30 December 2011

Answering The Challenge or Double-Dog Dare

Back in January 2011 Cheryl Palmer and I had lunch and decided to set some goals and try to achieve them using the Buddy System that Amy Coffin and Denise Levenick had implemented.  Cheryl and I became the Northern California Team, while Amy and Denise were name the Southern California Team.  This wasn't a contest but rather more reinforcement to help each of us achieve our goals set for the year.

Amy and Denise each chose three goals.  I chose only two and Cheryl had quite an ambitious list.  You can read about Amy's year end results HERE, Denise's final recap HERE and to read how Cheryl fared you can click HERE.

My first goal:

Write and submit a genealogical article to , well, anyplace that will take it.

I had been asked to write an article for the Idaho Genealogical Society about my "Problem With Pauline."  Halfway into writing, I found more information that will change the story and it was agreed to hold off on submitting the story for now.

A few days later I was asked by Kathryn Doyle from the California Genealogical Society and Library to write an article for their magazine "The Nugget."  The magazine has a recurring series entitled "California Ancestors" and she knew that I had done extensive research on a few San Francisco Pioneers.  So I did a narrative on my sister-in-law's ancestor David Nathan Walter who came to San Francisco in 1858.  I am pleased  the article was worthy of SIX pages in the Fall 2011 issue of the Nugget!

My second goal:

For my educational goals for the year, I really wanted to do something different. I read about some genealogists getting together and meeting in a virtual online world called Second Life. Through the use of avatars, they get their genealogy groove-on. The group has recently been approved and is a bona fide chapter of the APG - Association of Professional Genealogists.  This goal is going to take me way longer than I had anticipated. I can't seem to even get my avatar dressed and when I tried to change the hair style and color of her hair - well it somehow got snatched off her head completely so now I have a naked and bald avatar prancing around make-believe land and have not a clue as how to save my avatar from certain destruction. At the very least a ticket for indecent exposure.

Well my first attempt to participate had discouraged me so much that it took me until just last week to give it another try.  I am pleased to say that my avatar - JypsieBluze - has hair, clothing and I was able to navigate to the Just Genealogy Group meeting hosted by Clarise Beaumont aka Dear Myrtle last week.

My Second Life Avatar - JypsieBluze 
standing in front of a building at Just Genealogy

The Buddy System worked for me.  Being accountable for the goals I set made all the difference in the world as far as motivation was concerned.  

So I am ready to set some goals for 2012 - who wants to be my Buddy???

28 December 2011

Making Some Family History Where Ever I Go

So my husband has children from a previous marriage and it is because of his children that I have grandchildren.  We don't see them often and maybe it's because of the stories they tell their parents after one of their visits with me.

Take today for instance.  I needed to go to the market.  They did NOT want to accompany me but they are only 10 and 8 years old and I felt not old enough to stay home alone.  So being the responsible grandparent that I am I made them come along.  I told them grocery shopping with me was an experience of a lifetime.  Of course they rolled their eyes at me but curiosity got the better of them and off we went.

As soon as we arrive I begin with the fast paced shopping cart races in the parking lot.  I had them hooked.

We danced in the frozen food aisle, played the paper towel end zone challenge in another aisle.  This is where you launch a roll of paper towels to see how far you can throw it down the aisle.  Then of course we played canned food bowling and topped it off watching the "Lobster Wars" over in the fresh seafood aisle lobster tank.  

With the right combination of caffeine and creativity, you can transform grocery shopping into a Disneylandish bonding experience with your children or grandchildren. Life is too short not to have all kinds of fun where ever you are! 

26 December 2011

My Other Life

Because of the posts written by Leah Kleylein over at Random Notes and by Susan Peterson over at Long Lost Relatives, I feel the need to reveal what occupies my time when genealogy doesn't.

I used to think that those who watched television were akin to those who worshipped Satan.  In the last year or so, the Devil took me by the hand and showed me the way to Hell.  The current list of shows I NEVER miss:

Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Raising Hope
I Hate My Teenage Daughter

Body of Proof
All the Alphabet Shows
Boardwalk Empire
Hell on Wheels
The Closer
Pan Am
Prime Suspect

The Sing Off
Dancing With The Stars
So You Think You Can Dance

The Event
Being Human
Once Upon A Time
Falling Skies

I have fallen further into the Unholy Abyss with my addiction to playing games like Angry Birds, Gardens of Time, Hot Shot, Mah Jong and Word Whomp Whackdown.

As if that weren't enough, I have also fallen prey to timesuckers such as Jibjab, Imagechef,  Smurf Yourself and FunnyWow.

I try to redeem myself with puzzles because it almost like doing science, right?   I can spend hours with word logic puzzles.  However that usually leads me to the jigsaw puzzle.  There is ALWAYS a jigsaw puzzle in progress on my dining room table.  I can't pass by the table without stopping to fit a piece or two in.

Of course I do all of the above while listening and dancing to music from the Black Eyed Peas, Adele, Matchbox Twenty, Maroon 5, Pussycat Dolls and Lady Gaga.

So what evilalities (yes it is a word, I just now made it up)  occupy your time?????

16 December 2011

Northern California Chapter APG January Field Trip

The Northern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists has scheduled their quarterly field trip for Thursday January 5th, 2012.  This time it will be right here in Stockton at the Holt-Atherton Special Collections of University of the Pacific Library.

Archivist Michael Wurtz will take us on a tour of their holdings and give a presentation on the Stockton State Hospital.  Constructed in 1853, it was first known as the Stockton Insane Asylum.  The state legislature at the time felt that existing hospitals were incapable of caring for the large number of people who suffered from mental and emotional conditions as a result of the Gold Rush and so they authorized the creation of the first public mental health hospital in the State of California.

Just a few holdings of  the special collections:

Japanese-American Internment Collection which includes oral histories of Japanese-Americans who had been relocated during WWII

The archives of jazz Legend Dave Brubeck

The John Muir Papers - the world's largest collection of Muir documents.  The furniture in the special collections reading room is from John Muir's study.

Western Americana is comprised of over 400 collections of unique primary sources and a specialized book collection - over 22,000 volumes on the American West

Spooner Collection - This collection consists of stereographs taken by John Pitcher Spooner in California between approximately 1875 and 1905.

University of the Pacific was established by pioneer Methodist ministers in Santa Clara in 1851 as California's first chartered institution of higher learning. Initially named California Wesleyan College, it petitioned the state to change its name to University of the Pacific one month after it was chartered.  The University provided the West Coast with its first medical school in 1858 (which later became part of Stanford, and today is California Pacific Medical Center), its first coeducational graduating class in 1858, and its first conservatory of music in 1878.  In 1871, Pacific moved to San Jose and in 1896, it merged with Napa College. Its final move was from San Jose to Stockton in 1924.

Are you a member of APG?  Are you thinking about becoming a member?  Are you a Northern California Genealogist?

All are welcome to join us for the tour, presentation and lunch afterward at a nearby restaurant. There is no cost for the tour and presentation, however we all go dutch at lunch. I will need a headcount no later than December 31, 2011 so the good people at UOP can accommodate us comfortably.  Please email me, Sheri Fenley, to RSVP :  sherifenley@gmail.com

DATE:       Thursday  -  January 15, 2012

TIME:        10:30 am until 12:00 pm
                Please plan on arriving at 10:15am inside the library in the cafe.

PLACE:     University of the Pacific
               3601 Pacific Avenue
               Stockton, California 95211

Christmas Video Series - Part 4

As you may know, I made a few Christmas videos to show my appreciation for commentators, mentors, encouragers and others who have shown me all kinds of love this past year.  Have you seen the first, second, and third in the series?  After watching this one, I know you'll want to go back and see the others.  OK, on with the show!

The Cast of Characters

Chris Staats - Staats Place
Caroline Marshall Pointer - Family Stories
Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski - In My Life
Denise Levenick - The Family Curator
Cheryl Palmer - My Heritage Happens

13 December 2011

Simply Mahvalous Websites and Blogs

Dae Powell over at Shoe String Genealogy has written a most informative and useful article about reading and deciphering different handwriting styles through the years.  His site is full of help for beginners and seasoned genealogists alike.  I love his page of charts, forms and checklists and his article on the Works Progress Administration (WPA) is brilliant!

Probing The Past, Virginia and Maryland Probate Inventories 1740-1810 is brought to you by George Mason University, Gunston Hall Plantation and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  Probate records provide valuable information about the lifestyles of people during the colonial and early national periods.  325 probate inventories from the Chesapeake region of Maryland and Virginia for the period of 1740 to 1810 were transcribed and the household items entered into a searchable database.  This is the place to learn all about Colonial Era probates.

Repositories of Primary Sources for the Western United States and Canada can be found on the University of Idaho Special Collections site.  

Pattie and Pam are the authors of Technology Tamers.  This blog is devoted to using MS word for genealogy.  Each post is a lesson on how to do a specific task in MS Word.  Check out the Label list in the left sidebar.  They make it so easy to understand, even I can follow the instructions!

Documenting the American South is a digital publishing iniative that provides access to text, images and audio files related to southern history, literature and culture.  It currently has 15 collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews and songs.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsors the site and the texts and materials come primarily from its holdings.    Here I found oodles of information about the Methodist Church in North Carolina.  My 3rd great grandfather - H.A.T. Harris was a Methodist minister.  He started out as a Circuit Rider in Lincoln County, North Carolina and ended up as the minister of the Methodist church in Montezuma, Poweshiek County, Iowa. His life as a minister is documented and much of it in the archives maintained by the Methodist church.

Christmas Video Series - Part 3

Continuing with my Christmas video series to show my appreciation and undying love, I present to you something a little, er ummm,  different.

The Cast of Characters

FootnoteMaven - The FootnoteMaven
Elizabeth Swanay O'Neal - Little Bytes of Life
Thomas MacEntee - Destination Austin Family
Diana Ritchie - Random Relatives
Donna Pointkouski - What's Past Is Prologue

12 December 2011

Christmas Video Series Part 2

As you might remember from last week, I made a series of Christmas videos starring people who almost always leave a comment, have given me encouragement, acted as mentors and just plain made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Today I give you the second video in the series.

The Cast of Characters

Randy Seaver - Geneamusings
Jennifer Holik-Urban - Generations
Michelle Goodrum -  The Turning of Generations

09 December 2011

Appreciation For Commentators, Mentors and Warm Fuzzies

Blogging is really easy to do.  Blogging on a regular basis is a bit tougher.  

But  you know what makes it easier?  When I read the comments that readers have left for me.  Some tell me that they have learned something new and some just want to say I have made them smile.  There have even been a few that have taught me a thing or two!

I appreciate each and every one of you more than you'll ever know.  And to show you how much I have made a series of Christmas videos that star people who never fail to leave a comment, have given me encouragement, act as mentors and just plain make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

To kick off the series of Christmas videos I enlisted the help of some CG's and some not :

Brenda Dougall Merriman who has a most excellent blog that is conveniently named Brenda Dougall Merriman!

Paula Stuart WarrenPaula's Genealogical Eclectica

Marian Pierre-Louis - Marian's Roots and Rambles

Deborah Lord Campisano who doesn't have a blog YET, but says she will soon.

And I couldn't resist playing a part in this one, so the 5th wheel is me.

Stay tuned for the next one!

07 December 2011

Blog Caroling - Everybody Sing!

My dear friend, the footnoteMaven is continuing the tradition she started of "Blog Caroling."  What is it all about you ask?  Well, "Blog Caroling" is posting the lyrics, a video or anything really of your favorite Christmas carol on your blog.  For complete directions on how to join us, head on over to footnoteMaven's and read all about it.  

Now where did I put that video of Eartha Kitt, hmmmm???

02 December 2011

Ooooh Look - Something Shiny

Well it's happened to me again.  I begin a search for information for an article I am trying to write and 25 hours later I am full of all kinds of useless information and no closer to finishing the article.  Don't laugh - I KNOW it has happened to you too!

IT ALL STARTED when I happened upon the NARA blog called "Prologue: Pieces of History" and the post by Hillary - What's Cooking Wednesday:  Truman and the no-turkey Thursday.  President Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised presidential speech on October 5, 1947.  Speaking from the White House, Truman appealed to Americans to conserve food for starving people in Europe - no meat on Tuesdays, no poultry on Thursdays.

Ooh - I need to learn how this affected my rural SouthEast Kansas ancestors who were farmers.   Clickity- clack goes my keyboard and I do a search for "Americans no poultry on Thursday."  I scan down the list of results and this pops out at me-

Mike the Headless Chicken

No way can I move on without checking that out first.  In 1945 a man attempts to behead a chicken for dinner and botches the execution.  With the brain stem and one ear left intact, the damn bird lived.  The owner named it Mike and took the chicken on the road.  Don't believe me?  Check out the Life Magazine photo shoot of Mike the Headless Chicken.  There is even a festival celebrating Mike's will to live in Fruita, Colorado every year in May.

So now I am thinking I need to find out about sideshows and carnivals back then.  Maybe my ancestors lived in areas where they frequented and maybe had the opportunity to attend one. Clickity clack type type type and now I find "Rural Kansas Tourism" that has such gems as "Bicycle Mystery" and  "The Biggest Ball of Twine."    But the best find of all?  My ancestors were living in the thick of the carnies and Freak Shows.  Kinsley, Kansas is where you will find the National Foundation for Carnival Heritage Center.  Boy, I never saw that coming. They even have a Facebook page!   Kinsley is also called Midway, USA because it is exactly 1561 miles to San Francisco and exactly 1561 miles to New York City.

By this time I can't even remember what the hell I was searching for in the first place.  Figuring my brain needs  some R & R from the information overload, I spent the next two hours playing "Angry Birds."  After dinner and some T.V. viewing, I am back at the computer going through my email.  It's now 1:00 am and I am just about to shut the computer off and all the sudden remember about the article that I need to have finished by the next morning.  

And so clickity clack,  I begin again with the searching. So let's hear about the last time you saw "Something Shiny", where did it take you?