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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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    Everyday Ephemera on Google+ with Caroline Pointer What's Up Genealogy?


    We're talking about genealogy and ephemera tomorrow night on What's Up Genealogy Google+ Hangout On Air hosted by Caroline Pointer. What is ephemera? What do you do with it? How can it help you with your family history research? and, How much is enough? 

    I'll be chatting with Host Caroline Pointer beginning at 6pm looking forward to hearing about some of the more unusual bits of ephemera folks have found. Caroline's popular 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge returned last week with a fabulous Victorian photo album, and she's sure to have new treasures for the next rounds.

    Everyone is invited to attend the public Google+ Hangout. Search #WhatsUpGenealogy or click on the link for information on how to join. 

    Tomorrow I'm posting a few photos from my own collection as a preview for the Googlel+ Hangout. If anyone wants to research my "Uncle Sam" feel free! 


    Treasures in Your Attic? Join Me for the Utah Genealogical Association Spring Conference

    16th Annual South Davis Family History Fair


    Woods Cross High School north of Salt Lake City is the new location for the Utah Genealogical Association Family History Fair April 19 and 20, 2013 where I will be presenting the Friday night keynote "Treasures in the Attic: Every Keepsake Has a Story."

    This two-day event offers over one hundred family history sessions on topics covering a wide variety of subjects, from finding Irish and German ancestors to working with newspapers and cemetery records.

    On Saturday, April 20, I will present two sessions on preserving family treasures and signing copies of my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes:

    The Frugal Curator

    Archival storage doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Discover practical DIY (Do-It-Yourself) solutions that will save you time and money as you organize and store your family treasures. See how to make a family history time capsule for your next family reunion or event.

    The Things They Leave Behind: Caring for Family Keepsakes

    Learn how to care for common family treasures such as photo albums, loose photographs, Bibles, clocks, jewelry, and more.  View photos of damaged items, learn to identify common hazards such as silverfish, mold, acid migration. Discover what to save when you inherit a houseful of “treasures,” how and where to store your keepsakes, and how to set up a home archive so you can easily access items for research and sharing.

    Registration fees for this event are $15.00; a printed syllabus is available for an additional fee. More information is available at the Utah Genealogical Association Website.


    National Genealogical Society Conference App Now Available

    NGS Quad Graphic

    Building New Bridges: NGS 2013 Conference Las Vegas

    The National Genealogical Society has announced a new mobile Conference App for the 2013 Conference May 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The App is available for iOS, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phones, and web-enabled devices from the NGS Mobile App page.

    The App Dashboard will provide late-breaking information, alerts, a built-in Twitter feed, and the ability to sync personal schedules across devices. 

    The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree was the first conference I attended with a mobile app on my smartphone and it added a new dimension to the conference experience. I especially like helpful updates on schedule and room changes, and the ability to create a personal schedule I can refer to throughout the day.

    I will be attending NGS 2013 in Las Vegas and sharing my experiences on The Family Curator and through Twitter and Facebook. Whether you will be in Las Vegas or following the conference from home, the new NGS Conference App will be helpful for keeping up with the action throughout the week. 


    Treasure Chest Thursday: Old Letters; What Do You Do With Found Ephemera?

    One of the biggest products of daily life seems to be paper. It's stacked up around my house, and it's one of the first things to deal with when you inherit a home after someone passes away. 

    A Cure for Rheumatism

    My mother-in-law saved envelopes for scratch paper. My aunt repurposed them by cutting off her name and address for a kind of DIY return-address label. And, nearly 100 years ago my Grandmother Arline used an envelope to write -- "Gum-go-wack, get enough for one qt. whiskey for rheumatism. one oz. 3 times a day."

    Envelope recipe blog

    Letter from E.B. Kinsel, Ruth, Nevada to Mrs. A.A. Parker, Wilder, Kansas

    The letter was sent from E.B. Kinsel, Arline's father. I know that Eliphaz Bigelow Kinsel worked for the railroad and was rarely at home in Kansas. In 1926, my grandmother Arline was married to Charlie Parker but she must have been living either on E.B.'s farm in Wilder or on Parker's farm.

    The other address noted at the top of the envelope -- R.W. McCleery of Benton is new to me. Looks like another clue to follow. 

    So, what exactly -- as a family historian -- do you do with "Found Ephemera" when you acquire a collection of papers?

    Digitize, Transcribe, Preserve

    Some folks would throw it away. Some might read the letter first, and then toss it. I tend to just keep on saving it. I unfold the letter, scan it and place it in an acid-free paper folder. The folders are filed by author and date in an archival vertical file box. I use the scanned image for transcribing. Any genealogical data like names, dates, events, and vital records such as neighborhood gossip (*smile*) are entered into my genealogy database program with the letter cited as the source of the information. 

    When I'm lucky, information from these bits of "found ephemera" help build a chain of evidence for a claim such a date or place of birth, marriage, or death. These tidbits are not uncommon. My ancestors lived at a distance from close family members and news traveled by letter; those letters were passed around like chocolates after dinner. They were read, re-read, and savored. Unlike the game of "Telephone" where a whispered message quickly becomes garbled and often reshaped as it makes it's way around a circle, the news found in letters doesn't change when the letter moves from hand to hand.

    I'm looking at the photo of this envelope today and wondering what the letter inside is all about. . . or if there is a letter inside. I'm also wondering if one ounce of whiskey three times a day really does help rheumatism. . .

    On April 12, 2013  I'll be talking with Caroline Pointer of about finding and caring for ephemera for Caroline's What's Up Genealogy show on Google+ Hangouts. Join us! 


    Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources: Free Genealogy Webinar

    SCGS Jamboree Webinar Series -- Saturday 6 April 2013

    Register now for the next webinar sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Program, and join me for Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources on Saturday, 6 April 2013 at 10:00 AM - Pacific, 11:00 AM - Mountain, 12:00 PM - Central, 1:00 PM - Eastern.

    Whether you’ve inherited a house full of keepsakes or only wish you had more family treasures, home sources may hold the clues you need to break through brick walls and solve family history problems. And you don’t have to own home sources to use them as research resources. 

    We've all got them -- brick walls, obstacles, road blocks to progress in our genealogical reseach. Home Sources are one of the most underused resources in solving family history puzzles. Photographs, letters, documents and artifacts can provide direct answers to research problems, or clues to new research opportunities. 

    I am honored to be part of the SCGS Jamboree Extension Webinar Series and look forward to sharing a few items from my own family collections that have helped push my research over the wall. From clippings tucked between the pages of books, to cryptic captions on the back of old photos, family keepsakes often hide great stories in plain sight.

    Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources --

    • Why use home sources?
    • Common and uncommon home sources and where to find them
    • Locating potential sources in public repositories
    • Strategies for working with material family collections
    • What to look for in documents, letters, photos, and artifacts
    • Case study examples

    Register Here prior to Saturday, 6 April to attend the free webinar, Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources. After the live webinar on April 6, the webinar will be available to SCGS members in the Members Only area of the website.

    View the complete SCGS Jamboree Extension Series schedule for more great educational webinars available in the series..





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