Saturday, January 31, 2009

Anyone Going To The Southern C.A Genealogy Jamboree?

I am trying to save enough money to be able to go to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree for 2009 that will be held in Burbank, California on June 26 - 28.  (Get more information on their blog)

I am really excited to be going and so excited to meet new people and people who I know online. But I have to admit, I am still a little nervous to be going to my very first genealogy conference by myself.  I'll will most likely be able to stay with family overnight, which will cut down on expenses.  

But, I am nervous about being by myself for some of the time in Burbank, which is not an area I know very well.  I guess I just don't do a lot of stuff far away from home by myself.

Is there anyone else out there who is as nervous as I am?  I know I shouldn't be nervous, because I am going to meet so many wonderful people.  But I guess I just can't help it.  My fears will melt away once I get there.

So is anyone else planning on going to the Jamboree?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wow - Grandma Doerflinger Was An Amazing Woman

Today, my mom and I were watching a show about the amazing heroic things that people have done.  My mom and I started discussing some of the heroic things we've seen and heard about.

"It is ordinary people that seem to do some of the most heroic things.  It is like how Grandma Doerflinger lifted a car because there was a man trapped underneath it," she said.

"Excuse me?" I said in disbelief.

"You've never heard that story?" she asked.  Then she started telling me the story.

It was 1940 in Santa Monica, California.  My grandma was home alone with her three children, all under the age of five.  Her husband was working at McDouglas Airplane Factory.  A family friend as over, fixing the car.

My grandma had just gotten the twins (my uncles) down for a nap when she decided to offer some lemonade to the family friend who was working on the car.  When she approached him, he was adjusting the cinderblocks that was lifting the car from the ground.  After some small talk, he slipped himself underneath the car and continued his work.  She turned to return to the house when the cinderblocks slipped and the car came crashing back down on top of the man working on the car.

My grandmother screamed for him, but when he didn't answer she began screaming wildly.  An older gentleman who was walking by the house ran over to my grandmother to aid her.  She then bent down and lifted the car while the older gentleman pulled the family friend out from under the car.

The story goes that for two weeks my grandmother had to stay in bed.  She couldn't move and had severely pulled about every muscle in her body.

The family friend was lucky to survive and only suffered from some broken ribs and a concussion.

I honestly find this to be a rather heroic act and something that she certainly didn't have to do.  It was such a selfless act and it gave me an insight into the grandma I never knew.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"I'm An American!!"

I was talking to my aunt today about my latest genealogical finds.  It included discovering that one of my ancestors was born in France or Italy.  My aunt made a joke that I must be Italian, because I talk so loud and I move my arms so much.

Then my little cousin, Audrie, looks up and goes, "You're Italian?". 

"I just might be," I said.  Then she went quiet and my aunt and I continued our conversation, talking about how we are mostlikely English and how I am Welsh.

Then Audrie looked up and goes "What is Welsh?".  So I explained to her that Welsh people are people that come from a country called Wales.  She looks up at me and goes "People don't come from Whales and they can't breathe underwater."

"No, baby, I'm talking about a country that is called Wales.  It is next to England.  I'm not talking about the animal."  She gave me a nodd but she still looked skeptical.

Then, we somehow got on the topic that America is made of people of lots of races and cultures.  She looks up and goes "No...everyone is the same,". 

"Baby, the cool thing about America is that everyone comes from different places.  Like you, you're Mexican and English."  That seemed to make her extremely angry.

"I don't know what you're talking about!" she screamed.  "I'm an American!!!" she said and then she stormed off.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting Started in Genealogy

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, someone asks me how in the world one gets started in genealogy.  It seems to be the million dollar question (in the genealogy world at least).  Luckily, I got some answers for you:

1.) Start with yourself and work your way back, starting with the three basics: birth date and place, marriage date and place, and death date and place.  Once you've finished writing your birth date and place for yourself (include marriage date and place if that applies to you), start with your parents.  Then move on to your grandparents, etc, etc.

2.) Ask your relatives about what they know about your family.  Usually, they can give you information that you might not of known about.  Write down any dates and locations, even if they are only estimates.  All of the information you gather will serve as a guide for when you finally jump into the research pool.

3.) Put all of that information that you've gathered onto a Pedigree Chart and on some Family Group Sheet (You can find these sheets at a TON of websites, but the links that I included go to the forms provided by Cyndi's list).  By putting your information on these forms, you have it all organized.

4.) Start researching information about the censuses, birth records, death records, marriage records, etc. in the area you are researching.  Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to memorize it or to look at all the records that are available - the point of this is just to get an idea of what you can search and what records your ancestors might be found in.

5.)  Now, it is time to go out and start proving that information.  If you are ready to invest some money, then try to buy a subscription to a website like or (I recommend when you are just starting out).  If you don't want to invest money just yet, try the message boards on websites like and  Try going onto free websites like

So now that you have some easy steps, go ahead and try to get your feet wet in genealogy.  Just be careful though - this will become an addiction.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Switch To Binders

Many of you know that I have been a fan of using binders to organize all of your paper files.  However, after lots of thought and reading DearMyrtle's Organization Checklist for January, I have decided to make the switch.

The switch will not be happening all at once - I don't get my school grant money until next month, so money is very tight right now.  While I have most of the supplies I am going to need for using binders, I need more.  I have a lot of page protectors, oversized dividers, and a few more binders to buy.

But I am so excited to make the switch.  I will still be storing the binders in my filing cabinet until I can find a cheap bookcase at a yard sale.  But the minor setbacks are not enough for me to keep using file folders.

And honestly, I've been considering the switch for a while.  For some individuals, I have to much information for a single file folder and for some surnames I have way too many file folders in the hanging file folder.

I can't wait to tell you guys how it goes!  Wish me luck!

Heritage Scrapbooking

As you accumulate lots of pictures in your genealogy hunt, you might want to consider tuning in your creative side in order to show those pictures off: Make a heritage scrapbook.

First rule: Never use the original pictures when scrapbooking because that can damage the originals.  Instead, make copies of the originals, and use those copies for scrapbooking.

So, just like any other scrapbooking projects, you are going to need some supplies.  If you are just started to get acquainted with your crafty scrapbooking side, then you might want to consider starting smaller by creating a shadow box.  You can find all of the supplies that you could ever need at my amazon store.  

If you have already done some heritage scrapbooking, I would love to see some of those pages.  Please, send me the pictures of those pages to - I might show them on here (with your permission of course).  So send those pictures in!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on becoming the 44th president of the United States.  You've worked very hard and sacrificed so much to get to where you are today, and you've earned this position.

Let me say a huge "Thank You".  You've inspired this nation and brought it together like I never imagined possible.  You've united us, gave us a common purpose, and given all of us hope.  You've provided a much need vision of promise, happiness, and prosperity.  You've filled our hearts with hope, faith, and determination to not only survive this economic crisis and dark age that has settled upon us, but to take this challenge as a chance to rise above to reach success.

And it isn't just you who is so amazing, but your wife also.  I've seen her speak at some universities, even before you announced you were running for president, and she is so intelligent.  She speaks to the average person with such eloquence and strength.  She carries herself with such confidence and she looks so comfortable in her skin - and that confidence is contagious.

Your daughters are beautiful and even if they don't completely understand what their lives will entail in the White House, I know that they are so proud of you.  They are sacrificing a normal life just so that you may lead our country to greatness.  When they are older, they may understand that you are not only a great father, but a brilliant man.

I also want to thank you for your hard work throughout your lifetime, which gave you the chance to run for president in the first place.  Because of your dedication to this country and the law, you understood the complicated problems that have presented themselves the last few years.  You are evidence that ANYONE in this country can become ANYTHING they want, as long as they work hard for it.  You are the prime example of the American Dream.  There are children all over our country (and all over the world) who are saying to themselves that they want to someday become president, and you have given them the hope that it is really possible.

I know that you have America's best interest at heart and I am confident that you will be able to make the difficult decisions that must be made.  I know that there are some who will criticize everything you do, but don't let them get to you.  Every president will have critics, but I want you to know that for every critic there is, there are a 1000 people who are shouting your praise.

I know that this job will not be easy and that our country's problems will not be solved overnight.  It will be a long and tedious road to fix this mess because it took a long time for the mess to be created in the first place.  But I know that you are the man who will be able to make the difficult decisions.  I know that you are the man who will bring back prosperity and unity to this nation.  I know that you are the man who will unite the world, extend a hand to any country who wishes to stand strong with us, bring peace to the people of the world, and inspire us like we have never been inspired before.  I trust that you will listen to the needs of the people and that their voices will matter to you - because you were once a regular person.

I believe in you, Mr. President Obama.  Because "Yes We Can" will turn into "Yes We Did" by the time you leave office.

A hopeful citizen,

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Movie Defiance And How I Almost Converted To Judaism

I've been dieing to see the movie Defiance for an incredibly long time because the WWII era has always been a period in history that I've found incredibly interesting.  I was so excited that my mom took me to go see this film this morning.
For those of you who don't know what the movie is about, it is about four Jewish brothers who run away into the forest to hide from the Nazis.  They then welcome more Jews to come and live with them in the forest.  As their numbers grow, they begin to create a community in the forest and attempt to live their lives as full as they can.  And by the way, this is a true story and is based on a book that was written from interviews of survivors.  But just a warning, it is a hugely heavy movie (which shouldn't need to be said) and I highly recommend you bring along a box of tissues - you'll need it.
This movie has a special meaning to me.  When I was in fourth grade, I began looking for religion.  My parents never raised me with a particular religion, choosing instead to let me choose whatever religion I wished.  Well, after learning about WWII and the Holocaust, I became curious about Judaism.  I started reading every book on Judaism that I could get my hands on.  I read every book on Judaism that was in my school library, so my mom took me to the local library.  I continued to read and eventually, I had to have my mom read the books and explain them to me.  It wasn't long until I really began to follow the beliefs of this religion.
When my mom realized how serious I was about this religion, she took me to meet a rabbi.  The more I talked to him, the more I wanted to convert to Judaism.  She continued to take me to meet and speak with more people who were Jewish.
Finally, I insisted that she let me convert.  After a long discussion, she decided that she would find a few kosher recipes, and she said that if I was really devoted, then I would have no problem eating strictly kosher.  Turns out...eating kosher was a lot more difficult than I thought.
And it turns out that Judaism was not right for me.  I eventually became comfortable with not identifying with any particular religion, but to instead develop my own spirituality that has been influenced from a large number of religions.

Nonetheless, please, go see the movie Defiance.  It is such a wonderful, moving, and inspirational movie.  It warms your heart to see such selflessness and true love through an era of darkness.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Music Defines A Generation

Some people say that music defines a generation.  Think of the era of jazz where teenagers went to secret underground parties to dance.  Look at the era of the forties, where music was centered around patriotism and bringing our troops home.  We could go to the sixties - where the hippie movement created a sexual revolution, a wave of drug use, and a call for peace.  Some even argue that the era of classic rock through the sixties and seventies is the only true music.  And we could talk about the seventies with disco and the eighties with...well, as my mom puts it, "We all dressed horribly, drugs were rampant, and the music was horrible," (Not to offend anyone who likes the music of disco and the eighties.

And then we can go to an era that I lived through: The nineties.  Between the boy bands, the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears - well, that era kept the screaming pre-teen girls like me very busy with an obsession.

I always knew that music had a big impact in my life and in the lives of my family members.  But I never realized how involved certain relatives of mine were in music.  And this morning, I received a glimpse into the life of my Auntie Shirley, a self proclaimed "wild child of sorts".  

Born as the fourth child of William Harney and Ethel Weston Harney in 1920, Shirley was the black sheep of her family.  While all the other girls of the family were polite, ladylike, and trained in playing classical and religious songs on the piano, Shirley was out wrestling the boy next door for making fun of her dress.

In the forties, Shirley hung out in small clubs singing and dancing with the soldiers who were getting ready to go to war.  When Seattle threw a parade after WWII ended, Shirley was one of the pretty girls riding in the back of a car, singing patriotic songs and blowing kisses to the soldiers.  At one point, she even jumped out of the car and started swing dancing in the middle of the street with a soldier who "couldn't take his eyes off" of her.  With a chuckle, she explained the fury her father expressed after multiple soldiers came over asking for permission to take her on a date.

Even when I was a kid, my Auntie Shirley knew how help me find my voice.  By the time I knew her, she was blind, but that didn't hold her back.  Despite her lack of sight, she knew her way around downtown Seattle and would take me to these wonderful old buildings, telling me about what what cool "hole in the wall" joints they used to be.  I used to love listening to her and picturing what it was like for her to be dancing down the streets.  

But it was when we reached a church that she attended that she really shocked me: She told me that I was going to sing in front of all the old ladies who came together to play bingo every week.  I was terrified, and as I tried to sing, my voice was quiet with nervousness and cracked right as I felt the tears coming to my eyes.  That is when she told me sit next to her on the piano bench and began playing this quick, fun song.  She then started singing and told me to sing along.  Within minutes, I felt empowered and could sing on my own.  I was this nine year old kid, singing and dancing with all these old ladies and having a blast.  I gained so much confidence that day, and I bonded with my Auntie Shirley more than ever..

So maybe music is what defines a generation - or maybe it is the generation that defines a generation.  (I'll leave this philosophical thought with you...)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Home Made Medicines

Because of my cold, I've been thinking about medicines: What kind should I take to stop my sinuses from feeling as if they are going to explode?  What could I take to stop my throat from aching?  What medicines and vitamins are available to make this cold less severe and shorter in length?

Well, while I still don't have the answers to those questions, thinking of those questions made me think of when I would get sick as a kid - and all the medicines the older generations insisted worked.

I remember my first experience with what I would later call the "Harney Medicinal Experience".  I was only eight years old, having just moved to Washington state with my mom a couple of months before, and I had come down with a horrible cold.  It wasn't long before all of my great aunts (all of whom have the maiden name of Harney) were rushing to our house, offering odd fixes to my cold.

My Auntie Dode gave me some homemade cough syrup that was "sweetened" with blackberries and honey (trust me, it was FAR from sweet).  She even gave my mom a case full of this cough syrup in jars.  Then, my Auntie Babe gave me a concoction of water, lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange juice.  I remember begging my mom not to force me to take it - but there was no way out.  So, with no way out, I took the tiniest sip possible and nearly gagged.  But my woes weren't over yet - my Auntie Bub took a neti pot filled with garlic, lemon, and hot water and forced me to breathe that in.  Then, my blind Auntie Shirley insisted that my mother stuff a small peice of paper towel with a multitude of dried herbs, wrap it up like a burrito, and then shove it into my nose.  or the rest of the day I was poked with therometers, forced to drink different potions of sorts, and a hot rag placed over my face.  At the time, I felt like I was in some sort of prison.

Once they had left the house for a night (but they didn't leave without giving my a long list of what to do and when so that I would get better), I begged my mom not to force me to ever drink anything like I had drank that day again.

Then, the next day I woke up and I honestly felt better.  I remember my mom thinking that I was faking it at first in an attempt to avoid reliving the day before, but I wasn't.  I actually felt great.

While I am not sure what exactly made me better the next day, I know that they did something riht.  And every time I've been sick since that day - I get the "Harney Medicinal Experience", either in person or over the phone.  In fact, I am currently waiting for the call from my Auntie Shirley as to what exact herbs I am required to stick up my nose today.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Great Gift Idea - A Memory Book

When I was about ten years old or so and living in Seattle, my cousin Krissy came up with the brillant idea of making my Auntie Bub (her real name is Elizabeth, but family called her Bub for some reason) a memory book for her upcoming birthday.  It was going to be her 85th birthday - and we wanted to give her a gift that she would really appreciate.

What my cousin Krissy did was have family and friends write fond memories and give pictures that would all go in the book.  Every was more than happy to participate, some people taking up more than a page.

I remember one family friend, Rosalie, wrote a beautiful letter talking about their friendship over the years.  She included pictures from their early childhood, all the way up to the present.  It was a way to watch them grow - while still remaining great friends.  She even included a peice of the skirt that my Auntie Bub wore on her first date.

But it wasn't just family and friends that wrote in - as word spread around Seattle, where my Auntie Bub is rather well known for being an extremely loyal customer and avid volunteer in the community, more people wanted to participate.  Soon, the guy at the Doughnut shop that she went to every Thursday was contributing to the book.  And then nurse at the nursing home that my Aunt often visited, just to keep complete strangers company, began to ask if she could contribute.  Then it was the workers at the Seattle Science Center, where not only my Auntie Bub volunteered, but my blind Auntie Shirley volunteered also.

Needless to say, the book caught on, and even after her birthday party people were asking if they could contribute.  When my aunt saw it, her eyes welled up.  She didn't put that book down the entire party, and was sitting there reading different entries and talking about her life in between readings.

This was a gift that will last a lifetime.  It still remains on my Auntie Bub's side table in her bedroom.  It includes valuable information about her life - things that you just can't get off a census or marriage record.  It includes pictures and other small objects that help to represent her life, and the love that she has put into the lives of others.

If you have a loved one with a birthday coming up, I highly suggest that you use this gift idea to make their year.  While it does take some work and careful planning, it is well worth it.  The end result is something that will be cherished for years and possibly generations to come.

Think That Message Board Post Won't Help? Think Again!

Last night, I realized that I hadn't posted to a genealogy message board in a long while.  These message boards are valuable resources, and should never be ignored.  So, I found my three most difficult ancestors and posted some information/queries about each ancestor on their respective surname board on

After posting my first message on the Doerflinger message board (which has less ten total messages on the entire board), gave the suggestion that I post the information/query on the three region boards that are respective to the regions I named in my post.  I thought this was a good idea, and a great way to get my information/queries seen and responded to.

Sure enough, I checked my email this morning, and a lovely man had responded to one of my posts on the Missouri board about my ancestor, Adolph Doerflinger.  While he was not related, he did a quick search for me and posted a couple of possible matches.  After looking at these possible matches and checking on Ancestry to make sure everything was correct, I found out that all of these records matched my needs.  He even got me proof of the names for the next generation.

Needless to say, I was THRILLED!  I did my little happy dance before entering the data into my database and citing all of my sources.  How kind of him to take time out of his day to help me.

I want you guys to experience that joy too - so I've included some tips on how to get your post noticed, so that you have a higher chance of someone seeing and responding to your post.

1.) Post your query to not only the surname board, but also to any state boards or country boards that would go with your ancestor.  For example, if you know your ancestor was born in Missouri, but moved to Iowa and California, but post your query in all three state boards.  By spreading your message to multiple boards, you are more likely to be seen and get a response.

2.) Make your title or subject descriptive.  Try adding the person's name and birth date, along with the name of the spouse if known.  For example: Adolph Doerflinger (1851 - 1950ish) m1. Augusta Baumeister (1850 - 1921).  Don't write generic titles/subjects such as "searching for family", "need help with family tree", or "brick wall".  Put yourself in the shoes of prospective readers; most are looking for a specific post, and they aren't going to search through those generic titles to see if they match what they are looking for.

3.) Give some real information.  Just giving a person's name isn't enough, because that doesn't give anyone a time period to work with.  Give the person's name, along with any variations in spellings.  Talk about when and where the person was born, married, and died.  Talk about where that person lived and when.  Discuss any siblings (even if they are only possible siblings) and parents' names if known.  It is also suggested that you include some information on the spouse and any children in the post.  Some people recommend that you talk about what records you've already found (for example, you might have found that person in the 1880 census) so that if anyone decides to help you by doing a quick search, they don't waste time by searching what you already have.

4.) Finally, be polite.  Any help that anyone offers is out of their good graces.  They don't have to help you - it is out of the kindness of their heart and it is best not to take advantage of that.  Always say "thank you".

Update, January 11, 2009: When I posted my query about Adolph Doerflinger to the state message boards (Missouri, Iowa, and California), I was not expecting much.  However, I was in for a shock.  A complete stranger from the Missouri message board left me a reply that included information (along with sources) that he had found while doing a search for me.  Thanks to him, I was able to find the marriage record that I've been looking for and couldn't find - because of a misspelling.  And just this afternoon, I recieved a reply from my post on the California board.  This person found Adolph's and his second wife, Elizabeth's obituary and death records, with sources.  I still have to go through the obituaries and death records to confirm, but from first glance, they look rather promising.   This only re-affirms that putting your information on these stateboards is crucial.  If I had this much success from complete strangers who are not even related - then think of what you could find...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to Take Care of Those Pictures

As genealogists, we all understand the huge amount of photos that eventually come into our care.  We scour attics, basements, photo albums, all in an attempt to obtain more photos.

But what do you do with all of these precious photos once you have them?  Preserve them!  I have for you some general rules about preserving your photos, along with some suggestions on store these photos, and some great further reading.

The first general rule of preserving your pictures: Never, Ever, EVER do anything that cannot be undone.  That means (but is not limited to) no cutting or gluing.  If it can't be undone, then it is bad for your photos.

General rule number two: Acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC-free are your best friends.  Acid, that is often found in paper will damage the photos.  Lignin is a chemical that is often found in paper that makes the paper stronger - but over time, lignin breaks down and turns the paper brown and yellow, which will ruin your photos.  PVC is a chemical often found in plastic products, and if you put your precious pictures into a regular page protector, that PVC will damage your photos.

General rule number three:  Remember those magnetic photo albums?  (The photo albums with the sticky page that you put the photos on, and then you put the plastic over the page)  Magnetic photo albums are the enemy of your photos!

General rule number four: Where you store your photos is vital to whether they will last.  High humidity and temperature fluctuations are very damaging to your photos.  Lots of light is also very damaging to your photos, which is why you should never have your original on display.  Basements and attics are a no-no when it comes to your pictures because of the extreme humidity and temperature all of those gross pests!  Keeping your original photos on display is very damaging because of the sunlight. The best place for these photos is to be stored in an acid-free box under the bed or in the closet, where there won't be any extreme humidity and temperature changes. 

So, how in the world do you store photos without damaging or destroying them?

Make sure that everything your pictures comes into contact with is acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC-free.  So if you are going to put your pictures into a box, then make sure that box is acid-free and lignin free.  If you are going to put your pictures into plastic page protectors, then make sure those page protectors are PVC-free.  I also suggest that you place acid-free paper in between each picture, so that the pictures don't stick to each other.

For further information:
Over at, you'll find their free webinars.  They have a great webinar on Saving Your Family Treasures - and this is a great webinar full of great information.  It is a much watch/listen for anyone interested in preserving their family treasures.  You just need to register real quick (which just requires your email address) and then you'll be allowed in.

Where do I buy all of this stuff:
My genealogy store has everything you will need.  Everything from acid-free, lignin-free storage boxes, acid-free paper, even the camera that you need to take the pictures.  I am constantly adding more stuff to the store, so check back often for new things!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Must-See Organization Checklist By DearMYRTLE

Those of you who have been doing genealogy for a long while probably remember DearMYRTLE's original Get Organized Monthly Checklists that were originally on AOL's Genealogy page (which, don't bother going to AOL for genealogy help, because it isn't there anymore).  These checklists were designed by Ol' Myrt herself to get everyone out of the chaos and into organization.

Well, these checklists were eventually taken off the internet (and trust me - I've missed them dearly.  If it wasn't for an old copy of these that I found printed out, I would've probably been crying).  Guess what?  We are all in luck because Ol' Myrt has decided to put up a new and improved checklist!

This checklist is WONDERFUL!  January's is already posted and I hope everyone follows along.  I can't wait for February's!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Telling An Old Family Friend The Sad Truth

Back in 2003, I was just starting out in genealogy.  I was 13 years old, had no idea what I was doing with genealogy, and I really only used as something to amuse myself with inbetween dance classes that I took at the performing arts center my mom worked at.

Well, I wanted to gain some information about my grandfather, Maxamillian Adolf Doerflinger.  So I went onto Ancestry, found their Doerflinger Surname Message Board, and went at it.  I posted a bried post asking for information about my grandfather.  I remember thinking that someone was going to respond and give me all the answers - that every question I could ever imagine would soon have an answer and the story of my Grandpa Max would be complete.  I checked back every day for weeks...knowing that the answers would eventually turn up on the page.

Before long, weeks went by and I lost hope in the post.  I eventually forgot that I had even posted it there.

Well, tonight I was bored and I thought I would make a quick google search for my uncle, Don Doerflinger.  As I quickly scanned over the results, one result caught my eye.  It was that post that I had made way back in 2003 - and it had a reply.

So I quickly went to the site and sure enough, a woman (who I'll call Susie for privacy) had responded, listing my Aunt Diane as an old friend from school and talking about my grandpa's welding work.  She even mentioned that my grandfather had given her a beautiful brass butterfly peice as a wedding gift.  I was enthralled.

Well...that is until she asked how my Aunt Diane was doing and she talked about how she would love to get in contact with her.  My heart dropped.  How could I possibly tell her that her old friend was now deeply schizophrenic and refusing to speak to most of the family?

After talking to my mom, I only felt worse.  Susie and Diane were good friends in high school who shared a lot of memories together.  And here I was - about to ruin it.

So, I reluctantly sent the email out.  It was difficult to write and I gave many pleas for Susie to contact me through email anyway - even if it was just to share an old story or two about my Grandpa Max.  I only hope that I didn't scare her away...and that she is willing to share with me some of her wonderful memories about my family.

P.S: I am sorry that I spent so much time talking about "the hunt", but I am still coming down from the wonderful genealogy high that one gets when finding a contact like this.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Amazon Store


As part of my New Year's Resolutions, I wanted to make my blog better.  So, after realizing that I am always suggesting people use such-n-such product to organize their stuff or such-n-such genealogy database program, I realized that I needed to come up with a better way to get these products to you.  After some research into how best to do that, I came up with creating my own Amazon store.

You can check the store out here, or over to the top right of the side bar.

The store is still a work in progress, but I have already added a bunch of stuff to it.  Please, feel free to check it out and maybe you'll find something you need.

Let me know what you think about it.

Once again, have a happy 2009!