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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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    GeneaVegas Day One at #NGS2013

    GeneaVegas Culture Shock

    Shifting from daily routine to conference pace is always challenging, but add the cacophony of casino chimes and lobby music and it's just plain ole culture shock. Where else but Las Vegas could you see by a wedding in-progress, pass by a wine bar, thread your way through buzzing, blinking slot machines, and end up in a  quiet ballroom packed to capacity to hear a keynote lecture on historical records?

    The day began with the Opening Session and National Genealogical Society awards presentations honoring newsletter editorship and service to the society. Both family association and society newsletters were included in the awards; and several individuals were named for their service to the society. Read the full details  at the NGS Conference Blog.

    In one of the most entertaining and unusual conference opening events, attendees were treated to a lively musical selection by the Mariachi Los Bravos, from the local J.D. Smith Middle School. The student group performed two numbers in the ballroom, and then led the procession out of the room and across the concourse to open the exhibit hall. Conference attendees responded by enthusiastic clapping, whistling, and calling -- mariachi style. 

    The buzz continued into the exhibit hall where scores of boots and demonstrations filled the large room. I did a quick tour of the room, stopping to check out the new Lutheran Church databases at with Amy Crow, and then headed to the seminar rooms to get a seat for the first session of the day with Dr. Thomas Jones.

    It was hard to decide which sessions to attend, the lineup is THAT GOOD. I was really torn between wanting to hear new-to-me speakers and learn more from those instructors I had previously heard at other conferences. I finally decided to purchase JAMB tapes for some sessions and attend others.

    Here's a brief recap of my take-away notes from Day One:

    Dr. Thomas Jones -- Debunking Misleading Records
    Records Lie, Don't believe everything you read.

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- The Genealogical Prof Standard in Action: Case Building When No Record States an Answer
    Places Don't Lie, Keep the person in the right location

    Warren Bittner - Impossible Immigrant: I Know Everything About the Man, Except Where He Came From
    People Lie, or fib (sounds nicer), German names are a puzzle

    I highly recommend each of these sessions, available on JAMB recordings, although you won't have the advantage of seeing the actual record images shown on the visual slides.

    And, if you think you've heard the topic before, think again. Elizabeth Shown Mills presentation on the GPS reflects the newest refined version of the standard and an outstanding graphic process map. This concept is also referenced in Dr. Jones new book Mastering Genealogical Proof and shows how the GPS is becoming an even better tool all the time.

    Then, of course, there was meeting up with old friends and meeting so many new genealogists. Thursday promises to another busy day. Stay tuned.


    3 hrs 54 min with Traffic to #ngs2013


    I'll See You in Paradise (Road) for #ngs2013 

    Las Vegas By Any Other Name

    Genealogists love names. Misspelled surnames, mangled forenames, and oft-repeated town names are at the root of many research problems, but we can only imagine the experience of future Las Vegas family historians.

    The nickname, Vegas, Baby, like The Big Apple, holds a distinction as a wildly successful marketing ploy. But before this latest moniker, Las Vegas held other, equally popular nicknames.

    When early Las Vegas consisted of one long street of casinos and hotels, everyone knew what you meant by The Strip, even if you were in Los Angeles talking about a recent cross-desert junket, as in “I just got back from seeing Elvis on The Strip.”

    The Las Vegas Strip is not within Las Vegas proper, but refers to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard south of city limits that is home to the largest, flashiest, and most historic casinos and hotels. The nickname is often used to refer to a broader area encompassing other resort casinos or confused with Glitter Gulch or Fremont Street located in the center of the Las Vegas downtown casino area home to the Fremont Hotel, Golden Nugget, The Mint and other casinos.

    Las Vegas has always been the self-proclaimed Wedding Capital of the World – what genealogists would call a “Gretna Green” – and with only 250 miles separating Hollywood and Vegas, it’s not surprising that Vegas was a popular destination for quickie divorces as well.

    The Las Vegas gambling industry led to the nickname Lost Wages, and the easy availability of assorted (legal and illegal) pastimes spawned the moniker Sin City, and the more official Entertainment Capital of the World.

    Nothing Safe from Creative Vegas Street Names

    The 1980s brought widespread resort development to Las Vegas, quickly followed by an explosion in residential development. A brief look at any local map shows the unique Vegas spirit didn’t stop at designing fantasy casinos. We can only imagine the thoughts of future Vegas family historians searching for ancestors on Pillow Talk Court, Fast Lane, Jane Austin Avenue [sic], Vader Avenue, and Leia Street.

    See You on Paradise Road for #NGS2013

    Thankfully, it should be fairly easy to find our way around the NGS Conference area at the Las Vegas Hotel. I plan to be spending most of my time on Paradise Road.

    For More About Las Vegas Street Names –

    Tupac Lane Welcomes You: The Street Names of Las Vegas

    Vegas Today and Tomorrow (great historic photos)


    Image Credit: photo by David Vasquez, WikiMedia Commons, public domain




    Need to Know for #NGS 2013


    Where's the Nearest In-N-Out?

    Attendees at NGS 2013 are in luck! There are sixteen In-N-Out locations in the Great State of Nevada, and TWELVE of these are in the greater Las Vegas Area.

    This bit of Southern California ephemera may be the last of it's kind.
    I've heard that the classic In-N-Out Location Guide
    was replaced with the smart phone app.  

    As native Angelenos, it's the first thing our family wants to know when we hit the road. And for fast answers we turn to our handy In-N-Out App. Back in the Dark Ages, before smart phones, we relied on the trusty In-N-Out Locator Card, now a bit of Southern California ephemera highly prized by burger fans (for more info on ephemera, see Caroline Pointer and the 48-Hour Ephemera Challenge).

    In-N-Out Burger App for Android or iPhone/iPad

    What's In-N-Out?

    The classic, SoCal drive-thru burger experience. Short menu, long lines.

    Not So Secret Anymore Menu

    Order off the Secret Menu like my sons: 4x4 Animal Style, Animal Fries and a Neapolitan Shake. Translation: 4 meat patties, 4 slices of cheese on a burger with In-N-Out secret sauce, grilled onions, and the works, along with fries topped with grilled onions and cheese melted under the heat, and a strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla shake. It's not for the weak.

    You will also find the "Protein Style" Burger (no bun, burger wrapped in crisp lettuce), and variations of the classic 4x4 such as 3x3 or Double Meat or Double Cheese, etc.  It's messy. Get extra napkins. And don't forget to take home a souvenir tshirt, too.


    Ding Dong, It's May

    Time for the May Girls' May Day Baskets

    May denise dd 1962 church

    My sister and I off to church on Easter morning. We were already
    experienced in the May Day Basket project by this age!

    Every year in preparation for the First of May, my sister and I were commandeered by our mother to make May Baskets. With a surname like "May" and two little girls, Mom was not about to let this opportunity for creative expression pass by.

    I don't remember much about the actual basket construction; they may have been put together with paper plates folded into a cone and filled with plastic flowers. It was the '60's! But I DO remember the delivery protocol. Strictest secrecy.

    My sister and I ran from house to house hanging garish handmade baskets on the doorknobs of each of our neighbors on the short little cul-de-sac where we lived in Orange County. Then, with giggles we rang the doorbell and ran away to watch our neighbor's feign surprise at the lovely gift on their front porch.

    Mom, the consummate scout leader and crafter, was in her element refilling our supplies and enjoying the fun.

    I recently came across a box of little baskets leftover from a year when my sons were young and I tried to get them interested in making May Day baskets. They thought the baskets were better used for starting fires and I quickly abandoned the project.

    To all my genealogy blogging friends, Ding Dong HAPPY MAY!

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