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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Wednesday
    Sep182013

    Mastering Genealogical Proof and Texas Fried Chicken

    Last Days of Summer: "Two New Things" I Learned This Summer

    Labor Day has come and gone. Summer is over, except for the official First Day of Fall this Sunday, 22 September. When life is no longer measured by school calendars, and you live in a temperate climate, one season tends to run into the next. I started off this summer with the goal that I would Make Time to Learn "One New Thing," (blog post here.)

    Actually, I wanted to learn Two New Things: more about the Genealogical Proof Standard, and how to make my step-mother's fantastic fried chicken. (Note I did not set out to "master" the GPS, although I am working toward that objective).

    Fried Chicken Attempt  2

    Fried Chicken Attempt #2 -- Looks Good, Tastes Bad

     

    MGP

    Tom Jones and Denise Levenick at GRIP 2013,
    Determining Kinship Reliably with the GPS

    Goal GPS -- I was determined that this summer I would shift my genealogy into gear and get into the nitty-gritty of the Genealogical Proof Standard. I spent a week at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh in Dr. Tom Jones course, Determining Kinship Reliably with the GPS, and came home energized to apply the principles to my research. I'm now participating in an online study group to be a leader for future Mastering Genealogical Proof study groups.

    The classroom and online discussions are a great way to learn and really work with this material. I think my biggest "One New Thing" from the course is that using the GPS enables genealogists to reach logical conclusions with targeted research, not merely "collect" information with the hope of finding that straightforward and direct answer to a research question. AND, using the GPS is not some mystical or impossible skill. Any genealogist with time and interest can study and practice the steps outlined in Tom Jones' Mastering Genealogical Proof, and work toward mastering the concepts of the GPS.

    I also pursued some of my wayward FANS at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne; transcribed land and probate records from my last trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City; and sifted, sorted, and organized more boxes of family keepsakes. With family activities, a huge remodeling project, and summer birthdays, that was about as much genealogy as I could manage.

    Fried Chicken Attempt  1

    Fried Chicken Attempt #1 -- Could Look Better, Tastes Great

    Goal Fried Chicken -- Of my two summer goals, Mastering Polly's Fried Chicken was the more difficult. There was no written guide, only the briefest of verbal instructions: Soak the cut-up bird in salty water while the oil heats in a cast iron frying pan. Coat bird in flour. Fry in hot oil. 

    My first attempt would qualify as Very Good. I followed Polly's directions. 

    My second attempt was not good at all. I used a recipe from a food magazine that called to soak the chicken pieces overnight in salted water. We were in the mountains and I thought it would be smart to fry the bird outdoors in an electric skillet. However, the pan wasn't very deep and it was made of thin aluminum so the heat dropped considerably when the meat was added. The chicken took forever to cook, and the texture was rubbery. The flour coating didn't stick at all. Overall it was a disaster. Yech. 

    What went wrong? I know that poultry doesn't benefit from long marinading and that the meat breaks down when salted. I also know that cast iron holds heat better than aluminum. And I know that high altitude is a game-changer all round. So, why didn't add my own knowledge to the recipe and tweak it to make wonderful fried chicken? I tried too hard to follow the written instructions, thinking my own knowledge was worth less. Maybe it is a good recipe at sea level with a different kind of bird in a different kind of pan, but it wasn't good for my purposes.

    Instead, I really should have remembered Dr. Jones advice when it comes to deciding one thing or another: "It depends."

     

    Monday
    Sep092013

    Celebrate Success with Author Steve Robinson -- You Helped!

    Steve rob banner

    Big News from a favorite genealogy mystery author -- Steve Robinson, author of the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Crime Mystery Series, has just signed a four-book publishing contract with Amazon Publishing to rebrand the JT series under their Thomas & Mercer imprint. This means more exposure for Robinson's books and (hopefully) more adventures for genealogical sleuth Tayte.

    In the Blood   introduced American genealogist Jefferson Tayte to Kindle readers in June 2011 and was named as an Amazon UK "Best Book of 2011. J.T.'s adventures continued in To the Grave , released as a Kindle ebook in June 2012, and The Last Queen of England  released in November 2012. All three books are now available in paperback and Kindle ebook editions.

    It has been a pleasure to get to know Steve through interviews and email exchanges, and I am delighted for this new turn in his career. If you've been following him as well, you'll know that his style is friendly and approachable, whether he's talking about writing, researching or picking up genealogy skills to channel through his sleuth J.T.

    Steve shared the news in an email with a note of thanks that extends to fans in the genealogy community who embraced the series and encouraged Steve's career. He writes:

    If you've been following my blog then you'll no doubt already know this, although you probably haven't read today's blog post, so please take a look.  I just wanted to let everyone know that, following an offer for a four book publishing deal with Amazon Publishing, I now have the contract and will be signing it over the weekend.  One of the key reasons Amazon Publishing noticed me amongst the many other authors out there was because of all the reviews my books have accumulated.  The most important part of this email for me is to say a big thank you to everyone for your support in helping to bring this about.

    I'm a bit nervous if I'm honest, but I'm also very excited.  They're going to rebrand my books under their Thomas & Mercer imprint for release in spring next year, with the fourth book coming out as soon as possible after that.  This does mean that the next book will probably be a bit later than I would have liked, but hope you'll bear with things. The book is shaping into what I believe will be another worthy adventure for Jefferson Tayte - as if I would knowingly give you anything less. :o)

    I've posted a couple of blog entries about the deal with Amazon Publishing if you'd like to read more about it.  Here are the links:

    http://ancestryauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/ive-accepted-offer-from-amazon.html

    http://ancestryauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/jt-book-4-update-amazon-publishing.html


    My sincere thanks and well-wishes to you all,

    Steve.


    http://www.steve-robinson.me
    http://www.ancestryauthor.blogspot.com

    If you've enjoyed Steve's books and his interviews at The Family Curator, please let him know with a comment here (he does pop in regularly!) or on his blog.

    Read more --

    Book Review and Exclusive Interview with Steve Robinson, Author of the Genealogical Crime Mystery Series

    Heads Up! More GeneaFiction On the Way from Steve Robinson, Author of In the Blood

    He's Back! More Great GeneaFiction and Another Exclusive Interview with Steve Robinson

             

    Good news for Steve's fans, but sad news that the next book won't be out until spring. Looks like we may have bring out the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to keep our skills sharp.

    Thursday
    Aug292013

    Federation of Genealogical Societies Hits a Home Run with Fort Wayne FGS 2013 Conference

    ACPLTrick photo? Is that a steeple on the Allen County Public Library?

    It’s not every genealogy conference that offers nightly fireworks, ballroom dancing and after-hours access to one of the best genealogy libraries in the United States, but FGS 2013 did it all. I’ve just returned home from the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies conference held this year in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I’m already looking forward to returning to Fort Wayne and to FGS 2014.

    Grand Wayne Center

    The conference committee and host societies rolled out the red-carpet with a stellar program beginning Tuesday with Librarian’s Day and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and the Internet Archive Scanning Unit. Lucky librarians!

    Wednesday’s schedule offered over two dozen sessions on society-building and special programs, and concluded with a special reception at the Botanical Conservatory. I spent the day mostly at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) getting acquainted with the enormous variety of material available in OPEN STACKS to researchers. Botanical Gardens Social

    Meeting new and old friends at the opening social event at the
    Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. 
    From left, Laura Lorenzana, Diana Ritchie, Shelly Bishop, and Susan Clark. 

    Thursday, Friday, and Saturday featured full days of top-notch presentations, hosted luncheons, and special evening events. Friday Night at the Library included music, ballroom dancing, and late-night research topped off by fireworks from the local ballpark. And, we do mean “Local.” The Fort Wayne Tincaps, farm team for the San Diego Padres, plays at Parkview Stadium directly across the street from the Grand Wayne Convention Center and a block away from the ACPL. 

    Inside the Grand Wayne

    Inside the conference center. 

    Parkview Field

    Buy tickets early! Sold out this year! 

    Fortunately, FGS will return to Fort Wayne and the Allen County Public Library in a few years. Start planning now; it’s a conference you won’t want to miss.

    Parkview

    Monday
    Aug192013

    The Past is Present Once Again on World Photography Day 2013 

     

    Dear Photograph Anniversary Edition

    August 19, 2013 marks the fifth year of World Photography Day, a online global event celebrating photography by anyone with a camera -- amateurs and professionals. The Family Curator participated in 2011 by hosting the Past is Present Photo Challenge and publishing a gallery of great family history photos submitted by bloggers and genealogists. You can read the original challenge here, or visit the participating bloggers below.

    My contribution was a Dear Photograph style image created with Mr. Curator when we visited the church where we were married to snap Dear Photograph: 35th Wedding Anniversary Edition, above.

    Check out these inspiring and creative contributions to the Past is Present Photo Challenge and start planning now for your entry in 2014! Check The Family Curator for more details in future months.

    Past is Present World Photography Day Challenge
    2011 Participants 

    Geni Webb responded to the challenge "It's not an easy thing to do but it sure was fun" and presents a back-to-school image that combines student and teacher for The "Past is Present" Photo Challenge on Ginisology. Thanks, Geni for kick-off the challenge and getting out the word.

    Randy Seaver's post for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Pick Your Past Photos for the Present Photo Challengehelped to spread the news about the Past is Present Photo Project. Randy's selected three photos... and it will be fun to see what he comes up with... one of these Saturnday nights!

    Dorene participated in GeneaMusings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, August 6, 2011 to showcase photos of her great grandmother standing in front of her apartment building in Sandusky, Ohio. It was a tough shot to capture, and Dorene posts her photos at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay.

    Chris Staats at Staats Place was determined to participate in the project, even if he had to get creative with Photoshop. His post SNGF: Staats Not Gonna Follow [the rules again] pulls together a collage that includes the image of a hand holding one of the photos. Very ingenious.

    Karen Seeman at Ancestor Soup brought the past to the present by placing an image of herself with her grandmother and great-grandmother in a present day photo of their old house to make Memories Past... Then and Now.

    Jean of Bluegrass and Buckeye Roots featured a past family home tour for her post SGF - a little late, but looking at family houses. Although the images aren't "superimposed," she says, the pages "capture the times together" and isn't that what it's all about?

    Valerie enlisted her sister's help for a Dear Photograph style image that she calls "Looking Into the Past" for her post SNGF: Present Photo Challenge at Begin with 'Craft'. Valerie has also used the technique on an earlier postfeaturing photos taken in cemeteries, and shares her technique tips as well.

    Jasia took a trip to a Detroit cemetery to visit the grave of her great grandmother Ludwika. Her Dear Photograph image at Creative Gene is a poignant letter to one day in 1912, remembered "with Love from her great Granddaughter Jasia" at Genealogy Photo Challenge for World Photography Day.

    Julie Goucher at Angler's Rest features the graves of her great grandparents in Surrey in Genealogy Photo Challenge - The Past is Present, and shares an interesting note about her grandmother's death and lead-lined coffin.

    Kim Adams hadn't heard of Dear Photograph when the Photo Challenge was announced, but soon realized that she had already taken "THE perfect 'Dear Photograph' photo!" featured in One hundred seventeen years later... My answer to the Genealogy Photo Challenge at GeneaMania.

    Vickie Everhart is certainly the MacGyver of the Past is Present Challenge. After viewing her beautiful photograph at Sentimental Sunday::Meadows of Heaven be sure to see how she set up the shot at Then and Now on Be Not Forgot.

    Kristin combined photos from Google Images with pictures of her family from 1946-1950 to bring her family into 2011 for Past is Present - Springfield Massachusetts 1948 - 1950 at My Cleages and Reeds.

    Kay Bauman showcases her grandparents home in Then and Now on Relative Storyboards, and recounts her memories of a a very special place.

    Cynthia Shenette showcases two photographs of the Chopin Statue on Heritage Zen in a poignant post entitled Chopin Rising, writing about loss and hope for the future.

    Wednesday
    Aug142013

    Wayback Wednesday: Remembering the Pony Photographer

    In the days when California suburbs welcomed the Helms' Bread truck and the Ice Cream van cruising the neighborhood to the tune of their company jingle, it was not uncommon to see a pony being led along the streets by an traveling photographer similarily looking for a little business from the housebound housewives.

    My mother and aunt remember the photographer and his pony who had a regular route through their Anaheim neighborhood. For a small fee, he would hoist excited children to the back of his patient pony and snap their photograph. Mothers could order prints to be delivered at a later time, and no doubt many were tempted to buy the deluxe versions hand-colored and enlarged in the photographer's studio.

    Frances and Susie Brown, Anaheim, about 1938

    On Wednesdays I am featuring favorite posts from the The Family Curator archives. Enjoy!

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