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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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    Thursday
    May302013

    Aprons from Auntie's Hope Chest for Treasure Chest Thursday

    Easy pie apron

    It's "Easy as Pie" to see that these handmade vintage aprons were made to be admired. My aunt received nearly two dozen aprons for her wedding shower in 1958 and carefully packed them away in her cedar hope chest with the hand-embroidered pillowcases, sheets, and towels. When my sister and I opened the chest two years ago, everything was still in the original paper but marked with the folds of time.

    These two aprons are my favorites. "Easy as Pie" is made with a printed kitchen towel as the center panel design surrounded by cheery yellow cotton. "Flower Garden" (on the right) is made by joining crocheted flowers to form a colorful border around a plain mesh dishcloth. The flower pocket adds another splash of color.

    Of course, sometimes a new bride wants to look frilly and pretty. That's when she brings out the nylon and lace aprons:

    Nylon lace apron

    Pink nylon (now turned brown with age) adds a pretty touch to the pink floral cotton. The lavender nylon and lace would look dainty over a plain dress or skirt.

    And, when there's work to do, the 1950's woman will turn to practical attire like these simple cotton aprons:

    Work aprons

    It's unfortunate that the cotton discolored with time, but both the flower print and blue check would have been cheery and washable coverings for everyday housework and cooking. It (almost) makes me want to wash the dishes!

    Saturday
    May252013

    With Gratitude for Their Service

    US Navy Seaman Tustin Lighter Than Air Base

    U.S. Navy Seaman 2nd Class Edwin May (from left),
    with Seaman Gilbert, Seaman Noren, and Commander MacCubbin.
    Lighter Than Air Base in Tustin, California, January 1955.
    (Official Photograph U.S. Navy.)

    Corp. W.G. May Camp Funston

    Corp. Walter G. May, U.S. Army, Camp Funston
    1917

    Col. M.N. Levenick, U.S. Army

    Col. Maynard N. Levenick, U.S. Army

    Thursday
    May232013

    Treasure Chest Thursday: Vintage Postcards Picture the History of Decoration Day

    First There Was Decoration Day

     

    This 1909 Decoration Day postcard depicts a U.S. Army vet, sabre in hand to salute his fallen comrades. The Grand Army of the Republic, as the Union Army was known, is celebrated in the five-star membership badge of the G.A.R.

    According to a 1910 history of the G.A.R, the badge was "struck from captured Confederate cannon" and the bronze "issued to the G.A.R. by the War Department as needed."

    The design includes motifs representing charity, liberty, loyalty, and fraternity surrounded by the insignia of the various branches of service -- bugle (infantry), crossed cannons (artillery), crossed muskets (marines), crossed sabers (cavalry), and anchor (sailors).

    The design was adopted in 1866, revised in 1868 and again in 1869. A few changes were made again in 1873 and 1886. This postcard dates from 1909 per the postmark, and probably shows the latest medal design.

    Shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War, communities began commemorating the fallen soldiers by decorating graves with flowers. General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed the first major observance May 30, 1868, held at Arlington National Cemetery where both Union and Confederate graves were decorated.

    The same fascination with symbolism that created the G.A.R. medal is evident in the postcard design in these examples. 

     

    In this illustration a young child, probably a granddaughter, slips a flower in the lapel of her grandfather. He wears the G.A.R. veteran medal on his coat near the pinned sleeve, silent testament to his loss in the war. 

    In the bottom left of the card is an artist's version of the famous battle in March 1862 between the first iron-clad warships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. The battle ended in a stalemate, but introduced a new phase of warfare to America. 

    This postcard obviously continues the series shown above, but the painterly scene on this card recalls the infantry's efforts in the war, in the same way that the previous card depicted naval war maneuvers. Presumably, other cards in the series pay homage to other branches of service. It would be interesting to locate other cards in the series and see the entire set together.

    The main image shows a war widow (note the grandmother's photo cameo brooch) with her grandson who playing at being a soldier. He wears a miniature G.A.R. medal, a too-large belt, and is holding his grandfather's saber. 

    And Then There Was Memorial Day

    This Memorial Day card bears a postmark on the reverse of 1908; it seems that the holiday was known by both names. The images here are probably meant to depict the new and old Navy warships. The card sends "Memorial Day Greetings" rather than a message for "Decoration Day," although the term Memorial Day did not become official until 1966.

    I found these cards at a local Vintage Paper and Ephemera Show in Southern California. If you love family history, and haven't discovered these shows yet, you are missing out!

    Sources:

    Naval History and Heritage

    The Grand Army Badge

    This Day in History

    Wednesday
    May222013

    Roundup for Memorial Day FREE Record Access for Researchers

    Block out a few hours and take advantage of these great offers for free access to U.S. military records this weekend.

    My Heritage Free Access to US Military Records

    Myheritage memorial day

    Researchers can take advantage on one week of free access May 21-28 to the MyHeritage U.S. military record collection. Available databases include 

    • U.S. WW II Army Enlistment
    • Service Records of Confederate Soldiers
    • WW II Reserve Corps Records
    • Air Force Register Extracts
    • US WW II Prisoners of War 194101946
    • Vietnam Casualties 1956 - 1998 
    • US Army Casualties 1961 - 1981
    • Korrean War Casualties 1950 - 1957
    • and more

    If you've been curious about MyHeritage, this would be great time to check out the website and database collection. I especially like the clean fresh design that makes the search form easy to see and understand.

    Fold3 Offers Free Access to New USCT Service Records

    Fold3 badge

    Compiled military service records of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) including over 3.6 million images is now available at Fold3.com through a partnership between Folde and the National Archives. Access to this collection is a free through May 31st.

    Available records include images scanned directly from documents as well as those digitized from microfilm. The collection consists of images for:

    • 1st through 1389th USCT Infantry
    • 1st gthrough 6th USCT Cavalry
    • USCT Artillery
    Read more about the collection and highlighted records at the Fold3 blog. American Veterans and their families are also eligible for a 50% discount on a Fold3 membership. More information is available here at the Fold3 website.

    FindMyPast Offers Free Access to US and International Military Records

    Findmypast-memday
     
    In honor of Memorial Day and Military Appreciation Month, Findmypast.com is making their U.S. and International military records available free Friday May 24 through Monday May 27. 
     
    Records include:
    • American Prisoners of Korean War, 1950-1953
    • Korean War Casualty File
    • Korean War Deaths, 1950-1954
    • United States, World War One (WWI) Draft Registration Cards,1917-1918
    • US Army Casualty File, 1961-1981
    • Vietnam War Casualties
    • Vietnam War Casualties Returned Alive
    • Vietnam War Deaths
    • World War II Army Enlistment Records
    • World War II POWs
    • and international military record collection
    The Findmypast.com Blog also features a series of great infographics from MyMilitaryBase.com about U.S. military families.

    Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription to MyHeritage, but have no obligation to favorably review the website.

    Wednesday
    May222013

    Wordless Wednesday: Can You Identify This Military Unit?

    This image was digitized from a negative found in my grandmother's trunk of old photos and documents. The date and place are unidentified, but it seems to be part of a series of photos that may have been taken in Texas. Any ideas what these young men might be up to?

    I first discovered this photograph in 2008 and wrote about it in Treasure Revealed! but I'm no closer to knowing more about the picture today than I was then. Any ideas?

    Monday
    May202013

    Don't Miss #SCGS13 Jamboree

    Geneabloggers Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee always have a great time at Jamboree!

    Early Bird Registration Closes 24 May

    You still have time to register for the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank June 7-9, and the Family History and DNA Day on Thursday, June 6. Jamboree gets bigger and better with something new each year.

    The 2013 conference will kick-off Thursday with Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2013 featuring Spencer Wells, PhD. and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Then, on Friday, the 44th Annual SCGS Genealogy Jamboree will open with 50 speakers, 70 exhibitors, and 150 sessions.

    Join us for the Sunday morning Scholarship Breakfast where I will introduce Michael Savoca,  recipient of the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant. Jamboree is Mike's first national conference -- be sure to say "Hi" when you see him in June.

    Register soon to take advantage of the Early Bird pricing!

     

    Randy Seaver and Angel Linda will be there too! 

    Tuesday
    May142013

    Hitting the Jackpot at #NGS2013

    Ten Tweets to Richmond

     

    With Mystery Judge Gena Philibert-Ortega
    (photo courtesy Randy Seaver and Kathryn Doyle) 

    The NGS Las Vegas Twitter Challenge was a fun event encouraging attendees to tweet as they completed ten (fairly challenging) tasks throughout the conference week. Each task required a photo and inclusion of the official challenge hashtag #ngs2013hunt, as well as the challenge number. In addition, participants were encouraged to incorporate the conference theme -- Building New Bridges -- in some way.

    Rather than a blind drawing for all participants, the "most creative and innovative entry overall" would be selected as the winner by a secret judge. Whew! 

    With encouragement of my genealogy blogging friends, I managed to complete all ten tasks AND be present for the announcement of the winner. It was a good thing Kathryn Doyle was keeping up on all the news, because my car was packed and I was nearly headed home early for Mom's Day when I got her message to stick around for the final announcement.

    Gena Philibert-Ortega was revealed to be the mystery judge and announced the winners -- Holly Simmons and Denise Levenick! Woo-hoo. Looks like I'll be headed to Richmond next spring. Thank you VERY MUCH NGS!

    #NGS2013Hunt Twitterstream

    Genealogy Dress Code: Hard Hats Required (kilt wearers exempt)! #NGS2013hunt Challenge1 http://t.co/edeCrE8zVI

     

    No lunchbox & thermos needed at the BCG luncheon. #NGS2013hunt challenge 2 with Diane Gravel & Joan Peake. http://t.co/wylzzoWQ3t

     Checking out new tools for building bridges w/NGS publications. #NGS2013hunt Challenge#3. http://t.co/DXRKHPIDjh 

    Found a helpful NGS Ask Me volunteer who fixed my specs without any tools! thanks Lenny! #NGS2013hunt Challenge 4 http://t.co/B7upZJ8wXR

    #NGS2013 Exhibit Hall buzzing.Talked w/Treelines about gr8 new tool to build bridges betwn now/then. #NGS2013hunt #5 http://t.co/9rN2903Xqx

     

    Spreadsheet as #genealogy tool for building bridges to ancestors' past w Jill Crandall #NGS2013hunt Geek Chlng 6 http://t.co/pXeT7iILd9

    Yes, it's Vegas, Baby for #NGS2013. Ready to build new bridges. #NGS2013hunt Challenge 7 http://t.co/Plx35KGDpV

    @walkingyourtree wins longest #NGS2013 badge WOW! She could build a bridge with those ribbons! #NGS2013hunt clue 8 http://t.co/8NsSdT2VrD

    Networking about building bridges with Pam Eagleson & Stefani Evans for #NGS2013hunt challenge #9 http://t.co/WgbkK2Qzfk

    Rubbing shoulders w/ NGS celeb Laura deGrazia, she knows the best tools for NY Research #NGS2013hunt Challenge 10 http://t.co/QPAYAA7aHl

    Monday
    May132013

    Day 4 Highlights and Photos from #NGS2013

    NGS 2

    So, what's with the construction hat?

    When word went out from NGS about the conference Twitter Challenge, I decided to join the spirit of the event by tweeting the ten tasks for a chance to win registration to the NGS 2014 Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Part of the challenge was to incorporate the conference theme in each tweet; the hat seemed appropriate for Building New Bridges and my grandson didn't seem to miss it from the toy box.

    Stay tuned for a recap of the challenge contest and more photos!

    Exhibit Hall Highlights

    I usually spend quite a bit of conference time in the exhibit hall checking out new services and products, but this time it was hard to find time between sessions and meet-ups to walk the aisles of the hall. I finally scheduled some time Saturday to see what's new. 

    Author Christy Leskovar

    I met author Christy Leskovar (right) with her mom and chatted about her new family history books, One Night in a Bad Inn  and Finding the Bad Inn: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past .

    Polish Mission

    Cecile Wendt Jensen and Dr. Hal Learman of the Polish Mission in Detroit, Michigan gave me a brief introduction to Polish geography! Now I know where to turn when I start working seriously on my Pomeranian and Prussian lines. Cecile's introductory book Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy looks like it will be a big help!

    Treelines

    Snapped this photo with Tammy of Treelines online timeline software as part of the NGS Tweet Challenge. Can't wait to give this program a test-drive. They won the Developer's Award at Roots Tech.

    Monday
    May132013

    Sherlock Holmes for MyHeritage at NGS2013

     

    Here I am with Sherlock Holmes and Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage
    at the Press Conference announcing the new Record Detective feature
    of the research software.
     

    MyHeritage Announces the Record Detective

    Saturday morning I attended the MyHeritage press conference where Daniel Horowitz announced the newest feature of the software program, the Record Detective. In a clever play with the name, Holmes' costumed assistants met attendees in the hallway with the query, "Are you seeking a clue?" The direction to the second floor conference room was helpful, and the team continued with the theme in the introduction, press packet, and fun detective mustaches.

    Record Detective is a record and people matching feature that seeks out material from the MyHeritage databases to help expand research and trees. It allows users to review, and extract information to add to their own research and works on both public and private trees.

    I'm looking forward to trying it out and will post more info. Check out Randy Seaver's notes at Genea-Musings for his overview and view the video introduction on YouTube:

     

    Sunday
    May122013

    NGS 2013 Vegas Day 3: It's All in the Details

    It's becoming a challenge to continue my rather abbreviated summary of presentations at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas. As I thought about what key lesson tied together the sessions I attended on Friday, the theme became obvious -- it was all in the details, or as Elizabeth Shown Mills emphasized "a researcher is a nitpicker."

    Here are a few notes on my schedule for the day:

    J. Mark Lowe -- Bible Thumper or Pious Pilgrim: Relgious Ancestors on the Frontier
    I wish my Bible Church ancestors left more detailed records (heck, I wish they left church records, at ALL!)
    Mark Lowe's description of the rich records in some denominations made me long for converts in my family tree. 

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Trousers, Beds, Black Domestic, Tacks and Housekeeping Bills: "Trivial Details" Can Solve Research Problems!
    Be a nitpicker with details.
    THINK long and hard and every which way about the information you find. Details hide answers to tough questions. 

    Jill Crandall -- Microsoft Excel: A Little-Known Genealogy Research Tool
    Excel wasn't designed for historical detail. 
    Jill Crandall makes a good case for using spreadsheets to analyze data, but I still find it easier to use tables and charts. Sorry! I DID learn, however, that you have to do some gymnastics if you want Excel to recognize dates before 1 Jan 1900 on a PC (190? on a Mac).

    Dr. Tom Jones -- Planning "Reasonably Exhaustive" Research
    Detail, Detail, Detail
    I seem to be on the methodology and Skillbuilding Tracks and the lessons to plan, document, and analyze are creating a refrain. Dr. Jones makes this task seem very do-able and not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.  

    I'm working up a list of JAMB recordings to purchase because there are so many enticing lectures I want to attend running concurrently. I noticed that JAMB is also selling 4-CD sets of lectures by Paula Stuart Warren, John Humphrey, Elizabeth Shown Mills, and Dr. Tom Jones. Worth checking out!

    Friday
    May102013

    Lessons of the Day #ngs2013

    If Day One was all about Lies, the theme for the sessions I attended Thursday must be Control

    The day starts early here in the desert, and it's really the best time to see the morning light over the mountains ringing the Las Vegas valley. I discovered a route from my hotel room in a distant tower that takes me outside along the front of the hotel directly to the doors of the conference foyer. Tradeoff: casino lights for sunlight.

    Here's a brief recap of my Day Two sessions:

    Pam Stone Eagleson -- Grandma's Treasure Chest: Investigating and Evaluating Family Artifacts
    Control the Citation. 
    [Bonus lesson: Photo captions lie; This lecture was at the top of my list after I met Pam at GRIP 2012 and discovered we have a common fascination with family artifacts. She shared items from her own collection with solid ideas for researching, citing, and establishing provenance of keepsakes. Her sample misleading photo caption attracted lots of comments following the talk and makes me rethink some photos in my own collection.]

    Barbara Vines Little -- Feme Covert or Feme Sole: Women and the Law
    Control Women.
    [well, that seems to be the goal of English Common Law. Barbara Little always manages to make a history lesson funny, informative, and VERY enjoyable. I think the women left this session rather happy to be living in 2012.] 

    Judy Russell -- Blackguards and Black Sheep: The Lighter Side of the Law (BCG Luncheon)
    Un-Controlable Ancestors Left Awesome Records.
    What's to add? The Legal Genealogist IS a treat not to be missed! 

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis
    Control the Information.
    [I have been waiting months to hear this lecture in person after reading about it from earlier conferences. It was packed with useful tips for building a solid information management workflow. Highly recommended for anyone struggling to find a "better" way to handle mountains of data. P.S. Dust off your word-processing software]. 

    Patricia Walls Stamm and Jordan Jones -- NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course
    New Edition Under Control.
    If you have been considering enrolling in the NGS Home Study Course, you might want to get an update on plans for a revised edition coming (hopefully) later this year. Stay tuned for a more complete recap of this session.

    Thursday
    May092013

    GeneaVegas Day One at #NGS2013

    GeneaVegas Culture Shock

    Shifting from daily routine to conference pace is always challenging, but add the cacophony of casino chimes and lobby music and it's just plain ole culture shock. Where else but Las Vegas could you see by a wedding in-progress, pass by a wine bar, thread your way through buzzing, blinking slot machines, and end up in a  quiet ballroom packed to capacity to hear a keynote lecture on historical records?

    The day began with the Opening Session and National Genealogical Society awards presentations honoring newsletter editorship and service to the society. Both family association and society newsletters were included in the awards; and several individuals were named for their service to the society. Read the full details  at the NGS Conference Blog.

    In one of the most entertaining and unusual conference opening events, attendees were treated to a lively musical selection by the Mariachi Los Bravos, from the local J.D. Smith Middle School. The student group performed two numbers in the ballroom, and then led the procession out of the room and across the concourse to open the exhibit hall. Conference attendees responded by enthusiastic clapping, whistling, and calling -- mariachi style. 

    The buzz continued into the exhibit hall where scores of boots and demonstrations filled the large room. I did a quick tour of the room, stopping to check out the new Lutheran Church databases at Archives.com with Amy Crow, and then headed to the seminar rooms to get a seat for the first session of the day with Dr. Thomas Jones.

    It was hard to decide which sessions to attend, the lineup is THAT GOOD. I was really torn between wanting to hear new-to-me speakers and learn more from those instructors I had previously heard at other conferences. I finally decided to purchase JAMB tapes for some sessions and attend others.

    Here's a brief recap of my take-away notes from Day One:

    Dr. Thomas Jones -- Debunking Misleading Records
    Records Lie, Don't believe everything you read.

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- The Genealogical Prof Standard in Action: Case Building When No Record States an Answer
    Places Don't Lie, Keep the person in the right location

    Warren Bittner - Impossible Immigrant: I Know Everything About the Man, Except Where He Came From
    People Lie, or fib (sounds nicer), German names are a puzzle

    I highly recommend each of these sessions, available on JAMB recordings, although you won't have the advantage of seeing the actual record images shown on the visual slides.

    And, if you think you've heard the topic before, think again. Elizabeth Shown Mills presentation on the GPS reflects the newest refined version of the standard and an outstanding graphic process map. This concept is also referenced in Dr. Jones new book Mastering Genealogical Proof and shows how the GPS is becoming an even better tool all the time.

    Then, of course, there was meeting up with old friends and meeting so many new genealogists. Thursday promises to another busy day. Stay tuned.

    Monday
    May062013

    3 hrs 54 min with Traffic to #ngs2013

    Monday
    May062013

    I'll See You in Paradise (Road) for #ngs2013 

    Las Vegas By Any Other Name

    Genealogists love names. Misspelled surnames, mangled forenames, and oft-repeated town names are at the root of many research problems, but we can only imagine the experience of future Las Vegas family historians.

    The nickname, Vegas, Baby, like The Big Apple, holds a distinction as a wildly successful marketing ploy. But before this latest moniker, Las Vegas held other, equally popular nicknames.

    When early Las Vegas consisted of one long street of casinos and hotels, everyone knew what you meant by The Strip, even if you were in Los Angeles talking about a recent cross-desert junket, as in “I just got back from seeing Elvis on The Strip.”

    The Las Vegas Strip is not within Las Vegas proper, but refers to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard south of city limits that is home to the largest, flashiest, and most historic casinos and hotels. The nickname is often used to refer to a broader area encompassing other resort casinos or confused with Glitter Gulch or Fremont Street located in the center of the Las Vegas downtown casino area home to the Fremont Hotel, Golden Nugget, The Mint and other casinos.

    Las Vegas has always been the self-proclaimed Wedding Capital of the World – what genealogists would call a “Gretna Green” – and with only 250 miles separating Hollywood and Vegas, it’s not surprising that Vegas was a popular destination for quickie divorces as well.

    The Las Vegas gambling industry led to the nickname Lost Wages, and the easy availability of assorted (legal and illegal) pastimes spawned the moniker Sin City, and the more official Entertainment Capital of the World.

    Nothing Safe from Creative Vegas Street Names

    The 1980s brought widespread resort development to Las Vegas, quickly followed by an explosion in residential development. A brief look at any local map shows the unique Vegas spirit didn’t stop at designing fantasy casinos. We can only imagine the thoughts of future Vegas family historians searching for ancestors on Pillow Talk Court, Fast Lane, Jane Austin Avenue [sic], Vader Avenue, and Leia Street.

    See You on Paradise Road for #NGS2013

    Thankfully, it should be fairly easy to find our way around the NGS Conference area at the Las Vegas Hotel. I plan to be spending most of my time on Paradise Road.

    For More About Las Vegas Street Names –

    Tupac Lane Welcomes You: The Street Names of Las Vegas

    Vegas Today and Tomorrow (great historic photos)

     

    Image Credit: photo by David Vasquez, WikiMedia Commons, public domain

     

     

    Saturday
    May042013

    Need to Know for #NGS 2013

     

    Where's the Nearest In-N-Out?

    Attendees at NGS 2013 are in luck! There are sixteen In-N-Out locations in the Great State of Nevada, and TWELVE of these are in the greater Las Vegas Area.

    This bit of Southern California ephemera may be the last of it's kind.
    I've heard that the classic In-N-Out Location Guide
    was replaced with the smart phone app.  

    As native Angelenos, it's the first thing our family wants to know when we hit the road. And for fast answers we turn to our handy In-N-Out App. Back in the Dark Ages, before smart phones, we relied on the trusty In-N-Out Locator Card, now a bit of Southern California ephemera highly prized by burger fans (for more info on ephemera, see Caroline Pointer and the 48-Hour Ephemera Challenge).

    In-N-Out Burger App for Android or iPhone/iPad

    What's In-N-Out?

    The classic, SoCal drive-thru burger experience. Short menu, long lines.

    Not So Secret Anymore Menu

    Order off the Secret Menu like my sons: 4x4 Animal Style, Animal Fries and a Neapolitan Shake. Translation: 4 meat patties, 4 slices of cheese on a burger with In-N-Out secret sauce, grilled onions, and the works, along with fries topped with grilled onions and cheese melted under the heat, and a strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla shake. It's not for the weak.

    You will also find the "Protein Style" Burger (no bun, burger wrapped in crisp lettuce), and variations of the classic 4x4 such as 3x3 or Double Meat or Double Cheese, etc.  It's messy. Get extra napkins. And don't forget to take home a souvenir tshirt, too.

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