29 August 2008

Looking Through Rose Colored Glasses

Well they're not really rose colored but there are quite a selection to choose from over at footnoteMaven's place, Shades of the Departed, in her regular series "Friday From The Collectors". Pay close attention, has the fM revealed her identity to us?

Becky Wiseman over at Kinexxions has her thoughts on it. She has also posted some photos of women in glasses as a tribute to fM. I think that is such a good I idea, so good that I am going to borrow it from Becky. I have only one, the lady is a bit younger and the photo a bit newer than fM usually collects but I offer it up anyway:

26 August 2008

Fenley Takes Home More Than Gold!

I reached all the goals I set for the games and have earned 4 medals:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - PLATINUM

2. Organize Your Research! - DIAMOND

4. Write, Write, Write! - DIAMOND

5. Reach Out and Perform Acts of Genealogical Kindness! - PLATINUM

I have won more than these beautiful medals. I have become part of a community of like-minded individuals who are collectively striving for the highest level of truth and accuracy in their research. This community cares about the quality of research that they will be leaving behind for future generations. I have stepped way out of my comfort zone in the area of social networking (you know, making friends and playing nice with others) and have found that it's not as intimidating as first thought.

24 August 2008

Show And Tell - 55th Carnival of Genealogy

(click on photo for larger image)

Is this like a "If you show me yours, I'll show you mine" kind of deal? (Randy Seaver should appreciate that bit of humor)

Straight off the top of my head, the first thing that came to mind is a photo collage that I made of 6 (yep, count em six) generations of my maternal line. I made it after I was finally able to locate the 6th generation.

Starting at the top left hand side of the collage you find my 3rd great grandmother MARGARET DILKS ROBINSON. Margaret was born 16 May 1839 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to Arthur Dilks and Margaret Bowman. The Dilks family lived in Moon Township (a suburb of Pittsburgh) near the Ohio River. She met a blacksmith from Ireland, David Robinson, fell in love and they were married 28 August 1855. Margaret and David had nine children, all of whom lived to adulthood. After David died on 21 October 1895, Margaret went to live with her youngest daughter, Margaret who had married Carl Metz. Margaret died at the age of 96 in Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa on 28 October 1935.

A little tip here: I found the names of Margaret's parents in the 1925 Iowa State Census. On the 3rd page of the census, the enumerator is instructed to ask the names and places of birth for the parents of each person in each household.

The serious looking woman in the center of the top row is my 2nd great grandmother Laura Cordelia Robinson, the second child of David and Margaret Robinson She was born 12 June 1862 In Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Around 1868, The Robinson family moved to Dodgeville, Des Moines County, Iowa. Laura met and married William Campbell Berry on 19 September 1880 in Des Moines County, Iowa. In 1900 W.C. and Laura Berry were on the move. First to Jackson County, Kansas and then to Allen County, Kansas where they lived in several different towns. Over a 20 year period they lived in Moran City, Le Harpe, Iola, Humboldt and Elsmore. After William died on 13 July 1921, Laura remarried to Christian Ermel on 1 July 1925. Christian died 1 January 1950 and Laura went to live with one of her youngest daughters. She died at the age of 89 on 15 April 1951 in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas and was buried in the Highland Cemetery near Iola, Allen County, Kansas.

My great grandmother, Hazel Bertha Berry is on the top right side of the collage. Hazel was born 15 July 1896 in Franklin Township, Des Moines County, Iowa. Hazel was a very short woman, 4 1/2 feet tall. She married Hillary T. Harris on 4 November 1915 in Allen County, Kansas. H.T. Harris was 6ft 5in. My mother told me that in every photo they ever took, H.T. is always sitting and Hazel is standing. My mother also shared a fond memory of Hazel with me. My mother remembers spending all day on Sundays at her grandparents house. Hazel could always be found (or heard) in the kitchen cooking at the stove or at the sink doing the dishes belting out old gospel songs with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth (hmm, this must be a genetic trait). Hazel died at the age of 69 on 24 June 1965 at her home in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas.

The lovely young woman in the bottom row on the left is my grandmother Maryellen Harris. Maryellen is the only child of Hillary T. Harris and Hazel Bertha Berry. She was born in Bronson, Bourbon County, Kansas on 29 September 1916. After Maryellen graduated from Garnett High School in 1934, she and a girlfriend went to Topeka and became "Harvey Girls". Darrell Kenneth Skillman was a year behind Maryellen at Garnett High School. When he graduated the following year in 1935, he went to Topeka and brought Maryellen back home and they were married 4 November 1935.

The eldest child of Darrell K. Skillman and Maryellen Harris is my mother, Darlene Mary. Or as I like to call her "Mummy Dahling". And last, but certainly not the least, is yours truly. Recognize the party hat?

So there you have it 6 generations of my direct maternal line. Good thing I don't have a photo of my 4th great grandmother, I would hate to break up a 6 pack!

Submitted to the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy

23 August 2008

My Tallies for the Games

The Genea-Blogger Games officially ended today at noon o'clock. I am proud of myself. I accomplished so many things. And the biggest thing of all? Starting this blog and starting to actually write. Mega-thanks to Miriam, Thomas and Kathryn for setting the whole thing up and to footnoteMaven for the Games logo and medals designs. I would still be procrastinating if it weren't for participating in the Games.

My accomplishments are as follows:

1. Go Back And Cite Your Sources!

I completed 30 citations on this post and another 20 citations on this post.

50 citations = PLATINUM MEDAL

3. Organize Your Research!

I completed Events A, B, C, D and E on this post.

Completion of 5 Events = DIAMOND MEDAL

4. Write, Write, Write!

I completed Event A here.
Event B - I went to the Genea-blogger's Picnic over at Bill West's place and I submitted a photo and story to footnoteMaven for her I Smile For The Camera Carnival.
I completed Event C on this post.
Event D - My ancestor biography can be found here.

Completion of 4 Events = DIAMOND MEDAL

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

I completed Events A, B, D and E all here.
I completed Event F here.
I finished off the category with Event C here.

Completion of all 6 events = PLATINUM MEDAL

My cheering section told me "You Go, Girl!" So I "Got Up and Went!"

Genea-Blogger Games - Final Day of Competition

OK, here it is, the last event I need to get the Diamond Medal in the category
Write, Write, Write! a biographical about one of my ancestors and for the category Go Back And Cite Your Sources! the last 20 citations I needed.


Michael Delaney is the eldest child of my 3rd great grandparents Daniel Derondo Delaney and Ellen Collins. Daniel and Ellen were born in Ireland. Daniel in County Kerry and Ellen in County Cork. They were married 3 December 1849 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Buttevant County Cork, Ireland. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaney’s arrived at the Port of New York on 8 January 1851 aboard the “Elizabeth Bentley”. By September of that year they had made their way North to Lockport, Niagara County where Michael was born 3 September 1851.

Daniel was a stone mason but upon arrival in America, he found himself a contractor to the railroads. Daniel had a team of men that graded the land where the new tracks were going to be laid. He must have been a hard worker and good at his job. The New York Central Railroad line from Lockport, south west along the southern shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio and south west even more to St. Louis Missouri, lines up neatly with the Delaney family’s migration westward.

In 1862 the Delaney’s are in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri where Daniel enlists in the Union Army. In 1867 the Delaney’s are in Lawrence, Kansas where Daniel once again takes up contract work for the railroad, this time for the Central Branch Missouri Pacific Railroad.

The family migrated north to Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas where we find Michael Delaney is now 19 years old. Michael worked alongside his father in railroad construction until the line was completed in Waterville in 1879. Daniel and Ellen decided to move south to Elk County, Kansas. Michael and and a younger brother George, elected to stay in Marshall County. George went north about 35 miles to the town of Axtell.

In 1879 Michael purchased a mercantile store from J. E. Peters. He owned and operated this store until he sold it in 1907.

On 29 April 1880 in Waterville Township, Michael married local school teacher Lillie Winterbottom, the daughter of Daniel and Matilda Winterbottom. Michael and Lillian had three sons: Frederick George Delaney born 1 April 1881, Daniel Derondo Delaney born 27 August 1886 and Carl Andrew Delaney born 7 August 1888.

All three boys moved to Taloga, Dewey County, Oklahoma and all three worked as bankers for the 1st National Bank. A first cousin to their mother, J. W. Thompson, was the president of the 1st National Bank and of Citizens National Bank. In 1917, all three boys registered for the draft during World War I. All three were shipped overseas to serve their country. Only two of them returned. Daniel Derondo Delaney was killed in action in February of 1918. His widow Maud and son Roger Delaney survived him. Daniel was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville. Frederick came back to his job as a banker and married Daisy Hvare. They relocated to Ventura, California and had three children: Fred George Delaney, Mary A. Delaney and Lillian Patricia Delaney. Frederick died in Ventura, California 7 April 1965 and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville. Carl married Ethel Florence Mc Elhaney and moved to Paradise, Butte County, California where they had one son Carl Roderick Delaney. Carl died 29 August 1976 in Paradise and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville.

Lillian died on 31 May 1893 and Michael remarried to her sister Abigail Winterbottom on 25 June 1895. Michael was an active member of the community, as the following list will confirm:

*Appointed Postmaster of Waterville 1888 - 1893 and again 1897-1913
*Elected as Mayor of Waterville and served two terms
*President of the Waterville School Board for seventeen years
*Chairman of the Waterville Township Central Republican Committee for twenty years during which time he also served as a delegate to district and state republican conventions.
*Vice president of Citizens State Bank
*Served as treasurer for the Riverside Cemetery Association

*Served as treasurer for Sutton Lodge No. 85
*Served as a member of the City Council of Waterville
*Supreme Treasurer of the Triple Tie Benefit Association for fourteen years
*A member of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows
*A member of The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for 55 years
*First President of Waterville Telephone Company
*Member of the Modern Woodmen of America
*Organized the construction of the new City Hall in Waterville
*Member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
Michael died 1 May 1938 in Waterville and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

1. “The Famine Immigrants, Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York 1846-1851“, Glazier, Ira A., Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland 1985, pp. 493-494
2. “A Pictorial and Family History of Waterville, Kansas”, Bicentennial Committee of 1796, pp. 247-249.
3. “Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons”, Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1912, pp. 502-503
4. “A History of Marshall County, Kansas - It‘s People, Industries and Institutions”, Forter, Emma, B F. Bowen and Company, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1917, pp. 201-202, 368-369, 415
5. “An Affair With The Past, From the Otoes to the Astronauts”, Guise, Byron and Eulalia, Marysville, Kansas, 1987
6. Parish Register, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland
7. “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Thursday, May 5, 1938, Section A, p. 12, Obituary for Michael Delaney
8. “The Ventura County Star”, Ventura, California
9. “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Friday, June 9, 1893, p. 3, Obituary for Lillie W. Delaney
10. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Daniel Derondo Delaney. Serial no. 45, order no. 7652

11. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Carl Andrew Delaney, serial no. 1223, order no. 15, Draft Board 31
12. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Fred George Delaney, serial no., 21, order no. 587, Draft Board 7
13. 1930 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 7B (penned), Michael Delaney household #230, dwelling #224
14 “History of the State of Kansas”, Cutler, William G., 1883, A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.
15. Daniel D. Delaney (Pvt. , Co. E, 7th Reg., Missouri Calvary, Civil War), Invalid Pension File No. 202.017, Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington DC

16. 1920 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B (penned), Michael Delaney household #153, dwelling #149
17. 1880 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B, Michael Delaney household #110, dwelling #107
18. 1885 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, pg. 10, line 21, Michael Delaney household
19. 1900 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Twonship, p. 245 (stamped), sheet 4A (penned), Michael Delaney household #96, dwelling #99
20. 1895 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 17, line 1, Michael Delaney household
21. 1910 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 11B (penned), Michael Delaney household #138, dwelling #137
22. 1905 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 9, line 1, Michael Delaney household
23. 1915 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 2, line 18, Michael Delaney household
24. Delaney Family Headstone Photos, Riverview Cemetery, Waterville Township, Marshall County, Kansas, photos in possession of author.

21 August 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Just as I am on a roll with Pauline/Helen, a distraction pushed it's way into my day.

About 3 years ago Sorenson Molecular was starting a DNA database project. I volunteered to participate. I was sent a kit in which to submit my sample. It was so easy. I just swished a pleasant tasting fluid around in my mouth for a couple of minutes and spit it into a container. I mailed it back to Sorenson's along with a "proven" 4 generation pedigree chart. At the time, the results were not available to the participants, but were used in comparing random DNA data collected from around the world.

A couple of months ago I get an email from Sorenson's:

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is excited to announce that your personalized DNA results are now available from the Sorenson mtDNA database, through a special offer made by GeneTree, a family networking website. Eligible participants may obtain their mtDNA-HVI, II, III results and pedigree information
To be eligible for this offer you must have requested an SMGF participation kit prior to October 23, 2007 and returned your kit prior to Dec 31, 2007.

Today I received the results. I am excited but I am not sure what I am excited about!

16189 C T
16193.1 C -
16193.2 C -
16311 C T
16519 C T
73 G A
263 G A
295 A C
309.1 C -
309.2 C -
315.1 C -

Test Results for the range 15968 to 16569 and 1 to 584

MtDNA Haplogroup: R
MtDNA Subgroup: B4c

I spent the better part of the day trying to understand what these results mean. Here is what I found that explained in the plainest of English:

mtDNA Haplogroup R Summary

Haplogroups M and N, appearing about 63,000 years ago, represent two branches of haplogroup L3. Haplogroups M and N encompass the entire mitochondrial genetic pool of all non-African populations.

Approximately 60,000 years ago, haplogroup N diverged, giving rise to haplogroup R.

While haplogroups M, N, R and their branches are found throughout southern Asia, eastern Eurasia and Australasia, only high level haplogroup diversity within N and R are found in
western Eurasia.

The N superhaplogroup has been characterized as pan-Eurasian. Haplogroup N is one of the two major trunks emerging from the original African root, and dates to approximately 65,000 years ago. Interestingly, several sub-haplogroups of the N cluster—haplogroup N1 and derivative lineages—have been detected in the Near East, suggesting either early divergence near the root of haplogroup N or subsequent migrations back towards western Eurasia following the original dispersal into east Eurasia. Future work will further document the historical distribution of this root haplogroup and closely related haplogroups within the N cluster.

Okaaayyy, Am I to understand that I am Haplogroup R and come from Eurasia?

Maybe a mistake has been made.....I have blonde hair and blue eyes and while I tan very nicely in the summer, my skin is basically white.

Is there anyone out there that can help me out here!

Genea-Blogger Games - Write, Write, Write!

Category #4 Write, Write Write!
Event A
Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog.

It took me a very long time to even start my own blog. Writing for me is extremely difficult. I worry so much about using just the right words I end up rewriting until I get so frustrated I just quit. It wasn’t until I returned from Samford this last June that all everything changed for me. A couple of people asked me to tell them all about my trip. I just started at the beginning and 1 page turned into 2 and 2 into 5, etc. I wasn’t getting so stressed out about how I wanted to write, I just wrote what I wanted to say.
You probably are not going to find Harvard University scholarly type writing about my research on my blog. It is my hope that as you read about my research, you will feel like you are right there with me.

Game Tallies

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - I need to complete 20 more

3. Organize Your Research! - I completed 5 events for the Platinum Medal.

4. Write, Write, Write! - I have one event left - to write a bio of one of my ancestors.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! - I completed all 6 events for the Platinum Medal

20 August 2008


The James Arthur Solomon Family

James and Angeline Solomon and their 13 Children

Jonathan Creek, Moultrie County, Illinois


From left to right, back row:

John Fulton Solomon, Peter D. Solomon, James Arthur Solomon [my 3rd great grandfather], Sarah Jane Solomon [my 2nd great grandmother], Angeline Fulton Solomon [wife of James], James A. Solomon, Jr. [baby] and Walter Isaac Solomon

From left to right, front row:

Mary Elizabeth Solomon, Amy Angeline Solomon, Permelia Isabelle Solomon, Barnabus W. Solomon, Alice June Solomon, Maggie Mae Solomon, George Washington Solomon and William Solomon.

19 August 2008

Terry Thornton wants to get to know us

Terry Thornton over at Hill County of Monroe County wants to get to know us and vice versa. He has issued a challenge to all of us bloggers to get to know each other. He wants to know what 3 blogs have you written that you consider to be The Brightest, The Breeziest and The Most Beautiful.
Make your way over to Terry's blog, he has a special format he wants you to use for this challenge. Deadline for submissions: Saturday, September 27th at midnight.

I am going to take the challenge, are you?

55th Edition COG

footnoteMaven has just announced the 55th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy. The topic will be "Show and Tell". Write about an heirloom, a special photo,a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.
Deadline for submissions is 1 September 2008.

17 August 2008

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 7 and Day 8

Well we have reached the halfway point in the games. I have checked out the competition and I can tell you that everyone seems to be running neck-in neck - a 38 way tie.

I was busy with other projects the last couple of days. Important projects like trying to win back my top ranking on Word Whomp over at Facebook. Damn you Colleen, this means war! LOL

I also completed 2 new member applications for my DAR chapter. Then I had to read (4 times!) this month's article for the genealogical online study group I participate in. Oh, then I had to write my report for the San Joaquin Genealogical Society's upcoming board meeting. So you see, I was actually getting some work done.

My standings in the Genea-Blogger Games as of Day 8 are as follows:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

I have completed 30. I need to do 20 more to reach my goal of a platinum medal.

3. Organize Your Research!

I have completed 5 of the 6 events and have earned the platinum medal.

4. Write, Write, Write!

I am going for a diamond medal in this category. I have completed events B -participate in a blog carnival and C - prepare several posts in draft mode and pre-publish. I still need to finish events A - write a summary of what my blog is about and D - write a biographical sketch of one of my ancestors.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

I previously completed events A, B, D, E and F. I needed to complete event C -invite other genealogists to join Facebook. I invited several people from my area that are interested in family history and research to join Facebook. So far I haven't seen any of those people at the Facebook site but I shall keep nagging gently nudging them in that direction. So, with this last event completed I am taking the platinum in this category.

And now back to Word Whomp!

16 August 2008

I Smile for the Camera - Do You?

Smile For The Camera ~ A Carnival of Images

The word prompt for the 5th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Crowning Glory. Show us those wonderful photographs of hairdos and maybe even a few don'ts. Don't limit yourself to just hair fashion through the ages, got a great photograph of a hat, helmet, bonnet, or some other interesting headgear? Share!
The deadline is 10 September 2008 at midnight. footnoteMaven always throws a great party, don't miss out on this one!

I am at Alltop too!

Well I'll be darned, I just received an email from the people at Alltop.com :

Over the next few days you may notice that visitors to your site came from Alltop.com because we added your site to http://genealogy.alltop.com/ .

Hey fM - I'm a Cool Kid too!

Fourth Edition of Smile for the Camera

footnoteMaven has posted the Fourth Edition of Smile for the Camera at Shades of the Departed. This is the first time I have participated in this wonderful carnival and I wasn't alone. 40 bloggers participated sharing their most cherished photos. I can't wait for the next edition.

15 August 2008

Music to my Ears

Tim Abbott of Walking The Berkshires has started a great meme asking readers to list the 10 most important music albums of their teenage years:http://greensleeves.typepad.com/berkshires/2008/08/the-soundtracks.html

1. the B 52's

2. Carole King - Tapestry

3. Styx - The Grand Illusion

4. Elton John - Goodbye Yellowbrick Road

5. David Bowie - Young Americans

6. Fleetwood Mac - Rumors

7. Heart - Dreamboat Annie

8. Box Scaggs - Silk Degrees

9. Bad Company - Straight Shooter

10. Led Zepplin - Physical Graffiti

11. Eagles - Hotel California

Well, ok I chose 11. There were a kazillion more but these came to mind first.

14 August 2008

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 5 and Day 6

I was able to complete a few more events in the last two days.

3. Organize Your Research!

A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc. archival-quality where appropriate.

While I was working on my "Problem With Pauline" I made 10 surname files for collateral members of this line and filed documents into them.

Then back to my Delaney family, I did the same for 10 different surnames.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society.

I renewed my memberships with the San Joaquin Genealogical Society and DAR

Summary of the completed events of competition:
1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - 30 citations completed. I have earned a Gold Medal.
3. Organize Your Research! - I have completed events A, B, C, D and E. I have earned the Platinum Medal.
4. Write, Write, Write! - I have completed B and C. I have earned a Silver Medal.
5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! I have completed A, B, D, E and F. I have earned the Platinum Medal

Comments Update

Thank you to all who responded to my comments post. I now have a better understanding of how things work in the blog-world.

12 August 2008

No Comments?

One last post for the day. I am new to the Genea-Blogger's world so maybe the observation I am going to make is just my naivety. The counter that tells me how many people have visited my blog tells me that over 100 people have come to my blog to give me a look-see.

100 people and not a one of them left a comment on any of my posts. Is this a normal occurrence? 100 people and not one had an opinion about my writing. Should I not take this personally? Do I need to understand that their silence doesn't mean that they did not enjoy the posts?

I guess I am nervous about being on the porch with the Big Dogs. I know that there is lots of room on the porch, but I want to share that big juicy bone they have as well.

Let me know if I am turning into a whiner.

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 3 and Day 4

WOW! After all the posts on Samford and Pauline, I am pumped and raring to go. I had no problem completing quite a few of my events during Day 3 and Day 4.

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - I entered 20 new sources into my database for my Delaney family and while I was at it I re-entered another 10 so they would be properly cited. Daniel Derondo Delaney is my 3rd great grandfather and one of my favorite ancestors.

4. Write, Write, Write! - I participated in I Smile For The Camera Carnival by submitting a photo and article about my father. I also went to the Genea-Bloggers picnic over at Bill West's place and submitted an article. I prepared in a draft mode a series of 6 posts about my experience at Samford. I set it up so that the posts would publish one after another every 3 hours.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! - I do this on a daily basis already.

1. I am a RAOGK volunteer for San Joaquin County, California.

2. I transcribe records (most recently death and land records) for the Missouri State Archives.

3. I transcribe records for Brigham Young University’s Immigrant Ancestor Project - currently I am working on writer’s petitions which are applications for entrance into the East India Company College. These are all dated from the 1830’s.

4. I am the registrar for El Toyon Chapter NSDAR at the local level and at the national level I am a Lineage Research Lookup Volunteer and I index books for the DAR Library.

5. I am trying to be the editor of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society’s newsletter. The previous editor had to retire and I was appointed to take over until another editor can take over.

6. I transcribed the WPA Graves Registration for the entire county of Poweshiek, Iowa and part of Pocahontas County, Iowa.

I am really in shape for this event and had no problem completing 4 out of 6 events:

A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog. I left comments at Brenda Dougall Merriman’s blog - http://brendadougallmerriman.blogspot.com/ and at Brian Nichols’ blog The Mad Genealogist - http://familyhistory101.com/

B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks. I joined 2 networks - Life in Possum Holler - http://cebillingsley.blogspot.com/ and What’s Past is Prologue - http://pastprologue.wordpress.com/

D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. As stated above, I do this daily.

E. Participate in an indexing project. Again, as stated above, I have several ongoing projects that I work on almost daily.

Summary of the first 4 days of competition:
1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - 30 citations completed. I have earned a Gold Medal.
3. Organize Your Research! - I have completed events B, C, D and E. I have earned Diamond Medal.
4. Write, Write, Write! - I have completed B and C. I have earned a Silver Medal.
5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! I have completed A, B, D and E. I have earned a Diamond Medal

11 August 2008

Sheri Went To Samford - The Final Part


For blondes who live in California, any time the 13th falls on a Friday we are given a legal holiday. Trying to remember and avoid every superstition known to man will make our heads explode. This is what I thought might get me off the hook for speaking to the class. It seems that this law is not known in Alabama and therefore did not apply.

I was not having a good start to my day. I had not made the correct calculations and had smoked my last cigarette the night before. I got more than a few funny looks as I was walking down the hill to the cafeteria for breakfast looking up into the sky and saying, "Just take me now and get it over with!"

The morning was getting worse. I was working on a legal holiday, they had run out of spiced apple oatmeal in the cafeteria, and I was drinking coffee without a cigarette.

Walking through the parking lot to my classroom to meet my fate, an angel pulled up in her car. Why, it was Ms. Martha from my class, Ms. Martha who sat in the front row of my class. I must have looked really bad. She asked what was wrong and when I told her she took a quick look around and said, "Hurry quick and get in the car." Bless her little heart, Ms. Martha took some back road, got me to the mini mart and back to school in time for me to have a smoke and for us to get to class on time. PLEASE NOTE: Ms. Martha does not smoke, she did it for me out of the kindness of her heart which I blessed earlier. I am forever in your debt, Martha.

OK, so maybe the day was getting a little better. Maybe I could really pull this presentation off without speaking "blond-ese" and maybe I could show them that not only do I love research but I also am pretty darn good at it. After all, I was wearing my favorite fluorescent Hawaiian print dress and lime green sandals. My mother always told me when you look good, you feel good.

Somehow my presentation was scheduled as the last one. Everyone before me had PowerPoint things and laser pointers. I agonized all morning about how I was going to do this. I finally tore a piece of paper out of my notebook, wrote on it and waited. When Birdie called my name, I dragged myself up to the podium, held up my piece of paper that said, “The Problem with Pauline,” and proceeded to tell the class about my research.

I did this with a classroom of new friends, some new found confidence, and a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 5

I am not a writer nor do I play one on TV. I had intended this to be a chronological accounting of my experience, but each time, as soon as I posted one part I realized that I had left something out. So to continue with that theme….I forgot to include this about Dr. Debbie Abbott - She was on my scary list too. She was also a part time student in the Land Records class and sat next to me in the back of the room (this is were that “sitting in the back of the class was a good thing” comes in). Being the new kid in school I had no idea who she was at the time, but I had a check mark in the scary column by her name. She has a PhD. When Birdie introduced her she stood and walked to the front of the class and gave me a little nod. Boy was that ever a “duh” moment for me. I dug in my bag for the bottle of white out and took her off the list.
FYI - My basic formula for the Scary List : Librarian = Scary, PhD = Very Scary, Elizabeth Shown Mills = Very, Very Scary.

Today we had Birdie all to ourselves for almost the entire day. When it comes to land, the records they produce, maps and how to plot them - Ms. Holsclaw reigns as the Queen in my book. She took us through (what she likes to call) mini-case studies to teach us how to plot maps from the calls in survey descriptions and how to use that information to find our ancestors. We got into our groups again and Birdie gave us a hands-on case to solve using multi-partitioned deeds. The manner in which Birdie Holsclaw teaches her classes lets you know that she started out in the genealogical field just like everyone else - a novice who through hard work and a genuine love of her profession put her at the top of the field today.

After break was when IT happened. We heard a deep rumbling sound. Ann Staley said it was thunder and the rain would start soon. I told her that I had just come in from outside and the sun was out, sounded like a motorcycle to me. She went to the window and peeked out the blind and said “Oh, it is a motorcycle” and started to turn away from the window, she looked out the window again and said “OH MY GOD, IT IS A MOTORCYCLE AND CLAIRE IS ON IT!” We just about fell all over ourselves rushing to the window. I’ll be damned, there she was, Claire Bettag, wearing a skirt mind you, riding shotgun on a Harley, waving to us with the biggest grin on her face. I didn’t know Claire liked to ride. She did not have a single visible tattoo as most “Motorcycle Mama's” are known to exhibit. Maybe things were different in the East than out West . For more information on this historic event or to get on the waiting list to be Claire’s roommate next year, please contact her directly.

An update on this: After receiving permission from Claire and Sam Rosers I am delighted to present this photograph of this memorable event.

Our 6th and final guest speaker was Carolyn Earle Billingsley, PhD. Ms. Billingsley was on the Scary list, but I had bought her book and after the first few chapters I had erased her name. Her topic was “Kinship Theory and Migration.“ Her explanations of how and why people migrated as groups made such perfect sense to me. I highly recommend her book. She was very entertaining and skilled at getting her points across. I may be wrong but I got the feeling that she and I both march to the beat of a different drummer. This is a very good thing.

Before I could leave for the day Birdie asked me how long my presentation would take. Presentation? Yes, how long was it going to take and would I be using a PowerPoint presentation or would I need an overhead projector? I just about passed out. I thought she had wanted maybe a written paragraph or two about my work. OMG, I don’t have a laptop, much less any of those other things she mentioned. I had to sit down. I told her that the answer was none of the above. She smiled sweetly and said OK, an oral report 10-15 minutes would be just fine. OMG, I needed to have a smoke.

Samford has a tradition of holding a lovely banquet the last night of our stay. I am sure that anything you wear would be OK, but most wore something a little dressier than daytime wear. I went to the dorm to get dressed and made it inside just as the sky opened up and let us have it. It rained cats, dogs, sheep,elephants, you name it. I have since heard that the rain is traditional on banquet night . I had brought a lovely conservative pants suit just for this occasion. The pants were hip-huggers with large bell bottoms - white with black flowers flowing down the legs. The food was wonderful as usual and the speaker, Paul Milner, was entertaining. I was having a hard time concentrating. I was still trying to make myself understand that I am going to talk to people, while standing in front of the class. Talk to them like I knew what I was doing.

I got back to the dorm and went to bed dazed and confused but with a smile on my face.

Sheri Went to Samford - Part 4

I promised to let you know what lesson I had learned from the unfortunate incident in the previous post - The lesson is to get a better hair cut so there is no possibility of ever having a rat’s nest on top of my head. Moving on….


Here is where I had planned to skillfully weave yesterday’s ending and today’s beginning. It was my intention to bedazzle you with my brilliance so that I would not have to tell you that I overslept and was 2 hours late to class. But I don’t know how to do that, so I won’t.

When I finally made it to class, Birdie was again asking for volunteers to consider giving a little presentation about their research on Friday. I felt so bad about being late (and was still groggy) I walked right up to her and volunteered. Don’t forget this part; you will need it later.

Guest Speaker #4 was Mark Lowe. Mr. Lowe was not on the scary list. Last year I had downloaded a recording of a lecture he gave at a FGS conference.His voice in person sounded just like the recording; therefore, he was not scary. Mark’s presentation was great. Although this was not a hands-on exercise, it was a case study. “In the Parlor or Dining Room: Marriage on the State Line” was about one man, one house, three counties and two states. For those who haven’t heard this lecture, I don’t want to give away too much. Mr. Lowe is a very experienced researcher. When a student asked him how long it took to go through all the deeds for the case, he revealed that he had some connections that allowed him special privileges in the county courthouse. (Being sworn to secrecy I cannot explain any further, but if you have the chance you could casually ask Mr. Lowe about a few special keys on his keyring. You did not hear this from me.)

Lloyd Bockstruck was Guest Speaker #5 and he was on the scary list. First, he is a librarian and second, he is a librarian. I don't know about anyone else, but our local librarian was someone you did not want to mess with while you were in her territory. One little giggle or whisper was all it took for her to give you that look (you know the look - peering over the rim of her glasses, her mouth looking like she sucked a big old lemon). This of course was in the olden days when libraries could afford to have librarians. Mr. Bockstruck is not scary, he is extremely intelligent and a gentleman in every sense of the word. His lecture covered different methods of discovering a married woman's maiden name using guess what? Land records!

The last speaker for the day was Karen Mauer Green. Ms Green gave us a wonderful presentation on a case she recently finished. It involved researching 6 taverns in New York to find find the original owners. She used what she called an "Interdisciplinary Approach" to tackle this large project. There was a slide show of the taverns that accompanied her talk. I really enjoyed this unique presentation.

I had a very busy evening after dinner. I went to the library on campus to do a little research in their Special Collections. Samford has a great library. The Special Collections house an extensive Irish Collection. On the same floor is the computer lab which is in an enclosed room and then an area with about 25-30computers with internet connection. I used these computers to type up a few reports.

Katherine Hopkins (who took me shopping Sunday evening) saw me at the computers and nonchalantly whispered to me that she received an email which gave her some privileged information - Macy's was having a midnight madness sale! Did I perhaps want to join her, she asked? I arranged to meet her back at the dorm.

When I came out of the library I noticed immediately that something was different. There was a breeze and it was almost chilly. There were also some of the largest and blackest clouds in the sky that I had ever seen in my life. I got as far as the cafeteria before I started with the "Hail Mary's". A bolt of lightening that Zeus himself must have thrown filled the sky. I hurried a little faster to my room. The deafening crrraaccckk of thunder that shortly followed made me scream for my mommy. I made it up that hill to the dorms from the cafeteria in less than 5 minutes. I have seen and heard storms before, but nothing that would have prepared me for this. Going to Macy's did not sound like such a great idea.

The evening was not lost, however. Fortunately I remembered about a little soiree' that I had been invited to. It was held on the prestigious 2nd floor of Chi Omega. Those rooms have new flooring, a towel rack in the bathroom, and no cobwebs in the corners. I am really glad I went. Margo and Ann and Stacey I already knew from class, and Katherine joined us as well. I met some new faces: Amy, Beth and Mary. I didn't get their last names. I had come very close to a complete meltdown earlier what with the storm, and I was doing good to remember my own name. The refreshments they served were quite varied: Cheetoes, Pork Rinds and something called a soy chip that reminded me of the movie "Soylent Green."

Later in my room, exhausted from the day, I didn't even look at the clock to see the time, but when I closed my eyes, I had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went to Samford - Part 3

As genealogists we are always running into problems and have to use our skills to solve them. Sometimes we collaborate with other genealogists to solve them as I will now demonstrate.
I left out a very important event that happened on Sunday. My roommate had become ill and couldn't make it down to the cafeteria for dinner. I mentioned this to some people on the shuttle bus and a wonderful lady, Katherine Hopkins from Tennessee, offered to drive me into town to get the roommate something to eat. She went above and beyond the call of duty by taking me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a coffee pot. I would not have made it through the week without it. I cannot even get myself dressed without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. I gave the coffee pot to Katherine when it was time to go home so she could donate it to her church. I had a problem and Catherine helped me solve it. See how nicely that worked out?

(Note to self and pat on the back: Nice job of working that in. Katherine should forgive me for omitting her part of the story and I do not make myself appear quite the strung out, caffeine addicted junkie that I really am)

An aside: I am working hard on my "image" ever since the regent of my DAR chapter popped in at my home to bring me some papers. She found me in the backyard, my hair pulled up in a bun that looked like a rat's nest, in my bathing suit and flip flops, cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth, stereo headphones on top of the rat's nest, rocking out to Stevie Ray Vaughan while mowing the lawn. No, please don't even try to picture this in your head. If you do, I cannot be held responsible for any mental health issues that you may develop. I only share this unfortunate event with you because there is a valuable lesson to be learned here and as soon as I figure out what it is, I will get back to you.

Before our guest speaker, Birdie says that she needs to know who will be giving a presentation on Friday morning. She had emailed us before we arrived and asked us to share a case we have worked on that involves land records with the class. Remember this part of the story; it becomes very important a bit later. Elissa Powell, from Pennsylvania, is our second guest speaker. She shared one of her own actual case studies to illustrate how to correlate records using the Genealogical Proof Standard. Elissa was not on my "Scary" list. This is because I had already met her online. I participate in an online study group (they do NOT know that I am blonde) that is made up of people who are serious about becoming professional genealogists. Elissa has been very generous with her time and knowledge and sits in on our discussions whenever time permits. Whenever I see Elissa she is always smiling, she has a great sense of humor and you can tell you that not only does this lady know her stuff, she truly enjoys her job. This is a fairly new concept that is extremely difficult for some people to grasp - having a job that you love.

(Note to self: Need to get a job so I can start the loving)

She gave us a great hands on exercise in which the class was divided into groups to solve the case. Deb Deal, Ann Staley, Margo Fariss Brewer and Stacy Anderson and I were Group 4. Our group worked so well together, I could have sworn that we had done it a million times. All of these ladies have been coming to Samford for years as well as many other genealogical events throughout the year. These ladies were great and they even liked my outfits. One of them even told me that not many people can wear that shade of magenta and get away with it.

(Note to self: Magenta does go with orange, keep the outfit)

Each group was given pieces of the problem and then had to report our findings and how those findings tied into the other group's findings. I learn new things best visually. When I cannot picture something in my head, good visual aids are a must for me. Maps are key to finding the answers for a lot of land problems. Looking at pedigree charts fixes a person's place in a lineage in my head. Elissa provided great documents like those above to use as clues to help the groups along. I think the purpose of this assignment was not so much finding an answer to the problem as it was to show us how to interpret the records properly, what records are available and where to find them and the importance of developing a research plan.

Dr. Debbie Abbott was our 3rd guest speaker. If you haven't ever had the opportunity to attend one of Dr. Debbie's Lectures - find a way to make it happen. Her topic was completely new to me - Using land, tax and census records to find the owners of a slave family in Kentucky. Using a real case study that she recently completed for her pastor, she showed us step by step the records she used, why she used them and what that record told her. If you pay close attention and interpret a document correctly, it will tell you where to look next in your search.Dr. Debbie had us divide into groups and like Elissa, gave each group documents that she used. Each group had different documents to analyze and then report their findings. I am so glad I paid close attention to the background information she gave us before she handed out the documents. All of us have seen a page from a deed book before. It is pretty straightforward: It records a date, grantor, grantee and a reference to where you can find the original documents. I have not had an opportunity to research a case that involved slaves before. Did you know that in the deed books if the grantee was only referred to by their given name (no surname)more than likely is was an owner granting that person their freedom, not land? After Dr. Debbie explained this to me it made perfect sense. Slaves were property and when property is transferred from one person to another it is recorded in a deed book.

I am fully aware that one person cannot "know it all", but the value of knowing a little bit of everything is priceless. Since I was becoming familiar with the time of day known as 9:00 PM, I went to bed and had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 2

Monday, JUNE 9TH

At an hour of the day that I did not know existed (6:00 AM) I dragged my behind out of bed so I could peel the bed sheet off of it (my behind, that is) and get ready for the day. Now I could have said that my eyes popped open at the sound of the alarm clock and as I leapt out of bed ready to greet the new day, blah, blah, blah. But you and I both know what a big fat lie that would be! There is a nice air-conditioned shuttle bus available to take you where you need to go on campus. Upon checking the schedule for the morning departure times I came to the conclusion that it would not work for me. It is perfect for those perky; "early bird gets the worm" kind of people who can make it out the door in time. For those of us who are perhaps a tad cranky upon arising, do not like worms, and are fond of our snooze buttons, the walk from the dorms to the cafeteria is downhill and if the wind is blowing in just the right direction it is a very short 5 minute walk. I would recommend taking the shuttle on any return trip to the dorms until your body acclimates to the heat and humidity. No amount of wind, blowing in any direction, is going to get you up that hill without your calves screaming in pain that first day. Oh, did I forget to mention earlier that the campus at Samford is a kajillion acres of rolling hills?

I am used to 100 degree summers here in Stockton so the heat was not a problem for me, and neither was the humidity once I learned how to breathe without absorbing excess moisture and drowning. Having breakfast with a couple of hundred fellow genealogists is worth getting up for. The food served in the cafeteria is very tasty. I do not like grits but have a tip for new people on how to make friends and fit right in - scoop some of those grits onto your plate and surround it with some more of the local favorites. You are allowed to eat all the food you want, so get an additional plate of food that you are more accustomed to and voila’ - instant friends. Beware however of meat that appears to be a chicken fried steak - it is catfish in disguise and does NOT go well with spiced apple oatmeal. At 8:30 a.m., I walked to my classroom and feel silly admitting that I was very nervous. All the bright, perky, worm-eating people were already there. I took the last remaining seat in the back row (which as I will later relate was the best seat in the house) and tried not to call attention to myself.

(Note to self: - Wardrobe color and selection DO matter. - Save the fluorescent lime green mini skirt for day 3 or 4.)

Birdie Monk Holsclaw was the instructor for Land Records Case Studies. I felt at ease as soon as she began the class. She provides a stress-free learning environment. This is a term we use in California. It is meant to encourage blonde girls to get an education. It basically means that blondes are capable of learning and that previous theories of an overload of information does not make your brain explode, as first thought.

I knew the basics of land records, but Birdie taught me how to use them more effectively. She gave me tools I had never thought of using before to make those kinfolk connect. I am the registrar for our local DAR chapter and need to make sure that applications for membership that I send in are well documented and verifiable. Many times that magic piece of paper in which someone declares…”to my son/daughter…” does not exist. I learned from taking this course that different pieces of evidence, when analyzed and correlated properly, can present a convincing argument for the case you are trying make.
Claire Bettag was up next. Now I have to explain something here. I had done a little snooping to find out about the instructors I would be learning from. Claire was one of a few that scared the hell out of me. I just knew that she would be able to take one look at me at say, “Aha! You’ve never been to Washington DC; you’ve never filled out a slip of paper with all those numbers on it to request a single case file from NARA.”

(Note to self: Preconceptions are a bad thing to carry around.)

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Claire is not scary at all! Claire gave us a wonderful presentation on the use of Private Land Claims. She made sure that no one was getting left behind in the class. She didn’t move on until everyone’s questions had been answered. She is just as passionate about teaching and sharing her knowledge as I am about learning.

I was in bed that evening at another time that I did not know existed - 9:00 pm. I learned so much, my head did not explode, and I had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 1

I was fortunate enough this year to attend the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon my return home I wrote an essay about my experiences at Samford and posted it as a series to the APG mailist at rootsweb.com. Now that I have my very own blog, I am going to put my essay here for your reading enjoyment

Birmingham, Alabama

My flight from California was smooth and fast; after a mere 30-minute layover in Houston, I arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, about 2:30 PM. I have never seen a place as green in the summer like Birmingham. Birmingham sits at the bottom of the lower Appalachian Mountain Range. Everywhere you look are low, tree covered, rolling hills.

My roommate had arranged for us to stay with a shirttail relative of hers because we could not check into the dorms until Sunday. We went to dinner at a Chinese buffet called Aunt Lisa's where the only Chinese food I saw were the fortune cookies we were given as a parting gift when we left. I was promised dinner and a show and was not disappointed. In the Winn Dixie parking lot was a group of musicians who get together once a month and play. One of the band members appeared to be under the age of 65, the other 11 were not. There were three women (one played a bass fiddle that was 3 feet taller than she was). A total of 1 mandolin, 1 fiddle and 1 bass fiddle and 9 guitars. They played everything from old gospel favorites to Elvis. In addition to wonderful music was a car show (Southern definition of a car show: A group of 3 or more newly washed vehicles that are NOT trucks parked next to one another). Dancing was an option that a few people took advantage of.

The next morning was a church service that I still do not know how to explain. Finally, after church but before we were dropped off at Samford, I had another dining experience that I feel I must share - The Waffle House. There is a Waffle House everywhere in the south. The places are no bigger than my bathroom at home so I am assuming in order to serve the masses of people who frequent the establishment, having one on every corner is not over-doing it. I had hash browns that were smothered, covered, diced, chopped and some others things that one can have done to their food. As you tell your waitress all the different ways you would like your food to be assaulted, she repeats your request to the cook shouting your preferences across the room.

I was finally here. Samford University is one of the most beautiful college campuses I have ever been on. We arrived about an hour early and the place was so quiet and empty. I was assigned a room in the Chi Omega House, room 11, in the dungeon, er, I mean basement, right between the laundry room and the janitor's closet. The window was at sidewalk level and I can give a detailed report on the latest fashion in shoes for any who are interested.The room itself did not have any comfort from home. I was told this ahead of time, but they really meant it. I brought what I could, given the limitations imposed on me by the airlines. I believe that there should be an award given to anyone who can pack clothing for 7 days, linens for your bed (including a pillow), towels,books, reading lamp, alarm clock, and a snack or two into one (1) suitcase no larger than a tote bag (Note: see airline company for exact measurements) and weighing no more than fifty (50) pounds. I brought all of the above and weighed in at 49 ½ pounds and did not win a prize. Imagine my disappointment.

After settling in, we are treated to the daily special in the cafeteria. I have to admit that the food is very tasty and there is a good variety of items to choose from. A quick orientation followed and we were cut loose with orders to report for class the next morning.

I endured this first 24 hours in 98 degree weather with 98% humidity and a smile on my face.

The Games - Day 1 and Day 2

I devoted both Saturday and Sunday to organizing a box of old photos I forgot that I had. I scanned each of them and put into folders on my computer. After scanning I placed the photos into large acid-free envelopes according to family groups and surnames. I bit the bullet and actually tossed some of these photos into the trash because they were too blurry, or a picture of someones foot, etc. In all I kept 75 of them. I want to share just a few of them.

About a month ago, I wrote a series of posts to the APG maillist about my experiences at Samford University while I was attending the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research. In one of those posts I told the readers that I was working hard on improving my image after the regent of my DAR chapter popped in for a visit one Saturday morning. She found me in the backyard. I was mowing the lawn wearing my bathing suit and flip-flops, my hair up in a bun that looked like a rat's nest, ipod clipped to said bathing suit, headphones on top of rat's nest and to complete the ensemble - a cigarette hanging out of my mouth! When I came across the photo on the left, I had to smile. There I am with my aunt mowing the lawn. I have become such a fashionista since then.

The middle photo was taken about 1919 in Altoona, Wilson County, Kansas. The little boy on the left is my grandfather Darrell Skillman and his brother Paul is on the right. Look closely at the wheels on the tricycles, they have no rubber on them. No wonder they look so frustrated.

The photo on the right was taken about 1939 in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas. It is a great example of "Street Photography". Photographers would snap pictures of people as they were walking around town and try to sell them the print. The photographer of this photo made a sale. This is my Grandfather Darrell Skillman and my grandmother Maryellen Harris Skillman and my mother in the middle.

08 August 2008

My Heritage Flag

As a participant in the Gene-Blogger Games we were asked to create a flag that represents our heritage. We could only chose from 3 countries to make the flag so I chose the nationalities that make up the largest part of me - United States of America, Ireland and Germany. If I could, I would have added my Russian and French heritage as well.

I Smile For the Camera Submission

The 4th Edition of Smile For The Camera takes its word prompt from the Ace of Hearts. What photograph do you consider "My Favorite Photograph," the one that has won your heart.

Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that is your favorite family photo or that photograph you've collected and wouldn't give up for a King's ransom.

One of my most cherished photographs is this one. Stanley Edmund Beffort, my father. He was born in Salina, Kansas in 1935 to Edmund Robert Beffort (who died 2 weeks after my father) and Myrtle Mae Borgstadter. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 52. Being the eldest child, I was asked to say something about him. I remember waking up the night before the service, horrified that I didn't know anything about him. Not really.

My father was a sales rep for Samsonite Luggage and had a huge territory to cover. He left the house on Monday morning and we didn't see him again until Friday night. I don't remember him ever talking about his life.

About a month later, I received a box in the mail. It was from one of my father's brothers. Inside were photographs of my father from the time he was born until the day I was born.

OMG! My father had been a kid in the olden days! There was a picture of him on a pony, the yearly photos from grade school, etc. But this one is my favorite. I never knew that he was a towhead. He had dark brown hair when I met him. In this photo, he and my oldest son at the same age could be twins.

I now know that my father was not only a Boy Scout but went on to become an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Salina and went to K State University in Manhattan, Kansas where he met my mother. He belonged to Phi Kappa Fraternity while at college.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him and wish that I had known him better.

06 August 2008

Let the Games Begin!

They say that there is a first time for everything. Most people experience those firsts one at a time.

2008 has been a year for firsts for me. I have spent the last 5 years formalizing my genealogical education and research skills in an attempt to fine tune the self-taught genealogical education I gave myself the previous 10 years.

I told myself, "Self this is it. This is the year you live the dream. This is the year you take all those things you have learned in the classroom and put them to use. This is the year you let them know who you are and what you can do."

So I began with just wiggling my toes in the shallow end of the pool. I stopped "lurking" on the mail lists and message boards and started participating. I got a little braver. I belong to several genealogical groups but this year I became board members for 2 of them. I have never traveled alone. I have never attended a function alone especially a large one and didn't know a single person. I made it to the middle of the pool without floaties on my arms - This year I got on a plane, went Birmingham, Alabama; shared a room with a complete stranger and experienced genealogical nirvana.

Today I am jumping off into the deep end - My first blog. My first post. My first genealogy Games. I am entering myself into the following :

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!
We all know how important our research is - but it is only worth the evidence that supports it! Have you ever looked at an entry in your database and wondered, "Where did that come from?" or "How can that be?" All events can and should be backed up by linking them to sources and evidence using a consistent and clear citation format.Create proper citations of sources for as many events possible using either Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills or How to Cite Sources by John Wiley.
Qualifications for "Go Back and Cite Your Sources!":10 Citations - Bronze Medal, 20 Citations - Silver Medal, 30 Citations - Gold Medal, 40 Citations - Diamond Medal, 50Citations - Platinum Medal

I am going for the Platinum on this event. I am working on certification and desperately need to get this done.

3. Organize Your Research!
So you have plenty of research - that's okay if you can find what you need when you need it, right? Take time to review your collection of documents and photos, both hard copy and digital, and work to organize those items for easy access.
A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc.; archival-quality where appropriate.
B. Organize at least 20 digital files into folders, label, add meta data, add descriptions, add tags, etc.
C. Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, scrapbooks, collages, protective holders, boxes, etc.
D. Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add meta data, add descriptions, add tags, etc.
E. Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents.
F. Create a master list of your files and notify your family members of where it is stored.
Qualifications for "Organize Your Research!":Complete any one task - Bronze Medal. Complete any two tasks - Silver Medal. Complete any three tasks - Gold Medal. Complete any four tasks - Diamond Medal. Complete all five tasks - Platinum Medal.

Gold or Diamond is my goal for this event.

4. Write, Write, Write!
Do you find birth dates, death dates and all the data boring if there's no narrative behind it? Don't you find the stories about ancestors more attractive than cut and dried census data? It takes time to be able to write about your family history and the more you write and the more often you write, the easier it is to bring your family to life for others to see.
A. Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog – you may not have done this since you started the blog and it is a great way to have new readers learn more about your site.
B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival. See the AnceStories post "August Is..." for a list of these carnivals and their submission URLs and deadlines.
C. Prepare several posts in draft mode (if possible with your blog platform) and pre-publish.
D. Write a brief biographical sketch on one of your ancestors.
E. Sign up to host a future carnival:
The following regular carnival hosts are accepting names for volunteer hosts: footnoteMaven needs volunteer hosts for the October 10th edition only of "I Smile for the Camera" (see her criteria in next paragraph); Jessica Oswalt of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy; Lisa of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture; and Tim Abbott of the Cabinet of Curiosities. Jasia has all the volunteers she needs for this year's Carnival of Genealogy, so please do NOT distract her from her writing to ask to volunteer as a host right now! :-)You must email the footnoteMaven with the words "Guest Host – Smile For The Camera" in the subject line. In the body of the email you must select your favorite article from Shades Of The Departed and explain why it is your favorite. The footnoteMaven will select the best answer to determine the host for the October 10 “Smile For The Camera.” The best answer will be featured on Shades Of The Departed.
Qualifications for "Write, Write, Write!":Complete any one task - Bronze Medal. Complete any two tasks - Silver Medal. Complete any three tasks - Gold Medal. Complete any four tasks - Diamond Medal. Complete all 5 tasks - Platinum Medal.

A Gold Medal is what I want in this event.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog.
B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks.
C. Invite other genealogists to join Facebook.
D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. See AnceStories "Random Acts of Kindness Week" posts for ideas for this item and Item E.
E. Participate in an indexing project.
F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society.
Qualifications for "Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!":Complete any one task - Bronze Medal. Complete any two tasks - Silver Medal. Complete any three tasks - Gold Medal. Complete any four tasks - Diamond Medal. Complete all 5 tasks - Platinum Medal.

A Platinum Medal is in my future for this event.

I have found that I work best under deadlines (with a dash of pressure and a pinch of anxiety) so I am hoping to do well even though my husband keeps strolling through the house singing, "...if she only had a brain.."