Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    SEARCH

    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.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    Tuesday
    Aug032010

    DO Try This With Your Photos At Home

    I like seeing the past and present merge by using layers of both historic and present day maps on Google Earth, but morphing photographs is even better.

    The Ghosts of World War II's Past on My Modern Met showcases scenes from World War Two merged with the same location today. Buildings scarred and cratered from bombings are seen as pale foundations for new construction; pitted roads and armed blockades appear in contrast to a calm country village landscape.

    This kind of photo blending has also led to the Looking Into the Past flickr group. Some images show an enlarged photo held up for a present-day photograph; others are obvious photo editing projects. Several include tips and ideas for making your own morphed photos.

    There's even a new iPhone app from the Museum of London called Streetmuseum that makes historic art and photo images available to users. Find an image on your iPhone, hold up the phone and snap a present-day photo for a "window through time." A few years ago we toured London and tried to imagine past events and places; it would have been so much better with on-site acess to historic images. I hope more cities add this kind of interactive tourist guide.

    For now, I would like to take some of our old house photos and create a similar image; imagine the "new" creations, and even "revised" history we could write!

    Wednesday
    Jul212010

    Wordless Wednesday: Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party

    Mom remembers this special birthday party attended by her school friend, Princess Usha Holkar. A note on the back also identifies other friends Patty and Betty Bright, and Mom's sister, Fran, in the back row sticking out her tongue at the camera. The young woman next to Fran may have been Usha's governess.

     

    "Party Picture, 1912 N. Spurgeon, Santa Ana, Ca, Front Row L-R Patty Bright,
    Kathy Bright, Susie [Brown], Usha, Fran in back sticking out tongue"

    "Party Picture" photograph, in Susie (Brown) Freeman Photo Album, ca. 1942, unpaginated;
    privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, Caliifornia, 2010.

    Mom loves removing photos from albums, a trait she shares with her own mother, Arline. I think she hopes to find a hidden caption, and if not, she sometimes she adds her own at this later date. All the bits of information help, even if the notes were written at another time, and we are fortunate to several clues to work with. According to the album index sheet, this was "Frances Party," although Mom remembers it as "her" birthday.

    I thought I might be able to use the list of addresses from our Family Home Tour to help date the  photograph, however Mom's and Auntie's recollections conflict with the address on the back of the photo. Mom remembers playing with Usha when they lived on 20th Street; Frances remembers being in the second grade when the family lived at 1912 North Spurgeon. Fran and Susie both celebrate their birthday in January, but January of which year?

    Was it  January of 1939 (Fran 8, Susie 6), or January 1940 (Fran 9, Susie 7), or January 1941 (Fran 10, Susie 8). I am not sure of Fran's age in second grade. Maybe she can answer that question. She was a smart little girl and may have been young for her grade.

    I also looked at postmarked letters from these years and found three letters addressed to family members at Spurgeon in December of 1940, six letters addressed to the family at 3rd Street from Sept 1939 through Feb 1940; and 10 letters addressed to 20th Street from October 1938 through June 1939; and 44 letters addressed to No. Broadway from 3 Jan 1941 through June 1944. It may be that a closer at the individual letters will show where the family was receiving mail in January of each year, and help  solve this little puzzle.

    From Mom's "Princess Diaries"

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County House

     

    Sunday
    Jul182010

    A Different Family Road Trip

     

    Dear Readers of The Family Curator,

    Only a few weeks ago, the Winsor Women were touring Orange County on a family road trip visiting homes and haunts of my mom's early years in California. This past week, however, my sister and I have been on a different kind of road trip -- to be with Mom in a Tucson hospital following the kind of early morning phone  call that rarely brings good news.

    Everything here is a witness to Mom's dry sense of humor, strong spiritual faith, and love of family and friends. Early in the week, Mom saw the darkening sky through her hospital window and warned us to pull off the road if a monsoon hit while we were driving. Yes, Mom. Late one day, she saw the same sky turn rosy and smiled with the retiree's refrain, "The sky's turning pink... " Yes, Mom. Yesterday, following surgery she whispered, "It's a happy, crappy day." Oh, yes Mom.

    We are warmed by the good wishes from her church, family, friends, and extended community -- including those bloggers and genealogists who met us at Jamboree and through The Family Curator. She loves her "fans" and the comments we have received on articles about her family and experiences. Lately she has been working on a list of "famous people I have met and had my picture taken with." Of course, Princess Usha of Holkar tops the list.

    While Mom rests, I am pulling together notes and stories for the family history she so earnestly wants to know and praying that she will soon be adding to the stories herself.  A few days before she became ill, we discovered the Chamblin-Schiffbauer connection (yes, there was a marriage) and we now have a new family with several male names to research. Maybe we can solve a few more puzzles to share with Mom very very soon.

    Thank you for your good wishes and prayers,

    Denise, The Family Curator

     

    Sunday
    Jul182010

    Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research

    This article was written for my local genealogy society newsletter. You are welcome to use it in your own society online or print publication; please credit www.TheFamilyCurator.com.

    Genealogists may not see eye to eye on the Perfect Organizational System for data and sources, but they will certainly agree that they would rather spend time finding ancestors than filing papers. The challenge is to create a system that suits the personality and habits of the user and is easy to create and maintain.

    Here are four systems worth investigating –

    Organize Your Paper Files http://www.fileyourpapers.com/

    Genealogical Research Associates recommends using a straightforward numerical system based on Marriage Record Numbers in conjunction with your genealogy database software program. An illustrated tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and filing papers.

    Finally, Get Organized  http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/01/finally-get-organized-jan-2009.html

    Dear Myrtle (speaker and podcaster Pat Richley) describes her system of 3-ring notebooks in the first monthly installment of the series “Finally, Get Organized: January 2009 Checklist.” The monthly PDF checklists highlight different aspects of genealogy work, from organizing files to time management. Find the organizing blog posts by typing “checklist” in the “Search This Blog” search box.

    Organizing Your Files https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Organizing_Your_Files

    Folders, binders, and overall concepts are all discussed in a comprehensive article on the FamilySearch Wiki. Beginning with a discussion of the value of organizing your files, through organizing principles, setting up a system, maintaining your files, and using document numbers for filing, this article lays a good foundation for any genealogy filing system.

    How I Organize My Genealogy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrWf6VmKVCs&feature=related

    Elyse Doerflinger is a college student and experienced genealogy blogger and speaker. She has recorded a series of YouTube videos featuring step-by-step instructions for setting up a genealogy filing system and staying on top of the paper piles. Browse videos by Elyse90505 for more simple, effective filing tips.

    If you haven’t found The Perfect System yet, don’t despair; keep looking and asking questions. And, as you investigate all the many possibilities, use a simple system that helps you stay in control of your research so you can spend your time finding – instead of filing – your ancestors.

    Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research

    1. Sheet Control – Use standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper for all notes and printouts.
    2. Stay Single – One surname, one locality per sheet for easy filing.
    3. No Repeats – Avoid errors; write legibly the first time.
    4. Dating Yourself – Always write the current date on your research notes.
    5. Be Color Clever – Distinguish family lines with different colored folders, binders, tabs.
    6. File First – File one research trip or effort before starting the next one.
    7. Ask Directions – Write your own filing instructions; a big help when you take a long break.
    8. Supply Closet – Keep a stash of folders, plastic sleeves, tabs, printer ink.
    9. One File at a Time – Work through paper piles steadily; the mess didn’t happen in one day.
    10. KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Use an easy to set up, easy to maintain system.

    

    Friday
    Jul092010

    Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research

    This article was written for my local genealogy society newsletter. You are welcome to use it in your own society online or print publication; please credit www.TheFamilyCurator.com.

    Genealogists may not see eye to eye on the Perfect Organizational System for data and sources, but they will certainly agree that they would rather spend time finding ancestors than filing papers. The challenge is to create a system that suits the personality and habits of the user and is easy to create and maintain.

    Here are four systems worth investigating –

    Organize Your Paper Files http://www.fileyourpapers.com/

    Genealogical Research Associates recommends using a straightforward numerical system based on Marriage Record Numbers in conjunction with your genealogy database software program. An illustrated tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and filing papers.

    Finally, Get Organized  http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/01/finally-get-organized-jan-2009.html

    Dear Myrtle (speaker and podcaster Pat Richley) describes her system of 3-ring notebooks in the first monthly installment of the series “Finally, Get Organized: January 2009 Checklist.” The monthly PDF checklists highlight different aspects of genealogy work, from organizing files to time management. Find the organizing blog posts by typing “checklist” in the “Search This Blog” search box.

    Organizing Your Files https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Organizing_Your_Files

    Folders, binders, and overall concepts are all discussed in a comprehensive article on the FamilySearch Wiki. Beginning with a discussion of the value of organizing your files, through organizing principles, setting up a system, maintaining your files, and using document numbers for filing, this article lays a good foundation for any genealogy filing system.

    How I Organize My Genealogy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrWf6VmKVCs&feature=related

    Elyse Doerflinger is a college student and experienced genealogy blogger and speaker. She has recorded a series of YouTube videos featuring step-by-step instructions for setting up a genealogy filing system and staying on top of the paper piles. Browse videos by Elyse90505 for more simple, effective filing tips.

    If you haven’t found The Perfect System yet, don’t despair; keep looking and asking questions. And, as you investigate all the many possibilities, use a simple system that helps you stay in control of your research so you can spend your time finding – instead of filing – your ancestors.

    Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research

    1. Sheet Control – Use standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper for all notes and printouts.
    2. Stay Single – One surname, one locality per sheet for easy filing.
    3. No Repeats – Avoid errors; write legibly the first time.
    4. Dating Yourself – Always write the current date on your research notes.
    5. Be Color Clever – Distinguish family lines with different colored folders, binders, tabs.
    6. File First – File one research trip or effort before starting the next one.
    7. Ask Directions – Write your own filing instructions; a big help when you take a long break.
    8. Supply Closet – Keep a stash of folders, plastic sleeves, tabs, printer ink.
    9. One File at a Time – Work through paper piles steadily; the mess didn’t happen in one day.
    10. KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Use an easy to set up, easy to maintain system.
    Thursday
    Jul082010

    What I Use for What I Do

    GeneaBloggers has issued a “call to share” genealogy tech tools via a “What I Do” meme. I like Thomas MacEntee’s post today at Destination Austin Family because it addresses my nosier nature and answers that burning question, “Hey, what do you use to . .  ?.”

    More importantly, as Thomas notes, “this meme is important to the genealogy blogging community because it gives others an idea of how we achieve the genealogy "voodoo" that we do do so well.”

    I hope other genealogy bloggers will pick up the theme and share their tools as well, and remember to add a little biographical note to give context to the list.

    CV – Although I have used Apple Macs in the past, I now use PCs only, and rely on several PC-only software programs for some of my most essential tasks. I’ve added my specific favorites to the list in the Genealogy tool section.

    • Genealogy database: Legacy FamilyTree 7.4, RootsMagic 4
    • Genealogy tools:  Transcript, CensusTracker (couldn’t do without it)
    • Writing and Research Tools: Evernote for Desktop, Online, Blackberry, iPod Touch
    • Archive and Research Database: AskSam (full-text searchable for transcribed letters and documents from my family archive)
    • Photo Organization, Meta Tagging, and File Conversion: Adobe PhotoShop Elements 7.0 (for personal and family photos); Adobe Lightroom 2 (for genealogy photos, scanned images); XnView (free version, for quick review, splitting multi-page TIFF images into individual JPGs, other tasks)
    • PDF generator: PDF Creator (easy and free)
    • Blog: SquareSpace (not free, but loaded with features and great spam filters)
    • Car audio: whatever’s in my car!
    • Other tech stuff: audiobooks from Audible.com and my local public library

    Thanks for the great topic, Thomas.

    

    Wednesday
    Jul072010

    Wordless Wednesday: Family Home Tour Edition, 2

     

    Arline Kinsel Brown in front of the American Legion Hall
    Orange, California, ca. 1946

    Suzanne Freeman in front of the American Legion Building
    Orange, California, 2010

    Sunday
    Jul042010

    Put Another Candle on the Blog Birthday Cake

    Has it been three years already? I was blogging on various subjects when The Family Curator was launched July 4, 2007, but I never imagined that my student family history project would start a long-term affair with genealogy blogging.

    Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on highlights of the year past, and this year I want to thank some of the special bloggers I have been honored to meet in Real Life after a first acquaintance began online.

    On The Family Curator’s First Blogiversary in 2008, I was excited to announce the publication of my guest column, “Reading Women’s Lives,” for footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed. This was be the beginning of a wonderful new friendship with the Belle of the Blogs. footnoteMaven has been a model of professionalism, generosity, courtesy, and kindness. Truly, she is a lovely light in the genealogy blogosphere.

    By my Second Blogiversary in 2009, I had met several bloggers in Real Time, and counted myself fortunate indeed to be the beneficiary of their experience and advice. At first, I was surprised to find that Randy Seaver was a living, breathing person; his ability to write well, research thoroughly, enjoy his grandchildren, and dote on his lovely wife seemed like more than any one person could accomplish. Randy defies all limits, however. He really is a Genealogy Blogger Extraordinaire.

    I also met Thomas MacEntee, a GeneaBlogger genius ready to lend a helping hand with my tech questions and blogging conundrums. What fun to discover that we both shared a love of the New York countryside, and even more fun to work together on the blogger welcome bags for Jamboree.

    Then, there was Amy Coffin of WeTree and Craig Manson of Geneablogie whose passion and persistence motivated me to keep digging when I was ready to throw in the towel. Kathryn Doyle and Elizabeth O’Neal who opened my eyes to Twitter and Facebook; they made it look sooooo easy. Sheri Fenley, Cheryl Palmer, and Susan Kitchens who made it all sooooo fun.  And so many more bloggers…  

    Each person I met online long before we met face-to-face, and those meetings did not disappoint.

    In 2010, I have been able to shake hands, share a meal, and swap tales with even more genealogy bloggers and readers. I loved getting to know Miriam Midkiff, the brains behind the monthly Scanfest, as well as organized pros like Steve Danko, Canadian blogger and fellow-welcome-bagger Joan Miller, travelling blogger Becky Wiseman, enthusiastic young bloggers A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger, and many more...  These are only some of the wonderful genealogy bloggers I have been able to meet in person.

    It’s a fine journey, and the best part is that there is still so much more to come. Thank you, friends, for three great years. Happy Blogiversary !

    Wednesday
    Jun302010

    Wordless Wednesday: Family Home Tour Edition ca. 1946, 2010

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, ca. 1946

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, 2010

    Monday
    Jun282010

    Family Home Tour Update, in Which Together We Enjoy a “Happy Crappy Day”

    Memory is a strange thing. Recently, my sister and I joined my mother and her sister on a “Family Home Tour” of their old homes in Orange County. For many families, this would involve two or three stops for photos and then adjournment for lunch. Our day was quite different.

    Grandfather Brown was a house painter and wallpaper hanger by trade, and found a steady market in exchanging work for housing. For the family of four, this meant frequent moves to a new home, sometimes around the corner or down the block, at other times a bit further away.

    Mom made a list of the homes she remembered, numbering them in order from their early years in California until the house that she “was married from.” She was able to name 13 houses.

    Her sister, two years older, made a similar list. Auntie named 15 houses.

    We knew it would be an interesting day when we started off. It was typical Los Angeles June Gloom, cloudy in the morning with a promise for afternoon sunny skies. As we navigated the freeways from Pasadena to Orange County, Mom casually remarked,

    “Well, it sure is a ‘Happy Crappy Day.’ That’s what your Aunt Lucy used to call a day like this, ‘A Happy Crappy Day’ not good for anything except playing cards and drinking.”

    I nearly crashed the car. Oh, this was going to be a very interesting day.

    The Aunt we would be meeting was the third-grade school teacher Aunt, not to be confused with Aunt Lucy of the “Happy Crappy Day.” Auntie would never be caught playing cards and drinking in the middle of the day; in fact, she might play cards, but iced tea is her drink of choice. She never forgets a birthday or special occasion and she makes me want to be a better Aunt to my nieces and nephews. She is, in one word, “Wonderful.”

    We met Auntie and my sister in Santa Ana and spent some minutes working out our route. After determining that we would not be going to their earliest homes in Anaheim, it seemed prudent just to get in the car and hope someone could navigate us to the first address.

    After a few rough starts involving wrong turns and misremembered landmarks, my sister quietly deployed her iPhone GPS. The site of the first house is now an apartment building, although modest houses across the street are witness to an earlier neighborhood character.

    The fun really started on North Broadway, now a busy commercial avenue. Both Mom and Auntie remembered the house numbers where they lived, and we even had a photograph of one place with the address written in pencil on the back. The problem was that the photo just didn’t look much like the present day structure. We couldn’t figure out how the porch was remodeled to look like it does today.

     

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, ca 1941

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    Across the street, however, between the motion of buses and cars we caught a glimpse of the house both sisters remembered fondly. I would remember it too! The grand Victorian is a bit tired, but still the best looking old building on the block.

     

    1315 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    From Broadway, we proceeded to Ross, Halesworth, Willard Junior High (now a modern bunker-style school), Santa Ana Bible Church, 17th Street, and then on to the City of Orange where they lived for nearly six years.

    As we attempted to pinpoint each address, it became clear that memory is a very funny thing. Mom remembered the houses by events and people – the Anaheim flood, a visit from step-sister Lucy, boys picking her up for a date.

    Auntie, on the other hand, recalled each address by what school she attended and what grade she was in at the time. Often, she even knew the name of her teacher.

    When the two sisters didn’t agree on an address, or location, the stories became richer and more colorful as one attempted to “out-remember” the other. I circled some blocks so many times, I am sure the man sitting on his porch reading the paper thought we were checking out the neighborhood for a burglary. My sister was a good sport and jumped out of the car to snap photos when a consensus was finally made.

    After twelve stops and nearly as many photos, we were all brain-tired and thought we had done a good day’s work. We managed to find most of the places on both lists, and to come up with some questions for Part 2.

    Last stop on the Family Home Tour, lunch at PJ's Abbey in Orange,
    California, former First Baptist Church of Orange where
    Mom and Auntie attended popular musical programs.

    Next, I attempt to reconcile the home lists made my Mom and Auntie with old letters from the Family Archive.

    All Photos from the Kinsel Family Papers, privately held by Denise Levenick.

    Saturday
    Jun262010

    Surname Saturday - Who are the Schiffbauer boys and why are you making mischief in my photos?

    I have a similar puzzle to one posed today by Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames as she asks, "Who are you Gaines people and why are you in my Grandfather Allen's photo album?" Instead of Gaines, I am looking at the handsome faces of five young men identified as members of the Shiffbauer family of Arrington, Kansas.

    The mystery unveiled at Jamboree when Mom and I showed a group of photos to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. We wanted to confirm that the same woman, great-aunt Maud, was pictured in two different images. In one, she is shown with her sister Minnie (my great-grandmother), in the second she is shown with a young man who is identified on the back as Charles Schiffbauer. Instead of one mystery, we found we had two.

    Mystery #1

    The girls' portait is odd because the handwritten inscription on the back seems to identify a male and a female, yet the photo is of two young girls. What do you think? Is that bit of handwriting along the edge something like "for" or another word? I know that Samuel Nelson Chamblin was Minnie's brother. Was the photo made for him? It says, for Maud, presumably a copy for Maud in the photo.

     

    Mystery #2

    Maureen agreed that this portrait is clearly one of the girls from the other photo. They are rather hard to tell apart and very close in age. But why is Maud in this photo with young Charles Schiffbauer in Arrington, Kansas as noted on the back? We know that she married Thomas Saunders and moved to San Leon, Texas. We had never heard about another marriage. Does it look like a graduation photo, or maybe an engagement portrait?

    Then we found more photos of the Schiffbauers. A group portrait of five young men and another group picture with Minnie, two Schiffbauer girls and two Schiffbauer boys. More mystery!

    I ran an search at Ancestry.com and found a large assortment of Schiffbauers living in Arrington and neighboring towns. Our Maud and Minnie Chamblin lived in nearby Muscotah.

    I even found two photos posted on Ancestry by someone who is researching her husband's family line. They show an older Schiffbauer man. When I wrote to her to tell her about our photos she confirmed the relationship, but when I responded with a request for any information about how these two families might be connected my message went unanswered. I hope that she has just been too busy to reply and that I will soon be learning about a new clue to solve the puzzle.

    Photographs:

    Kinsel, Minnie. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.
    Chamblin, Maude. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.

     

    Monday
    Jun212010

    Summer Survival Guide for Genealogy Bloggers – What is Your Blog Doing for Summer Vacation?

    You’ve made the airline reservations, rented a beach house, or tuned up the car for a road trip, but what is your poor little blog doing this summer?

    Genealogy Bloggers work hard all year – researching, writing, and managing the technology side of their site. Bloggers deserve a vacation, but taking a break doesn’t mean their blog has to languish without food or water while mom or dad reads the latest thriller on the beach.

    Here are a few tried and true strategies for keeping the blog-wheels alive while the blogger takes a break.

    Use a Blog Calendar to schedule your vacation/s. Print out a standard monthly calendar and fill it in with the family vacation events. If you don’t have plans yet, now is the time to think seriously about taking a break. Write it down: July 1-5 Blog Vacation.

    Consider Mini-Vacations to give you a change of pace. Give yourself the weekends off and post only on weekdays, or visa versa. Or, schedule regular Furlough Fridays, just like the local courthouse. Hey, spend that day doing research, or something you really want to do!

    Decide if you want to “stay alive” by scheduling articles to post while you are out of the Blog-office, or if you will just go on a “hiatus.”

    Pre-Posting is an easy to schedule posts ahead of time. This has the advantage of keeping the content fresh and active, but the disadvantage that if something BIG happens in the blogosphere, your blog can appear either uninformed or disinterested. Of course, this may not be much of an issue if you don’t regularly comment on current news or events.

    I’m not sure, but it's a pretty good guess that Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers scheduled this Follow Friday article to post while he was having a great time at the SCGS 2010 Jamboree.

    Take a Break, or a hiatus, which is essentially what every blogger needs and deserves once in a while. Sometimes, as when illness or family emergencies strike, this is the only option, but it also works for taking a bit of R&R. Let your regular readers know that you are still alive and well by posting a brief notice of your absence. Then go off and enjoy yourself.

    Craig Manson at Geneablogie took A Brief Haitus earlier this year and left a great selection of previous posts to satisfy readers during his absence.

    Invite Guests to Write for your blog, or ask if you can publish an “extract” of an article from their blog with a link back to their site. This is an attractive win-win for both of you. Good content for you, and a link back with new readers for them. Use this technique sparingly and with care; be conscientious in including links and appropriate thanks. Pre-post the article to appear while you are on your break.

    footnoteMaven regularly hosts guest columnists at Shades of the Departed and maintains links to past articles in a sidebar column. There’s always something to read at Shades.

    Try Mobile Posting while you are away from home. It’s actually great fun to snap a photo on your mobile phone and send it to your blog; just be careful what you snap if you have set automatic posting. Most blog platforms allow this feature; search for cellphone or mobile in the Help Menu.

    Dutchess County Spring Sunset was taken a few months ago with my cellphone camera and sent to the mobile-posting email address for The Family Curator.

    Summer is fleeting. Catch it while you can.

    Friday
    Jun182010

    10 Things I Shoulda Done at SCGS 2010 Genealogy Jamboree

    I did my best, I really did, but my Jamboree checklist is missing a lot of checkmarks. Months of preparation and anticipation just didn’t consider the last-minute whirlwind of Real Life. I’m not complaining, but I wish I coulda, shoulda, woulda done everything I set out to do!

    10. Meet and greet more GeneaBloggers! The unofficial “Blogger’s Lounge” was definitely the place to be, but I must still missed some folks I wanted to see.

    9. Meet and greet more great contributors to our Jamboree GeneaBloggers Welcome Bags. The exhibit hall was so busy that I missed a few while they were introducing their products and services to conference attendees.

    8. Meet and greet more Family Curator readers. Even with the best of intentions I still missed Sheila and her mom, and I was really hoping for a double mother-daughter duo photo. At least I was able to say “Hello” to April again.

    7. Meet and greet (do you see a theme here???) more lecturers and attendees. I love talking with genealogists from around the country and hearing about their research stonewalls and successes.

    6. Pass out more nifty Family Curator caliper highlighter pens. I had these specially made for Jamboree and then went off and left them at home.

    5. Play “conference ribbon war” with GeneaBloggers who gave out way-cool tags like Amy Coffin’s “Rock Star,” “Steve’s Genealogy Blog,” and of course, Thomas MacEntee’s “Diva.”

    4. Wear more comfortable shoes. Ok, I do like my little red flats but they are not kind to my back and feet. Vanity, vanity, thy name is Woman.

    3. Drink more water. It was hot. ‘nuff said.

    2. Go into training a few weeks before Jamboree so I can make it past my usual 9:30 pm bedtime.

    1. Clear the home calendar and GO to Jamboree for a great weekend of genealogy and good friends.

    Oh well, there’s always next year!

    

    Thursday
    Jun172010

    and the Daughter Reports on SCGS 2010 Jamboree

    Our genealogy extravaganza is has come to an end and Mom is now en route to her home in Tucson, Arizona after the adventures of last weekend at the Southern California Genealogical Society 2010 Genealogy  in Burbank. I posted Mom’s report yesterday; here’s my take on the event.

    The weekend kicked off Thursday afternoon with our GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag stuffing work party and then moved into the main event of Jamboree weekend. The three days were a whirlwind of meeting new and old friends and soaking up great genealogy techniques and information.

    Mom and I arrived at the Marriott Friday morning where we found the Welcome Bag distribution was in the capable hands of Geneabloggers Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin already headquartered at the unofficial official GeneaBloggers lounge area adjacent to the hotel main lobby. footnoteMaven, Kathryn Doyle, Miriam Midkiff, Cheryl Palmer, and Becky Wiseman were already there, and in the course of the morning (and next few days) we met up with Craig Manson,  A.C. Ivory, Randy Seaver, Joan Miller, Susan Kitchens, Elyse Doerflinger, Shelley Talalay Dardashi, Holly Hansen, Steve Danko, and Gini Webb.

    I was fortunate to get a ticket to one of the mini-workshops offered at Jamboree for the first time this year, and spent two information-packed hours working with “Using Google Earth to Map Your Ancestor’s Home.” Presenters Anne J. Miller and David J. Armstrong gave a well-paced lecture followed by hands-on lessons in how to place a plat or an historic map as a layer on Google Earth. I have been researching a rural neighborhood in New York and tried to do this on my own with only moderate success; I knew that there had to be an “easier way.” This mini-workshop was a great how-to lesson I am anxious to put into practice.

    Hands-on computer instruction is always tricky for instructors. It is inevitable that students will be at varying levels of expertise and preparation; network connections become unavailable; space is cramped for equipment and mouse-driving elbows. I was impressed with Miller and Armstrong who took everything in stride with a smile and a solution. Their able assistant (both presenters brought their helpful spouses) solved network problems, helped attendees install files, assisted with late-comers, and just kept things humming along. I strongly recommend this duo to anyone interested in learning about using historic maps with their research. Fortunately, they were also scheduled for two more Jamboree session, and many attendees had an opportunity to hear their presentations.

    The mini-workshop extended into the 3:00 speaker time-slot, so instead of attending Michael John Neill’s talk, “Re-Stacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information,” I bought the recorded lecture offered by Jamb-Inc. and look forward to listening to the presentation soon. If it has anything to do with getting better organized I will probably have to listen to it more than once.

    Mom and I met up for the last class of the day with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, on “Identifying and Dating Family Photographs.” Maureen really knows her subject and she inspired me to pull out some photos at home for a private consultation on Sunday.  Her presentations are always a priority for me at any conference.

    There was time for quick trip through the Exhibit Hall where I picked up a few used books at Society tables, and then it was on to the banquet featuring speaker Chris Haley.  More GeneaBlogger fun ensued at dinner and afterwards back at the Bloggers’ Lounge.

    I was up early Saturday morning for another land mapping mini-workshop with Miller and Armstrong. Mr. Curator had reserved a ticket for this session, but was unable to attend at the last minute and passed on his ticket to me! Lucky, lucky. This class focused on using the complicated-sounding land description in a deed to construct an accurate map (or plat) of the property. Computers were replaced with protractors and rulers for this class, and former math instructor David Armstrong demonstrated his experience with teaching by guiding everyone in drawing the correct plat. Anne Miller gave an informative introduction and walked the class through the steps of extracting pertinent information and collecting useful data from adjacent properties. Again, an excellent session.

    I then hustled over to the Bloggers Summit where I caught Part 2, moderated by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers, with the panel of Craig Manson, Lisa Louise Cooke, Shelley Talalay Dardashti, and Katherine Doyle. Thomas kept the session moving along with well placed questions of the panel and comments from the very enthusiastic and engaged audience. The room was packed with bloggers and (perhaps) would-be bloggers wanting to hear more about genealogy blogging and social networking.

    Then, it was time for lunch with the Eldest Daughters, a curious coincidence discovered during the meal with footnoteMaven, Katherine Doyle, and Miriam Midkiff. We wonder, does birth order having something to do with a passion for genealogy? What do you think? Are you the eldest daughter, or son?

    My Jamboree day ended after lunch when I got the call that Baby Boy was in town for a visit. I sped off for home and we made a little family history of our own for the rest of the day!

    Sunday morning found me back at the Jamboree for Geoff Rasmussen’s Legacy presentation on “Timelines and Chronologies.”  I am a big fan of using personal timelines to track down elusive ancestors and Geoff showed a few new tricks that will be very helpful. He also demonstrated two mapping software programs which I am excited to try (more on those in another post).

    I spent some time in the Exhibit Hall catching up, and showing Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective some puzzling photographs. She had some good ideas which I am anxious to research further. Then it was off to Maureen’s presentation “Hairsteria,” a roaring good-time look at celebrity look-alikes for some old-time photos. What a hoot! The day ended with “City Directories” by Lisa Lee where I caught more good tips, and final good-byes to the GeneaBlogger crowd.

    After three consecutive years attending SCGS Jamboree, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of presentations, exhibitors, and overall organization of this regional conference. Paula Hinkel and Leo Meyers direct a host of volunteers to present an outstanding program that gets bigger and better every year.

    Wednesday
    Jun162010

    Mom Reports on SCGS 2010 Jamboree Marathon

     

      Mom was handing out her new contact cards at Jamboree; did you get one?

    Mom’s first session was Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak with “Cases That Made My Brain Hurt” featuring some of her toughest cases. Megan is an engaging speaker and Mom would have loved to hear more.

    Next, she attended “What You Must Know to Save Your Research from Destruction” with Lisa Louise Cooke. Curatorial instincts must run in our family! Mom said she picked up a few new ideas for saving family treasures.

    Mom’s last session of the day was “Cousin Connections” by Cafi Cohen where Mom learned her practice of picking up the phone to contact cousins was truly one of the most effective methods for finding relatives.

    It was then time for the evening banquet. Mom says, “The banquet was absolutely outstanding, and I thought that Chris Haley was very entertaining. It was a very enjoyable, and we met nice new acquaintances at our table.”

    Mom’s rule is to start no classes before 10 a.m.; she kicked off Saturday with Arlene Eakle “American Court Records,” and then moved on to David Horowitz, “Face Recognition and Photo Tagging.” After that session, she was ready to upload all her photos and get busy tagging folks.

    Then it was time for lunch with the Eldest Daughters, although she is NOT the eldest herself, we let her come along, and a short R&R break. She went on to hear John Humphrey “Pennsylvania Land Records” with hopes to get a few tips for researching her father’s Pennsylvania line. A highlight of the afternoon sessions was Cath Trindle’s “Women of the West,” where Mom was able to see her mother, Arline, in many of the examples shared by Cath.

    On Sunday, Mom returned to hear Lisa Louise Cooke talk on “Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye” and she is now encouraged to pursue even more elusive ancestors “hiding in plain sight.” Then we both heard Maureen Taylor’s talk “Hairsteria.” She especially liked learning about the men’s hairstyles and facial hair and Maureen’s analysis of how those “special” comb-overs were achieved. Mom closed out the conference with John Humphrey “Using Church Records Effectively,” and is now back on the hunt for baptismal and membership records of the family.

    Mom attended ten classes, the banquet, and spent time in the exhibit hall and “hanging out” with the GeneaBloggers – an impressive record for a anyone.

    Ooops, she corrects me, “It’s not impressive. I go to our monthly genealogy society meeting [Green Valley Genealogy Society], and attend the all day seminar in February every year. Plus I am active in our homeowners association, run the arts and crafts festival, organize the adult seniors at my church for outings, teach a Bible Study class, and put on the summer ice-cream social. I attend all the bus trips for musicals and casinos, too. I’m in great shape for a conference. I’m up to ‘em all.”