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
    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.

    Wednesday
    May012013

    Ding Dong, It's May

    Time for the May Girls' May Day Baskets

    May denise dd 1962 church

    My sister and I off to church on Easter morning. We were already
    experienced in the May Day Basket project by this age!

    Every year in preparation for the First of May, my sister and I were commandeered by our mother to make May Baskets. With a surname like "May" and two little girls, Mom was not about to let this opportunity for creative expression pass by.

    I don't remember much about the actual basket construction; they may have been put together with paper plates folded into a cone and filled with plastic flowers. It was the '60's! But I DO remember the delivery protocol. Strictest secrecy.

    My sister and I ran from house to house hanging garish handmade baskets on the doorknobs of each of our neighbors on the short little cul-de-sac where we lived in Orange County. Then, with giggles we rang the doorbell and ran away to watch our neighbor's feign surprise at the lovely gift on their front porch.

    Mom, the consummate scout leader and crafter, was in her element refilling our supplies and enjoying the fun.

    I recently came across a box of little baskets leftover from a year when my sons were young and I tried to get them interested in making May Day baskets. They thought the baskets were better used for starting fires and I quickly abandoned the project.

    To all my genealogy blogging friends, Ding Dong HAPPY MAY!

    Tuesday
    Apr302013

    Why #NGS2013? Why Vegas?

    Is it worth your time and money to attend a national genealogy conference? I think so, and I am honored to share my experiences today in a guest post on the NGS 2013 Conference Blog, Why NGS 2013? Why Vegas? 5 Reasons to Attend a National Genealogy Conference.

    You'll see that I'm a big fan of genealogy education and taking taking advantage of learning opportunities in many forms, whether by webinar, seminar, meeting experts, talking with vendors about new products and services, or attending lectures. Conferences bring together in one place so many ways to learn more about genealogy that it's impossible to pick just one favorite reason to attend.

    Fortunately, Las Vegas is practically next door to southern California which makes this event even higher on my "Can't Miss" list. If you will be attending NGS2013, please say "Hello" if you see me in the hall or classes. 

    What about your conference experiences?

    What do you learn from national meetings?

    Read more about NGS 2013 at the Conference Blog. And, thank you to NGS for inviting all Official Bloggers to submit a guest post for the Conference Blog!

    Friday
    Apr262013

    Treasure Chest Thursday: Edna McClure and Walter George May

    I love finding buried treasure in a box of family keepsakes! I inherited two small boxes of photos, albums, and other items belonging to my paternal grandparents. This little medallion was rattling around in the corner of one box.

    May wedding medal 1

    GM Frigidare Sterling Silver Medallion,
    "To Edna on our Wedding Anniversary 1932"

    My online search for a General Motors Frigidaire medallion turned up several expired eBay listings for vintage medallion, but I have been unable to learn much about this Sterling Silver medal.

    I also found a carefully created photo album inside the box titled "Off to the Coast." It includes photographs of the couple's honeymoon trip from Nebraska to California in 1922. This helps identify the medallion as a probable ten year anniversary gift.

    This beautiful photograph of Edna and Walter May was not in the box of memorabilia where it might be expected. I found it tucked in the back of my baby book! It's another example of the way that family heirlooms can become easily misplaced and mixed in with other collections. If my sons had found the photograph some time in the future they would have no idea that this photo featured their great-grandparents.

    Maywedpix

    Edna McClure and Walter George May

    I am adding identification on the back of the photo in pencil, and enclosing it in a mylar sleeve. I've also printed the photo with a full caption on a sheet of acid-free paper. This is one of those images I don't want to lose, and I'm recording both the location of the physical photograph and the digital image on my archive catalog sheet.

    Monday
    Apr222013

    It's Official. Clark Kent and Lois Lane Are On the Job

     

    To Be Official or Not To Be Official: That is the Question.

    Recent discussion regarding the notion and nature of "Official" bloggers for genealogy events has caused some ruffled feathers and a few nasty hen-pecks in the yard.

    I've been blogging since 2007 and writing about conferences, seminars, and other genealogy events whenever I attended something I wanted to share. I have been an "Official" blogger for a few events, but mostly I have acted in an "unofficial" capacity.

    As a former newspaper reporter, I tend to think in terms of the 5Ws even while an event is unfolding around me. The old pyramid-style story is often framed in my mind before I get to my keyboard. Blogging about conferences and other genealogy experiences comes almost more easily than writing about my own family history. So, why have I bothered to request "Official" status at events rather than continue in an unofficial capacity?

    It all comes down to access. And every journalist worth his or her pencil wants to get the inside scoop on breaking news to share with her readers. Conference officials hold the key to that inside story, and they need the media to help spread the word. In the old days we used to get a "Press Pass." Sometimes you wrote a story, sometimes you didn't. It was all considered PR and part of doing business. That "Official" Press Pass to Disneyland made me the envy of my high school friends, but no one beat me up over it.

    Be Glad Clark Kent and Lois Lane Are On The Job

    Bloggers serve much the same purpose as an old-fashioned press corps. By using "Official" status, a conference or seminar can more easily distribute news to a group of "information vendors." Novice reporters wisely use their event access to get noticed by a target built-in audience, thereby increasing their own visibility. Experienced reporters can be relied on to see an event in the context of other similar events over many years; consider that a lack of articles is as much a critique of an event as a blasting commentary.

    I've never been particularly good at writing nasty reviews. I've preferred, instead, to heed my mother's advice, "If you can't say anything nice. . ."

    I don't plan to cover all facets of upcoming National Genealogical Society conference in Las Vegas. It would be impossible. An old-fashioned press corps would divide some of the "beats" among several reporters to insure all areas were covered. And, if Official Bloggers want to work out some "unofficial" NGS news beats, I am all for collaboration.

    I do plan to keep an eye on what my fellow NGS 2013 Official Bloggers are writing about the event. I don't want to simply rehash what's already been said, and it may be tough to find a fresh angle with nearly two dozen bloggers reporting throughout the conference.

    I may not write a dozen articles about NGS 2013, after all, I am attending the conference because I want to hear the speakers and sessions, but you can be sure that what I do write about will be honest and timely. Official or un-official.

    [My two cents.]

    Monday
    Apr222013

    Meet the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant Recipient Michael Savoca

    Michael Savoca Head Shot web

    I am pleased to introduce student genealogist Michael Savoca, a junior at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, as the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant recipient. Michael will receive a $500 cash award and full conference registration to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California June 7-9.

    Michael has been researching his family history for over a decade, and participating in online genealogy forums and message boards for nearly as many years. His expertise in Italian and Croatian research have made him a popular volunteer online and at his local Family History Center. He has been able to travel with family to their ancestral village in Croatia and complete research in original records provided by the parish. He has also worked extensively with Italian records and assisted with the records of the Gente di Mare genealogy website. 

    In addition to researching his Italian, Croatian, Irish, German, and Hungarian roots, Michael is interested in learning more about using DNA for genealogical research and about professional archival management. He is a history major at Kean University and would like to become a Certified Genealogist.

    Michael will attend the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank June 7-9 where he will receive the award Sunday, June 9 at the SCGS Scholarship Breakfast.

    “We are so pleased to be able to partner with the Freeman Student Genealogy Grant Program to support this outstanding future genealogist,” said Paula Hinkel, Jamboree co-chair and SCGS vice president. This is the third year that SCGS has provided a conference scholarship to the recipient of the grant award.

    Past recipients of the memorial grant include Elyse Doerflinger, A.C. Ivory, and Anthony Ray. 

    Funding for the 2013 Memorial Student Grant was provided by proceeds from the sale of my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Blog Book Tour in January 2013. A big THANK YOU to everyone who purchased a book during the book tour to help fund this project supporting student genealogists. For information about donating to the grant fund, please see the SWF Grant page.

    About the Grant Program: The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant Program was established in 2011 to help young family historians pursue their genealogy research and educational goals. In recognition of Suzanne Freeman’s enthusiasm for the nationally recognized Jamboree, the award is directed toward a student attending the SCGS Jamboree. Suzanne Winsor Freeman was the mother of genealogy blogger Denise Levenick, www.theFamilyCurator.com.

    About SCGS: The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree has partnered with the grant program each year to offer complimentary conference registration to the award recipient. The annual Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is a premiere regional genealogy conference offering national speakers, workshops, and demonstrations.

    Friday
    Apr122013

    Treasure Chest Thursday for Friday's What's Up Genealogy: Ephemera or Artifact

    Man in a Bottle

    Man in a Bottle, ca. 1957

    Don't be polite. What you're really wondering is, "What the heck is it?"

    My Dad didn't want it. Neither did my aunt, my sister, or anyone else. So, I took it. 

    First definition of ephemera: stuff no one else wants.

    Really. Ephemera is intended to be thrown away after use. It has a transitory specific one-time purpose. That folks tend to tuck the odd theater stub in a scrapbook or dry prom corsages is outside the intended purpose of the item. Hence, stuff that survives is less than common and more interesting to a lot of us ephemera aficionados. Of course, there's always the craftsman who repurposes an old photo in a piece of art as well.

    Man in a Bottle 5

    "Uncle Sam" 11-29-57

    You've seen the photos and now you know as much as I do. If you have any clues about this bit of gen-u-wine mid-century craftsmanship please leave a comment or join Caroline Pointer and me tonight on What's Up Genealogy, Google+ Hangout on Air. We are talking ephemera and odd artifacts and would love to hear what you think about this treasure.

    Thursday
    Apr112013

    Everyday Ephemera on Google+ with Caroline Pointer What's Up Genealogy?

    Whatsupgen

    We're talking about genealogy and ephemera tomorrow night on What's Up Genealogy Google+ Hangout On Air hosted by Caroline Pointer. What is ephemera? What do you do with it? How can it help you with your family history research? and, How much is enough? 

    I'll be chatting with Host Caroline Pointer beginning at 6pm looking forward to hearing about some of the more unusual bits of ephemera folks have found. Caroline's popular 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge returned last week with a fabulous Victorian photo album, and she's sure to have new treasures for the next rounds.

    Everyone is invited to attend the public Google+ Hangout. Search #WhatsUpGenealogy or click on the link for information on how to join. 

    Tomorrow I'm posting a few photos from my own collection as a preview for the Googlel+ Hangout. If anyone wants to research my "Uncle Sam" feel free! 

    Page 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 46 Next 15 Entries »