gagne (~1814-1899) and Salome LaRoque (~1823-1887). The single shred of evidence I had of her existence was a mention in old notes from my great-great uncle Alberton Gonyea (1891-1986) and a mention in the 1850 U.S. Census. Picking up this research, I discovered someone on Ancestry.com who posted an obituary from 1941 for a Mary Devins (Plattsburgh, NY) who had surviving brothers named Frank and Thomas Gonyea (Rutland, VT) , Fred Gonyea (Newport, NH) and a sister named Rosanna Pelkey. A big victory! I’m going to try and get her death certificate to see if it sheds any more light into her parents and when/where she was born. The obituary did say she was 98 years old.

Speaking of Rosanna Pelkey (1868-1953), I also found someone who posted a photo of her grave stone. Still need to track down her death certificate and obituary, but that is promising.

I also had some success tracking down the first wife of Joseph Francis Gonyea (1910-1989) (or as my family knew him, Uncle Joe), the brother of my great-grandfather Nelson Warren Gonyea (1912-1989). Her name was Alma Emmert and they and a very messy divorce from what I heard in family legends. While I haven’t found her birth date/place yet, I did find her second marriage certificate to a Perley Jordan and starting to fill in some gaps on her history.

I continue to have little success tracking down the Delias side of the family. This is the mystery I can’t seem to solve.

Not as productive as past years, but ending on a good note. Let’s see what 2014 brings.

Moving away from Google Apps?

I’ve grown more and more disappointed with Google Apps for my gonyea.com email as time goes on. Probably the biggest issue is the lack of proper support for IMAP, which causes many email clients such as Apple Mail to have issues with syncing to Gmail. Also the continuing bad stories of Google breaking their “do no evil” promises from their early years.

Looking at the alternatives out there and I haven’t found an exact silver bullet yet. I require complete email, contacts, and calendar support for a custom domain (gonyea.com) that works with iPhone and Windows Phone devices.

  • Outlook.com looks intriguing with IMAP support and a nice, clean interface, but it is missing DKIM support and I yet to know a single person who uses them for their own domain. My brother does work for Microsoft, so this would be very nice for him as he is totally in the windows ecosystem. Microsoft has done much better with interoperability lately, which comforts me on the iPhone side.
  • Fastmail.fm gets rave reviews and they seem to know email inside/out, but they don’t offer calendar or contact syncing yet.
  • As someone completely in the Apple ecosystem, if iCloud offered support for custom domains I would seriously consider moving there. Yet, there is no sign of Apple being interested in hosting mail for custom domains.
  • There are few other players that I have found so far.

I’m curious to hear what everyone else’s opinions are and if there are any alternatives out there to the ones I’ve mentioned here?

The need to be more organized

A couple of months ago I moved from my previously role leading the enterprise customer support and sales engineering teams at Dyn to the product team. It’s been an exciting change that I have relished, learning new things every day as I try to get up to speed on the inter workings of our technologies, teams, etc. However it has exposed a glaring hole I have never been good at: being organized.

In my prior customer support and sales engineering roles, I had good tracking systems that I could easily follow. For support, it was the ticketing queue. For sales engineering, it was Salesforce. I could easily see the state of the tickets I owned, the opportunities I was involved with, their status, etc. The past couple of years years when I was the leader of the team s and not in the day-to-day roles, I lived by my email, calendar,  the metrics I watched, and the simple to-do apps I used.

With my move to product, this has changed. Now I’m in charge of very important and complex initiatives that have deadlines, and many moving parts. I have to do a lot of research, planning, and brainstorming. There are a lot of different systems, tickets, people etc. that I have to keep track of on a daily basis. It has quickly become apparent that my old workflows for keeping track of what I need to get done sorely needed to be updated.

I’ve settled on Omnifocus for the past month and so far it’s worked well, although I have a long ways to go to getting my workflow nailed down. Which is probably the beauty of Omnifocus: it’s ability to be very flexible for your workflows. It’s also it’s curse: it takes awhile to setup.

In the next couple of months, I hope to share a bit more about my workflows and the different tools I will be employing to get more done in a less stressful and more successful manner. I also hope to share thoughts I have as a newcomer to the product management world.