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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
    Apr012010

    No Foolin’ - FREE April Blogger’s Almanac Now Available

    Get a jump on spring blogging with the newest edition of The Genealogy & Family History Blogger’s Almanac, available now as a free download at www.TheFamilyCurator.com.

    The calendar-style printout features weekly themes for the month of April with timely writing ideas on topics from celebrating gardening to commemorating the Civil War. Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? or that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated this  month in 1865?

    Bloggers who like to plan ahead can use The Almanac to help schedule blog posts in advance with the scheduling feature of their blogging platform. The Almanac’s seasonal prompts are also great inspiration for writing on the daily themes from Geneabloggers.com or for Carnival topics.

    In addition, The Family Curator will be sponsoring a drawing to win a free copy of Roots Magic 4 for readers and bloggers using The Blogger’s Almanac. Stay tuned for more details!

    Thursday
    Apr012010

    Ellen DeGeneres Related to Halle Berry who is related to. . . -- NEHGS

     

    Now THAT's a family of celebrities. Genealogy super-star sleuths Christopher Child and Rhonda McClure at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society have discovered that Ellen DeGeneres is related through an "ancestral circle"(*)  to a remarkable number of celebrities.

    “We’ve done lots of research that connects various celebrities and public figures," commented Childs. "This is the first time I’ve discovered a large circle of relationships like this. Genealogically speaking, this is pretty rare and amazing.”

    Childs and McClure were first asked to research Ellen's genealogy in 2008, when the relationship to Halle Berry was discovered. It has taken many months to find Ellen's extended "family."

     

    According to NEHGS, Ellen is related to

    • Halle Berry who is related to
    • Mark Wahlberg who is related to
    • Madonna who is related to
    • Camilla Parker-Bowles who is related to
    • Diana, Princes of Wales who is related to
    • Tim Robbins who is related to
    • Richared Gere who is related to
    • Ellen

    All those cousins and once removeds put some relationships a bit far back in the timeline, but does royalty ANYwhere do anything to increase the chance of being called Lady Ellen?

    Read the full story and see Ellen's celebrity wheel with all the connections at http://www.newenglandancestors.org/.

    See a clip from The Ellen DeGeneres show with Ellen showing off her celebrity relationships.

    * - don't look for a definition of "ancestral circle". I just coined it to identify relationships through an ancestor to a wider circle of people. Sort of a "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" thing.

    Sunday
    Mar282010

    Free Genealogy Interview e-book from Family History Expo

    I am so glad to hear that Family History Expos is back online, and even better than ever. As you may know, recently FHExpo suffered a true business disaster when their web hosting provider suffered an accident which lost the FHExpo website and subscriber list. Holly Hansen, President of FHExpo, never lost a beat and kept the scheduled Expos running smoothly, and the new website is proof that "the show will go on."

    Family History Expos is now rebuilding their subscription and participant database, and offering a FREE digital copy of their interviewing guide, "Life in Your Town." It's a nice perk for taking a few minutes to stay in the FHExpo loop, and I strongly urge you to join the mailing list and stay informed about Expos that may be scheduled near your hometown.

    My participation as a Blogger of Honor at the St. George Expo in February convinced me that these regional conferences are a definite MUST when they are in your area, and a strong pull even when travel is necessary.

    Upcoming Family History Expos are scheduled for -

    Loveland, Colorado - June 25-26
    Kansas City, Missouri - July 30-31
    Salt Lake City, Utah - August 27-28
    Pleasanton, California - October 8-9

    In addition, two research retreats will be held at the Salt Lake City Family History Library, April 12-17 and October 25-30.

    I have family roots in Colorado and Kansas City, and hope to be able to attend at least one of these events. Be sure to register for the mailing list to keep up on when a  Family History Expo event will be coming to a town near you!

    Saturday
    Mar272010

    Genealogy Spring Cleaning Review

    It’s been a busy week, airing out the archives, shaking the figurative relatives’ rugs, and washing the windows squeaky-clean.

    Michelle Goodrum at The Turning of Generations was busy with Spring Cleaning this week. She wrote about storing vintage dolls in archival boxes,  finding a terrific old drugstore photograph, and organizing her home archive. She is working diligently at getting her family treasures in order, and I can’t wait to see what she turns up next.

    Now, it’s time to get back to research and writing, and maybe even a bit of Sunday Scanning, so dubbed by Kelly at Family History Fun. The Spring Cleaning theme has also inspired her to color-code her genealogy files and work on new ways to stay organized.

    So, enough of Spring Cleaning. I like the idea of Sunday Scanning and Transcript Tuesday. Back to the Archives for some treasure hunting.

    Friday
    Mar262010

    Genealogy Spring Cleaning - Fresh Flowers for the Desk

    It feels nice to bring a bit of springtime inside to my desk.

    I’ve tidied the bulletin board to show off a few favorite snapshots and brought in a bunch of fresh freesias to fill Grandmother Arline’s dainty cream pitcher. I like using my mother-in-law’s German stork scissors, although they are not really practical for paper and general cutting. And, I enjoy the pretty cut glass and silver candy dish repurposed for paper clips. The desk mouse does duty as originally intended, holding notes and the all-important daily ToDo List. All these things came my way from their original owners; thank you, ladies!

    The corkboard above my desk is the perfect place to catch my baby grandson’s smile, along with a photo from a visit East last autumn. The other pictures were snapped between storms in Vermont, further north than my ancestors’ homes in Windsor and Rutland Counties. In a bit of serendipitous good fortune, I found the small pennants in an antique store in New York, a few years after visiting both Rutland and Montpelier; they were a kind of delayed souvenir.

    Of course, I also have a copy of the latest Blogger’s Almanac, urging me to pull out the keyboard and “Write!” Now that my workspace is a bit more inviting, I just might do that!

    The last day of my week long checklist of spring cleaning tasks for my genealogy archives. Follow #genspringclean on Twitter, and share your updates too.

    Friday – Bring in a bouquet of fresh flowers.

    Clear off your desk and give your genealogy workspace a place to display a framed ancestor photograph or treasure. Some family treasures are best used and enjoyed. Can you repurpose your grandmother’s ironstone pitcher as a flower vase or pencil cup for your desk? Write a post about any family artifacts you see or use daily. Be sure to give a statement of provenance telling who owned it and how it came in your possession.

    Thursday
    Mar252010

    Genealogy Spring Cleaning - Wash the Windows

    Instead of sharing a new and original family tree, I am sharing an old yet lovely rendition by my Great Aunt, Mercy Kinsel MacPhee, sister to Arline. Mercy was at the center of a sensational missing-persons case and later found quite happily married to Scotsman Angus MacPhee.

    Mercy had a keen interest in the family genealogy and was also an accomplished artist. When her eldest  niece graduated from high school, Mercy presented Lucile with a hand-written and illustrated genealogy. Although I have not confirmed all of the names, dates, and places, many are proving to be sound conclusions. It will be hard to top Aunt Mercy's beautiful illustrations with my own version of our family tree.

    This is the fourth day of my week long checklist of spring cleaning tasks for my genealogy archives. Follow #genspringclean on Twitter, and share your updates too.\

     Thursday— Wash the windows ‘til they shine.

    What do you show your relatives when they want to see the family tree? Spruce up your pedigree chart and give it a fresh new look. RootsMagic4 and LegacyFamilyTree offer several different charts, and GenerationMaps new online ChArtist offers  beautiful artwork to enhance your custom family trees charts. Show your blog readers your new design.

    Wednesday
    Mar242010

    Wordless Wednesday (not really): Genealogy Spring Cleaning, Repair or Restore

    This photograph from the Arline Allen Kinsel Archives haunts me. The inscription on the back notes that is a photo of my grandfather, Francis Ammi Brown with his second grade class in Olathe, Kansas. The broken pieces of the image speak of the many hands that have touched this image. I don’t know exactly which school this might have been, or the names of my grandfather’s classmates.

    Perhaps, the photo can be digitally restored and some of the lost information recovered. It would be wonderful to know the name of the school. I am moving this photograph to the Number One position on my list of photo restoration projects.

    The  third day of my week long checklist of spring cleaning tasks for my genealogy archives. Follow #genspringclean on Twitter, and share your updates too.

    Wednesday – Repair or restore damaged items.

    Archivists and doctors have the same rule: “Do no harm,” but torn documents and damaged photos can be repaired with digital restoration. Scan damaged items and make a note to send out for restoration or to do it yourself. Evaluate broken artifacts such as china, picture frames, or textiles. If you intend to have the item repaired, place all fragments in an archival box or tissue, or wrap in a clean cotton pillowcase. If you don’t plan to repair the damage, decide if you really want to keep the piece. Maybe a photograph would serve as well. Write about the item and why it is special to you or someone in your family.

    

    Tuesday
    Mar232010

    Genealogy Spring Cleaning - Shake Out the Rugs

    This is the second day of my week long checklist of spring cleaning tasks for my genealogy archives. Follow #genspringclean on Twitter, and share your updates too.

    Tuesday – Shake the rugs for dust and lost things.

    We once found a long-lost wedding band hidden in the depths of a flokati rug. Family documents, photos, and treasures have a way of drifting around a house when they are pulled out to show a relative or to be examined more closely. Gather together any items that have misplaced and return to their archival home. Add any others discovered in the search. Photograph or scan any newly found items to share.

    A tour of my house showed me just how many things get out of place, and it’s not just socks and umbrellas. Today I pulled out my jewelry drawer and right there, nestled against my favorite strand of pearls was an old-fashioned gold-rimmed brooch with a photo of Aunt Lucile. I enjoy it too much to pack it away in tissue with all the little personal tidbits from Grandma Arline’s trunk. Each time I open my bureau drawer, Aunt Lucy, smiles “Hello” and encourages my efforts to tell Grandma’s story.

    So what can I do to insure that the brooch isn’t misplaced?

    I am taking a photo of the brooch and writing a little “heirloom history.”  I don’t know much about it, just that I found the pin with my grandmother’s things and that I recognize the photo as Aunt Lucy at a very young age.

    I will print out a copy of the photo and caption and place it inside Arline’s box of personal artifacts. I am also printing a copy to place in the bottom of the drawer where the pin now lives. Hopefully, if something were to happen to me, whoever cleaned out the drawer would find pin and history and know this was a very special item.

    Monday
    Mar222010

    Genealogy Spring Cleaning - Air Out the Archives

    This is part of my week long checklist of spring cleaning tasks for my genealogy archives. Follow #genspringclean on Twitter, and share your updates too.

    Monday – Air out the archives.

    Open storage closet and remove all archival boxes to check for damp, mildew, or any signs of moisture. Consolidate storage materials as much as possible. Inventory contents of closet and keep with genealogy files; include a snapshot of the storage closet. Write a blog post about how you started your family archive, and where you keep everything. Post the photo of your family archive.

    My archives certainly were in need of a visit. When I “founded” the archive in 2007 my main interest was preservation. Little by little I have ordered enough archival storage boxes to house the entire collection. I now have two very full cupboards containing most of the boxes, but the overflow is scattered in other locations. Today I brought everything together and made an inventory. I also placed a tempoary label on each box.

    My next project will be to group similar items together and inventory the contents of each box. Here is my preliminary inventory:

    1 box large documents, certificates
    1 box financial papers, bank passbooks
    1 box large photographs
    1 box cabinet cards, snapshots
    1 box rolled group photos, Photograph Album, 1915-1916
    1 box negatives
    1 large box newspapers
    1 box newspaper clippings
    1 box postcards
    1 box personal artifacts, locks of hair
    1 box misc. greeting cards
    6 boxes personal correspondence
    1 box genealogical correspondence

    I first wrote about starting the Arline Allen Kinsel Papers Archive in Setting Up the System. This has been an evolving project, becoming more organized as I grow more familiar with the material.

    

    Sunday
    Mar212010

    Time for Genealogy Spring Cleaning

    Spring Cleaning

    It's Official -- Spring has arrived, and warmer weather will soon be here. In Southern California, it’s time to open the windows and air out the house. . . which gave me the idea for a little Genealogy Spring Cleaning.  The focus is on the family archive – boxes of documents and photos, and various artifacts. Here is my checklist for the week, with no heavy lifting required.

    If you want to join the cleaning crew, give an update on your progress at your blog or on Twitter #genspringclean or Facebook so other genealogy bloggers can read it. Happy Spring!

    Monday – Air out the archives.

    Open storage closet and remove all archival boxes to check for damp, mildew, or any signs of moisture. Consolidate storage materials as much as possible. Inventory contents of closet and keep with genealogy files; include a snapshot of the storage closet. Write a blog post about how you started your family archive, and where you keep everything. Post the photo of your family archive.

    Tuesday – Shake the rugs for dust and lost things.

    We once found a long-lost wedding band hidden in the depths of a flokati rug. Family documents, photos, and treasures have a way of drifting around a house when they are pulled out to show a relative or to be examined more closely. Gather together any items that have misplaced and return to their archival home. Add any others discovered in the search. Photograph or scan any newly found items to share.

    Wednesday – Repair or restore damaged items.

    Archivists and doctors have the same rule: “Do no harm,” but torn documents and damaged photos can be repaired with digital restoration. Scan damaged items and make a note to send out for restoration or to do it yourself. Evaluate broken artifacts such as china, picture frames, or textiles. If you intend to have the item repaired, place all fragments in an archival box or tissue, or wrap in a clean cotton pillowcase. If you don’t plan to repair the damage, decide if you really want to keep the piece. Maybe a photograph would serve as well. Write about the item and why it is special to you or someone in your family.

    Thursday— Wash the windows ‘til they shine.

    What do you show your relatives when they want to see the family tree? Spruce up your pedigree chart and give it a fresh new look. RootsMagic4 and LegacyFamilyTree offer several different charts, and GenerationMaps' new online Family ChArtist offers  beautiful artwork to enhance your custom family trees charts. Show your blog readers your new design.

    Friday – Bring in a bouquet of fresh flowers.

    Clear off your desk and give your genealogy workspace a place to display a framed ancestor photograph or treasure. Some family treasures are best used and enjoyed. Can you repurpose your grandmother’s ironstone pitcher as a flower vase or pencil cup for your desk? Write a post about any family artifacts you see or use daily. Be sure to give a statement of provenance telling who owned it and how it came in your possession.

    Thursday
    Mar182010

    Tune in Today to Twitter #FHExpo for Highlights of the Immigration Expo

    Right now you can follow live updates on what's happening at the Immigration Family History Expo in Salt Lake City via Twitter and Facebook. Bloggers of Honor are posting highlights of presentations and adding tips for your own immigrant research. Follow Twitter hashtag #fhexpo to keep up on the news.

    So far from Holly Hansen via Twitter,

    Dr. Elizabeth Goryunova: important to know where and when ancestor emigrated but also WHY they emigrated #fhexpo

    with more to come.

     

    Tuesday
    Mar162010

    You Do Not Have to be Irish to Make Grand Corned Beef

    Every year my Irish friend hosts a huge bash in honor of this greenest of holidays and her very-Irish parents. Last year she cooked 15 corned beef roasts, and there wasn’t a speck of leftovers. We aren’t Irish (that I know of. . . yet), so our family ethnic celebration occurs in the Fall, in October to be exact. We host an Oktoberfest. This “divide-and-conquer” plan works pretty well. I’m around to help my Irish friend with her hoolie, and she helps out with ourfest.

    In case you are thinking of throwing your own party on March 17, here’s Mary Theresa’s traditional menu and recipe for The Best Corned Beef EVER! Our family contribution is a wicked-good Irish Coffee.

    25057035

    Menu

    Spinach Salad

    Glazed Corned Beef

    Irish Soda Bread

    Colcannon

    Irish Coffee

    Bailey’s Ice Cream Torte

     

    Glazed Corned Beef

    1 large corned beef

    2 bottles beer of choice

    1 cup orange marmalade

    4 T Dijon mustard

    4 T brown sugar

    Place corned beef in slow cooker and add beer. Add boiling water to cover meat. Cover and cook on low 8 hours, or until very tender. OR cook in large pot on stovetop (or in 325 oven) about 3 hours at low simmer.  The meat should be firm, not falling apart, but the fork should go in fairly easily. Remove meat from liquid, cool, and trim all fat. Meat may be made ahead to this point.

    About one hour before serving, preheat oven to 350. Combine marmalade, mustard, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place meat in baking dish and pour glaze over meat, coating all sides well. Bake in oven for about 20-30 minutes until glaze is crisp and brown. Slice and serve with colcannon and Irish Soda Bread.

    Monday
    Mar152010

    March into Spring with “Shades of the Departed Magazine”

    Now on Issuu newstands online everywhere! The March Edition of “Shades of the Departed Magazine” features 70 full-color pages of historic photographs, informative articles, and entertaining features. Miss Penelope Dreadful returns with the story behind the cover photograph, eight young women gathered around a tea table. . . but it’s no ordinary tea party.

    MarchCoversmMarch Issue – Shades the Magazine

    As if publishing a monthly digital magazine and editing several blogs wasn’t enough to keep anyone busy, the esteemed footnoteMaven is also celebrating the Two Year Blogiversary of Shades of the Departed and getting ready for the next Smile for the Camera Blog Carnival, Give Their Face a Place, Women in History debuting March 17. Now that’s one BUSY lady, making herstory. Join me in wishing a very

    Happy Birthday, Dear Shades,

    Happy Birthday to You!

    Monday
    Mar152010

    Traffic Delays for Personal Genealogy Day

    Amy at WeTree recently enjoyed a Personal Genealogy Day, and I declared some time ago that I would do the same this entire weekend. Unfortunately, I felt like I was on the airplane that couldn’t get off the ground. . . much like a flight I took last summer. First the plane was one hour late; then we boarded but had to wait for the A/C to be checked out; then repaired; then the weather had changed and we unloaded;  waited for a new plane; boarded again; had to wait for a new flight crew because they had timed-out; then had to wait again for a new pilot. We finally arrived in Boston eight hours late.

    My Personal Genealogy Day goal was to (once again) refine my digital photo archive of Arline’s beautiful photographs. Previously, I scanned the images front and back as TIFF files, only to discover that Photoshop Elements could not open the large files. Neither could Windows Photo Pro Tools. Or Windows Live Gallery. Thank goodness, Adobe Lightroom could see them.

    AND, even better, LR2 makes adding metadata easy. I renamed a few sample files, tagged, added captions, then exported as JPGs for use. Still too big for PSElements. Surfed the web for ideas; read that I should be storing all images on an external hard drive; scratch that, I should be storing them on my HD; no, I should have them on three or more drives; that I needed better backup; that I needed to format my external hard drive (I do??); that I needed better archiving; that my dpi was too big / too small; that my cat needed to go on a diet. . . [the  last when he knocked over my stack of photos just brushing the pile].

    That was only Friday.

    On Saturday I learned that although I knew enough to be dangerous with Lightroom, my airplane still hadn’t gotten off the ground. Arline’s photos sat in their archival boxes with no nice index contact sheet and no cross-referenced filenames or numbers. I told the ground crew to spin the props, and focused on the controls for a short spin. Within twenty minutes I had added metadata and keyed a field for my Box Folder storage system. It was like practicing take-offs, a bit bouncy, but encouraging. After lunch I finished tagging my photos and decided to actually get off the ground with the “Export to JPG” function. Ha. Sputter sputter. It’s a good thing I was only working with a small file of photos.

    In the end I did manage to learn my way around Lightroom and can now print out a beautiful contact sheet complete with caption, filename, and storage location for all my prints. I still haven’t figured out the optimal JPG file size, but that will have to wait for my next flight.

    Friday
    Mar122010

    Honored to be Blogging About the Immigration Family History Expo

    Thank you, Holly Hansen, for the opportunity to be a Blogger of Honor for the upcoming Immigration Family History Expo to be held in Salt Lake City, March 18. Although I am unable to attend in person, I am excited to be able to participate by spreading the word about another outstanding Family History Expo event.

    The one-day conference will be held at the Historic Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City, and will feature an opening address by World Trade Center Utah President and CEO Lew Cramer and the Center’s Executive Vice President and COO, Elizabeth Goryunova.

    A host of notable speakers will be featured throughout the day, including

    • Lorie Conway author, producer and director of the documentary, "Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital"
    • Arlene Eakle, PhD, president and founder of The Genealogical Institute, Inc.
    • Holly T. Hansen, Family History Expos, Inc. Founder and President
    • Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, vice-president of ProGenealogists, Inc. in Salt Lake City
    • Fred E. Woods, Brigham Young University Professor, Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding since 2005

    I will be passing along news, tweets, and updates in support of Holly and the entire Family History Expo team; watch for the hashtag #fhexpo. If this Expo is anything like St. George or Mesa, it promises to be an outstanding event.