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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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    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.

    Tuesday
    Mar092010

    On My Honor, We Were Girl Scouts When Scouting Wasn't Cool

    Brownie Day Camp July 1967, Suzanne May at back right.

    Brownies and Girl Scouts across America celebrate this week to mark March 12, 1912 when Juliette Low gathered 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia to form the first Girl Scout group in the United States. If tradition has not changed too much, Scouts will still attend church on Sunday in their uniform, sell cookies in front of the market, and blow out birthday candles in commemoration of the day.

    My sister and I spent so many years going through the ranks of Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior Girl Scouting that I thought it would be easy to find a few snapshots of us in uniform, but I was wrong. Somewhere about age ten or so, I must have been given a camera. All the photos I can find show other people in poorly composed, over-exposed, blurry images. By junior high and high school, of course, it would have been a social disaster to be caught in scout uniform, so those are surely lost years.

    Instead, I offer a few snapshots of our fearless Scout Leader, my mom, Suzanne May. As a traditional stay-at-home-mom with organizational skills and creative energy, she routinely signed up to be Neighborhood Cookie Chairman, Brownie Leader, Day Camp Director, and everyone's favorite Mom.

    With her encouragement, no outdoor skill was too gross to be mastered. We learned how to make a portable stove from a tuna can, coiled corrugated cardboard, and paraffin, and then mastered building a fire and cooking Hobo Stew. We learned how to dig an outdoor latrine and make a toilet paper holder from a forked stick. When it got dark, we learned that scary stories are really not a good idea in in a tent in the middle of a field.

    As we hit the 'tweens and then 'teens, Mom stepped back and waved us on our way to snowshoe glaciers in the High Sierras and ride the rapids down the Colorado River. She drove us countless miles to the trailhead and washed the mud out of our socks when we got home.  When we wanted to quit because scouting was really not at all "cool," Mom signed us up to be camp counselors for weeks of independent adventure. And, when our Girl Scout Troop started hiking with Boy Scouts, she didn't keep us home.

    In the 1960's and 1970's women were just figuring out all that they could do, and scouting offered an opportunity for mothers and daughters to try new things and master new skills. It really didn't matter that we were learning to mark a trail or keep wildlife out of our food, the important thing was that we were learning to trust ourselves.

    Happy Birthday Girl Scouts of America!

    Photograph: May, Suzanne. "Day Camp." Photograph. July 1967. Privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, CA. 2010.

    Friday
    Mar052010

    Mercy Chamlin / Chamberlain / Chamberlin on my Fearless Female Short List

    Mercy Winsor Chamblin is on my researcg short list. My grandmother’s notes show that Mercy was her grandmother, or my 2nd great-grandmother. If my grandmother is correct, Mercy is the daughter of Henry Winsor and Fanny Childs and was born in Vermont about August 1850.

    The family moved to Muscotah, Kansas sometime after Henry’s discharge from the Union Army. Mercy married Samuel Chamblin and they had three children, Minnie (my great-grandmother), Maud, and Samuel Nelson.

    I have found Mercy and Samuel living in Atchison County, Kansas in 1870, 1880, and 1885, and I know that their daughter Minnie was living in Kansas City, Missouri when her first child was born in 1890. Mercy and Sam do not appear in further censuses, but they may be the couple who are found in Kansas City, Missouri death records for 1889 (Samuel) and 1893 (Mercy)

    Mercy may be the Mercy Chamberlain [sic] whose death record I found in Kansas City, Missouri showing her death 16 June 1893 in Kansas City. I had been unable to find any other mention of her death, until a casual comment to John O’Brien, moderator of the RootsWeb MOJACKSO listserv resulted in a flurry of email and wonderful results. Mr. O’Brien’s Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness have resulted in multiple printed death notices for both Mercy Chamblin/Chamberlain and Samuel Chamberlin/Chamberlain.

    Addresses from the death notices led me to the Missouri Digital Archives at the Kansas City Library and the 1896-1907 Kansas City Sanborn Fire Maps. I may not have a photo of the Chamblin home, but at least I know where Mercy was living at the time of her death at age 43 from breast cancer. One day, I hope to find her full story and perhaps a photograph.

    Thank you Lisa Alzo, for the thoughtful Fearless Females blogging ideas for Women’s History Month.

    Monday
    Mar012010

    Highlights -- A Good Time Was Had by All at the Family History Expo St. George

    Holly Hansen and the entire Family History Expo team have to be the most unflappable folks I have ever met. Only one week before the St. George Expo, a glitch with the fire suppression system at the Expo’s web hosting provider brought down their website and email, but Holly and the entire Family History Expo team accepted the challenge and moved forward to present an enthusiastic and rewarding event for the hundreds of attendees.

    I had a great time as one of several Bloggers of Honor, tweeting about the various sessions and meeting other bloggers and genealogists under the Beacon of Bloggers tent in the exhibit hall.

    From the outstanding keynote address by Bernie Gracy on Friday morning, to the fun banquet Friday night, to the grand-prize drawing finale on Saturday afternoon, it was obvious why Family History Expo has a reputation for presenting an outstanding event.

    In case you missed the tweetline #fhexpo during the conference, here are a few highlights of my experience.

    I’m glad I caught on to the time difference (Utah is Mountain Standard Time!) and made it to the 8 a.m. keynote address by Connecticut researcher Bernie Gracy who addressed a standing-room-only crowd at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on Friday, February 26. His topic focused on the conference theme, “Let Your Light Shine,” and included Bernie’s inspirational story of his own beginnings in genealogical research and his commitment to sharing his expertise by speaking and writing. He talked about what motivates people to become interested in their family history, and what the average genealogist can do to “pay forward” what he has learned. From Family Search indexing, to Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, to transcribing cemeteries, genealogists can contribute to their field.

    Bernie also spoke about the ways that the lives of our ancestors can touch us today as they help us to understand previous generations and shed light on how to manage our own life. These lessons from the past, he said, can show us how to handle crises of all kinds.

    Following Bernie’s address, the Exhibit Hall opened to attendees with scores of vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations. The hall also featured tech access and a place for bloggers to meet and answer questions about blogging and social networking. I had a good time showing off Twitter and encouraging new users to give it a try.

    At the Generation Maps booth Janet Horvaka, The Chart Chick, demonstrated the brand new web software, FamilyChArtist. This new online program prepares beautiful family tree charts for printing at home or by custom order. The elegant graphics and custom features are going to be great fun to work with.

    Bruce Buzbee and the Roots Magic team held short instruction mini-courses during the thirty minute break between sessions that were a huge hit with attendees. Screen images were projected on a large screen and Bruce spoke with a portable microphone so everyone could hear and follow along. The twenty-five or so chairs were filled every session, and throughout the day as Bruce answered questions and demonstrated features of RootsMagic. This is a great idea and made it simple to learn more about using this easy and intuitive genealogy software.

    Renee and Scott Huskey gave me a great tour of their Photoloom family photo sharing website. I hadn't known much about the program and am looking forward to trying it out with the FREE account. It looks like an easy and attractive way to share my grandmother Arlines' heritage photos with the rest of the family. I have many more than 200 photos, the free account limit, but the subscription fee is still very affordable.

    I also enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Allison Stacy, Editor / Publisher of Family Tree Magazine and thank her for naming The Family Curator to the Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Family Tree Magazine has some great articles planned for future issues; stay tuned for more!

    I enjoyed visiting booths and chatting with vendors throughout the hall, and saw lots of new and interesting products.

    It was tough to decide which sessions to attend each day, many were on topics that I was eager to learn more about but they were scheduled in the same time slot. In the end, I decided to split some sessions and was at least able to hear part of many different presentations. Highlights included --

    Kory L. Meyerink of ProGenealogists who gave a polished and informative talk on “Genealogical Fallacies: Poor Methods That Lead to False Conclusions.”  He discussed fallacy vs. myth and how to determine historical truth, vital processes for genealogists.

    I also enjoyed hearing Beau Sharbrough of RootsWorks speak on “Scanning and Restoring Family Photos” using consumer equipment and simple software. Beau emphasized the process, or workflow, of digitizing and retouching photos and gave several examples for improving images.

    Genealogy Gems host Lisa Louise Cooke wowed her standing-room-only audience with the genealogical possibilities of “Solving Family Tree Mysteries with Google Earth.” I left the lecture itching to login to the program and “fly” back in time. Lisa is an engaging speaker who makes technology friendly and do-able, and she now offers a Google Earth CD to walk you through the program at home. I showed it to Mr. Curator first thing, and he was impressed too!

    I was even more inspired to get researching after hearing Gena Philibert Ortega speak on “Journals, Store Ledgers, and Letters to Aunt Mary: Using Manuscript Collections.” Gena blogs at Gena’s Genealogy and is obviously an experienced researcher and speaker; she talked about how to find obscure manuscripts and the many kinds of documents that may hold information about our ancestors. She explained how to use finding aids and showed several entertaining examples of manuscripts that revealed helpful information.

    Gena, Genealogist Arlene Eakle, and Blogger A.C. Ivory joined Jean Wilcox Hibben of Circlemending  in presenting the program for the Friday evening banquet. Jean was the consummate “Wizard of Blogs” coordinating a clever multimedia presentation showcasing all forms of social networking and encouraging genealogists to try new media as an avenue for connecting with family and locating ancestors. Jean and husband Butch also entertained the guests with their musical renditions of some of Oz’s best numbers. Gena wrote a great review of the evening at Gena’s Genealogy,  “The Wonderful World of Blogs.”

    In between attending sessions, tweeting, and touring the exhibit hall, I also spent some time at the Ancestry.com scanning station with my archival box of old newspapers. But that’s a tale for another post . . .

    Thank you to Holly Hansen and Family History Expo for including me as a Blogger of Honor at this outstanding event.

     

    Note: Bloggers of Honor received complimentary conference registration and one ticket to the Friday evening banquet. In the spirit of Bloggers of Honor who conscientiously made careful disclaimers, I should also say that I was not asked to say wonderful things about the Expo. All comments and reviews are made freely; I was not asked to do anything more than “share” the event with readers and followers. I hope you enjoyed the coverage as much as I enjoyed attending the event.

     

    

    Monday
    Mar012010

    March Edition of Genealogy Blogger's Almanac Now Available, FREE

    Looking for a few spring blogging ideas? You will find a month-full of new weekly themes and blog ideas in the March Edition of The Family Curator's Genealogy and Family History Blogger's Almanac available now for FREE download.

    The monthly almanac is presented in familiar calendar format featuring seasonal themes and specific writing prompts for each week. Writing ideas may be used at any time, but are directed toward seasonal events, holidays, and traditions. Traditional and off-beat holidays are also included to help insipire your own creative ideas.

    The March 2010 Edition features ideas for writing about March basketball madness, Girl Scouting, the first walk in Space, Daylight Saving Time, and even National Joe Day!

    Most prompts can also be used to help focus on specific topics for the weekly blogging prompts posted at geneabloggers.com, for Smile For the Camera Blog Carnival, for The Carnival of Genealogy, for the Canadian Genealogy Carnival, for the Festival of Postcards and other blog carnivals.

    Please send The Family Curator the link to any Almanac-inspired articles you post on your blog and be included in a round-up here at The Family Curator.

    The March 2010 issue of The Blogger's Almanac is FREE and may be downloaded by clicking on the "Add To Cart" box below. The download service appears as a "Shopping Cart" but there is no charge for the download.

    Add to Cart

    Wednesday
    Feb242010

    Only 2 Days 'til St. George Family History Expo 2010 #fhexpo

     

    In just a few days I will be joining hundreds of genealogists at the Family History Expo in St. George,

    Utah for two full days of genealogy, Friday and Saturday, February 26-27/ I am excited to meet the speakers and other Bloggers of Honor who will be attending, but I am especially looking forward to meeting Holly Hansen and crew who orchestrate the Expo events throughout the country.

    I learned through Twitter updates from Holly that the FHExpo website and email servers have been down since last week, but the St. George Expo is still underway and everyone is looking forward to the conference. I don't know the status of our internet access at the conference, but I am sure that you will be hearing from the bloggers throughout the event.

    Highlights for Bloggers of Honor -- courtesy of Holly and Family History Expos -- include a special blogger lounge area where we can talk with attendees about blogging, tickets to the Friday evening banquet with speaker/musician Jean Wilcox Hibben, and internet access for sharing conference highlights via Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.

    Use the links at the right to follow The Family Curator this week at Family History Expo St. George, and watch for the hashtag #fhexpo.

    Monday
    Feb222010

    Family Curator Named to 'Family Tree Best 40 Genealogy Blogs'

    The news is out! Editor Diane Haddad and Family Tree Magazine have announced the results of the nomination and voting for the Best 40 Genealogy Blogs. The Family Curator was excited to be nominated last fall, and is even more excited to be named in the Photos & Heirlooms category as one of the top blogs for resources on preserving, sharing, and researching your family photos and heirlooms.

    It is truly an honor to be in the company of the bloggers who have encouraged and inspired The Family Curator these past few years. The field of peer-nominated blogs showcased a variety of outstanding writing and research in every area of genealogy blogging. Each nominee has made valuable contributions to the genealogy blogging community.

    The complete listing of Family Tree's Best 40 Genealogy Blogs is available at the Genealogy Insider blog, and now on its way in the May Issue of Family Tree Magazine. Congrats to all; and thank you fellow-bloggers for this honor.

    Monday
    Feb222010

    The Adventures of Miss Penelope Dreadful -- Penny Plans a Journey

     

     

    As readers will recall, Miss Penelope Dreadful may be a woman of refined and respectable sensibility, however, she does not always exhibit what might be called "good common sense." This quality, or lack thereof, has been the cause of many unintended adventures. Fortunately for Penny, her determined pluck and ingenuity has kept her from true harm.

    Consider last spring's frightening little episode, otherwise known as "The Incident of the Perishing Petrol," an experience where proper prior planning would have gone a long way in calming jangled nerves.

    In light of Miss Dreadful's impending journey to attend the Family History Expo in the lonely desert country of St. George, Utah as Intrepid Independent Observer and Chronicler of genealogical and historical events, one cannot help but wonder what adventures await the fearless reporter . . .

    The bedside clock jangled its harsh chime waking Penny from a deep slumber. Her bright green eyes looked round the room, making out dim shapes in the dawn's early light. A sturdy valise stood open on a small table, articles of clothing neatly folded lay ready for final dispatch. A light split skirt, blouson, and jacket hung over the back of a chair with boots standing at the ready on the floor. The hooked handle of an umbrella was caught handily over the back of the same chair.

    Next to the valise stood a small lumpy object, covered with gay red bandana scarf.

    Penny smiled and thought, Lovely. I have planned for everything.

    Little did the young woman know what Fate had in store for the hours ahead.

    Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library

    The sun shone with all the energy it could muster for the late February morning. Penny pulled her short jacket close and rubbed her gloved hands together. My, it was cold this morning.

    She sat behind the wheel of her little roadster waiting for a woman who approached the auto carrying a leather suitcase and a wicker hamper.

    "Good morning, Penny," she chirped, "settling the luggage in the back seat and herself in the passenger's seat. "It's a wonderful day for a desert drive. Are we ready to go? Do we have enough gasoline? I've brought lunch."

    Penny laughed and bent to kiss the woman's cheek. "Always worrying about the details, sister dear. But, never fear, I have everything under control."

    Penny engaged the engine and the small machine jumped to the road like a rabbit, streaking off toward the east.

    The two women chatted amiably and the miles sped by quickly. Houses and businesses gave way to lonely farms, until the roadside was empty and lonely, broken only by scrubby bushes and tall telephone poles marching across the miles and miles of desolate desert.

    "Mother will be so happy to see us," Penny said. "I never let a word slip that we were planning this visit. It will be a delicious surprise."

    "Let's hope so," replied her sibling, a tone of skepticism in her voice.

    Any further comments were cut short by Penny, however, who had spied a roadside mercantile ahead and was already slowing down to examine the prospects.

    "I don't think we should take the time. . ." began her companion. But her words disappeared in the air as Penny turned the wheel hard and directed the automobile to the front of the gaily painted store.

    "Just a quick look," Penny promised, jumping out of the car, stretching, and pulling her sister inside the shop.

    An hour later, the women emerged back into the light, blinking at the bright noonday sun. Each carried a box wrapped in paper and twine and wore a gay new hat.

    "Definitely worth the stop," murmured Penny's sister, with a pat to her hair.

    "Definitely," Penny agreed. "And since we are stopped, we may as well have our luncheon."

    What was a brief respite turned into a longer hiatus as the girls enjoyed a cold meal of ham sandwiches and potato salad, eaten from the hood of the auto.

    Penny congratulated her sister on her cooking skills and expressed her delight when a thermos bottle of hot coffee appeared in the depths of the hamper.

    "I feel positively refueled," Penny remarked as the women cleaned up the remains of their meal and prepared to resume their journey.

    "... speaking of refueling," her sister suggested. "Perhaps we should refuel the auto at that filling station across the road."

    Penny obligingly looked at the fuel gauge, noting the needle at the halfway mark. "Oh not yet, I think. We still have plenty of petrol. We can wait until the next station."

    Woe to those who wait.

    The two women stood beside the car, hot, tired, and as thirsty as their little auto. The weak winter sun was low in the sky. Miles of empty desert spread from them in all directions. The cry of a hawk pierced the air.

    "No, we are most certainly NOT out of fuel," Penny said. "At least, not yet."

    "Remind me then why we are pulled to the verge?" her sister replied quizzically, one eyebrow arched.

    "We need more information before we go on. We need assurance that we are on the right road. . ."

    Her companion rolled her eyes and returned to wait in the vehicle.

    Penny's good nature asserted itself and she smiled at her sister, thinking We only need one person to stop, only one source for more information.

    Just then, Penny discerned the low rumble of an approaching vehicle. She stood tall beside her auto and raised her hands high. What good fortune! The distinctive black and white sedan pulled to the side of the road and a tall, rangy officer emerged to greet the travelers.

    "Well hello, Miss. What seems to be the trouble?"

    Penny composed herself and spoke confidently, "No trouble, Officer. I was hoping for some information, however."

    The young man removed his wide brimmed hat and rubbed his hair, "Information, Maam? Looks to me like you might need more than a library."

    Penny smiled. "A good atlas or map might do the trick," she began. "We have come some way from our last stop, and will need petrol soon. The question is whether to go on, or to return for fuel in the town we passed some forty minutes back. Do you have a suggestion?"

    Muttering something that sounded much like, "This is a good one...", the officer scratched his hair again, trying unsuccessfully to smoothe the cowlick that sprung unbidden from his crown.

    "Well, I am not exactly a gazetteer, Maam, but I think I am a pretty reliable source," he smiled, "and I do know that the gasoline stations 'round here will be closing when it gets dark, even ole' Mr. Tucker's a mile or so up the road, so you had better go one way or the other pretty soon."

    "How dreadful," murmured Penny. "I thought all we needed was more information, and then we would be able to solve the problem."

    "Maam," the officer interrupted. "If you ask me, what you need is that new GPS. Why, two ladies like you would know right where you are if you followed it along."

    "Evidentally," he added as he turned to his vehicle, "it might be time now for a little analysis and action."

    Read more from Penny's Pen at Shades of the Departed Magazine.

    Friday
    Feb192010

    Getting the Most Out of a Genealogy Conference; Countdown to St. George Family History Expo

    #fhexpo is the Twitter hashtag to follow next weekend when the St. George Family History Expo is in full swing. In just one week I will be joining the family historians and Bloggers of Honor for two full days of genealogy education and networking.

    One thing I’ve learned from my years attending all kinds of conferences is that the old Scout Motto says it best, “Be Prepared.” Here’s my own checklist:

    • Conference registration
    • Hotel and Travel reservations
    • Local maps
    • Review Conference Program, highlight sessions to attend
    • Recharge all device batteries, pack chargers

                digital camera
                laptop computer
                cell phone
                iPod Touch

    • Update genealogy database, transfer file to laptop
    • Print out Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts
    • Print out list of Books Wanted
    • Think about people I want to meet, talk with
    • Pack daily conference tote with water bottle and snacks, sweater, notepad, pens, business cards

    I am looking forward to attending the sessions and hearing new-to-me speakers like Beau Sharbrough and Kory Meyerink, but I am also looking forward to spending some “off time” meeting other bloggers and genealogists and sharing research ideas. I hope you’ll stop me and say “Hello” if you’re in St. George; or follow along with the event at the #fhexpo twitterstream.

    Wednesday
    Feb172010

    Not So Wordless Wednesday: The Uinta County Courthouse of the Edwards-Paulen Marriage

     

    Uinta County Courthouse, Evanston Wyoming

    When my grandmother, Arline Kinsel Paulen and Albert F. Edwards arrived at the Unita County Courthouse in Evanston, Wyoming to be married 11 August 1917, the Courthouse was already established as the oldest county courthouse in the state.

    The building probably looked in 1917, much as it looks today, but its exterior architecture had evolved through at least three expansions. The earliest building was the 1873 jail, a brick structure erected in the center of the town square by order of Governor John A. Cambell, first Territorial Governor of Wyoming. Uinta County was the first new county estabished by the First Wyoming Territorial Legislature, and this first jail and courthouse was authorized to be built an an expense not to exceed $25,000. The jail was to be built first, followed by the courthouse in 1874. It wasn't long before both jail and courthouse outgrew their spaces, and in 1887 a new jail was completed and the former jail converted into courthouse offices.

    The growing Evanston community demanded a still larger courthouse, and in 1910 a two-story addition was contructed at the front of the existing courthouse building. According to the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, "It changed the scale and character of the courthouse from that of a relatively simple, territorial building to a more pretentious, more national building. The addition is essentially Georgian Revival style."

    This is the building that Arline and Albert would have entered in 1917.

    Sources:
    Wyoming State Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. "Uinta County Courthouse." Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. [article online]. Accessed 17 February 2010. Available from http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/NationalRegister/Site.asp?id=471.

    Simpson, Tricia.  "Uinta County Courthouse Evanston Wyoming". 2009. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Photograph.