26 November 2010

It Was A Geek-Girl's Dream Come True

The Northern California Chapter of APG met last Saturday for an extra special field trip. Tim Cox (who must have used a primo juice card) made arrangements for our group to have a behind the scenes tour of The National Archives Pacific Regional Facility. Since it was a Saturday, it was closed to the public and we had the entire place to ourselves. I was beside myself with geeky, bookwormish delight!

The first order of business was filling out paperwork so that we could be issued a NARA researcher ID card.

Seated at the desk is NARA's Rose Mary Kennedy issuing a researcher's ID card to me (Sheri Fenley). Next in line from left to right is: Kay Ingalls, Suzy Miller, Ginny Meadowcroft , Mr. Rose (who drives Miss Christine) and Jeffrey Vaillant

With our researcher ID cards in hand, we gathered for a short introduction to the archives and Marisa Louie gave us an itinerary of the tour.

From left to right: Lisa Lee, Shelia Prada, Kay Germain Ingalls, Suzy Miller,Ginny Meadowcroft, Dave Fong, Christine Rose, Mr. Rose (who drives Miss Christine), Carolyn Ybara, Ron Cannon, me



In the accessions room are from left to right: Steve Danko, Kathryn Cannon, Ron Cannon, Marisa Louie (the archivist), Lisa Lee

After the tour, it was into the classroom for some mini-lectures about each of the record groups that are of the most use for a genealogist.

The record groups covered in class were:

RG 21 - Records of US District Courts: Naturalizations; bankruptcy, civil, criminal and other cases. Admiralty cases for coastal regions. San Francisco dates—1850-1970s. A major genealogical source.

RG 49 - Bureau of Land Management/General Land Office: homestead, mining claim, and other Federal public lands (only) transactions case files, tract serial register books and other registers; survey plats, and land entry and patent case files. San Francisco dates—1850s-1960s. SF has CA and NV State offices.

From left to right: me, Steve Danko, Suzy Miller, Ginny Meadowcroft , Christine Rose, Sharon Hoyt, Jeffrey Vaillant (standing), Kay Germain Ingalls, Janice Sellers, Lisa Lee and Marisa Louie (the archivist)

RG 85 - Immigration and Naturalization Service: Massive collection of immigration investigation case files, 1884-1950s, for Honolulu and San Francisco relating mostly to Chinese and other Asian immigrants. Some regions have INS compilations of naturalization records created by county superior courts.

RG 15 - Veterans Administration: c1918-1920s, World War I era only, programs for veterans rehabilitation, employment and training of disabled vets.

From left to right: Ron Cannon, Kathryn Cannon, Cath Trindle and Carolyn Ybarra

RG 147 - Selective Service System World War II: WWII SSS draft registration records are now available in most regional archives, but the master index is held by the National Personnel Records Archives for Military Records, in St. Louis. By mid-2011, WWII SSS records are scheduled to be centralized at MPRA-St. Louis.

RG 163 - Selective Service System World War I: Draftee lists and records of delinquents and deserters.

After the mini classes, we moved to the reading room where Marisa and Rose Mary had pulled some original records from each of the record groups that had been discussed in class for our viewing enjoyment.

Kay Ingalls and Carolyn Ybarra carefully study a case file from RG 21 that includes Deceased & Deserted Seaman Case Files.

Petition for Naturalization from RG 21 - U.S. District Courts

Many, Many thanks to Tim Cox for arranging this outing for our group. Extra special thanks to Marisa Louie and Rose Mary Kennedy for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.

For anyone interested in conducting research at the NARA facility in San Bruno, California, here are a couple of tips that will make your trip a more productive one.

Use these online finding aids before your visit:

NARA's Online Microfilm Catalog allows researchers to determine the microfilm publications held by the San Bruno facility.

Use the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) to search for records in San Bruno

Call or email the archivists ahead of time to let them know the scope of your research project and when you plan to visit. Records can be pulled, ready for you to start in on when you get there. A heads up to one of the archivists and they can schedule some time to assist you with you project. Contact Rose Mary Kennedy or Marisa Louie.

San Francisco Federal Records Center

National Archives and Records Administration Pacific Region

1000 Commodore Drive

San Bruno, CA 94066-2350

Phone: (650) 238-3501
Fax: (650) 238-3507

email: sanbruno.archives@nara.gov

Another view of the stacks. I could spend days in here without coming up for air.

All photos taken by Tim Cox and used here with his permission.

25 November 2010

It Isn't Thanksgiving Unless You Watch The Parade

You all know what I'm talking about. The Big Ta-Do in New York City. Yeah, yeah - they also have the Easter Parade where one wears their Easter Bonnet and sashays down 5th Avenue.
This is even better than wearing funny hats. This parade has huge character balloons and best of all? Santa is always there, bring up the rear in his HUGE float. Although I have never understood why he rides in a clam shell / swan chair , I thought the red sleigh rocked.
Anyhoo, since it's Thanksgiving, I am going to share some of my all time favorite balloons with you cause that's the kind of girl I am.

Woody the Woodpecker is a favorite of mine from way, way back.

Well there is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and then we have Popye and Olive Oyl.

I adore Bullwinkle - "Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat"

"Here he comes to save the day . . . Underdog!"

There he is! It's Santa. Watching this particular parade is kind of like comfort food for me. I know , that no matter what else is going on in the world, Santa will be there each and every year, bringing up the rear at the end of the Thanksgiving Day parade. Waving to me like an old and dear friend.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

24 November 2010

A Little Of This, A Little Of That and More Of That Over There!

Amy Coffin over at WeTree likes to see what people are searching for when they end up on her blog because of that search. The search phrases or words seem pretty sane and to the point. In the examples she shows, it is very obvious that they are looking for her in particular.
I should only be so lucky.

I have, on occasion, conducted the same exercise as Amy. My results are a little different. Here are the Top 10 search words or phrases (according to Google Analytics) that real people have used and ended up on my blog whether they wanted to be there or not :

#10 - "Name that means educated"

#9 - "Baby your Santa"

#8 - "A Girl can only dream"

#7 - "Rabbit Cartoon"

#6 - "Week day name creator"

#5 - "Polish dance heel toe and away we go"

#4 - "Slurpee Outfit"

#3 - "A Catholic Nun thing"

#2 - "Fairy and Hillbilly games"

#1 - "Nuns with guns"

Not even close to my name or the name of my blog. Sigh.

The May 2010 Family Tree Magazine celebrated this phenomenon with the Family Tree 40, forty genealogy blogs that you all nominated and voted on as the best genealogy blogs. (You can see the 2010 Family Tree 40 list in our free online article.)

They are doing it again for 2011. You can nominate your favorite genealogy blogs using our online form now through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

When you nominate a blog, you’ll give them the title and URL, optionally tell them why you’re nominating it, and put it into one of these eight categories (a few have changed from last year’s Family Tree 40):

  • Local/regional history and genealogy: blogs focusing on research in a specific county, state or region. Most library and archive blogs, as well as many local historical and genealogical society blogs, would go here.
  • Heritage groups: Blogs focusing on the family history of a specific ethnic, religious or national background (such as African-American, Jewish, Polish, etc.)
  • Research advice and how-to: Blogs that primarily explain how to research, analyze photos or perform various family history tasks. The blogger offers tips, strategies and examples; explains genealogical concepts; and writes about how to use new resources.
  • Cemeteries: These blogs feature content primarily about cemetery research and visiting cemeteries. Many feature tombstone photos and transcriptions, with information about those interred.
  • “My Family History”: Blogs about the blogger’s own roots, including accounts of personal research, their own family photos and heirlooms, stories, recipes, etc.
  • “Everything” blogs: Blogs that cover it all—genealogy news, research advice, opinions, local history, family stories, etc.—go here.
  • New blogs: Was the blog you’re nominating launched during the past year? Categorize it here, even if it would also fit into another category.
  • Technology: Blogs focusing on genealogy websites, software, DNA testing or other aspects of technology as it relates to genealogy.

Visit The Genealogy Insider to get all the details.

Last year I was voted one of the "Fab 40." Still love me? Then get over to the Blog Nomination Form and let them know!

Family Bible Digitization Project

The California State Society Daughters of the American Revolution (CSSDAR) State Regent’s Genealogical Bible Records Project is a statewide effort to Preserve Our Past – Our Gift to the Future.

We are looking for pre-World War II Bibles that contain family records. Neither you, nor the family described in the Bible records, need to be from, nor presently living in, California. You do not need to have the actual Bible in your possession, but you must be able to provide scanned, digitized or photocopied prints of the Bible's title page, copyright page, and genealogical record pages in the order they appear in the original Bible.

Here is an opportunity to have those records photocopied, indexed, and submitted to the National Society’s genealogy library in Washington, DC.

After the pages in your family bible have been photocopied or scanned we will make a transcription of each page which will be included with the images. Compiled volumes will be bound for presentation to designated California libraries. An unbound copy of each volume will be sent to the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. to be digitized and made available to researchers. An Information Release Form must also be signed.

As an extra bonus, if you have a clear photograph or image of the original owners of the family Bible or photographs of members of their immediate family then these will be included with the rest of the information. Please contact me if you would like more information or have a pre World War II bible. sherifenley@gmail.com

If you live around the central coastal area of California, my DAR sister - Elizabeth O'Neal from
Little Bytes of Life can make sure your family bible is included in the project. Her chapter is also participating in the great project.
Heck, you can contact any California member of DAR to be included in this project!

Become A Part Of History In The 100th Carnival of Genealogy

If you get into the Wayback Machine and dial into June 2006, you would be reading the first ever COG. Jasia from CreativeGene is the lady who started the Carnival of Genealogy and wants to celebrate the 100th edition in a special way. A Family Reunion of everyone who ever submitted an article to the COG and those who are contributing for the first time.. The goal is to have 100 submissions for the 100th edition.

The theme for this special COG is - "There's one in every family!"
Bring your stories of colorful characters, unique heirlooms, mouth-watering recipes, most dearly beloved pets, whatever! Interpret as you like. Every family has "special" individuals, you know, the ones with a green thumb, the black sheep, the lone wolf, the blue-ribbon cook, the storyteller, the geek! I know you have treasured recipes and amazing heirlooms you've yet to share! Tell us about them and become a part of history in the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy! The deadline for submissions is December 1st.

Submit your blog article to the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blog carnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Past posts

What is the COG (Carnival of Genealogy) you ask? Jasia has a great
FAQ page that should answer any question you may have.

What Makes You Feel All Warm and Fuzzy?

Volunteering my time and skills to get records online that are free and available to all. No, it's not the only thing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, but that's a whole different post.

There are indexing projects going on all over the place. I have volunteered my time to huge projects like the World Archive Project and the FamilySearch Indexing Project. I have also worked on smaller, more record specific endeavors like the Missouri State Archives Online Death Certificates 1910 to 1959 and Brigham Young University's Immigrant Ancestor Project.

Currently, all my volunteer time has been devoted to a very special and unique project - Restore The Ancestors Project. Working with the records of this project has opened a whole new world to me. The world of colonial South Carolina covering the years 1732 to 1872. Not having any ancestors of my own from this area, I had never explored or conducted research in this area of the United States. These estate inventory records are so fascinating and many of them recorded in such detail I felt like I was almost there back in time. It is also a bit emotionally disturbing indexing the names of enslaved men, women and children who have a dollar value attached to them along with pieces of furniture and livestock.

Some of the records tell you a story. One that I came across involved a female slave that had appeared in an estate inventory. She apparently ran away but was caught and detained until someone came for her. The entries following the inventory are detailed expenses that have been presented to the court for payment by the estate. Expenses such as room and board for the slave during the time she was incarcerated. Travel time and expenses for the party sent to pick her up and the bounty money for capturing her.

Another record shows the estate inventory of John Carmille, butcher, of Charleston Neck which lists the names of Carmille's enslaved wife Henrietta and their children. Further research reveals that Carmille had petitioned the South Carolina Senate in 1823, seeking to emancipate Henrietta and her children. The case eventually reached the South Carolina Supreme Court and Henrietta and her children were allowed to live as free people.

This project is a collaboration of four organizations:

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History - They hold the original records and have provided access to them and permission to place them on the Internet.

FamilySearch donated the copies of the microfilms to be digitized.

Footnote.com contributed the time and expense to digitize the films and host the collection on their site which is free to search and view.

Lowcountry Africana coordinates the volunteers who index the records and has created individual pages for each plantation indexed. These pages contain information about the owners and the names of all the slaves and provide a link to the actual image of the estate record

Why are these records unique and important?

This collection of records includes every surviving estate inventory for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872, as well as selected Bills of Sale for the same period. Because of Charleston’s role as a port of entry during the Atlantic Slave Trade many thousands of African Americans may have ancestors who came from, or through, South Carolina. For anyone conducting African American genealogy research the names of the slaves from these records will assist in forming a seamless paper trail from Emancipation back to the 1700s.

The call went out asking for volunteers to index just 10 pages. No long time commitment here, just 10 pages. A few of you answered the call, but more volunteers are needed. Toni Carrier, who is the volunteer coordinator, told me that only about 1/3 of the records have been indexed and annotated. 4600 pages have been indexed and 184,000 annotations are now searchable.

So how about it? There is no pressure on how long it takes you. Depending on the information contained on the pages you are assigned, 10 pages will probably take about 30 minutes of your time. Give back to the genealogical community the gift of your time. To volunteer click HERE.

Have I done my 10 pages? I have. In fact of those 4600 pages and 184,000 annotations, I have done over 400 pages and 10,550 annotations!

21 November 2010

Client Work - A Love/Hate Relationship?

So . Long time no blog.

I have truly missed blogging. Not the writing part. I am doing enough of that writing clients reports. I miss the informality, spontaneity and camaraderie of blogging. With Christmas coming soon, I have almost doubled my client work. Seems giving "family" to a family member is a hot gift this year. I am not complaining, after all this is why I spent the last 7 years attending classes, conferences, discussion groups, etc. - To become a professional and take clients, right? It has become painfully obvious to me the need for more instruction in how to achieve a better balance of work time versus me time.

Speaking of time management: The hardest part of doing client work, being a professional genealogist? Staying within the parameters of a project timewise. Here is a prime example:

Let's say a client contracts 4 hours of time for research which includes a written, documented report of your research plan,findings , analysis of said findings and recommendations for further research.

At the 3 1/2 hour mark (the other 1/2 is used to write report), you say to yourself, "I just know that if I search that one more ______(fill in the blank), I will have twice as much information for the client."

We all know the math:

Twice as much info for client = You now have Rockstar status with client

So now you are 6 hours into the project and still need to write the report which will now take you way longer than 1/2 hour because you added all that extra information.

End result: I did twice the amount of work for the contracted fee. Sure, the client was extremely pleased and maybe more work will come from client or referrals . . but what has really happened?

The client thinks that you did all that work in 4 hours and will expect that level of performance for that same fee in any future research. And if you take a look at your ledger book, you and your business took it in the shorts.

Everyday I learn something new . . .

14 November 2010

The Big Show Is Coming To Town

The San Joaquin Genealogical Society will be hosting the California Genealogical Society's Roadshow when they bring it to Stockton this Thursday, November 18th.

1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Have You Been to the California Genealogical Society Library?

Past-President Jane Lindsey will present an overview of the outstanding resources at the CGS Library and share information about upcoming events and programs.

1:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Break. Refreshments will be served!

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Some Brick Walls Are of Our Own Making

Lavinia Schwarz’s spell-binding talk will help you look at your own brick walls with new openness, ideas, strategies and historical insight.

"On the Road" get-togethers are a fun way to meet members in the target locale and are designed to help link neighbors who share an interest in genealogy. The program is open to the public and free of charge!

Please join us for an afternoon of genealogy delight!

DATE: Thursday, November 18th
TIME: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
PLACE: R.E.I. Community Room
Stone Creek Shopping Center
5757 Pacific Avenue, Stockton

From CGS' own Kathryn Doyle, here are the GPS coordinates for the R.E.I. Community Room:
38° .124' N
121° 19.023' W