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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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    We Want to Give $500 to a Student Genealogist

    Do you know a student genealogist who would like to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank this June? Would he or she like to receive $500 to help with expenses to attend the conference?

    Please help spread the news about the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant for Student Genealogists – applications will be accepted until midnight February 15.

    Any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has attended school in the last 12 months is eligible to apply. The winner will receive free three-day registration to the conference, courtesy of the SCGS Jamboree, and $500 cash.

    Complete details and application materials are available at

    Suzanne Freeman was an enthusiastic attendee at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree and a life-long supporter of youth activities and volunteerism. The 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by offering a $500 grant to a young genealogist attending the 2011 SCGS Jamboree.  


    January Update on 2011 Genealogy Resolutions with Blogging Buddy, Amy Coffin

    Did you know that Januarius had 29 days until Julius added two more, giving us more time to set our proverbial goals and exercise plans in place before February came crashing in? Too true! 



    The Roman God, Janus, patron of gates and doorways is often shown with two faces looking opposite directions. Like me, he must not know if he is coming or going at times.

    So, here it is the last days of January (on the new calendar) and time to report my progress thus far toward those Genealogy Resolutions set with Amy Coffin in the optimistic days of December. Amy posted her first update January 10, while I was still debating whether to take down the holiday decorations or "work" on those genea-goals. Guess what won out?

    Christmas in Pasadena is merely a prelude to The Big Day of the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl football game. Each year the city has an influx of visitors numbering in the tens of thousands, so that by December 30 it's a good idea to make a big pot of chili and put the car in the garage for a few days. It's also a great time to tackle a Big Project.

    The first goal I tackled was the Organizational Goal (a big one in multiple parts):

    1. Clean up my Mac after the transfer from PC
    2. Investigate new options in genealogy database programs for the Mac
    3. Move photos to an external drive
    4. Get back-up plan in place


    When the helpful folks at the local Apple Store moved my email over to my new iMac, they also moved my pictures and files. This would have been fine except every single file, photo, and document on my lovely new Mac now had the new embedded date of July 18, 2038.

    Obviously, this had to be fixed. A call to Apple Support advised me to reformat my hard drive and start over. Not fun. The alternative was to dump all the files and move over the originals with the correct dates. Either way you look at it, a laborious project. Actually a perfect project for New Year's in Pasadena. In between toasts to 2011 and parade reruns, I was able to cleanup the situation. I now have my old files on my new machine, and can access them by the correct dates. I checked off Part 1 of my Organization Goal and moved on to Part 2: "investigate new options in genealogy database programs."

    I knew it would be distracting to take down the Christmas tree, so I turned on the twinkling white lights and spent a week or so investigating Mac genealogy database software. This was an education in itself and worthy of at least one more post. I downloaded trial versions, ran through my list of essentials and generally kicked the tires of what is available. To be fair, I did not ignore the option of running a Windows program on the Mac through Parallels, Boot Camp, or VMFusion. If I research this topic much more I will never move forward; time to check off "Research" and make a decision. More on this later.

    Between testing software and lurking in forums, I also managed to move my photos to an external hard drive and get reacquainted with my absolute favorite photo management program, Adobe Lightroom. Since I was in a testing software mood, I also tried iPhoto, but found it just couldn't handle my tagging needs. Also bought and installed Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, my favorite easy photo editing program.

    I know I really need to do the last step in this goal, the back up plan, but, hey, the Christmas tree was losing needles so fast I thought I was risking fire as well as data crash. I finally got the tree out in time for the Martin Luther King holiday.

    All that computer work made me feel a little guilty that I was ignoring my Writing Goal. I decided to take a lesson from my teaching days and Plan a bit before putting words on paper. First step for the family history I want to republish is to scan Aunt Mercy's Winsor Genealogy -- task completed and images stashed on my external drive. I also finished an article on photo preservation and sent that off to the editor. I am moving forward on this goal.

    Regretfully, progress toward the research goal = zero.

    Amy, how am I doing? We do have the Overachievers reputation to maintain with Sheri Fenley and Cheryl Palmer. Maybe we should take them on, sort of a team challenge. What do you say, ladies?





    Remember to Label Your Gear

    I learned the hard way last year that there was a Very Good Reason we had to label our stuff for camp. Mom always said I was a bad camper and never came home with everything I packed. I guess I haven't changed much because while attending the NGS Conference in Salt Lake City last spring, i managed to lose my flash drive at the Family History Library.

    It's the way of things that I didn't realize it was gone until the next time I went to the library and wanted to save some scanned images. Suddenly, I couldn't find it. The helpful staff directed me to the Lost and Found desk where the Sherlock Holmes of lost data drives brought out a plastic shoe box (yes, an entire shoe box) filled with orphaned USB sticks.

    This young man had opened each drive looking for identifying information. Of course, all I could say was that my drive would have files with "Winsor" or "Kansas" in the title. . . maybe. Fortunately, I must have been the only one with those names because he was able to pull out a drive and double-check with me to be sure it was the correct one.

    While we had the drive open, he showed me how to make a simple Text Edit file which would identify the drive when (note, I am not saying "if") I lost it again.

    Here are three ways to help you find a wayward flash drive:

    1. Rename the flash drive with your last name.

    Labeled Flashdrive.png

    2. Use your PC or Mac simple text editor to open a new document. Give it a few simple lines with your name and contact information, and name the file something like IF FOUND. It's a good idea to use your mobile phone number or email; something that you can easily check when you are out of town.

    Lev FlashDrive.png

    3. Stick a printed label on the outside of the drive. I print labels with my P-Touch Label Maker stick them on everything from my netbook (lost that one in the airport screening) to flash drives.

    With the Roots Tech Conference fast approaching, attendees are starting to think about their tech tools and gadgets for the event. My friend Joan Miller at Luxegen has started her packing list, and I am sure she will have everything neatly labeled. I wonder if Joan was a Girl Scout?



    The Tale of "Poor George"

    Graveyard Rabbits and others interested in headstone iconography will enjoy the latest edition of Common-place, The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. In Object Lessons, Digging Up History, Edward E. Andrews describes "how Photo-Flo and elbow grease are saving New England's historic cemeteries."

    "Poor George," we grunted as we looked down to survey the damage. George was hurting. His face was flat on the ground and, while ants and shoots of uncut grass explored ways to migrate around his heavy, white body, layers of mold and errant pine needles concentrated in the decaying crevices on his back. . . As my colleague and I stood over George, contemplating the best way to clean him up, it occurred to us that we were using the word him to describe what was really an it."George" was not an actual person, but a gravestone that memorialized a person's life and mourned his death.

    The article describes cemetery preservation projects along with a brief discussion of headstone materials and restoration practices. Andrews goes on to describe a web project documenting Newport Rhode Island's black burial ground, "God's Little Acre, and the relationships between gravestone art and society, the ways that gravestones "reveal larger attitudes about the meaning of death itself." He brings the discussion back to "Poor George" by analyzing the marker and inscription as "a commentary on the perils of westward migration and family disruption."

    When my high school English students read The Scarlet Letter, I introduced a special unit on Puritan gravestones and cemeteries. Students were required to analyze the symbolic meaning of the engraved stones, mostly the traditional urns, willows, death's head, hourglass, and angels. We didn't do too much with the inscription itself. Andrews' interpretation of the brief lines on George McIntire's headstone take iconography a step further.

    Without knowing the cause of his death in September 1865 in Cinncinnati, Ohio, Andrew offers the idea that the marker notes McIntire's death as a "bad death," one where the deceased was in social isolation from his family. McIntire is buried in the First Congregational Church cemetery in Wellesley, Massachusetts, some distance from Cinncinnati. The inscription reads

    No mother stood beside his couch,
    To cheer his dying bed;
    No sister there with kindly hand,
    To bathe his aching head

    Andrews reads this as a cautionary tale for other young men, "In the end, the stone is not really about McIntire, but about the anxieties and fears that migration might cause for all members of a family."

    I find this a fascinating approach to studying gravestones, and encourage you to visit Common-Place and read the entire article. I am going back to look at the photos of my ancestors' gravestones with a new ear to what they may be saying.

    Common-Place is an online newletter sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and The University of Oklahoma features scholarly articles on a wide variety of subjects related to Early American life.


    Kudos to the ISGS New Website

    Searching for my Chamblin/Chamberlain ancestors just got easier with the debut of the newly redesigned Illinois State Genealogical Society website. I've been exploring the site and am excited about new avenues for research.

    I like the clean landing page and great snapshot header. It is easy to scan the menu offerings and choose what you need. The Facebook and Twitter links are at the top of the news, along with the easy to use search box. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the featured Special Participation Projects.

    Since I am not a member of ISGS, I skipped down through the extensive Member links to see if I could access some of the other materials. I found Genealogy Forms, and a great Link list to ISGS, Genealogical Societies, and Research Tools.

    Anyone researching Illinois will find the list of Illinois Resources especially helpful. From county boundaries to the statewide marriage index, this is a great link list.

    The site also provides free access to Civil War Certificates, World War I Certificates, Certified Prairie Pioneers, and the Family Bible Records Surname Index.

    Thomas MacEntee, host of GeneaBloggers, is the modest wizard behind the redesigned ISGS website, and serves as webmaster and Director, Publicity Chair and Death Records and Obits Chair for the Illinois State Genealogical Society.


    Update on Memorial Grant for Young Genealogists

    The winner of the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant will be attending the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California with free registration to the event, courtesy of the SCGS Jamboree. 

    “Jamboree is pleased to support this grant by providing a free three-day basic registration for the winner of this grant program,” announced Paula Hinkel, Jamboree CoChair, on the Jamboree blog.

    The SCGS Jamboree has become a premiere regional genealogy conference offering national speakers, workshops, and demonstrations. More than 1700 genealogists attended the 2010 event in Burbank, California.

    I’ve been overwhelmed the past few weeks with support from the genealogy community for the student genealogy grant we’ve established in honor of my mom, Suzanne Freeman. Bloggers who met us at Jamboree, and many others who just like the idea of helping young genealogists have taken time to comment, email, and call about the grant program.

    It’s a great time to be interested in genealogy. Popular TV shows like Who Do You Think You Are, new DNA tests, and mainstream media attention are focusing a spotlight on family history. We know that young people are catching genealogy fever, too, and the Suzanne Freeman Grant hopes to encourage even more young genealogists to stand up and be counted.

    Suzanne Freeman was an enthusiastic attendee at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree and a life-long supporter of youth activities and volunteerism. The 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by offering a $500 grant to a young genealogist attending the 2011 SCGS Jamboree. 

    Any genealogist who is 18 to 25 years of age as of July 1, 2011 and a student within the last year is eligible to apply. Funds must be used for travel, lodging, and other conference-related expenses. 

    Please help spread the word and encourage any young genealogists you know to apply for the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant. Complete guidelines and application are available online at The Family Curator blog Deadline for applications is February 15, 2011; the award recipient will be announced March 1, 2011. 

    Contributons to the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Fund may through PayPal at the Grant Webpage or at Wells Fargo Bank, 360 W. Continental Road, Green Valley, Arizona 520/625-1222. 


    Using Bookpedia to Catalog a Genealogy Library

    Most Januarys I get a surge of energy to whip my chaos into shape. Bookpedia book cataloging software is helping me tame the monster in my home office. I have one wall of bookcases that were double-stacked with books from my past and present lives as student, teacher, writer, researcher, and reader. I couldn’t find anything.

    I’ve been chipping away at the stacks for the past week and this morning cataloged 71 books in just over an hour. With another half hour or so for re-shelving, I am beginning to see progress.

    My major roadblock to previously cleaning up my books was rooted in good old sentimentality. I didn’t want to move along old books until I had cataloged them in some way. I am always trying to remember, “Have I read that before?” and I was tired of buying duplicate copies. There are too many new titles on my Wish List!

    Bookpedia and the iSight camera on my new iMac have made relatively quick work of a big task. The program allowed me to set up my Library and use a checkbox “Sold” for books I am donating and/or selling. Using the built in camera, I can hold up the ISBN bar code. When Bookpedia reads the code, there is an audible “beep” and a window pops up pre-filled with information from internet book databases like Amazon. I check to make sure it is the correct volume, add my own genre keywords: Genealogy, New England, Handwriting, etc., and click Add.

    The camera doesn’t work all of the time; many times the ISBN bar code seems to be too small, or maybe the book cover stock is too glossy for a good read. When that happens, I just enter the code numbers and Bookpedia finds the book information.

    Many genealogy books and local histories don’t have an ISBN number. These books can be entered manually with as much information as you want.

    The program displays your library in an attractive cover flow list that is fun to browse and much quicker that looking through dozens of shelves.

    Bookpedia had an iPod Touch version, Pocketpedia, which is no longer available due to limitations from Amazon. Instead, the website suggests other ways to export your library catalog to your iPod Touch or iPad. I found it easy to “print” my genealogy catalog as a PDF and send it to Evernote. After syncing, I was able to view the list with cover photos on my iPod Touch. The website also describes how to export to MobileMe or a website for browser viewing.  

    Even without the full-sync Pocketpedia, I think this will be a great help when travelling and attending conferences.


    Young Genealogists Invited to Apply for Grant to Attend 2011 SCGS Jamboree  

    It’s Mom’s birthday today, and we are giving a gift in her honor! 

    Suzanne Freeman was an enthusiastic attendee at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree and a life-long supporter of youth activities and volunteerism. The 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by offering a $500 grant to a young genealogist attending the 2011 SCGS Jamboree. 

    Any genealogist who is 18 to 25 years of age as of July 1, 2011 and a student within the last year is eligible to apply. Funds may be used for travel, lodging, and other conference-related expenses. 

    The SCGS Jamboree has become a premiere regional genealogy conference offering national speakers, workshops, and demonstrations. More than 1700 genealogists attended the 2010 event in Burbank, California.

    Please help spread the word and encourage any young genealogists you know to apply for the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant. Application and more information is available at

    Denise Levenick with Suzanne Freeman,
    2009 SCGS Jamboree GeneaBlogger Bag Project


    Suzanne Winsor Freeman

    Genealogy bloggers came to know Suzanne the past two years at the SCGS Jamboree where she enthusiastically joined the GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag project, assisting in the assembly and distribution of gifts to attending genealogy bloggers. She was a fan of new technology such as podcasts by Lisa Louise Cooke and The Genealogy Guys, but also looked forward to analyzing old photographs with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.

    She embraced the possibilities of DNA and had recently submitted a sample for testing. In June, 2010 at the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, she was delighted to meet her cousin Christopher Childs from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. At the time of her death in Tucson, Arizona August 28, 2010, Suzanne was still searching for her elusive Winsor cousins.

    Suzanne enjoyed researching family history online and frequently posted queries that resulted in new family connections. She supplied stories and anecdotes for, the blog written by her daughter Denise Levenick, where her tales always received enthusiastic reader comments. Suzanne was also honored to appear at as a guest blogger.  

    Suzanne was born January 5, 1933 in Olathe, Kansas to Arline (Kinsel) and Frank Ammi Brown, and grew up in Orange and Santa Ana after her family moved to California in 1937. She purchased property in Green Valley, Arizona in 1982 and became a full-time Arizona resident in 1997.

    As a mother and homemaker, Suzanne found great satisfaction as a Girl Scout Leader and church volunteer in La Habra, California, and later used her community experience as Executive Director of the North Orange County Volunteer Bureau. In Green Valley, Suzanne was active in the Green Valley Evangelical Free Church and the Green Valley Genealogical Society.

    Contributons to the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank, or directly to Wells Fargo Bank, Green Valley, Arizona 520/625-1222.


    iPhoto Library Hides Photos in Plain View

    As a recent PC to Mac user, I have been perplexed by the “simplicity” of iPhoto, so I was doubly happy to find Denise Olson’s handy recap on iPhoto – Photo Organization at the Moutrie Creek Gazette. Denise clearly describes the importing and all-important tagging features of iPhoto in a clear and easy-to-follow article. 

    I have been using Adobe Lightroom 2 for my genealogy photo project, but wanted to revisit my options now that I can use iPhoto on my new iMac. I need batch keywording, which both programs can handle, but I also like a lot of control over where my photos “live” on my hardware. 

    My Lightroom library lives on an external hard drive, and I’ve discovered that my iPhoto Library can live there too! The major difference is that my Lightroom library consists of a series of nicely organized nested folders; with iPhoto, all I could see was one file labeled “iPhoto Library.” Kinda scary for a PC user. Where’s the stuff?

    No problem. By holding down the Control key on the Mac, while clicking the iPhoto Library icon, and selecting “Show Package Contents” the Library opens its doors. Select the Originals folder and you will see nested folders labeled by year and date of event. Take note: most discussion board posts (like this one on MacForums) caution strongly against DOING ANYTHING within the iPhoto package contents.

    What you can do, however, is LOOK. And that in itself is revealing, because the iPhoto package is nothing more than folders named by import dates. This is similar structure to my Lightroom dated folders. Whew. Knowing this, I am much more comfortable handing off my photos to iPhoto for management and organization. I can handle the keywording and iPhoto can handle the file. If I need to find a photo independently for some reason (say, I move back to a PC, or I am using a backup and want photos from a single event), I can locate and copy those photos.

    Although I don’t know how much I will be using iPhoto, I am looking forward to trying out its features and easy integration with other Mac applications. 






    Welcome 2011! My morning view of the Pasadena Rose Parade


    View from the bedroom window about 7:30 am, followed at 8am by the spectacular Stealth Bomber gliding from the northwest to cast its shadow along the parade route. Then a champagne breakfast served by Mr. Curator and in-home viewing of the entire parade; it doesn't get much better! Welcome 2011.


    2010 in Review, Looking for the silver lining

    As we bid adieu to 2010, it seems fitting to look back and count the many blessings we received both personally and genealogically amidst the sadness and challenges that life brings.

     In January,

    • Mom was in California for Another Party! to celebrate her 77th birthday
    • I was rained out of attending the Family History Expo in Mesa.

    In February

    • My sister and I visited Mom in Arizona and Penny Dreadful had a little adventure.
    • The Family Curator was named to the Family Tree 40 Best Genealogy Blogs of 2010.
    • I attended the St. George Family History Expo and met up with lots of researchers and bloggers.
    • I found lots of new information Reading Between the Lines in the Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards

    In March

    • The Blogger’s Almanac returned.
    • I completed some major Genealogy Spring Cleaning and worked on my Fearless Female Short List.

    In April

    • In April, on Tax Day to be more precise, Mr. Curator’s truck was hit while he was stopped at a red light. The truck was a total loss, but no one was seriously injured.
    • Sadly, Mr. Curator’s uncle Herman Krantz, submarine veteran and ballroom dancer, passed away at the age of 93.
    • Also in April, Mr. Curator slipped on the job and fractured his ankle. The orthopedic surgeon said it was a “lucky break” and would heal with six weeks of rest. This gave Mr. Curator time to digitize our box of Super 8 home movies. :>)
    • We packed Mr. Curator’s crutches and traveled to New Hampshire for a family baptism, which coincided with a joint meeting of the Genealogical Society of Vermont and the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists.
    • I attended NGS in Salt Lake City and soaked up genea-wisdom during and after the sessions with great GeneaBlogger pals.

    In May

    In June

    • Mom arrived for the SCGS Jamboree and we enjoyed two weeks together, plus the three-day Jamboree. The Family Curator posted Jamboree reports from both Mother and Daughter.
    • Mom and her sister, along with my sister and I, went on a Historic Home Tour of places they lived in their growing-up years.
    • Mom and I started researching the elusive Schiffbauer boys.

    In July

    • Mom was hospitalized and had surgery for pulmonary problems. Her prognosis was excellent and we hoped for a speedy recovery.
    • Meanwhile, Mom shared her stories of Princes Usha at the Brown Girls’ Party with her India-born nurse. This was a challenge with the ventilator, and then tracheostomy, in place, but Mom persisted with mouthing words and writing.

    In August

    • Mom achieved a long-time goal of submitting her DNA for testing. She loved finding new relatives and had been anxious to try Family Tree’s new Family Finder program.
    • Mom’s spirits were good, but she continued to grow weaker, passing away  Friday, August 28, 2010.
    • Mr. Curator’s beautiful and graceful aunt, Dottie Krantz, passed away, only a few months after her beloved Herman.

    In September

    • Mom was remembered by family and friends at a warm memorial service in Green Valley, Arizona. 
    • I reconnected with cousins who lived nearby and we shared family photos and stories.

    In October

    • Another trip East to visit family and friends and slip in a little research at The National Archives.
    • I attended the Family History Expo in Pleasanton, California, and enjoyed meeting up with many blogger friends.

    In November

    • “You’ve got cousins!” Mom’s DNA test is yielding results.
    • We made yet another trip East for family fun and holiday celebrations.

    In December

    • Family Tree Magazine nominated the Family Curator to its list of the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs of 2011. Whoopee!
    •  I had a chance to meet-up with Amy Coffin of WeTree for a little holiday cheer and New Year’s challenge making. What a nice way to celebrate the season.


    This certainly was a year of ups and downs, wonderful highlights and deep sorrow, for so many genealogy bloggers. As we mourn our losses and shoulder through the challenges that befall, I have to think that this yearning to know where we come from, and who we are, helps us to make sense of it all. I am grateful for the many hours Mom and I spent sharing tales, posing what-ifs, and most of all, just connecting and knowing we were connected.

    The genealogists that we met along the way inspired our own adventure and gave us good memories to share. Thank you GeneaBloggers, for being a highlight this past year. Your good wishes and kind words have made all the difference.

    Here’s to 2011 and the Adventures that Await. Let’s raise a glass to Happy Memories and counting more blessings in the year to come.





    Blogging Buddies and Genealogy Resolutions, report from the West Coast Partner

    One of my favorite new holiday traditions is visiting with WeTree blogger Amy Coffin when she comes to town. This is the second season we have been able to meet and speak genealogy, and it is truly a highlight of the holiday for me.

    Our conversation drifted around upcoming conferences and the cool new Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner until we really got to the interesting stuff of research and writing. When Amy mentioned her goal of finding her 16th great-great-grandparent, it was a logical jump to put that at the top of genealogy goals for 2011. The scary thing is, while Amy was quick to think GOAL, I was merely thinking out loud.” Suddenly, we were at Goals and Objectives, and “hey, this might really get done this year!”

    It always helps to have a buddy when there is a challenge at hand, and I was glad that Amy caught the ball and tossed it back to me to name Three Genealogy Goals for 2011.

    One Research Goal

    One Organizational Goal

    One Writing Goal

    While the first goal on Amy’s list was research, mine was all about writing family history. I recently borrowed the original parchment family genealogy researched and written by my Great Aunt Mercy Kinsel MacPhee. Until September of this year I had only seen poor photocopies made in the 1960’s. The original is a beautiful volume hand-illustrated in gilt and colored inks, and the owner would like to see it faithfully reproduced and shared with all the family. It’s a big job, but I need to see it through (or be left in Amy’s dust!).

    My research goal is a continuation of one started years ago that has been drifting along without conclusion – establishing the Chamblin/Chamberlain/Chamberlin link with my maternal grandmother. With FGS slated this year for Springfield, Illinois, Chamblin territory, I want to get my research all lined up so that I can do any on-site digging that will help with this puzzle. I hope Amy is able to come to FGS so we can swap tales at theconference.

    The organization goal is a tough one. This fall I moved from a PC to a Mac and in the transfer all my photos and documents were mixed up. I want to get everything nice and tidy again AND investigate new options in genealogy database programs now that I am using a Mac. I need to get my photos moved to an external drive and get my back up plan in place. There is a lot of work to do here, but the first step is just making a plan and moving forward. Amy’s scanning schedule is inspirational; maybe I’ll work up something similar.

    Amy gives me too much credit for coming up with this challenge; it takes a buddy to make this work, and I feel pretty lucky she was there to throw out the first ball.

    So, genealogy friends, what are you doing in 2011?


    The Nativity Story, via Social Networking

    I am still saving the illustrated children's books to read to the grandchildren!





    And Now… for your Holiday Nogging Pleasure: The Eggnog Recipe


    Family recipes can be just as confusing as old land plat descriptions, and I have the recipe to prove it!

    Our friends have been calling and emailing in a frenzy. With one thing and another, we are late, late, late making the traditional holiday LevNog. This delicious blending of dairy and distillery is usually brewed on Thanksgiving weekend and left to mellow quietly in the cold dark basement until someone drops in begging for a cuppa.

    Holiday LevNog ready for delivery.
    (Must be over 21 and reside within walking distance.)

    Last night, Mr. Curator finally felt sufficiently recovered from a bad cold to don his holiday apron and commandeer the kitchen. I tried to act as sous chef providing ingredients and equipment, but it soon became clear that translating the recipe was going to be the major obstacle.

    On re-reading the recipe several times it was obvious that the difference in results from year to year is entirely due to different translations. Some years, the nog is smooth and light, much like the consistency of good cream. Other years, the results are thick and lumpy with whipped clouds of creamy sweet goodness. Both taste pretty darn marvelous.

    Blame it on the Translator. I automatically convert the succinct instructions to recipe Directions, but Mr. Curator takes each instruction as written, quite literally. This became as clear as… egg whites, last night in the brew room.

    The list of ingredients is straightforward, although you have to assume it is acceptable to use one dozen eggs, separated, to get 12 Egg yolks and 12 Egg whites.

    Ingriedents (sic)

    12 Egg yolks

    12 Egg whites

    1 ½ cups of sugar

    ¼ tsp. Salt

    1 qt. Heavy cream

    1 qt. bourbon

    1 qt. brandy

    1 cup rum


    It’s the Directions that get us every time, starting with the very first command:

    Beat cream. – What the heck do they mean? Beat the cream? With what? Spoon, mixer? Just cream? No sugar, no anything? I read the entire recipe through to the end and still can’t figure it out. Husband gets ready to pour 1 qt. Heavy cream into the bowl of the stand mixer.

    “Stop,” I say, (nicely). I suggest he skip to instruction to “Beat whites till stiff and beat in ½ cup sugar” because we all know that egg whites have to be beaten in a really clean bowl with no grease if you want them to get good and stiff.

    As sous chef, I have already separated the eggs. Separate yolks and whites (Note no yolks can be in whites but whites can be in yolks). As I cracked the last one and prepared to slide the white into the bowl with eleven brothers, I experienced the fleeting thought that perhaps I should crack the eggs one by one into a bowl just in case the yolk broke… nahhhh, extra work… just then the yolk broke. Managed to get it out of the whites. Whew.

    He grumbles and pours egg whites into mixer bowl. Beats whites until stiff. Adds sugar. Scrapes sweet clouds into another bowl.

    Now it’s time to Beat yolks with 1 cup sugar and salt until light. Before I can say, “how much salt” he has thrown the yolks and sugar into the mixer bowl and they are blended and blended and blended. Almost custard.

    We now have a huge bowl of whipped egg whites and a mixer bowl of yolks and sugar. Next: Combine and beat. While I am thinking do they mean “fold together” rather than beat? Or maybe “mix gently,” Mr. Curator has dumped the whites into the yolks and is beating the mixture. I convince him to go gently. Next, Beat in cream then milk. We now have a thick, somewhat lumpy liquid,

    The final instructions need no translation: Stir in whisky. Beat well and add rum.

    By now I have left the room. When I return and review the recipe I see that one odd omission has not escaped Mr. Curator’s eagle eye. The Directions fail to include each of the listed Ingredients. Never fear! Mr. Curator caught the error and remembered to Add brandy.


    Ingriedents** (sic)
    12 Egg yolks
    12 Egg whites
    1 ½ cups of sugar
    ¼ tsp. Salt
    1 qt. Heavy cream
    1 qt. bourbon
    1 qt. brandy
    1 cup rum
    Beat cream. Separate yolks and whites (Note no yolks can be in whites but whites can be in yolks) Beat yolks with 1-cup sugar and salt till light. Beat whites till stiff and beat in ½ cup of sugar. Combine and beat. Beat in cream then milk. Stir in whisky. Beat well add rum.


    An Honor to be Honored


    Thank you, Readers, for nominating The Family Curator to named as one of Family Tree Magazine's 2011 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Recognition by one's peers is always the very best kind of compliment, and the genealogy blog world has grown into a true community where we certainly feel like we "know" people we have never "met." It is an honor to be in the company of so many talented researchers and writers, and to know that there are even more outstanding blogs to discover in the days to come.

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