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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
    Jul042013

    A Blog Birthday to Celebrate! Now I Am Six!

    May denise 1959 bday

    Put another candle on the birthday cake. . .

    It's hard to believe that The Family Curator is SIX this year! Was it only six years ago that I began reading Arlne's mail and fussing with old photographs? It feels like they've been part of my life forever, but have to remind myself that I didn't inherit her keepsakes until the turn of the century (this century!). 

    It was about 2000 when Arline's steamer trunk of keepsakes passed from my Aunt's care to my Mom. Auntie wanted the trunk, so Mom got the contents in cardboard boxes, and that's how the letters, photos, and all the other stuff came to me.

    The rest, as they say, is history. Which nudges me to make a few notes on the

    The History of The Family Curator Blog

    4 July 2007 -- Inspired by Thoreau selecting Independence Day as the jumping-off point for his time at Walden Pond,  I launch The Family Curator blog on 4 July 2007. Create Reading Women's Lives, high school English unit for my upper-division students using letters, documents, and photos from the Arline Allen Kinsel Papers. Begin an online journal (web-log) on Blogger to record my efforts. I discover I like blogging.

    4 July 2008 -- footnoteMaven features my classroom experience "Reading Women's Lives" at Shades of the Departed online photo magazine. My mom joins me in the search for Arline's story. I start to explore the world of FaceBook.

    2009 -- I enjoy meeting genealogy bloggers in real-time at conferences and seminars throughout the year. My new status as "retired teacher" gives me more time to blog and work with Arline's archive. The Family Curator changes blogging platforms and design moving to SquareSpace.

    2010 -- An exciting year when The Family Curator is named one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Blogs. Arline's letters and photos are scanned, filed, and researched. The bottom falls off the world when my mom becomes ill, and passes away in August; my genealogy buddy is gone. 

    2011 -- Blogging is slow, but geneablogging friends are a great support this year. The Family Curator is honored to be included in the Top 40 Blogs, and a new project is in the works, a book about working with family archives. Twilter explodes; The Family Curator is there.

    2012 -- Writing, writing, writing. How to Archive Family Keepsakes, F+W Media is published. Blog redesign and update; still on SquareSpace. Now we have to track Pinterest, Facebook, Google + and Twitter. Whew!

    2013 -- So far this year, Blog Book Tour for my new book. Speaking, writing, and having a great time doing what I love -- writing about family history and family keepsakes. Stay tuned for more new projects!

    Wednesday
    Jul032013

    Lady Liberty is "At Home" July 4, 2013

    Liberty Island Reopens to Visitors

    Lady liberty

    The National Park Service has announced that the Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors on 4 July 2013 after being closed for repairs following damage from Hurricane Sandy last fall. The grounds have been refurbished, docks rebuilt, and new exhibits mounted just in time for the summer vacation center.

    The NPS notes that due to expected high demand, visitors must make reservations and reserve tickets ahead of time. For more information, visit the National Park Service website.

    Image Credit: Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty - the illumination of New York Harbor [Bird's-eye view of the statue, harbor and fireworks], 1886, Wood Engraving after a drawing by Charles Graham, Library of Congress Library of Congress, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b32167.

    Monday
    Jul012013

    Countdown to GRIPitt Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    I can hardly wait to go back to school! In three weeks I will be sitting in a classroom at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh for a week-long intensive genealogy course. You could be there too!

    As of June 26, a few seats were still available in three outstanding courses:

    Intermediate Research, coordinator Paula Stuart-Warren

    Military Records, coordinator Craig R. Scott

    Writing a Quality Narrative, coordinator John Colletta

    I was a student in Paula Stuart-Warren's Intermediate Research course last summer along with over two dozen researchers with all levels of expertise. Some students were experienced in working with clients, others focused on their own family research, and many were somewhere in between. The pace was steady, absorbing, and challenging.

    2012 July 26 Intermediate class cropped

    Paula taught most of the Intermediate Research sessions, and coordinated lectures presented by Josh Taylor on several subjects. The inaugural 2012 program offered four courses; this year there will be six.

    One of the things I liked about the institute setting is the opportunity to interact with faculty and students outside of class. The collegial atmosphere in the common spaces and dining hall encourage conversation and exchange. GRIP Directors Elissa Scalise Powell and Debbie Deal were ever present and always smiling; everything ran so smoothly that it seemed like they had been running GRIP for years. 

    If you have been thinking about attending GRIP and can fit one week of outstanding genealogy education into your schedule July 21 - 26, 2013, act now and register to attend the 2013 program. Read more last year's program from attending student bloggers here; and in my posts about the week:

    Off to GRIP for Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    GRIP Pittsburgh Day One Recap

    GRIP Day Two: Getting Into the Groove

    Getting a GRIP on the 2012 Inaugural Session of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    Book Review: My Genealogy Book Purchases at GRIP

    In keeping with my goal to Learn One New Thing This Summer, I'm focusing on Mastering Genealogical Proof. I will attending Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard, coordinator Dr. Thomas W. Jones.  Training is already underway: less sleep, more stamina!

    Please stop me and say "hello" if you will be at GRIP! See you in soon!

    Wednesday
    Jun192013

    Remembering Summer and Making Time to Learn "One New Thing"

    The First Day of Summer is Almost Here: What New Thing Are You Ready to Learn?

    One golden summer I conquered the Lord of the Rings; another I learned to turn a heel in hand knit socks. In our house, summer has always been a season of opportunity.

    My sister and I never went to summer school; instead we passed the hot, smoggy Southern California months of July and August painting rocks and weaving pine-needle baskets at scout camp, solving mysteries with Nancy Drew at the public library, and molding clay at the city Parks and Recreation Department kids' program.

    If we had a gap between programs, Mom made sure we were learning about salesmanship by marketing lemons and avocados from our backyard trees, or becoming skilled craftsmen by  weaving loopy potholders or sewing doll clothes. 

    Girl Scout Day Camp, Orange County, California, about 1963.
    That's me in the back with the bucket hat next to my mom, Suzanne May. 

    I tried to continue the family summer tradition with my own two sons, with mixed results. One summer, when he was about eight years old, the older son was stuck on stamp collecting. I drove him to a weekly Kids and Stamps Club directed by a local postmaster, and we started ordering First Day Covers and soaking old stamps off envelopes. 

    The next year, it was baseball cards and player's autographs.

    The younger son was infatuated with model-making. He painted tiny model soldiers, and then graduated to building and flying model airplanes.

    The "no summer school" policy worked until high school when they wanted to spend the extra weeks with their friends in school programs.  We compromised. I insisted that they learn something different, something new, something fun. The first summer they learned to grill a steak. Extremely useful! Next, they became adept at omelets. With dinner and breakfast mastered, they have gone on to be pretty useful in the kitchen.

    Summer was always my time to learn something new, as well. As a high school English teacher, I usually needed to read several novels and develop new curriculum materials. It was a great  excuse to visit New England when I taught Early American Lit. But, summer wasn't always about school.

    I used the break to learn One New Thing Each Summer --

    • create tables, outlines, and Tables of Contents in Microsoft Word (useful)
    • basic photo editing in Photoshop Elements (fun)
    • how to can tomatoes (hot, but rewarding!)
    • how to make a reproduction civil war quilt
    • how to scan my grandmother's letters

    If it looks like each of these "skills" is a project, you'd be right. It seems like there is always some new project waiting for just the time, focus, or extra bit of knowledge needed to make it happen. I was a frustrated daily MS Word user until I bought a guide and worked through enough exercises to learn what I needed to know. Ditto, photo editing with PS Elements.

    Of course, some new skills just happen -- the tomato explosion that led to learning how to preserve salsa, tomatoes, and blended tomato sauce. I even won a few blue ribbons at the county fair for those projects!

    The last several years I've been working on organizing, sorting, and digitizing different family collections and learned -- 

    • the best scanning resolution for my papers and photos
    • how to put together a DIY copy stand
    • easy file naming and folder organization for my new digital images
    • how to file the original papers so I can find them again

    But, my own genealogy research has been set aside long enough. This summer, I have already decided on on One New Thing to Learn This Summer, (plus One Other New Thing just for fun).

    I have a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof in hand; I am enrolled in Dr. Tom Jones course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh; and I am ready to become immersed in the Genealogical Proof Standard.

    All of this is probably enough for one summer learning experience, but I can't resist adding one more thing I really really want to learn this summer -- I am determined to master my step-mother's southern fried chicken. Hot, crispy, juicy. I don't think anyone will complain.

    So, what One New Thing are YOU Learning This Summer?

    Sunday
    Jun162013

    Fieldstone Common Interviews The Family Curator: BlogTalkRadio Staff Pick

    Listen anytime to the latest episode of Fieldstone Common Blog Talk Radio where Marian Pierre-Louis and I talk about the "backstory" to my book How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Although Marian and I have never met in person, we share a common passion for old houses and family treasures.

    I had a great time as the guest on Fieldstone Common and enjoyed answering listener questions on preserving keepsakes. If you have questions or comments after listening to the program, please feel free to leave a comment to this post for my response.

    The 60-minute program is now available for listening via web or iTunes podcast at the Fieldstone Common website, and was named a Staff Pick for this weekend.

     

     

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