31 December 2009

You Say You Want A Resolution, Well You Know . . .

The 87th COG asks "What are your New Year's Resolutions?"

In 2009 I set so many goals and made so many plans and had about a 5% success rate. In fact 2009 was just about the worst year ever for us here at Camp Fenley. I will spare you from having to read along while I have myself a pity party in the vat of crabbiness. (Thank you Terry Snyder for that most excellent phrase)

So, I resolve to just let life take me where it will. Que Sera Sera and all that jazz. I have always marched to the beat of a way different drummer. This year I just know that they will be playing my song!

Happy New Year to You and Yours from Me and Mine!

29 December 2009

My Genea-Gift

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun over at Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings asks us to share any genea-gifts we received at Christmas for this week's mission.

Mine came a little earlier than Christmas Day when Janine Smith turned a hopelessly damaged digital image of my ancestors into magic! Janine is Landailyn Research & Restoration, a Photoshop Award Winning restoration artist and a dear friend of mine.

The original photograph is a tintype from 1882 that has mold, dirt and the ravages of time all over it. It is in the possession of a cousin of mine. She scanned the photo, mold and all, and emailed the image to me. Janine took on this challenge and even made a tutorial using my photo.

Here are some samples of her work in photo restoration. She is simply brilliant!

Thank you Janine!

Before The Magic

After The Magic

Coming up next - The people in the photo and their story.

Photo of Ellis Island's Annie Moore found!

On January 1, 1892 a fifteen year old girl from Ireland became the first immigrant to step foot on Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore. It was thought that Annie had married and moved out west to Texas. Fast forward to the year 2002 where we find Megan Smolenyak doing research for a documentary film about immigration. Megan followed the paper trail of the Texas Annie Moore and found she had been born in Illinois. That was all it took for Megan to begin her quest.

When I first read about Megan Smolenyak's search for the real Annie Moore, I was captivated. The story is once again in the news and Megan plays a huge part in it.
You can read about the latest on Annie Moore

Megan is such a huge Genea-Star. Here's just a few places you can find her: Honoring Our Ancestors her own website , her blog at The Huffington Post, her blog Megan's Roots World and she is in several videos at Roots Television.

23 December 2009

Northern California Genea-Radio Stars

Here in Northern California KQED Public Radio - 88.5 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area and 89.3 FM in the Sacramento area- has a live call-in program called Forum. Tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM Pacific Time is a segment called "Genealogy 101"

Scheduled guests for the show are:

Craig Manson, board member of the California Genealogical Society and genealogy blogger

Jane Knowles Lindsey, president of the California Genealogical Society

Jeanie Low, genealogist for the Chinese Historical Society of America

Judith Brelowitz, amateur genealogist

19 December 2009

My Quest To Establish A New Christmas Family Tradition - 2nd Attempt

Last year I tried to bring my family closer together by establishing a new Christmas tradition. One that we started and future generations would continue on and on into eternity. It was a total failure.
Optimist that I am, I decided to give it another go this year. My sons do not share my enthusiasm for Christmas decorations and decorating. A good friend of mine suggested that I try and recruit grandchildren. They are usually more receptive to this type of thing than your children. None of my boys are married, nor have they provided me with grandchildren.
My sons thought that I would let it go seeing as how none of them could produce a grandchild for me at this very moment. But I already had another plan. My husband has three children from a previous marriage and they (being the perfect children that they are) have children. Small ones - ages 6 and 8. PERFECT!
After a meeting of the "Make New Christmas Traditions or Bust" Society, we three decided that we would participate in an ornament exchange that the women's group at their church was having. The idea is this: You bring a dozen handmade ornaments to the exchange and you swap them with a dozen people, bringing home a dozen different ornaments.
Long story short - the borrowed grandkids bailed on me after only 45 minutes leaving me with having to make a dozen ornaments. I am not sure how long it SHOULD have taken me to construct my ornaments, the directions did not include that information. But it took me 3 weeks to make a dozen. I boxed them up and went to the damn party by myself and came home with the promised dozen ornaments.
Here are a few of the beautiful creations that I brought home. They are so pretty and the women who made them are really talented. But I think that I shall pass on this type of venture for next year.

Let's just say that I was a wee bit over-confident in my ability to create something as elegant. I got my twelve ornaments but there were a few people who declined to accept my offering. I guess I should have read the rules more closely.

So I have a few extra Reindeer left over - any takers?

17 December 2009

And Their Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney . .

Well this is as close as I dare come to Thomas' women's underwear song without using up all my "Get Out Of Hell Free" cards.

We all have a little bit of naughty in us, don't we? Life's too short not to enjoy all of it - the naughty and the nice!

86th COG - Part 2

The 86th Edition Carnival of Genealogy Part 2 asks us to share a letter we would write to Genea-Santa.

Dearest Santa,

I'll make this quick and hopefully painless. Please bring me better health in this new year. The bronchial pneumonia kicked my ass this winter. And the other thing - please let this new year be my year.

Your Darling Genea-Girl
Sheri Fenley

86th Carnival of Genealogy - Holiday Edition Part 1

The 86th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is a two-fer. In part one, the theme is "Other Holiday Happenings." To submit a post, we are asked to think about the following when writing:

Often times December to mid-January birthdays and anniversaries get over shadowed by the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year holidays. So we're going to shine a spotlight on those family members and ancestors this time around. Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples. Share it in the COG!

My part one is in two parts. (stay with me here, it's not that confusing). In the first half, I shared my birthday wishes to my youngest son who was born December 10. My middle son was also born in December, the 14th to be exact. He took one look at my tribute to his younger brother and told me that he would shave his head and move to Tibet if I were to do the same thing to honor his birth.

Well I am going to miss my son David and I am certain that his hair will grow back. The day each of my sons were born is not only a day all about them. Nay, it is also a day to celebrate me - the one who carried them for nine months and then gave birth. And nothing pleases me more than to see the look on their little faces when they are truly mortified and shocked by my actions. [Sheesh, you'd think that they would know me by now!] So toot those horns, bring out the cake and light those candles! It's time for me to "Get My Groove On" and send birthday wishes to my middle son:

25 years ago, on December 14th, I went to the hospital with horrible stomach pains. They gave me a shot and I went to sleep. When I woke up, the nurse gave me a beautiful baby boy and said that he was mine. I am a trusting soul by nature, so I took him and said thanks. David was 1/2 ounce shy of ten (10) pounds. A rather large child, I had developed gestational diabetes during the last trimester of my pregnancy.

David, December 16, 1984 - 2 days old!

David was such a good baby. He hardly ever cried and was a good eater. He never did learn to crawl - he rolled wherever he needed to go.

David is a very sensitive and compassionate young man. The first day of school he met a little boy who would become his best friend and still is to this day. The little boy had such a horrible stutter, it was impossible to understand what he was saying. David felt so bad for him and really wanted to be his friend so he "developed" a disability for himself. He began purposefully walking pigeon-toed. He kept this up for over 2 years. It was only after we threatened him with corrective shoes that he was miraculously cured.

David, age 8

David, as the middle child, is ever the peace-keeper. There are nine years between my oldest and youngest so you can only imagine what might set one of them off. He always sees the cup as half full, you won't find any chips on my son's shoulders.

David age 14

I have always said an extra special prayer, thanking God for blessing David with his handsome good look. A scholar he isn't but with a face like his and his build (6ft 1in) he won't ever starve to death.

So ends my tribute to my December birthday boys. I do love you guys, but no - I will not "grow up." Ever.

16 December 2009

Blog Caroling - Santa Baby

This was my favorite last year and it is still my favorite. This year I present "Santa Baby" performed by the grooviest chick to ever wear a white fur - Eartha Kitt.

11 December 2009

Smile For The Camera - The Gift, Something Old and Something New

The 19th Edition of Smile For The Camera - GIFTS

Although I am very young in this photo, I can clearly remember my thoughts when I found this shiny new red tricycle under the Christmas - Go Daddy Go! No stopping me now.

I have resisted writing about my sons and posting photos of them. Mostly to protect their privacy. But by far the greatest gift I have ever received was from my three stooges, er. . I mean sons.
I don't know about you, but my boys did not come with instructions or operator manuals. So yeah, it took me a few years to find a way to get them to adulthood alive. Through trial and error - ok alot of errors, I decided that less was more and raised my boys by trying to teach them the "Three C's" -
1. Common Sense
2. Courtesy
3. Compassion

My Eldest Son - Jacob

Of course most of the time I felt that whatever I said to them went in one ear and out the other. But I persevered and continued to tell them over and over phrases like:

"No, the kitty does not like to take his nap in the freezer"

"Please untie your brother from the ceiling fan"

"I do not care what your father told you I am the boss"

Ten or fifteen years go by, the boys have moved out and are on their own (except if you have a son named Kristopher then he has moved back in and your days of vacuuming naked are over).

My Middle Son - David

Er. . where was I? Oh yeah, so there I am minding my own business and my oldest says to me - "Remember Mom when you used to tell me over and over again that a way to capture a girl's heart was to remember to put the toilet seat down. Always. "

"Why, yes Jacob, I do remember telling you something along those lines. " And then . . . my son says those three little words that every mother longs to hear from her child -


Whoo Hoo!!!! This is a two-fer - I was right AND his brain retained that information from years ago and was able to apply it in a real life situation! David and Kristopher had epiphanies this year as well and shared them with me. Basically the same thing - I was right and that their brains were able to use what I taught them over the years and apply to their life now.

My Youngest Son - Kristopher

That is the great and most wondrous gift I have ever received .

10 December 2009

Happy Birthday To My Little Kris-Mouse

Twenty three years ago today I gave birth to my youngest son. He is currently my favorite son (I have three) because my oldest turned thirty one this past summer and I didn't like how old that made me. Having a child that is twenty three is so much more do-able so he has moved into the number one spot!
Kristopher was a tiny baby (6 pounds) and having him so close to Christmas I called him my little Kris-Mouse.

Me and my Kris-Mouse (c) December 1987
Kristopher has always seen the world a little differently than his two older brothers. He sees life as a great adventure. When he was three years old, he somehow crawled out his bedroom window in the middle of the night to take a stroll through the neighborhood. I had no idea that he was even missing until a knock at the door woke me up. A neighbor was standing there with Kristopher asking me if perhaps I was one son short. Kristopher had on his cowboy hat and boots and Ninja Turtle underwear and that was all. He had his Batman flashlight with him so he did not see what all the fuss was about.

I think that this is Kristopher (c) 1991
Kristopher is the only one of my sons who showed any artistic talent. He once drew a mural on two walls in my living room in only one afternoon with his crayons. He also showed some promise as a psychic at an early age. One day he came up the driveway with a shopping cart. In that cart was a puppy and a bag of dog food. "Look what they were giving away for free at the store Mom!" I wasn't pleased. I had told him only a couple of days previously that we could not have a dog in our little 2 bedroom apartment. "I even named him . . .his name is Chance." Well I ended up getting my brother to take the dog. He asked Kristopher why he named him Chance and Kristopher replied, "Because fat chance my mom was going to let me keep him."
One more proud moment I must share with you about my Kristopher. He is the only one of my sons that kissed the banana slug at 6th grade science camp.
I love my son with all my heart . . but Kristopher my dahling boy, you are twenty three years old. Let's go look for an apartment for you big boy!
Your Mummy Dahling!

December 2008

08 December 2009

Holiday Edition of Shades, The Magazine

As you may have heard and seen by now, my column "The Year Was" has been included in the magazine "Shades of the Departed". Shades is the masterpiece of the footnoteMaven and I am so honored to be a small part of her endeavour. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put your feet up and be prepared to ooh and aah over each and every article in this stunning edition of "Shades - The Magazine"

Me and Gloria Are Both Feeling Good!

And I am pleased with myself. Last night, my ProGen 1- Group D met for the last time. 18 months ago I made a committment to myself and to the program to become a better genealogist. There are about 25 of us in the first ProGen Study Group. Brave souls - this was truly an experimental adventure. We had a good idea of what we wanted out of this program but since nothing like this had been done before, we had no idea whether it would work or not.

Well, let me tell you how great an idea this was - Four additional ProGen Study groups have been formed and another in the making. Ok, I can hear you asking, "What is ProGen?" Well here is how the
ProGen website defines who we are:

"The ProGen Study Groups are organized to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This program employs an innovative method of collaborative learning focused on developing genealogical research skills and business practices.

Each month group members study one or two chapters of Professional Genealogy and complete a practical assignment relating to the material. They meet online to discuss the topic in small group discussions. Members review each other's assignments and offer constructive feedback. The study program covers all of the chapters in the book, including research procedures and business practices. This program requires time and commitment, but provides a unique opportunity for constructive feedback from colleagues."

18 months have just flown by. This program has been one of the best investments of my time, time that I barely have enough of. All of you know by now how important a genealogical education is to the serious genealogist. There is no cost, but it is a good idea to have a copy of the book for your reading and practical assignments.

A Quick Public Service Announcement

About a month ago I came down with bronchial pneumonia and still can't manage to shake it. Just when I think I am over it, WHAM it hits me again.

Just a reminder to take care of yourself during this hectic holiday season. Slow down, take a breather, you'll enjoy the holidays much more if you are 100%.

And now back to your regular scheduled blogging.