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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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    Put Another Candle on the Blog Birthday Cake

    Has it been three years already? I was blogging on various subjects when The Family Curator was launched July 4, 2007, but I never imagined that my student family history project would start a long-term affair with genealogy blogging.

    Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on highlights of the year past, and this year I want to thank some of the special bloggers I have been honored to meet in Real Life after a first acquaintance began online.

    On The Family Curator’s First Blogiversary in 2008, I was excited to announce the publication of my guest column, “Reading Women’s Lives,” for footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed. This was be the beginning of a wonderful new friendship with the Belle of the Blogs. footnoteMaven has been a model of professionalism, generosity, courtesy, and kindness. Truly, she is a lovely light in the genealogy blogosphere.

    By my Second Blogiversary in 2009, I had met several bloggers in Real Time, and counted myself fortunate indeed to be the beneficiary of their experience and advice. At first, I was surprised to find that Randy Seaver was a living, breathing person; his ability to write well, research thoroughly, enjoy his grandchildren, and dote on his lovely wife seemed like more than any one person could accomplish. Randy defies all limits, however. He really is a Genealogy Blogger Extraordinaire.

    I also met Thomas MacEntee, a GeneaBlogger genius ready to lend a helping hand with my tech questions and blogging conundrums. What fun to discover that we both shared a love of the New York countryside, and even more fun to work together on the blogger welcome bags for Jamboree.

    Then, there was Amy Coffin of WeTree and Craig Manson of Geneablogie whose passion and persistence motivated me to keep digging when I was ready to throw in the towel. Kathryn Doyle and Elizabeth O’Neal who opened my eyes to Twitter and Facebook; they made it look sooooo easy. Sheri Fenley, Cheryl Palmer, and Susan Kitchens who made it all sooooo fun.  And so many more bloggers…  

    Each person I met online long before we met face-to-face, and those meetings did not disappoint.

    In 2010, I have been able to shake hands, share a meal, and swap tales with even more genealogy bloggers and readers. I loved getting to know Miriam Midkiff, the brains behind the monthly Scanfest, as well as organized pros like Steve Danko, Canadian blogger and fellow-welcome-bagger Joan Miller, travelling blogger Becky Wiseman, enthusiastic young bloggers A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger, and many more...  These are only some of the wonderful genealogy bloggers I have been able to meet in person.

    It’s a fine journey, and the best part is that there is still so much more to come. Thank you, friends, for three great years. Happy Blogiversary !


    Wordless Wednesday: Family Home Tour Edition ca. 1946, 2010

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, ca. 1946

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, 2010


    Family Home Tour Update, in Which Together We Enjoy a “Happy Crappy Day”

    Memory is a strange thing. Recently, my sister and I joined my mother and her sister on a “Family Home Tour” of their old homes in Orange County. For many families, this would involve two or three stops for photos and then adjournment for lunch. Our day was quite different.

    Grandfather Brown was a house painter and wallpaper hanger by trade, and found a steady market in exchanging work for housing. For the family of four, this meant frequent moves to a new home, sometimes around the corner or down the block, at other times a bit further away.

    Mom made a list of the homes she remembered, numbering them in order from their early years in California until the house that she “was married from.” She was able to name 13 houses.

    Her sister, two years older, made a similar list. Auntie named 15 houses.

    We knew it would be an interesting day when we started off. It was typical Los Angeles June Gloom, cloudy in the morning with a promise for afternoon sunny skies. As we navigated the freeways from Pasadena to Orange County, Mom casually remarked,

    “Well, it sure is a ‘Happy Crappy Day.’ That’s what your Aunt Lucy used to call a day like this, ‘A Happy Crappy Day’ not good for anything except playing cards and drinking.”

    I nearly crashed the car. Oh, this was going to be a very interesting day.

    The Aunt we would be meeting was the third-grade school teacher Aunt, not to be confused with Aunt Lucy of the “Happy Crappy Day.” Auntie would never be caught playing cards and drinking in the middle of the day; in fact, she might play cards, but iced tea is her drink of choice. She never forgets a birthday or special occasion and she makes me want to be a better Aunt to my nieces and nephews. She is, in one word, “Wonderful.”

    We met Auntie and my sister in Santa Ana and spent some minutes working out our route. After determining that we would not be going to their earliest homes in Anaheim, it seemed prudent just to get in the car and hope someone could navigate us to the first address.

    After a few rough starts involving wrong turns and misremembered landmarks, my sister quietly deployed her iPhone GPS. The site of the first house is now an apartment building, although modest houses across the street are witness to an earlier neighborhood character.

    The fun really started on North Broadway, now a busy commercial avenue. Both Mom and Auntie remembered the house numbers where they lived, and we even had a photograph of one place with the address written in pencil on the back. The problem was that the photo just didn’t look much like the present day structure. We couldn’t figure out how the porch was remodeled to look like it does today.


    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, ca 1941

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    Across the street, however, between the motion of buses and cars we caught a glimpse of the house both sisters remembered fondly. I would remember it too! The grand Victorian is a bit tired, but still the best looking old building on the block.


    1315 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    From Broadway, we proceeded to Ross, Halesworth, Willard Junior High (now a modern bunker-style school), Santa Ana Bible Church, 17th Street, and then on to the City of Orange where they lived for nearly six years.

    As we attempted to pinpoint each address, it became clear that memory is a very funny thing. Mom remembered the houses by events and people – the Anaheim flood, a visit from step-sister Lucy, boys picking her up for a date.

    Auntie, on the other hand, recalled each address by what school she attended and what grade she was in at the time. Often, she even knew the name of her teacher.

    When the two sisters didn’t agree on an address, or location, the stories became richer and more colorful as one attempted to “out-remember” the other. I circled some blocks so many times, I am sure the man sitting on his porch reading the paper thought we were checking out the neighborhood for a burglary. My sister was a good sport and jumped out of the car to snap photos when a consensus was finally made.

    After twelve stops and nearly as many photos, we were all brain-tired and thought we had done a good day’s work. We managed to find most of the places on both lists, and to come up with some questions for Part 2.

    Last stop on the Family Home Tour, lunch at PJ's Abbey in Orange,
    California, former First Baptist Church of Orange where
    Mom and Auntie attended popular musical programs.

    Next, I attempt to reconcile the home lists made my Mom and Auntie with old letters from the Family Archive.

    All Photos from the Kinsel Family Papers, privately held by Denise Levenick.


    Surname Saturday - Who are the Schiffbauer boys and why are you making mischief in my photos?

    I have a similar puzzle to one posed today by Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames as she asks, "Who are you Gaines people and why are you in my Grandfather Allen's photo album?" Instead of Gaines, I am looking at the handsome faces of five young men identified as members of the Shiffbauer family of Arrington, Kansas.

    The mystery unveiled at Jamboree when Mom and I showed a group of photos to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. We wanted to confirm that the same woman, great-aunt Maud, was pictured in two different images. In one, she is shown with her sister Minnie (my great-grandmother), in the second she is shown with a young man who is identified on the back as Charles Schiffbauer. Instead of one mystery, we found we had two.

    Mystery #1

    The girls' portait is odd because the handwritten inscription on the back seems to identify a male and a female, yet the photo is of two young girls. What do you think? Is that bit of handwriting along the edge something like "for" or another word? I know that Samuel Nelson Chamblin was Minnie's brother. Was the photo made for him? It says, for Maud, presumably a copy for Maud in the photo.


    Mystery #2

    Maureen agreed that this portrait is clearly one of the girls from the other photo. They are rather hard to tell apart and very close in age. But why is Maud in this photo with young Charles Schiffbauer in Arrington, Kansas as noted on the back? We know that she married Thomas Saunders and moved to San Leon, Texas. We had never heard about another marriage. Does it look like a graduation photo, or maybe an engagement portrait?

    Then we found more photos of the Schiffbauers. A group portrait of five young men and another group picture with Minnie, two Schiffbauer girls and two Schiffbauer boys. More mystery!

    I ran an search at and found a large assortment of Schiffbauers living in Arrington and neighboring towns. Our Maud and Minnie Chamblin lived in nearby Muscotah.

    I even found two photos posted on Ancestry by someone who is researching her husband's family line. They show an older Schiffbauer man. When I wrote to her to tell her about our photos she confirmed the relationship, but when I responded with a request for any information about how these two families might be connected my message went unanswered. I hope that she has just been too busy to reply and that I will soon be learning about a new clue to solve the puzzle.


    Kinsel, Minnie. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.
    Chamblin, Maude. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.



    Summer Survival Guide for Genealogy Bloggers – What is Your Blog Doing for Summer Vacation?

    You’ve made the airline reservations, rented a beach house, or tuned up the car for a road trip, but what is your poor little blog doing this summer?

    Genealogy Bloggers work hard all year – researching, writing, and managing the technology side of their site. Bloggers deserve a vacation, but taking a break doesn’t mean their blog has to languish without food or water while mom or dad reads the latest thriller on the beach.

    Here are a few tried and true strategies for keeping the blog-wheels alive while the blogger takes a break.

    Use a Blog Calendar to schedule your vacation/s. Print out a standard monthly calendar and fill it in with the family vacation events. If you don’t have plans yet, now is the time to think seriously about taking a break. Write it down: July 1-5 Blog Vacation.

    Consider Mini-Vacations to give you a change of pace. Give yourself the weekends off and post only on weekdays, or visa versa. Or, schedule regular Furlough Fridays, just like the local courthouse. Hey, spend that day doing research, or something you really want to do!

    Decide if you want to “stay alive” by scheduling articles to post while you are out of the Blog-office, or if you will just go on a “hiatus.”

    Pre-Posting is an easy to schedule posts ahead of time. This has the advantage of keeping the content fresh and active, but the disadvantage that if something BIG happens in the blogosphere, your blog can appear either uninformed or disinterested. Of course, this may not be much of an issue if you don’t regularly comment on current news or events.

    I’m not sure, but it's a pretty good guess that Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers scheduled this Follow Friday article to post while he was having a great time at the SCGS 2010 Jamboree.

    Take a Break, or a hiatus, which is essentially what every blogger needs and deserves once in a while. Sometimes, as when illness or family emergencies strike, this is the only option, but it also works for taking a bit of R&R. Let your regular readers know that you are still alive and well by posting a brief notice of your absence. Then go off and enjoy yourself.

    Craig Manson at Geneablogie took A Brief Haitus earlier this year and left a great selection of previous posts to satisfy readers during his absence.

    Invite Guests to Write for your blog, or ask if you can publish an “extract” of an article from their blog with a link back to their site. This is an attractive win-win for both of you. Good content for you, and a link back with new readers for them. Use this technique sparingly and with care; be conscientious in including links and appropriate thanks. Pre-post the article to appear while you are on your break.

    footnoteMaven regularly hosts guest columnists at Shades of the Departed and maintains links to past articles in a sidebar column. There’s always something to read at Shades.

    Try Mobile Posting while you are away from home. It’s actually great fun to snap a photo on your mobile phone and send it to your blog; just be careful what you snap if you have set automatic posting. Most blog platforms allow this feature; search for cellphone or mobile in the Help Menu.

    Dutchess County Spring Sunset was taken a few months ago with my cellphone camera and sent to the mobile-posting email address for The Family Curator.

    Summer is fleeting. Catch it while you can.


    10 Things I Shoulda Done at SCGS 2010 Genealogy Jamboree

    I did my best, I really did, but my Jamboree checklist is missing a lot of checkmarks. Months of preparation and anticipation just didn’t consider the last-minute whirlwind of Real Life. I’m not complaining, but I wish I coulda, shoulda, woulda done everything I set out to do!

    10. Meet and greet more GeneaBloggers! The unofficial “Blogger’s Lounge” was definitely the place to be, but I must still missed some folks I wanted to see.

    9. Meet and greet more great contributors to our Jamboree GeneaBloggers Welcome Bags. The exhibit hall was so busy that I missed a few while they were introducing their products and services to conference attendees.

    8. Meet and greet more Family Curator readers. Even with the best of intentions I still missed Sheila and her mom, and I was really hoping for a double mother-daughter duo photo. At least I was able to say “Hello” to April again.

    7. Meet and greet (do you see a theme here???) more lecturers and attendees. I love talking with genealogists from around the country and hearing about their research stonewalls and successes.

    6. Pass out more nifty Family Curator caliper highlighter pens. I had these specially made for Jamboree and then went off and left them at home.

    5. Play “conference ribbon war” with GeneaBloggers who gave out way-cool tags like Amy Coffin’s “Rock Star,” “Steve’s Genealogy Blog,” and of course, Thomas MacEntee’s “Diva.”

    4. Wear more comfortable shoes. Ok, I do like my little red flats but they are not kind to my back and feet. Vanity, vanity, thy name is Woman.

    3. Drink more water. It was hot. ‘nuff said.

    2. Go into training a few weeks before Jamboree so I can make it past my usual 9:30 pm bedtime.

    1. Clear the home calendar and GO to Jamboree for a great weekend of genealogy and good friends.

    Oh well, there’s always next year!



    and the Daughter Reports on SCGS 2010 Jamboree

    Our genealogy extravaganza is has come to an end and Mom is now en route to her home in Tucson, Arizona after the adventures of last weekend at the Southern California Genealogical Society 2010 Genealogy  in Burbank. I posted Mom’s report yesterday; here’s my take on the event.

    The weekend kicked off Thursday afternoon with our GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag stuffing work party and then moved into the main event of Jamboree weekend. The three days were a whirlwind of meeting new and old friends and soaking up great genealogy techniques and information.

    Mom and I arrived at the Marriott Friday morning where we found the Welcome Bag distribution was in the capable hands of Geneabloggers Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin already headquartered at the unofficial official GeneaBloggers lounge area adjacent to the hotel main lobby. footnoteMaven, Kathryn Doyle, Miriam Midkiff, Cheryl Palmer, and Becky Wiseman were already there, and in the course of the morning (and next few days) we met up with Craig Manson,  A.C. Ivory, Randy Seaver, Joan Miller, Susan Kitchens, Elyse Doerflinger, Shelley Talalay Dardashi, Holly Hansen, Steve Danko, and Gini Webb.

    I was fortunate to get a ticket to one of the mini-workshops offered at Jamboree for the first time this year, and spent two information-packed hours working with “Using Google Earth to Map Your Ancestor’s Home.” Presenters Anne J. Miller and David J. Armstrong gave a well-paced lecture followed by hands-on lessons in how to place a plat or an historic map as a layer on Google Earth. I have been researching a rural neighborhood in New York and tried to do this on my own with only moderate success; I knew that there had to be an “easier way.” This mini-workshop was a great how-to lesson I am anxious to put into practice.

    Hands-on computer instruction is always tricky for instructors. It is inevitable that students will be at varying levels of expertise and preparation; network connections become unavailable; space is cramped for equipment and mouse-driving elbows. I was impressed with Miller and Armstrong who took everything in stride with a smile and a solution. Their able assistant (both presenters brought their helpful spouses) solved network problems, helped attendees install files, assisted with late-comers, and just kept things humming along. I strongly recommend this duo to anyone interested in learning about using historic maps with their research. Fortunately, they were also scheduled for two more Jamboree session, and many attendees had an opportunity to hear their presentations.

    The mini-workshop extended into the 3:00 speaker time-slot, so instead of attending Michael John Neill’s talk, “Re-Stacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information,” I bought the recorded lecture offered by Jamb-Inc. and look forward to listening to the presentation soon. If it has anything to do with getting better organized I will probably have to listen to it more than once.

    Mom and I met up for the last class of the day with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, on “Identifying and Dating Family Photographs.” Maureen really knows her subject and she inspired me to pull out some photos at home for a private consultation on Sunday.  Her presentations are always a priority for me at any conference.

    There was time for quick trip through the Exhibit Hall where I picked up a few used books at Society tables, and then it was on to the banquet featuring speaker Chris Haley.  More GeneaBlogger fun ensued at dinner and afterwards back at the Bloggers’ Lounge.

    I was up early Saturday morning for another land mapping mini-workshop with Miller and Armstrong. Mr. Curator had reserved a ticket for this session, but was unable to attend at the last minute and passed on his ticket to me! Lucky, lucky. This class focused on using the complicated-sounding land description in a deed to construct an accurate map (or plat) of the property. Computers were replaced with protractors and rulers for this class, and former math instructor David Armstrong demonstrated his experience with teaching by guiding everyone in drawing the correct plat. Anne Miller gave an informative introduction and walked the class through the steps of extracting pertinent information and collecting useful data from adjacent properties. Again, an excellent session.

    I then hustled over to the Bloggers Summit where I caught Part 2, moderated by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers, with the panel of Craig Manson, Lisa Louise Cooke, Shelley Talalay Dardashti, and Katherine Doyle. Thomas kept the session moving along with well placed questions of the panel and comments from the very enthusiastic and engaged audience. The room was packed with bloggers and (perhaps) would-be bloggers wanting to hear more about genealogy blogging and social networking.

    Then, it was time for lunch with the Eldest Daughters, a curious coincidence discovered during the meal with footnoteMaven, Katherine Doyle, and Miriam Midkiff. We wonder, does birth order having something to do with a passion for genealogy? What do you think? Are you the eldest daughter, or son?

    My Jamboree day ended after lunch when I got the call that Baby Boy was in town for a visit. I sped off for home and we made a little family history of our own for the rest of the day!

    Sunday morning found me back at the Jamboree for Geoff Rasmussen’s Legacy presentation on “Timelines and Chronologies.”  I am a big fan of using personal timelines to track down elusive ancestors and Geoff showed a few new tricks that will be very helpful. He also demonstrated two mapping software programs which I am excited to try (more on those in another post).

    I spent some time in the Exhibit Hall catching up, and showing Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective some puzzling photographs. She had some good ideas which I am anxious to research further. Then it was off to Maureen’s presentation “Hairsteria,” a roaring good-time look at celebrity look-alikes for some old-time photos. What a hoot! The day ended with “City Directories” by Lisa Lee where I caught more good tips, and final good-byes to the GeneaBlogger crowd.

    After three consecutive years attending SCGS Jamboree, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of presentations, exhibitors, and overall organization of this regional conference. Paula Hinkel and Leo Meyers direct a host of volunteers to present an outstanding program that gets bigger and better every year.


    Mom Reports on SCGS 2010 Jamboree Marathon


      Mom was handing out her new contact cards at Jamboree; did you get one?

    Mom’s first session was Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak with “Cases That Made My Brain Hurt” featuring some of her toughest cases. Megan is an engaging speaker and Mom would have loved to hear more.

    Next, she attended “What You Must Know to Save Your Research from Destruction” with Lisa Louise Cooke. Curatorial instincts must run in our family! Mom said she picked up a few new ideas for saving family treasures.

    Mom’s last session of the day was “Cousin Connections” by Cafi Cohen where Mom learned her practice of picking up the phone to contact cousins was truly one of the most effective methods for finding relatives.

    It was then time for the evening banquet. Mom says, “The banquet was absolutely outstanding, and I thought that Chris Haley was very entertaining. It was a very enjoyable, and we met nice new acquaintances at our table.”

    Mom’s rule is to start no classes before 10 a.m.; she kicked off Saturday with Arlene Eakle “American Court Records,” and then moved on to David Horowitz, “Face Recognition and Photo Tagging.” After that session, she was ready to upload all her photos and get busy tagging folks.

    Then it was time for lunch with the Eldest Daughters, although she is NOT the eldest herself, we let her come along, and a short R&R break. She went on to hear John Humphrey “Pennsylvania Land Records” with hopes to get a few tips for researching her father’s Pennsylvania line. A highlight of the afternoon sessions was Cath Trindle’s “Women of the West,” where Mom was able to see her mother, Arline, in many of the examples shared by Cath.

    On Sunday, Mom returned to hear Lisa Louise Cooke talk on “Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye” and she is now encouraged to pursue even more elusive ancestors “hiding in plain sight.” Then we both heard Maureen Taylor’s talk “Hairsteria.” She especially liked learning about the men’s hairstyles and facial hair and Maureen’s analysis of how those “special” comb-overs were achieved. Mom closed out the conference with John Humphrey “Using Church Records Effectively,” and is now back on the hunt for baptismal and membership records of the family.

    Mom attended ten classes, the banquet, and spent time in the exhibit hall and “hanging out” with the GeneaBloggers – an impressive record for a anyone.

    Ooops, she corrects me, “It’s not impressive. I go to our monthly genealogy society meeting [Green Valley Genealogy Society], and attend the all day seminar in February every year. Plus I am active in our homeowners association, run the arts and crafts festival, organize the adult seniors at my church for outings, teach a Bible Study class, and put on the summer ice-cream social. I attend all the bus trips for musicals and casinos, too. I’m in great shape for a conference. I’m up to ‘em all.”


    #SCGS10 Update: A Good Time Was Had by All

    I am home three days of Jamboree genealogy and all I can say is -- "If you have never been, You MUST attend this conference." Mom and I returned home late this afternoon and now we are both in post-conference mode, horizontal with books, brochures, and a tall cold glasses of iced tea.

    As we left the convention center I heard early attendance figures of 1700 plus... that is quite an accomplishment for a regional genealogy conference. Congratulations to the Southern California Genealogical Society and Jamboree Chairs Paula Hinkel and Leo Meyers.

    ...full report is yet to come.


    2010 Jamboree Welcome Bags Hit a Home Run

    As the local “connection” for the GeneaBloggers Jamboree Welcome Bag project, packages have been arriving at my door almost daily from generous genealogy vendors for the 2010 Welcome Bags.

    2010 GeneaBloggers Jamboree Welcome Bag Team and Able Assistants
    (Seated) George, Thomas, Amy; (Standing) Denise, Joan, Reg, Suzanne 

    Last night, the Bag Team (Amy Coffin, Thomas MacEntee, Joan Miller, and me) met at my house to pack bags and coordinate distribution to GeneaBloggers members who rsvp’d to the Jamboree Meetup. Everyone agreed that the lucky recipients will be bowled over by the fantastic contributions of genealogy products included in the bags. We even tucked in a few comfort-items and fun gear to help GeneaBloggers move into the Jamboree spirit.

    Bloggers are sure to share their experiences as they sample the Welcome Bag products, and I hope you will let the bloggers and vendors know if you find reviews and information helpful with your own genealogy research.

    A Most SincereThank You to Our GeneaBloggers
    2010 Jamboree Welcome Bag Sponsors


    Casefile Clues

    Family History Expos

    Family Search

    Family Tree Magazine


    Generation Maps FamilyChArtist

    Heritage Makers, Joan B. Merritt

    High-Definition Genealogy

    In-N-Out Burger

    JAMB Conference Recordings

    Legacy Family Tree Software

    Light Impressions

    Luxegen Genealogy

    Marriott Residence Inn, Salt Lake City

    Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective

    Miss Penelope Dreadful

    Photos Made Perfect

    RootsMagic 4

    Southern California Genealogical Society

    The Family Curator

    Virtual LockBox


    World Vital Records



    Mother-Daughter Guide to 2010 SCGS Jamboree

    Mom and I have been on a Genealogy Marathon since her arrival last week, but the main event is yet to come – the 2010 SCGS Jamboree at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center. We like The Rock Star’s Guide and have a few tricks of our own to add. Here’s our Mother-Daughter Guide to the 2010 Jamboree.

    Arrive Early

    Who doesn’t need a little time to recover from travel fatigue these days? Airports are grueling, and Los Angeles traffic takes getting used to. Even if you can only come into Burbank a few hours early, leave time to decompress and move into conference mode.

    Pack Your Daily Conference Bag

    Keep it light. You are going to be adding to your load throughout the day, especially after a stroll through the Exhibit Hall. Use a tote to carry paper and pencil, water, energy bar, and syllabus. Wear a light sweater.

    Locate a Meet-and-Greet Spot

    Once you have picked up your registration materials decide on a Meet-and-Greet location where you can connect between sessions. It should be a place with comfortable seating and a good view of people coming and going. Mom likes to stake out a spot in the main lobby near the information booth and across from the Exhibit Hall. She says it’s a great place to strike up a conversation and hear about classes and research. Last year, Mom spotted one of her Girl Scouts from her Girl Scout Leader days. That was quite a reunion.

    Pace Yourself, Give Yourself “Me Time”

    Mom and I move at different speeds. We don’t necessarily attend the same lectures or even wander the Exhibit Hall together. It helps to stay at the hotel because naptime is only an elevator ride away. We catch up with each other for meals and breaks, and of course the all-important banquet.

    Spend Time Outdoors

    By the afternoon, Mom and I are usually ready for a break from the buzz and commotion and find a spot outdoors to relax with a cool drink and a snack. Each year the Marriott seems to have different outside seating available, but last year we enjoyed the breezeway lounge area near the pool. It was a good place to meet other conference attendees, and we hope to catch up with Sheila and her mom and April there again.

    Going “Off-Campus”

    It really feels like we have been “away” if we don’t have to move the car out of parking lot, but that just doesn’t happen. If we need to leave, it’s a perfect opportunity to bring back lunch for Saturday or Sunday, or even make a quick run to In-N-Out Burgers (just off the 5 Fwy at Burbank Blvd).

    Will you be at the 2010 Jamboree? If you see us, please stop and say “Hello.”

    P.S. - Be sure to ask Mom for her business card. She has some fun ones with her research surnames.







    Warming Up for Jamboree with a Family Homes Tour

    Mom arrived from Tucson last week and our genealogy research marathon is already warming up for the main event Jamboree this weekend.

    Tomorrow Mom and I meet up with her sister and my sister for a Family Homes Tour in Orange and Santa Ana. This promises to be anything but an ordinary afternoon. Mom gave Auntie her “homework” some time ago – to list the addresses of each house they had lived in growing up. This is no small task. Mom came up with seventeen houses; Auntie could only name fifteen. Turns out, the conflict is over two “residences” Mom called “the chicken coop and the garage” and her more refined sister referred to as the “converted apartments.”

    We have that all straightened out now.

     Mom spent the morning looking at old photos to identify houses and landmark buildings so we can take pictures from the same perspective. I have the address list typed in order of residence, and we have a list of other buildings we hope to photograph. My sister will navigate and referee our elders. I will drive. Wish us luck.


    "That's Just Dreadful," cried Penelope

    The unflappable, unstoppable footnoteMaven is at it again with another outstanding issue of Shades of the Departed Magazine, now available through Issuu online publishing service. I am honored to be one of Shades regular columnists and hope you enjoy this month's offering from the pen of Miss Penelope Dreadful.

    In keeping with the monthly theme of "Mothers," Penny Dreadful offers a tale of childish plotting that is all too familiar to parents of any era.

    This issue also features a variety of articles and features on photography, archival practices, research techniques. and more --

    Penelope Dreadful : A Dreadful Scheme by Denise Levenick
    In2Genealogy: Discovering A Wildcatter by Caroline Pointer
    Appealing Subjects: The Many Migrant Mothers by Craig Manson
    The Year Was . . . The Year Was 1919 by Sheri Fenley
    Saving Face: A Rare Book Is Not A Manuscript by Rebecca Fenning
    The Future of Memories: Grandpa’s Letters by Denise Olson
    Features: Let’s Use Our Family Photographs Project Ideas by footnoteMaven
    Smile For The Camera: The Ties That Bind by Terri Kallio
    And if you just can't get enough dreadful tales, catch Penny's past stories at Shades of Penny's Past.




    Surname Saturday - Kinsels Were Considerate Folk

    Today is the 42nd Anniversary of my grandmother's death. Arline Allen Kinsel and my grandfather Frank Ammi Brown were both kind and considerate, if somewhat unconventional, grandparents. Frank was Arline's fourth husband and fifth marriage (she married one man twice).

    Born October 2, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri, Arline was one of those unregistered births that twists genealogists into knots. No family Bible records names and events, no civil records include her name. But buried deep in a box at the bottom of a trunk of papers, I found a printed card completed by a conscientious clergyman after baptising 10-year old Arline on Easter, 1901. It records her birthdate, birthplace, and parents names. Thank you Reverend Mann.

    Arline may not have appeared in the civil birth registers, but she was no stranger to the newspapers. Clippings and full page tear sheets record the events of her life. Her marriages, divorces, court appearances, battles for child custody, and testimony during the investigation of her sister's disappearance all tell a story filled with more drama than Penny Dreadful could ever invent.

    The scandals disappeared as Arline grew older, married Frank, and raised a second more conventional family in Southern California. She became a respectable woman, wore a hat and gloves to church every Sunday, and didn't trouble anyone as she grew older and more feeble.

    When she finally died at the age of 77, the cause of death was a ruptured appendix; she couldn't or didn't want to trouble anyone. She died the day before Memorial Day 1968. My grandfather, Frank, had died a few years earlier on Christmas Eve. It is always easy to remember when they left us, courtesly leaving the holiday itself free for it's intended memories, and the day before to remember each of them.


    Get Ready for SCGS Jamboree with June Blogger's Almanac

    If you are a blogger planning to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank June 11-13, you might want to think about getting your blog ready for the conference too. Poor little blogs can feel abandoned when their owners are off schmoozing with other bloggers, soaking up lectures, and doing the genealogy happy dance.

    The June Edition of the Blogger's Almanac is now available and full of seasonal topics for blogging about the June favorites: grads, dads, and brides. By using the scheduling feature of your blog platform you can keep your blog fresh and active while you are off in the RW (Real World).

    Begin the month with ideas for extending Memorial Day articles honoring your military ancestors. Then turn to ideas to celebrate graduates, brides, dads, and summertime.

    A sample from the June Blogger's Almanac

    Do you have any teachers on your family tree? What did they have to do to qualify for the job?

    Name an honorary Dad. Who would you pick to add to your family tree and why?

    And here's one in honor of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who was your earliest ancestor to receive an academic diploma? (This might take a little digging.)

    The Blogger's Almanac is available as a FREE download. I hope you are enjoy the ideas, and invite to you to leave a link to your Almanac-Inspired post in the comments.

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