Saturday, December 27, 2008
During 2008, I have made it a big point to make my genealogy the best it can be. During this, I have completely re-started my tree, starting with myself and truly working my way backwards. I have made sure that everything is properly sourced and that I am not overlooking any records. I want my genealogy to be worth something to someone someday and that won't happen if everything isn't properly sourced and clearly written out.
While I haven't spent as much time on my genealogy as I would have liked because of school obligations, the big move I made in October, and chaos on the home front, I have done pretty well. So as I reflect as to what I want to do with the new year concerning my genealogy and blogging, I've come up with some pretty neat resolutions:
1.) Continue to have everything sourced!! This may seem like a no-brainer, but I certainly made the mistake of not doing this when I first started my genealogy and I am paying an extremely heavy price as I try to go through each person.
2.) On my desk I have a clipboard, which has multiple sheets of paper on it. On these sheets of paper is random little to-do items, websites I want to check out, and articles I want to read. I want to finally get rid of the stuff on this list so that I can have a clean slate.
3.) Since I aspire to become a future teacher, there is no doubt that I value and love education. So this year, I hope to educate myself further in genealogy and then share that knowledge with you. I want to write more how-to articles and give you guys tips. I hope that what I learn will be a bit out of the ordinary - something that gives me an edge in the genealogy world. I'm not quite sure what I will learn about genealogy that will be so different and unique - maybe a weird organizing tip or a cool way to look through records... well, we'll find out soon enough.
4.) I want my blog to have a good appearance - so I will definitely be learning some more about blogging and getting traffic here.
5.) I want my Graveyard Rabbit Blog to be the best it can be!! I want to write more content and really get it off the ground.
So there you go - my genealogy and blogging New Years Reslutions! I would love to hear about some of yours.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
So here are your tasks:
1.) Make sure that you have all of those office supplies that you need to do your research and make sure that they are stored nearby your desk so you can easily have access to them. Also, make sure you buy one of those cheap desk organizers (either the containers that go on top of your desk to hold pens and such, or the kind that go into your desk to keep everything in a separate compartment). Some of the supplies that I would suggest would be pens, pencils, computer paper and ink, a thumb drive (sometimes called a jump drive), file folders or binders with dividers (depending on which system of organization you use to keep your paper files organized), etc.
2.) Make sure your computer area is comfortable and easy to move around in. That means, make sure that your desk is big enough to fit your computer and still have a little room so that you can write something down if you want. Make sure that your chair is comfy, because nothing will hurt your back if you are sitting in a bad chair for hours on end. Bottom line: Just make sure the area feels comfortable to your tastes.
3.) If you haven’t done this already, figure out a system to organize your papers. This is one thing that I will not be going over in detail, because I’ve done it many, many times before. You can check out my videos on Youtube (www.youtube.com/elyses90505) and my other blog entries on it.
4.) If you haven’t done this already, find a computer program that will organize all of your data. The only real requirement on this one is that it can read, import, and export GEDCOM files (GEDCOM is the file type that is used for storing family trees).
5.) For now, put all of your pictures into big manila envelopes. Separate these pictures into categories such as "Mom as a baby", "Trip to Disney World 1996", etc. Label each envelop with the category and put all of these envelopes aside. We will deal with these slowly so that we don’t overwhelm ourselves. Trust me.
Good luck everyone, and I hope you guys are all doing well. Stay tuned because I am planning on making a video to show you my successes!
P.S: I am back to having internet at home on a consistent basis. Feel free to email me (GenealogistElyse@gmail.com) or comment on these blog entries. I would love to hear from you.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
By de-cluttering, I mean make your family history organized, efficient, to-do list ready, and presentable. Now, for some of you - this task may be HUGE and seem incredibly daunting. For others of you, this may seem like a good yearly clean-out. Whatever side of the fence you are on, I urge you not to panic, but to take some baby-steps towards achieving beautiful results with your family history.
The way I am going to conduct this de-cluttering task is by presenting smaller tasks. By breaking one big task up into smaller tasks, we will be able to feel some achievement even before we are done.
Now, I know that most of my work won't be completed by the New Year - but, I am going to get a good start. I will have lots of time to work on my genealogy during the rest of December and January and I am definitely going to need it. The point is to get the ball rolling, and if it means having to keep de-cluttering through next year, then so be it. Remember, baby steps is all you have to take.
Friday, December 5, 2008
1.) A cookbook of Grandpa Dugger's delicious meals. He always could make the best spaghetti ever! And I've never tasted pork chops so tender. I would love to be able to recreate these meals.
2.) Benjamin Dugger's Family Bible. I really think it holds some of the vital clues that I am missing.
3.) Great Grandpa Doerflinger's camera and photo development gear. I would love to see that circa 1900 camera and gear.
Thank you Genea-Santa. I'll be leaving the door unlocked on Christmas Eve, since you know I don't have a fireplace.
And as always, there will be cookies waiting for you.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
And of course - you can't have Christmas without a cute kid! So here you go - here I am looking super adorable in my mom's sweater that I stole from her closet. (I was pretty much the only kid in my family for a long time!)
There are very few pictures of me with my Grandma Dugger (My dad's mom). She started showing signs of dementia less than a year after I was born. This picture was taken on my very first Christmas, as I am sitting on her lap in an obviously uncomfortable dress.
Christmas just isn't complete without Santa. Here I am at about 2 or 3 years old, sitting on Santa's lap. I don't have the happiest look on my face - and nearly all of my pictures with Santa before I was about 6 or so look like this: a smiling Santa and a nervous looking me. I find that ironic since I believed in Santa til I was about 11, and through the biggest fit when my mom finally told me Santa wasn't real. I still remember how betrayed I felt that it was all a big lie - and my mom had no idea that I was going to react like that. She figured I had already figured it out since all my friends didn't believe in Santa. But not me - I was determined in my faith that Santa existed.
This is a photograph of my parents and I on my first Christmas. For some reason - a spot has developed over my dad's head. It is the only family-christmas picture I have.
So there you go - a tour of Christmas in my house when I was a child. I hope you enjoyed it and I'd love to see a tour of your Christmas! Email me or comment this article with a link to your tour!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Little did I know that the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling (one of my heroes) would become a welcomed constant in my life. It would serve me as a doorway to my own creativity, and introduce me to real emotion. As I grew up and dealt with the joys and pains of life - Harry Potter stood by me.
I was inevitably hooked and before long I was begging to get my hands on everything Harry Potter. I listened to the books on tape while in the car, I kept the books with me always, and I got in trouble in school for reading the books when we were really supposed to be doing math.
As the characters grew, I grew with them. The plot became progressively more complicated as did I.
When the movies came out, my mom and I (yes, my mom is a fan of the books also), would ditch school and work to go out and see the movies. We would buy nearly everything at the concession stands and watch the movies. It has been a tradition of ours since they began coming out.
The point of this post is that even still I rely on this fairytale to explain life. Rowling has an exceptional ability to make the fictional mirror certain aspects of reality. In her books there is discrimination, pain, joy, love, hope, war, loss, and friendship - all things that in the real world we can relate to. These books have meant the world to me and have been with me through my life.
When the 7th and final book of the series came out - I cried. I felt as if a chapter of my childhood had ended.
Next July, when the 6th movie comes out, I will be attending the midnight showing. The next day, I will sleep in until 11, before my mom and I will go out and see it together. We'll then wait a week or two - I'll talk to my other Harry Potter obsessed friends about the movie - and then we'll go see it again. It may sound odd, but it is one of my favorite traditions.
So - now that you have read this incredibly long article about my love affair with Harry Potter - you are probably wondering how this has anything to do with genealogy. That answer is very simple: Genealogy is not just about dates and places, but about learning how your family was shaped to become what it is today. There is no doubt in my mind that Harry Potter has served an important role in my life, and I can't wait until the day I get to share that joy with my children and grandchildren.
Now, if you'll please excuse me - I have a 1 minute, 52 second trailer to watch repeatedly - it is the only thing that will give me my fix until July 17, 2009.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Also - remember to take some pictures and tell stories to everyone. Those sort of memories were always my favorites and I learned so much about my family.
I wish you good eats, good laughs, and good family times.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1.) You must write a blog that lists 8 random facts/traits about yourself
2.) You must tag 8 other people to do the same
3.) Tell everyone you tagged who you tagged.
So...the 8 random facts/traits about me....
1.) I still live at home....but like every other 19 year old I dream of living on my own.
2.) I have a cat who I found on my way to subway....she was starving and she followed me home.
3.) I am studying to be an elementary school teacher
4.) I am a huge girly-girl when it comes to Disneyland....I'm a princess all the way (Which is why I am willing to live off of cereal for a month to be able to afford it every year)
5.) I don't have a drivers license because I can't afford the insurance...my mom says I can drive her car when I can pay for my half of the insurance. I can't do that - so I can't drive
6.) I can cook pretty well and I enjoy it. My current love is the crock pot.
7.) I am rather political and very opinionated. This is thanks to my mom because all through my childhood I watched the History Channel and the Discovery Channel and the news. I would have a political blog but people leave mean comments
8.) This is kinda embarrassing to admit - but I've had my wedding planned since I was about 10. After my cousin got married - I stole all of her wedding magazines and cut out what I liked and made a notebook. I still have it and I definitely think it'll come in handy some day
Alright....so there are some random facts and here are the 4 blogs I am tagging (yes, I am cheating because I am writing this kinda late)
1.) Msteri at Heritage Happens
2.) Amy at Amy's Genealogy Blog, etc.
3.) Myrtle at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog
4.) footnoteMaven at Shades of The Departed
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Now then, it is getting to the holidays when everyone is taking a TON of pictures. Everyone wants to preserve the wonderful memories we all receive from the holidays. So this year, I am going to give you the gift of organizing all those pictures that you've accumulated over the years and make room for some new ones to be taken this year.
The first thing I recommend comes in one of two ways: Either an digital photo organizer like Picasa, or you are going to have to get ready to get down, dirty, and personal with your computer, meaning you are going to have to organize it all by yourself on your computer. Which ever way to choose to do this is up to you - and it will probably be based on how much you know computers and how much money you have to spend.
My preference is Picasa - there are three reasons for this: I love the fact that it is free (the budget of a student doesn't leave much room for anything other than Easy Mac). Secondly, I like that it is organized into "albums" or folders. For me, albums make the most sense because thats how I would organize my pictures if they were printed (However if you like organizing your pictures by tags, there are other programs out there that do that). Finally, I love that it has an online component to it. I am a girl on the go...and I want to be able to see my pictures where ever I am. Picasa can do that.
It's not to say that organizing it all by yourself is a bad thing...it is just that it is a lot more work. Some people prefer it this way because you can place the pictures where ever you want on your computer and you are in control to organize it however you want. Personally - I think this way is too complicated and I often get lost and confused...besides, it can't even go on the internet.
Whatever way you choose to organize them - here are some general tips to make sure that your camera has some room for your new photos.
First - unload those pictures that are on your memory camera and get them on your computer or into your program. I understand that for some people, this may be a bit of a big task. With that said you have two options - either buy a new memory card or unload all of the pictures off of the one you got and make a plan to organize/name a certain number of pictures every day or week. But don't get behind on this - or you are asking yourself for even more trouble.
Second - after every event from now on, once you get home, transfer all the pictures onto your computer or into your program. Then, start labeling/tagging/organizing all of those photos.
Third - Try to label every photo with the date (year is ok if you don't know the exact date), place, and names of the people in the picture. Where you put this information depends on the program you use...but please do this. Write as much detail as you can - think of your descendants! They'll love it if you do this and if it is all organized. Think of it as something that will save you a headache and money on all the Advil you'd be buying if you didn't.
Finally - Figure out a way to easily share these pictures with others. Maybe you have a family website where you put them up or you distribute CDs to everyone at Christmas, or you upload them to a site like Walgreens.com where family members can print them out at their own convience and pick them up at their nearest Walgreens store. Pick what you like and what your family members like. Not only will it make Grandma and Grandpa happy that they have cute pictures of their grandchildren on their mantel, it will also be one more copy...and someday when your descendants are desperately looking for a picture of you - it may be the picture they recieve.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Whatever way you voted, sit back today and reflect on how far our country has come. Reflect on the change that our country is about to endure.
I wish everyone well and I hope everyone feels as proud/honored/excited/hopeful/etc. as I do to be an American in such a wonderful time!
*Note: This is not a political blog nor do I plan to make it one. However, I wanted to express my feelings after yesterday's election and I wanted to remind everyone that this will be a time period that our descendants will be researching....and remember, they'll be wondering what went through our heads.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about...well I wrote a scary ghost story (http://elysesgenes.blogspot.com/2008/10/appalacian-ghost-stories.html) in a genealogy carnival. As part of the story, we were required to have the readers guess whether the story was true or false.
So....here is the bottom line: MOST of the story is true. I really did hear my name as well as dogs in the distance, and the source of the sounds are unknown.
Everyone did get thoroughly creeped out (Well...All except my Aunt Phyllis who kept saying she wanted to stay to see what the "spirits" wanted). We did leave...rather fast actually. My Aunt Deb had my cousin Jen and I running down the dirt hill trying to get back to the car.
The part that is fake though, is the blood on my knee...or rather how the blood got on my knee. As Jen and I had been running to the car, we had been holding hands to keep close together. Sure enough, she tripped and she pulled me down to the ground with her. She got some bad scrapes on her hands and my knee hit a rock, causing a small deep cut to occur.
I hope you all enjoyed reading the story because I really enjoyed writing it and reading your guesses.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This election year has been a big (and exhausting!) one. No matter which candidate wins, it will be historical: Either a black man will be president or a woman will be vice president. What an exciting time!
But it isn't just the candidates that are the big deal. People are so incredibly passionate and they are participating like we haven't seen in years! In our information age - people are spreading their support/opinions/dislike for their candidate and the issues on so many channels: Blogging, newspapers, rallies, coffee shops, bumper sticker, yard signs, fundraisers, volunteering...etc.
The bottom line is this: Maybe you should be considerate to your descendants by making sure there is something that is saved that shows how you felt about this election - and maybe even how it changed your life. Maybe save that newspaper editorial you wrote or print out the blog post you wrote about your favorite candidate. You could save your yard sign or pin. Even a simple letter that explains your feelings on the issues would work.
Please, whatever your political party or feelings - give your descendants a bone!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I read one article that discussed the St. Louis Genealogical Society and the website they have. Since I have some ancestors from there, I decided to click on the link and get some more information about it.
Sure enough - this websites has some great databases and it gives information on how you can order records from that particular area.
I figured I'd give it a shot and do a quick search - because it couldn't hurt. Well...guess what I found?
I found my great-great grandfather's naturalization record. Now, mind you - I've been scouring Ancestry.com's databses for ages, along with many other popular websites.
And sure enough - there was the record that I was looking for - or atleast the index for it anyway. It gave me all the information I needed to order a copy of the actual document, and I can't wait to do that next month!
So the lesson here: Check the websites of local genealogical society's in the areas that you research. They might just have a couple of databases up that you can search, or they might know where you can find what you are looking for.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Over at the 24/7 Family History Circle sits a great article that, while a basic concept, is one that we genealogists often forget.
It was suggested that we should take time during this month (family history month) to create goals for ourselves regarding our family history.
I just wanted to expand on this idea, and give some tips that apply to goals in general as well as family history goals:
- Make your goal clear and precise. A goal that is too broad or vague has a much smaller chance of being achieved because there is nothing to serve as a benchmark, determining if you have accomplished your goal or not. A good goal is specific, such as, " I will sort the pictures by surname that are sitting in the box Aunt Maggie left for me, placing each category of pictures into archival safe boxes".
- Give yourself a deadline. Some people like myself, need a deadline to make things happen. I work better under pressure and it keeps me from being able to put it off for too long.
- Have two goals: One really fun goal and one goal that just needs to be done. For example, a fun goal would being making a shadow box highlighting a particular ancestor. A goal that just needs to be done could be something like filing or backing up your materials.
Good luck everyone - and I'd love to hear about your family history goals.
Sorry for the delay in posts. I've been super swamped with school and with throwing a wedding shower for my boyfriend's cousin. But the good news is that I am back and I have a bit more of a free weekend.
Since my last post, I have also been busy working on a new blog that I just recently joined. The blog is entitled The Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee. The basics of the blog is that it promotes the preservation of cemeteries. I have this blog because I am a Charter Member of the Graveyard Rabbit Association. You can find my new blog here: http://elysesgyrb.blogspot.com/ and the website to The Graveyard Rabbit Association is http://www.thegraveyardrabbit.com/
You will also notice that I added a cool little gadget to this blog called "This Day In History". It is towards the bottom of the blog and it is just a cool little gadget that I thought was interesting.
Alrighty - I just thought I'd give you a quick update on that. I promise I will be back to posting this weekend!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I was tagged in this game by Janet over at http://thechartchick.blogspot.com/
So here we go:
10 Years Ago I:
- Was 9 years old
- Living in Kent, Washington near Lake Fenwick
- practically lived on my bike
- enjoyed visits with my older cousin Genese who lived in a small cabin on Lake Martha and rescued dogs...it was my doggy heaven
- Begged my mom to get my ears pierced, finally convinced her, we went to the mall to have it done, the nice lady pierced one ear and I started crying begging her not to do the other one. But since my mom had paid for two ears to be pierced - two ears were pierced.
5 Things On Today's To Do List.
- Finish reading the two sections of for math class (ugh...)
- Finish another section of math homework (double ugh...)
- Pay credit card bill (done)
- Pick up Prescription (done)
- Eat another Zinc Pop to try and beat this cold that wants to come on
5 snacks I enjoy:
- Gorgonzola Salad with Ranch from Marie Callendars
- Pita Chips with Artichoke Hummus
- Milano Cookies (Milk Chocolate)
5 places I've lived (Some longer than others)
- San Pedro, CA
- Kent, WA
- San Marcos, CA
- Torrance, CA
- Lomita, CA
- Office Assistant
- Family Researcher (not a paid job! lol)
- Being a Big Cousin to my little cousins
Alright - so there you go. Now it is my turn to start tagging a few people...so here I go!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
If you havent guessed from the title, I was born on a Thursday at 8:59 P.M. and I weighed a whole 7lbs 8 ounces.
According to the nursery rhyme, I have far to go.
I guess in some respects it is true...I mean, I have a long way to go with school until I am able to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. I have a long way to go until I settle some of my issues with my homelife.
I have a long way to go with a lot of things I guess - and yet I am so grateful for the things I have achieved and the great people I have in my life.
There you go - just thought I'd share a small cute post.
By the way - go visit the footnoteMaven over at her blog and read the article I was talking about: http://www.footnotemaven.com/2008/10/nursery-lore.html
Despite the fact that we still live that way, my parents have both taught me that life is always harder for someone else. "While the grass may be greener on the other side, you still need to be grateful that you even have grass because there is always someone out there who only has mud"
But my mom was smart and she taught me that no matter how hard things might of felt, there were always people who had it harder. As a kid, we always supported one family and made sure that thier Christmas was a good one. We would go out and buy a ton of food for their meal and get them toys for the kids. We would give them gift certificates so they could buy clothes or anything that they needed. And of course, we would buy them a huge tree - with a ton of ornaments.
As a toddler, this was certainly not easy for me to understand. We would walk into Toys R Us to buy toys for a little boy that we were sponsoring, and I would always suggest that he wanted a "Barbie" or an "Easy Bake Oven". But after a few years, it began to sink in and my mom had to start keeping me to a budget so that we could have a Christmas too.
Poverty is such a big deal in our world - and we must find a way to eliminate it. There are so many people who are in desperate need of help. The littlest things can make the biggest difference. You don't even have to have money to help, all you need to give is your time. Whether it is working at a soup kitchen, buying a few extra cans at the grocery store to donate to the food bank, or tutoring homeless kids so that they can learn to read...it all makes a difference. The smallest things make the biggest difference.
Thats why I believe in the Pay It Foward theory: When someone does something good for you - then do something good for 3 other people. It'll make you feel good that you helped someone, and hopefully they'll do the same.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
While I am honored that I am able to vote for the first time ever in a presidential election - especially one as historic as this one - I can't help but get a huge headache every time I think about it.
Gosh - is there anyway I can elect someone who isn't a politician? Because both sides seem to have a flip-flopper and in an age where information is so easily spread, the media is going insane. Everything is dissected, words are switched around or taken out of context, and even some of the voters are saying horrific things! It's enough to make my head want to explose
In the wake of all of this, I can't help but wonder if my ancestors felt such pressure when they voted too. I wonder if they knew how important of an impact thier vote would make.
Like - look at our history...Can you imagine voting right before the Civil War? Or how about right before World War II as Nazi Germany was beginning to take hold.
Our votes and America's stance in the world does matter...by punching a hole next to the name of the candidate we want - we are making a huge decision that will affect not only our country, but the entire world.
I can't help but wonder if my ancestors felt the same way.
I also wonder if their moms made as much of a big deal about my first time voting as mine is...
She's bringing a camera and we are going first thing in the morning so that she can be with me on voting day before she has to go to work. I can't really complain, because I know I will be so excited to show my grandkids those pictures one day, and tell them about how I voted in the first election that brough either a black man or a woman VP to the White House.
Note: I understand that this is not a political blog, and I really tried to tie the topic into genealogy. I hope that I didn't offend anyone by what I said - but I do stand by my words. Sometimes, you just have to speak your mind.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
My great great grandfather Adolph Doerflinger and his wife, Augusta, lived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1880. Both had immigrated from Germany and they owned and operated a boarding house/bar. They lived there with thier only son, Max and multiple boarders.
Well, when I did the search for Adolph, I discovered two entries on Ancestry's 1880 census database. So, I began looking at their index and sure enough - both entries listed a wife as "Augusta Doerflinger" and a son as "Max Doerflinger". Adolph was listed in both entries as being born in 1851 in Germany (one actually said Baden). One said that he was a boardhouse keeper and another said a bar keeper.
So I looked at the dates of enumeration for both - and I found out that both were indeed the same person - with a lot of the same boarders listed. However - one enumeration was done in June of 1880 and the other in November of 1880.
I don't expect it happens often, but it obviously happens enough where us genealogists need to keep our eyes out for it.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Without further ado, here's the story:
When I was about 13, I went to go visit my Grandpa in Tennessee for two weeks with my cousin and my aunt.
My Grandpa lived in a small town called Elizabethton in Carter County. It is literally in the middle of the Appalacian Mountains in eastern Tennessee, right near the border of North Carolina. The town has one drive-in movie theatre and two ma-n-pa grocery stores. The real part of "town" is a street with a library, a small city hall, and a donut shop. People live on dirt roads and everybody knows everybody (literally). The place to be on a Friday night are at the church get-togethers or at this gigantic barn where everyone listens to country music and line dances.
So, this story starts off with the second night I was there. My Grandpa had made this delicious spaghetti dinner and everyone was sitting on the back porch talking. My Grandpa started telling stories of his teen years and I made the mistake of asking him what his parents were like. He quickly told me that he did not discuss his parents and I was not to bring the subject up again. Needless to say, I was very confused and a bit hurt but I kept to myself.
As I went to take everyone's plates into the kitchen, my Aunt Phyllis (My Grandpa's sister-in-law) took me aside. She told me in hurried whispers that she could help me fill in some of the gaps that I had in my genealogy. She offered to show me around the area and take me to where my Great Grandparents were buried.
So the next morning, my Aunt Phyllis, Aunt Deb, my cousin Jen and I went driving into the hills of Tennessee. The roads were filled with long winding roads. There were no houses, no street lights, no stores or buildings - Nothing. We finally turned down a dirt road and continued driving up the mountain. We finally reached a driveway that led up to a small one story house. It was abandoned and I learned that it had belonged to my Aunt Bet - my grandpa's sister. We walked carefully through the tall grass (we were warned against snakes) and got to the backyard. The grass was so overgrown, that you could barely see the fence. We walked into the fenced area to find a small family cemetery of sorts.
The most recent headstone was of my great grandparents - and it was one of the few that I could actually read. Everything was overgrown, and I began trying to push back the grass to take pictures. Although it was daylight, the trees and overgrowth made it difficult to see. Everyone was walking around the area, observing the stones and attempting to read them.
As I was trying to make out the letters on one plastic make-shift headstone, I thought I heard my name. I turned around to find everyone doing their own thing. I shook it off as my imagination and kept taking pictures. I was so facinated to be in the place of my ancestors final resting place.
I then began taking notes when I could've sworn I heard barking dogs. I looked around to find everyone looking nervously around - wondering where the dogs could possibly come from. There were no other houses around...how could there be dogs. Then, my aunt screamed and we all began running towards the car. As I was running, I tripped over what I thought was a rock. As I looked down, I saw a small headstone in the ground.
I moved the grass back to find a small headstone with the words "Inf. Dau. of Monroe and Matilda Dugger". I instantly stopped and everyone began gathering around me. Everyone stared in confusion because they had never heard of an infant daughter that had died. My Aunt Deb was thoroughly creeped out and I had the chance to snap a photo before we left.
As we were driving home I noticed that my knee was bleeding. I began wiping the blood away with a tissue in the car - only to discover that there was no cut. I immediately felt the creeps.
Once we were back at my grandpa's house that night, my aunt grabbed a magnifying glass to look closer at my knee. Sure enough, we couldn't find a single cut or scrape...and no one else on the trip had been bleeding.
Alrighty - truth or fake? I think you all have some guessing to do...
Monday, September 29, 2008
So first - I'll discuss the paper files, which is often the first genealogical issue that comes up when it comes to organizing your genealogy. First, I'll give you some basic tips on this and then I will delve a little deeper to the specifics. Then, I'll give you some tips on organizing all of those pictures that you have (or soon will - trust me). Finally, I'll give you some basic tips on scanning those pictures and organizing them once they scanned.
Basic Tips About Paper Files:
- There are 3 charts that will be your best friend through all of this genealogy: Pedigree Chart, Family Group Chart, Research Log. You can find these charts all over the web for free (Ancestry.com offers some nice ones) and often times your genealogy software will be able to print one out for you. There are so many slightly different styles with these, depending on how many generations you want to show and how fancy you want it (Basic black and white to ones with color and borders). Pick what you like - and stick with it!
- Pick a system - file folders or binders. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages to them - and it really is a preference. Some genealogists swear by binders, others by filing cabinets. If you aren't sure which you like - try a trial run for a week to test it out. I had to learn through trial and error also to figure out what style I wanted.
- What are your categories going to be? Well - personally, I like sorting everything by surname. Then, I can easily find exactly what I want. But others like sorting by record type (Like all birth records in one area, all census records in another), but personally, I find that too confusing. Others like to number every person and document (There are a TON of different systems) but I personally have never liked numbers and feel that it doesn't fit my needs.
Organizing Your Paper Files - Specific:
- Two words: Archival Safe. Please - please start now and make sure the important stuff is archival safe. That means that these items are acid-free and that the plastics are PVC free. This is especially important with original documents, letters, and anything that needs to be preserved for a long time. I would even prefer if you put your basic charts in archival safe stuff, since it will save you trouble in the long run.
- Depending on the type of person you are, you may find it highly beneficial to color code your filing labels. I follow a system of colors for each of my 4 grandparents and the code follows with their ancestors. That way, I can see at a glance, what side of the tree a person came from.
- Label, Label, Label. Give everything a home and a name! But with the home, make sure that there are ways to add information or people easily, because you'd be suprised how fast something like that comes up.
Organizing Those Pictures:
- Archival Safe. If there is any question in your mind about whether or not a piece of paper or plastic is archival safe, please be sure to ask. It is better to keep those precious pictures safe than to have them destroyed. This includes wearing gloves before you touch these pictures because the oil on your hands can damage the pictures. I know it sounds annoying, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
- The first thing I usually do, is seperate the pictures into groups and place them into archival safe envelopes. Sometimes the pictures are all about a particular person or event - even a year. Then as time goes by, it'll be easier to just grab an envelope and begin scanning whenever you get the chance.
- Then, you need to buy boxes and storage for these pictures for their permanent home. Once you have scanned the pictures and they are out of their envelopes, they can be placed into the boxes and stored in a cool, dry place. Try to think of the safest place you can that will have a consistent temperature and won't come into contact with moisture. If you can, store these pictures in a place that you can access at quick notice - in case you must evacuate your house because of a disaster. I know it is hard to think about, but the reality is that these sort of things happen and if you have the chance to grab those pictures - do it!
Organizing the Pictures On the Computer:
- First things first - save every picture in a .tif format instead of a .jpeg - it is better quality for the picture.
- Scan at a resolution of atleast 300 dpi. Dpi stands for "dots per inch". The more dots, the nicer the picture looks.
- Every picture that I scan is given a number AND a title. Most people only do a title or last name, but I prefer both because I like the advantages of both. Each picture is given a number so that I can index the pictures and easily find the person or place that I want. I also use the title, because sometimes I know what picture I want, but I don't know where the number is.
- I personally save my pictures into 2 places to make sure that there is always one around - even if my harddrive fails. I save some of the pictures to a flashdrive and the rest on my harddrive.
- I save my pictures and documents that I scan into a folder on my desktop called "Genealogy". Then there is one folder for "Pictures" and one for "Documents". Within there, everything is organizing by Surname, First Name or by the event. (As for married women I usually write their names like this when I do it: Married Name, First Name Maiden Name). If I feel that there are too many pictures in one particular file, then I will reorganize it.
- Remember how I mentioned that index? Well, I create the index in Microsoft Word, but you could certainly do it in whatever manner you want. Some people prefer Excel, but really it is all up to you. I then organize the index by both person and event - then listing the number of the picture, so that way I can easily see what pictures and how many each person or event has.
Alright - so I hope that this has been an article that will inspire you to look at your documents and think about how organized they are. You might find yourself re-organizing everything.
Friday, September 26, 2008
My Uncle Dudley was a teacher for many, many years. He taught in the U.S. as well as overseas in Spain, Morrocco, and Germany. He taught everything from kindergarten to high school, and even served as a high school counselor at one point. He had a Masters in Education from California State Los Angeles...his life and passion was with children.
He had a way of breaking the rules with teaching, and yet coming out on top. He went above and beyond the standards of being a teacher...
I remember being a kid and discovering a photo album full of pictures of children and a classroom. I started asking him questions and he was very enthusiastic as he answered my questions. This photo album in particular was of a kindergarten class he taught in Pasadena, California. He showed me a picture of the "reading corner" which included a Morroccan rug to sit on, pillows from spain, and hand carved bookshelves with a lion's head carved into the corner. It was magnificent and beautiful how he incorporated his travels in with his classroom. He made learning a fun adventure - something to be embraced.
I then learned that this was a photo album of only one of his years of teaching. He had one album for each year and class. In the back of the albums he had letters and pictures that his former students had sent them as they got older.
That dedication and passion for children and teaching is what earned him the Teacher Of The Year Award in California. His write up in the paper is what I found:
It was probably him and the rest of the teachers in my family (another uncle, an aunt, my grandparents taught odd classes at a community college, and my cousin) who inspired me to become a teacher. Since I was in kindergarten, I've wanted to become a teacher. I guess it is in my blood to be one.
He touched so many people throughout his life as a teacher: I met my best friend because of him. I was in 7th grade and a girl next to me was talking to a small group of her friends about how her mom had had this teacher who had the weird last name of Doerflinger. All of the girls began laughing and I marched over there angry and told them that my last name was Doerflinger. They all looked at me with shock on their face, and made me pull out my school ID card to prove that I wasn't just kidding. I then told her that I had lots of people in my family who were teachers and sure enough - my Uncle Dudley was her mom's teacher. Ever since, we've been best friends.
At his Celebration Of Life, people came from all over the country to honor him. We had 6 tables of people who were only his students, and tables upon tables full of cards from those that couldn't make it. So many of his former students stood up to speak and told the stories of how he had been such a wonderful teacher and mentor to them. One person spoke of how Dudley had saved his life when he was depressed in high school. Another person spoke of how Dudley had gotten him into a loving foster care because his home life was not good. Everyone had wonderful things to say about him.
As I go through college persuing my dream of becoming a teacher, I think of him and his passion for teaching. I know that if someday I am a fraction of how good he was - I will be proud. He is what I strive to someday be.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Now, this picture was taken in 1989, when I was only a few months old. My mom took me to visit my grandpa in the hospital. He was sick and suffering from Alzhiemers, but seeing me seemed to brighten up his days since my grandma had passed away the year before. The family often gathered around his bedside, bringing him trinkets and asking him to tell stories from his childhood.
In the picture, you'll see my aunt holding me as she sat on my grandpa's bed. Look closely at what my grandpa is reading - it is pretty funny!
Did you see it?! When I first discovered this picture a few years back (I was about 11), I was all giggles. When she told me that she was the one who bought it for her, my expression turned to shock and suprise. (If you can't tell what it is - he is reading a Playboy Magazine...Blogger seemed to make the picture blurry)
"Well, what else do you get an old man who is dying?!" she replied.
Alright - so there you have it. My submission for a funny picture.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
As I was doing this, I began to find more old letters, pictures, and newspaper clippings in a box stuffed in a cabinet in the hall. I began looking through them and I was stunned as I realized that I didn't even know I had them! (And the dangerous part is - they weren't in archival safe boxes!)
My packing instantly stopped as I began to search through the gigantic box of information. I never even knew it was in my house...and yet, here I was staring at old letter my grandmother wrote to her father, hand drawn Christmas cards, and pages from old family albums that I didn't know existed.
Then I came into a huge brick wall...What am I going to do with all of this stuff? The pile I have of the things I need to scan is already to the ceiling - and I am beginning to wonder when I am going to have the time to scan, label, and organize all of it. I now have A LOT more archival safe boxes to buy come November when my grant money gets in...(Yes, I spend my school grant money on genealogy - don't tell!)
I love being the family historian, I really do. I love getting all the stories and going on the hunt to find out more. Trust me, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have all of this stuff...but please - cut a girl some slack! Scanning is not the most fun part of genealogy!
Oh well, I just thought I'd give you a quick update on that, and explain that things might be slow on here for a week or so. I apologize for that, and trust me, I'd rather be writing than packing!
When I get back online, I have some wonderful things to show you and some suggestions to share with you about scanning your pictures and such!
Update: Abba-Dad made a create comment with a good question. I'll answer it in detail on another post, but I'll give you the Cliff Notes version right now.
The question was: "What kind of archival safe boxes do you use? I don't even know where to look for some and have no clue what's good and what's crap."
My answer: Well, I use boxes that specifically say "Archival Safe" on them and if it has plastic, I make sure that it is PVC-free. I know that there are a bunch of websites online where you can buy them, but I get mine from a scrapbooking store near my house. Ask someone at a craft store - especially one with a focus on scrapbooking or framing because they should be able to lead you into the right direction.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Over on Facebook, Terry Thorton challenged all of us Genea-Bloggers to write up a post about ourselves so that others can get to know us. So...here is mine.
I am a 19 year old genealogist...yes, you read correctly...only 19. Whenever someone discovers my age and my number one hobby, they always get shocked. I gotta admit though - I wouldn't change it for the world.
I started genealogy when I was about 13 years old. I have always thought of history as an interesting subject (which my mom gets credited for - all those weekends watching the History Channel really pays off!). When I was about 12 or so, my Aunt Deb began to play around with Ancestry.com. As she started showing me all that she was learning, I began to slowly catch the genealogy bug.
However, it wasn't until I went to visit my Grandpa when I was about 13 that I became completely and utterly addicted. He lives in Tennessee in a rural town in the Appalacian Mountains. The controversy, the secrets, the rural lifestyle - I was hooked! It was better than any soap opera that you could watch on daytime TV!
Since then, I've been addicted. My addiction has certainly made me an odd teenager: I asked for a filing cabinet for my 16th birthday, I asked for an all-in-one printer-copier-scanner for Christmas 2 years ago, and I begged and pleaded for an Ancestry.com subscription from anyone who would listen. As I did this, my parents looked at me like I was a foreign being.
My mom has a saying that I think describes me rather well: "Elyse - you are either 6 or 60...and never in between!"
My goal in writing this blog has always been to share my love of genealogy. I wanted to document my frustrations in genealogy while also giving you guys the lessons I've learned along the way.
I want to now share with you some of my articles that I am very proud of:
1.) My brightest article: How To Fix Your Newbie Mistakes (http://elysesgenes.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-to-fix-your-newbie-mistakes.html) This article describes the hard lessons I have learned over the years when it come to genealogy
2.) My breeziest article: My New Heart Award (http://elysesgenes.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-new-heart-award.html) This article just shows my huge appreciation for everyone who reads my blog - you guys always brighten up my day!
3.) My most beautiful: What Would You Save? (http://elysesgenes.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-would-you-save-meme-family.html) While this article has some seriousness to it, it includes pictures of some of my most valuable possessions. I love these heirlooms and I feel so honored that I have them.
If any of you want to get to know me or have any questions or just feel like talking - you can email me at GenealogistElyse@gmail.com You can also become my friend on Facebook if you'd like (just look me up). And of course, I love reading the comments you guys leave on my articles - they really brighten up my day.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I'll admit that I have never heard of this before - but I certainly think its a great way to honor our fellow bloggers. It is good to feel like someone is reading this crazy blog of mine.
So, the rules (as far as I can tell) are that I have to give the award to 7 other blogs, and leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know that I have given the award to them.
So the 7 blogs that I believe deserve this award are:
- DearMyrtle's Genealogy Blog: This blog is honestly one of my favorites. Not only is Pat Richley (DearMyrtle) one of the sweetest people I know on facebook, she is also incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to genealogy. She knows what she is talking about. (http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/)
- 24/7 Family History Circle: I am not a huge fan of Ancestry.com, but Juliana Smith sure knows how to write an interesting and helpful article. I love the tips she gives because they are practical and creative. I highly suggest reading her weekly planner! (http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle)
- Rainy Day Genealogy Readings: This is such an interesting blog. Great, well-written articles on genealogy. A great, must read! (http://rainydayreadings.blogspot.com/)
- I Find Dead People: The title says it all! (http://www.ifinddeadpeople.com/)
- Writing Your Memories: A great blog full of wonderful tips about how to begin writing your own memories. She makes writing so much less painful! (http://writingyourmemories.blogspot.com/)
- The Baca/Douglass Genealogy and Family History Blog: Not only is the author a kind, helpful person on Facebook to anyone who has genealogy related questions, but he also knows how to keep his own genealogy interesting - even to those who aren't related to him. (http://nmgenealogy.blogspot.com/)
- GeneaNet Genealogy Blogs - GeneaSofts: A great read. Lots of information about genealogy software. Definitely a useful blog! (http://genealogyblog.geneanet.org/)
Alright everyone - Thank you so much for honoring me with this award! I hope you check the above blogs out because they really are great reads. Good luck, and happy ancestor hunting!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Well, since I've been letting everyone in my family know that I am doing genealogy (and trust me, it hasn't been an easy task to get everyone to listen), they began giving me boxes and boxes of photos, letters, funeral cards - you name it.
While I love these precious items because they bring my family to life in ways that a census record never could, I get a headache just thinking about scanning, labeling, and storing all of these items safely.
It is a daunting task! I want to make sure that I do all of this right so that my children may have these items someday. But how do you do it right? Well - that requires research, lots and lots of research.
I know that one of the few things that are keeping my sane is playing music as I scan. The good beat atleast keeps me from loosing my mind!
So what are some of the things that YOU recommend to make scanning easier, more enjoyable, and safe for your items? I would love to hear from you guys!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Another object or objects I would save would be the metal statues that my grandpa created throughout his life. While my mother and I only own a few of the many he made, these are very precious to me. Since I never knew my grandfather (except for the first few months of my life before his death), these items are very precious to me and bring his personality to life for me.
I would also save my filing cabinet, which houses a lot of photos in protective boxes and albums and a few other small items from my family. I would carry that filing cabinet and walk if need be because it houses so many prized possessions - I couldn't handle the loss of them.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
There are so many pros and cons to publishing your work that is makes it difficult to decide. But I think the key here is to decide whether or not you want to share your work (despite the risks), and in what form you want to do this.
I personally made the choice to share my work on the internet. My main motivation for this was that I wanted other researchers to find me so that we could exchange information just like so many wonderful people had done with me (Well, I didn't really have anything that they didn't have, but that is beside the point). Their kindness helped me get through long stressful hours of confusion. Mind you, they shared their information with me but they also helped me find the information on my own, which is especially helpful because my skill at finding the records I was looking for improved.
So, when you're at the point in your genealogy where you aren't sure if you want to share your hard earned family tree - here are some things to consider:
- Other researchers that have similiar research interests, either with someone in your tree or in a particular area you are researching, can find you and your information.
- If you include your email address, you'll be able to be contacted by another researcher who might have some information you don't have.
- You are building genealogical-karma points by helping out a researcher who may be just starting their tree. Maybe they'll find their great-great uncle in your family tree, giving you the opportunity to not only help this person out with their tree, but you also just found a long lost cousin who might have those pictures of Uncle Joe you've been dieing to get your hands on.
- Some people will take your work and just steal it. They'll take you're hours of blood, sweat, and tears and place it in their own tree without crediting you. They'll forget who/where they got it from and pretty soon - they are claiming that they found the information on their own. Trust me, nothing is worse.
- Or they'll take your work and place it all over the internet, incorrectly, and cite only your name or that email address you had 5 years ago. Oh well, so maybe this one is the worst of the two cons.
Alright - so let's say you make the decision to put your family tree up on the web. Now the question becomes - where do you put it?
Well, a lot of people put their trees on Ancestry.com - which does have the benefit of having a good chance that it'll be seen. Since Ancestry.com is such a popular site in the world of genealogy, you will probably have your work seen. The downside is that Ancestry.com likes to make a seperate database (OneWorldTree) that combines trees submitted by its users that include the same people into one tree. In theory, this is a great idea. In practice - its a disaster. I can't tell you how many trees I have seen that have incorrect information, no sources, no records, nothing! The information in most of this database is just plain wrong. But - people can still find the individual tree that you uploaded and contact you either through your email or through Ancestry.com's service that keeps your email private. Plus - they have some pretty cool things that you can add to your tree such as audio stories, pictures, videos, and it has the ability to just add a record that you find in one of their databases directly into your tree.
A lot of people also try creating a website, either on their own or through a website such as Tribalpages.com or MyFamily.com. Creating a website is a great idea because you'll be found in the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Plus, you can upload exactly what you want to share and you control pretty much everything. These can also be a great way to stay in touch with family that may live far away (as long as they are tech savvy - if they aren't it won't work much. Trust me, I've tried!).
There is also Genealogy.com - a sister site to Ancestry.com. People like to also upload their trees there. It doesn't have as many cool features as Ancestry.com - but it still will be visited.
When you have a good amount of information (I'm talking several generations, full of legitimate sources, and you are confident in your work) then you might want to consider uploading your gedcom onto FamilySearch.org. Your work will then be taken to a huge vault in Salt Lake City. I also believe that your work will be accessible to others on their website and in LDS sponsored Family History Centers.
Not to mention - there are a TON of other websites where you could upload it - and I don't have the time to mention every single one of them.
So the bottom line is that you need to weigh the pros and cons of posting your tree to the internet. Then, if you decide to put your information on the web, figure out where you think it would be best to put your information.