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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
    May262011

    Jamboree Travel Tips : LA Fast Food Tour 2011

     

    Last year, Paula Hinkel spotlighted a few of L.A.’s finest fast food eateries on the Official SCGS Jamboree Blog. If you missed a trip to Tommy’s, Pink’s or Phillippe’s, you will want to book them into your schedule this year, and leave room for a few more.

    Why the interest in fast food? Among Southern California’s  many firsts, we hold the dubious distinction of being home to the inaugural “Speedee Service System” restaurant, otherwise known as MacDonald’s Restaurants.. Speedy service soon became even speedier with the drive-thru window; it was a perfect match for the automobile-loving Southern Californian.

    Look into any car on a L.A. freeway during rush hour and you will find people eating and drinking from a variety of paper wrappers. Burritos, burgers, bagels, wraps, fries, chips, tall latte sips. Angelenos have a love affair with fast-food, especially Good Fast Food.

    The BEST street tacos will come from a truck or corner cart, the juiciest made-to-order hot dogs are served up PDQ, and 10-minute wood-fired pizza is mostly ready when you want it.

    And when you can’t get to the food, the food will come to you! Forget the old “Roach Coach” construction site grub; some of the best eats in L.A. come from “the truck.” Fans follow their favorites on Twitter so they know where and when to meet the van. Often the line is around the block even before the truck pulls on site.

    Here’s a few to try in 2011 –

    In-N-Out is not a hamburger stand, it’s an Institution. It’s the University of Burgers. Fresh, hot, made to order. Burbank In-N-Out is only 10-minutes away from the Marriott, next to the Burbank shopping mall. You might try the Double-Double with grilled onions and Animal Fries (from the “secret menu”: fries with special sauce, grilled onions, and cheese, served with a fork”), or a Neapolitan Shake (you can guess this one!). You can get lunch for under ten bucks and feel like a local. Looking for more In-N-Out locations? There’s an App for that!

    Kogi BBQ is one of those “try it to believe it” experiences. Korean BBQ-to-go. Mr. Curator and I stood in line on the sidewalk in Eagle Rock for 45 minutes to try Calamari Tacos and the Kogi Kimchi Quesadilla. They were delicious, especially the sauce. Next time, I’m going for the short rib tacos and spicy pork burrito. Warning; the recent hike in gas prices has prompted the Kogi trucks to economize by eliminating paper napkins. Bring your own. Or wear an old t-shirt. Check out the website and follow Kogi on Twitter if you want to catch the truck. 

    Zankou Chicken is really MUCH more upscale than eating from a truck or at a burger stand. As In-N-Out is to burgers, Zankou is to Middle Eastern style chicken. Favorites here include the ½ roasted chicken plate with humus, pickled turnips, and pita; spit-grilled chicken Tarna; marinated steak kabob; and crisp tabbouli. The Glendale Zankou location is on the way from the Marriott to In-N-Out, so you could possibly eat both if you are hungry enough!

    Monday
    May162011

    Collecting Clues via Cross-Country Collaboration

    Tombstone hunters are relentless folk when pursuing an elusive ancestor. It's been over two years since Midge Frazel  and I worked on a puzzle to locate the cemetery of my Rhode Island ancestors. In March 2009, using the resources of Google Maps, Midge found the cemetery and we zoomed in to look at the possible burial site.

    We've emailed and speculated quite a bit about the Mathewsons since that time, but after meeting fact-to-face at NERGC last month, Midge and I were determined to resurrect the project. Now, with the help of Midge's contacts at the Johnston Historical Society we are making progress once again towards finally finding these forefathers. 

    The suspense is torture! At her blog, Granite in My Blood, Midge has started to post photos taken by the Johnston Historical Society. This first photo shows the overgrown cemetery entrance of the Mathewson Lot Johnston RI, known as Johnston Historical Cemetery #2. I can hardly wait to see photos of the headstones for Noah Mathewson and his wife. Will it include legible dates? Will they be the right ones?

    Tuesday
    May102011

    Tombstone Tuesday - More Pix of the Gravestone Girls

    GGStone

    Ooops. I knew I had these photos somewhere of Brenda Sullivan, Gravestone Girl, at the NERGC booth. The pictures were taken with the camera in my new iPad2 and are fairly grainy. The camera does much better in bright light, rather than indoors under artificial lighting.

    As you can see, the company also produces iconic t-shirts bearing cemetery art.

    GGBrenda

    Time Flies is one of the original castings by the Gravestone Girls available
    for purchase. The gray finish gives a good impression of New England slate,
    but the entire piece is much lighter in weight.

    Monday
    May092011

    Cemetery Art Lives On with the Gravestone Girls

    Putting the 'Rave' Back in Grave! is the motto of three Massachusetts women who have made it their mission to "entertain and educate on the historical perspective of old cemeteries by documenting and preserving the beautiful art they contain."

    I met GG Brenda Sullivan of The Gravestone Girls at the recent New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts and learned more about their work.

    With a background in art history, the Gravestone Girls research cemetery and mortuary art and give educational presentations at schools and organizations. They specialize in recreating gravestone iconography using a casting technique that replicates the stone's art and images without damage to the original surface. The three-dimensional plaques are hand formed and finished in a process they perfected.

    Initially, the Gravestone Girls focused on creating a variety of artistic items, from jewelry to wall wallhangings to magnets. Since their "discovery" by genealogists, they have also replicated ancestral headstones for clients and made small surname magnets for family reunion fundraisers. Their work is frequently sought by historic associations and societies to be used as a fundraising activity.

    P1030927

    Time Flies.
    An hourglass tells you time is passing.
    One with wings reminds you it is passing swiftly.
    This graceful glass adorns the gravestone of William Field who died April 10, 1772
    and is buried in St. John's Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island.

    You can read more about The Gravestone Girls at their website, www.gravestonegirls.com.

    Thursday
    May052011

    Get-Aways, Conferences, and Other Genealogy Learning Opportunities

    As much as I enjoy a good genealogy conference, it's not always possible to schedule travel and funds for a three or four-day event. That's when I find that online learning or an individual class or retreat are a bit more my style. Geneabloggers topic this week, Genealogy Conferences - The Magic Recipe, and yesterday's email newsletter from the New England Historic Genealogical Society featuring the upcoming Come Home to New England Get-Away remind me that there is a time and place for all types of events.

    I attended the NEHGS Spring Getaway in April 2009, and it is highlight of my research and learning experiences. At the time, I was recently "retired" from teaching and found myself with time to travel and work on my genealogy skills; unfortunately, my friends were either unavailable or uninterested in genealogy. The NEHGS Getaway was perfect. Each day provided a full program, the staff was friendly and helpful, and other attendees were enjoyable people to spend the day with. Of course, it helped that Boston is a great city, and NEHGS is located in a comfortable neighborhood within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants, shops, and parks.

    Since that spring, I have attended a national conference, several regional conferences, local society seminars, online classes, and webinars. I've always learn something new, and each type of event has been a good fit at different times in my life.

    There are many reasons I like distance learning such as online classes, webinars, and tutorials. It's less expensive, doesn't involve travel time or expense, and is self-paced. Probably the biggest advantage to home education is that you can customize your learning to study what you need when you need it, so that your personal research is advanced as you learn. It can be a bit lonely when you're home alone at your computer, although at times that's okay.

    Conferences and seminars deliver even more opportunities to hear top-notch speakers on a great variety of topics. The first time I attended a conference alone, I didn't know anyone at all. I sat in sessions all day, made small-talk at the lunch tables, and went home exhausted but excited about my research.

    The next year, I attended the same conference, but so much had changed. As a blogger, I "knew" all kinds of people and looked forward to meeting them in real life. The conference organizers recognized this new group of attendees and scheduled meet-up events where Facebook Friends, Twitter peeps, and bloggers could meet in real time, and maybe make plans for lunch or dinner. It was easy to find people, easy to connect. It made a difference; the conference became an enjoyable social event as well as an educational opportunity. 

    In my experience, the small group retreat at NEHGS was the best of both individual and group learning. The expert staff members were able to direct my research toward positive outcomes, and the other attendees provided new ideas and motivation. I was learning new skills and making concrete progress with my own research at the same time. I went home not only enthusiastic about my work, but several steps further along than when I arrived.

    I've found that different kinds of learning experiences suit me at different times in my life, and I'm glad to have so many options available. Of course, organizers of these events know they are competing for the time and money of attendees. National and regional conferences are exciting, online classes are enriching, and retreats and tours can help break-through brick walls with focused research assistance exactly where its needed. It's nice to have so many choices.

    Tuesday
    May032011

    iPhoto Library Manager Rescues Aliased Images

    Lately I have been cleaning up my iPhoto test files and moving toward building two or three nice, clean iPhoto Library files.

    When I first moved to the Mac platform, I was reluctant to allow Mac applications full control of my files in the "Package" arrangement. Windows photo programs access images in whatever folders you have placed them and pretty much leave them there until you tell the program to move them, or move them yourself (if you ever do). In contrast, Mac's iPhoto attempts to make all this easy for the user. Out-of-the-box, iPhoto will import photos directly from camera or card into the iPhoto program and place them in one mysterious file called a package. This is called a Managed Library, and aims to discourage the user from moving images around and causing a problem for iPhoto to find the broken link. I wrote about this in a previous post, iPhoto Hides Photos in Plain View.

    On Windows, I experienced just that kind of havoc with various programs, all because I gave in to some vague housekeeping urge and moved images outside of the software. Disaster. Broken links. Much time spent reconnecting.

    The iPhoto package concept tries to avoid just this problem with the default Managed Library.

    However, you can get yourself in the same pickle and end up with broken links in iPhoto too. Mostly, this seems to happen when users opt for a Referenced Library rather than a Managed Library.

    A Referenced Library does have some advantages, particularly for users who want to work with photos with more than one photo editor, for example Adobe Lightroom, iPhoto, and Adobe Photoshop Elements. The iPhoto Referenced Library only indexes photos, leaving them in their original location.

    I thought the Referenced Library idea sounded like it would work better for my needs. I could maintain my old Windows-sensibility folder heirarchy and keep all photos on an external drive.  iPhoto would reference images, not import them to the program. This would make a lean iPhoto Library file containing only aliased images. In addition, I could easily access any images I wanted to work with in Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop Elements.

    To change the default Managed Library to a Referenced Library, I opened the iPhoto Preferences Advanced window and unchecked the importing option "Copy items to the iPhoto Library." Images would now be indexed (or referenced) not imported. The image would  be visible, editable, save-able, but not reside inside the Library package. Since I was new to iPhoto and still not sure how much I would like the editing, keywording tools, etc, I thought this was a good solution.

    Denise Barrett Olson, at the Moultrie Creek Gazette, wrote a great series of iPhoto posts that encouraged my keywording and photo organization. The more I worked with iPhoto the more I liked it, until I thought, "Hey, why don't I just use it like it is supposed to be used?" Import the pictures directly to iPhoto and not worry. I like the "Don't Worry" part. I went back into preferences and checked "Copy items to the iPhoto Library." I got busy and used iPhoto more and more. It is so easy and so fun.

    Now I had about four different iPhoto Library files that needed to be merged; Denise Olson to the rescue with a recomendation for iPhoto Library Manager. This little program allows you to switch between libraries, copy, merge, and split libraries and retain your keywording and organization.


    IphotoLibMgr

    iPhoto Library Manager also performs a neat little trick I discovered quite by accident -- it finds aliased images and moves the original into a new library.

    My switch from Referenced to Managed Library resulted in both alias and jpg files inside the Library package. I knew this could cause problems if I moved any originals merely referenced by the aliases.

    Mixed up iP lib

    First, I created a new Library and confirmed that the default "Copy items to the iPhoto Library" was checked. This would create a Managed Library.

    Using iPhoto Library Manager, I copied various events into the new Library avoiding the aliased images I planned to work with later. By mistake, I copied a folder that included some aliased pictures, but when I peeked into the iPhoto Library package contents I discovered the original jpg file, not the alias from the former Library, had been imported into the Library package.  iPhoto Library Manager had moved the file using my new Import preferences, and copied not the alias but the original.

    This little trick is helpful if you want to move images from a Referenced LIbrary to a Managed Library, and iPhoto Library Manager does it all without any special instructions. I was glad not to lose my keywords and filenames for the aliased images, and to have them all together with my other photos. In a short time I was working with a new library file and all images were imported with metadata and album organization.

    More on Photo Organization

    iPhoto Library Hides Photos in Plain View

    Comparing Scans on the FlipPal and Epson V500

    It's Okay to Play Favorites (How to decide what to keep)

     

     

    Saturday
    Apr302011

    Genealogy Goals Success

    Each time Amy Coffin posts an update to her 2011 Genealogy Goals on the WeTree blog, I get motivated to get back to work myself. It's a funny thing about sharing your goals with someone else; whether it's a book you want to read, a place to visit, or finding a #16 grandmother, just committing the idea to someone else in words seems almost magical. Here it is, barely four months since Amy and I met and shared a few personal genealogy challenges -- Amy is checking off those goals right and left.
    Congratulations on finding that elusive ancestor, Amy. I can't wait to see your beautiful family tree with ALL those generation names complete.
    Wednesday
    Apr272011

    Congrats Cousin Will, Best Wishes Kate

    When our ancestor Joshua Windsor dropped a letter from his noble name, he surely didn't mean to D-vorce himself from his noble origins, did he? We like being Winsors, especially when it comes to celebrating a Royal Wedding.

    Great Aunt Mercy liked to flaunt "our" Royal connections, and painted this gilt and colored version of the Royal crest as the cover page of a book for her niece's high school graduation in 1926. Of course, another Royal event was being celebrated that month, the birth on April 21st of Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, known today as Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Tuesday
    Apr262011

    2011 Jamboree Countdown

    I'm registered for the 2011 SCGS Jamboree, are you? Early-bird registration ends this week, April 30, 2011. The line-up of speakers, exhibitors, and special events looks outstanding, and if last year was any indication, the GeneaBlogger presence will be even stronger. This is a Don't Miss conference in my book.

    I am also looking forward to the GENEii Family History Writers Conference, scheduled Thursday, June 9 as a pre-Jamboree event. The all-day conference features John Philip Coletta and a panel of family history writers.

    Last year, and also in 2009, my mom and I both attended and had a great time meeting other Mother-Daughter genealogy teams. If you are still undecided about attending the Jamboree, maybe a few posts from previous years will convince you to join us. 

     

    Monday
    Apr252011

    Tales from the Vaults of Vermont


    Office of the Town Clerk, Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont – I love that word, “vault.” It makes me think of safe-deposit boxes stacked to the ceiling, heavy iron doors, and secret passwords. The sancto-sanctorum of special collections.
     

    When it comes to Vermont records, it all begins in the Town. For a California suburbanite, this is a difficult concept. We have towns in Southern California, but we call them cities. Their borders blend one into another until it’s hard to know where Burbank becomes Glendale becomes La Crescenta. Sometimes you can tell by the state of the roads – one city has more money for fixing potholes than another. Sometimes you can tell by the insignia on the police cars. A city is a city is a city. All these cities are part of a larger county. There are really only three jurisdictions – state, county, city.

    New England towns seem to be large areas laid out and labeled on a map. Within these boundaries, a town may contain several cities, villages, or hamlets. This is a tough concept – the city, village, or hamlet really isn’t the location for official records sought by most genealogists. Those records are found in the Town. So really, in New England there are FOUR jurisdictions – state, county, town, and city/village/hamlet. But, it all goes back to the Town.

    My ancestors seem to have moved around a lot in the Granite State and I am having a heck of a time finding out where most of them were born. Great Aunt Mercy thought our g-g-g-g-grandmother was known as The Rose of Sharon, as in Sharon, Vermont.

    Sharon is a village in the Town of Sharon, and fortunately the only key needed to enter the Sharon Town Clerk’s vault is payment of a modest hourly fee for use of the room’s large work surface and $1.00 per page for photocopies.

    A few years ago I was in the same room, but the office closed before I could finish searching. That was the year I spied the town name on a highway sign and we veered off madly for “a quick look.” It wasn’t an Official Research Trip, but my husband is a good sport. I vowed then to return to Sharon.

    We were well equipped on this trip with digital camera, notebooks, notes, and Research Assistant (aka Good Sport Mr. Curator). We arrived before 10am, anticipating the office would be closed for lunch, but learned that the office was now open through lunch and closed on Friday. Yet another reason to Call Ahead.

    Since my last visit, the earliest Town Record Volumes have been carefully restored and protected in archival sleeves. Each page has been removed from the original book, encapsulated, and placed in a post-bound binder. Working under the watchful eye of the Town Clerk, we perused the early volumes for birth, marriage, death, and burial records.

    My working hypothesis for the maiden name of g-g-g-g-g-mother was turned upside down by a surprising discovery by Mr. Curator. We thought this woman was a young widow when she married my ancestor, but now have to consider other possibilities.

    The Town Clerk’s Vault holds a treasure trove of materials. While we were immersed in 18th century ear markings and road committee minutes, the everyday business of the day was going on in the outer office. Dog licenses. Permits. All the stuff of community life.

    Our discoveries both confirmed some information and upended other theories. It was a wonderful day with a few surprises of the best kind – the ones that lead on to new adventures.

    Friday
    Apr222011

    NERGC Highlights - On the Topic of 'Making a Buck'

    My biggest surprise at NERGC wasn't the New England cold spring wind, it was weather inside the conference Exhibit Hall.

    Instead of the blast of noise, competing colors and graphics, and milling shoppers that I've grown to expect at SCGS Jamboree, NGS, or FHExpos, the NERGC Exhibit Hall more closely resembled a rare books show at a local university. The carpeting helped.

    The foyer area outside the hall was lined with tables staffed by volunteers from local genealogical and historical societies. It made me wish I had Massachusetts roots... hey, maybe I do! Just inside the door of the Exhibit Hall, the first vendor offered books and maps, as did the sellers to the left and around the corner.  It was wonderful. Used books, new books, reprints, pamphlets, maps, ephemera, digital editions on cd. A browser's delight.

    Around the corner, I found NEGHS staffing an extensive book selection. Across the way Bruce Buzbee explained the features of RootsMagic. A few tables away, Old Maps showed their wares next to Legacy FamilyTree software. Interspersed, I found tables offering books from NGS, the Rhode Island Historical Association, APG, and other societies.

    There were no microphones.

    Of course, it wasn't exactly quiet in the hall, but the buzz was a very reasonable din. I actually stood back to look at the room and finally figured out what was missing. It was the mega-commercial vendors that make a large and loud presence. They just weren't there. Of course, if Ancestry.com or FamilySearch knew that NERGC attendance was nearly 900, more than double their last event, perhaps they would have made a bid for space, As it was, I liked it just fine.

    The fact that so many commercial vendors were not present, also meant that the session offerings did not include multiple sessions on product-specific topics typically presented by vendor representatives. This is not a good-or-bad thing. Just different. Instead many of these slots were filled by professional genealogists speaking to their areas of expertise. Most of these professionals did not have a product to sell, such as a book or software, so presumably their only renumeration was the speaker's fees and potential for future clients.

    This was a real difference in focus for the event. I have enjoyed learning about new software and how to search online subscription sites at other conferences, but I also enjoyed the wide breadth of specialized research topics on offer at NERGC. After all, I can pick up tech tips via Webinar, screencast, and online tutorial, but how often can I hear the wit and wisdom of Paul Milner, Josh Taylor, Laura Prescott or Cherry Bamberg?

    Thursday
    Apr212011

    Family Tree Magazine in your Mailbox

    The July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine is hot off the press, and filled with a few nice surprises. I will admit that at first glance I missed the BIG news, but that was because I was excited to read another article.

    "Taking Care" highlights tips for organizing, selecting, and caring for your family treasures with links to helpful websites and archival suppliers. I love working on assignments like this that give me a reason to contact experts with tricky questions. Peter D. Verheyen, head of preservation and conservation at Syracuse University Library was especially helpful, offering ideas and answers during an extended telephone interview.

    This topic must be useful for at least some readers because I am already getting comments and questions via The Family Curator contact link. Please leave a comment or contact me if you have questions I can help with.

    If your issue of the magazine hasn't arrived yet, here is a brief look at what's inside

    • State Census Secrets, by Rick Crume
    • Research Trip Survival Kit, by Lisa A. Alzo
    • Croatian Ties, guide to tracing Croatian roots, by James M. Beidler
    • City Guides to Detroit and Charleston, SC, by Sunny Jane Morton and Dvaid A. Fryxell
    • Celebrity Genealogy, Take 2 -- a look at Season Two Who Do You Think You Are
    • Taking Care, by Denise Levenick (The Family Curator)

    and the BIG news, publication of

    • Post Masters, Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2011, by Sunny Jane Morton

    Geneabloggers will be interested to know that the 40 Best article includes an introduction to geneablogging and comments from GeneaBlogger Thomas MacEntee. The list is divided into eight categories and names the selected blogs with a brief overview of the blog's focus and author. A sidebar, "Picking Winners" showcases the four panelists who made final selections: Lisa Louise Cooke, Thomas MacEntee, Dear Myrtle, and Randy Seaver. The "More Online" feature highlights further blog content.

    I especially like the large graphic image providing the "Anatomy of a Blog" with a key to sections like the Subscribe button, Badges, and Blogroll. Renee's Genealogy Blog is shown as the example blog in this sidebar.

    It's an honor to see The Family Curator included in the Top 40 listing, especially since the nominations are made by other genealogy bloggers. Congratulations to the Top 40 Bloggers, and thank you, friends, for your encouragement and support. As our ranks grow in number, this list would be much longer if it could include the many other fine deserving bloggers who contribute so much to this community.

    Most Geneabloggers read the 2011 Family Tree 40 picks when they were first announced some weeks ago, but I think the magazine surprised us by adding "Panel Picks" in the print feature. One blog from each category was selected "to highlight exemplary blogging." I don't want to spoil all the fun -- you'll have to wait for your copy to arrive to see just which blogs were selected for this award!

    Thursday
    Apr212011

    NERGC Highlights - Going Pro

    The current GeneaBloggers discussion on Genea-Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) couldn't be more timely. I have just returned home from the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Springfield, Mass. and a week of extended ancestor hunting across the Green Mountains of Vermont. In those ten days I met every kind of genealogist and had my eyes opened to "how they do it" in New England.

    Like most conferences, this one attracted a good mix of family historians and professional genealogists. Not surprisingly, when presenters queried their audience in a session, there were relatively few who admitted to "beginner" status. After all, New England researchers have been at this endeavor a very long time. So, if most attendees seemed to NOT be beginners, where did they stand? Of the people I met, I would say that most were serious, experienced, genealogists, even though they may not be making money at their craft.

    I attended the evening Special Interest Session with Elissa Scalise Powell, "Becoming a Professional Genealogist" where the group of 25 or 30 asked pointed questions about the certification process and value of professional status. I faded with jet-lag before the end of the 90-minute session but didn't hear any questions at all on "how to make a living" as genealogist. The assumption was that clients means "paying" clients. There was no devaluation of the desire to achieve this goal.

    In fact, Yankees have a noted affinity for frugality and resourcefulness. It only makes sense that a room of New Englanders would be interested in turning a honing a talent for research into a paying occupation or avocation. I spoke with some attendees who were doing pro bono research and wanted to have the qualifications to justify a fair fee for their services.

    But it wasn't all about the money, either. One of the most popular features at NERGC was the Ancestor Road Show -- two days of free twenty-minute one-on-one consultations with professional genealogists. I thought I could sign up on site, but really missed out. Although there were nearly 40 genealogists (12 CG) making appointments, the sessions all filled up quickly.

    What does all this say about the New England genealogists I observed at NERGC? It tells me that they see professional status as a Board Certified Genealogists as a valuable and helpful skill for anyone wanting to make an income as a genealogist. In addition, it showed that one doesn't need to be CG to be a professional, i.e. earning an income from paying clients.

    Tuesday
    Apr192011

    Why Regional Genealogy Conferences are Worth Every Cent

     

    If you want to talk to the experts about researching in New England, it makes sense to go to the experts on their home turf. NERGC proved once again that you can get a lot of bang-for-your-buck if you can attend a regional conference in the area you are researching.

    Last Spring, the joint meeting of the Vermont and New Hampshire societies coincided with a family baptism in Hanover, and between events I was able to hear a top notch speaker and meet some new local contacts. This year, the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference exceeded my expectations with three full days of excellent sessions focused on research in my target localities. You can't get much better than that.

    Travel for these events can get expensive, so it helps to plan family visits, use airline miles, or share with a friend. I was watching for the NERGC schedule as soon as it became available, and glad to see that I could learn more about Vermont maps, Rhode Island town formation, finding elusive New England women, region migration patterns, and working with colonial land grants, all at one conference. Stay tuned for highlights in the days to come.

    These topics just don't come up with the same frequency at West Coast events.

    Of course, the intensive schedule means planning ahead and pacing as much as possible. By the last day, I was ready for a break and a few days of on site research and family time.

    Vermonters said we were there for "mud season," and it was a bit grim. The trees have yet to leaf out, snow still covers north-facing slopes, and mud lies in the valleys. Good weather for Vermont cheddar soup, hot Green Mountain coffee, and something maple and sweet. I love New England. Must be something in the genes.

     

    Wednesday
    Apr132011

    More Fun in New England

    Some folks go kayaking, skiing or leaf-peeping in New England. Mr. Curator and I left NERGC to drive to New Hampshire for some family time with our nephew and a lot of intensive research time.

    When you are looking for ancestors in Vermont, it all goes back to the Town. Today we spent four hours looking for marriages in town records. The early marriages are mixed in with land and town meeting notices, and tough to find. Mr. Curator just won't quit, even when I am SO ready for a break. The high - low?- point came when we discovered that the subject of our search may not have been widow after all. This upends all hypothesis.

    So, tomorrow, a new tactic. County probate records were moved to the state archives as of Jan 2011, necessitating a trip to Middlesex to view the files. Wish us luck!

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