Sunday, November 30, 2008

Staying Organized On The Go - A Great Article Over At 24/7 Family History Circle

Have I mentioned that I love reading the blogs of other genealogists because sometimes - a new perspective can give you the jumpstart you need to get your genealogy in order.

I just read a great article over on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog that was written by Juliana Smith. 

The article is about keeping organized when you are short on time, and personally, I can't wait to start implementing some of the tricks that she mentioned.

Please - check out her awesome article over at:

Christmas Tour

As part of the Carnival of Genealogy - I am going to give you a tour of Christmas in my house as a child. So here is a tour of Christmas in my house - when I was 5 and younger.

Christmas just isn't Christmas without a Christmas tree! Every year we put up a tree and decorated it with random ornaments. It had a rather collective feel and was very home-y. (You can see baby pictures of me in the background).

And of course - you have to have stockings! In California - we didn't have fireplaces. So, instead we hung them from a door. My stocking was the one with the bear, my mom had the one with the Santa on it, and my dad had a basic red one.

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

Sometimes A Book Makes All The Difference

When I was 8 years old, I received my very first Harry Potter book. It was a Christmas gift from my best friend, Erin, who was already having the books read to her by her mom. I stared at the book for a moment, before tossing it aside and moving on to other toys.

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone - I just wanted to write a quick note saying "Happy Thanksgiving". I hope all is going well with everyone and everyon ehas a safe holiday!

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

I've Been Tagged Again...

Aright so another game of tag is going around. So here are the basic rules:
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 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 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

Baby Face!

As part of the 7th Edition Smile For The Camerica, I have posted a great baby face picture. This picture of my mom is just so adorable. It was taken in 1960 - and is one of my absolute favorites of my mom. I really think it shows how much we look alike.

Organizing All Those Digital Pictures...

First off...I would just like to say a huge "Sorry" for not posting very often very often lately. I have just been so busy with midterms and finals are right around the corner....but don't worry. Only a couple more weeks until freedom (and loooooong nights of genealogy). Honestly, I can't wait because I think I'm starting to go through some withdrawals.

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 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 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

Proud To Be An American!

Yesterday was a day that made history. A black man has been elected president and I am honored that I was able to be part of that political process.

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

Was My Story Fact Or Fiction?

I nearly forgot to tell you all whether my scary ghost story was real or not! But...not to fear, I may be telling you the truth a little late - but I am still telling you.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about...well I wrote a scary ghost story ( in a genealogy carnival. As part of the story, we were required to have the readers guess whether the story was true or false. 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.