31 December 2007

Just a few hours till 2008

Where did 2007 go? I definitely did not accomplish all that I planned for 2007. Genealogical items are pretty high on the list. I did not sort through all my old genealogy information files. These are the files that tell me the 1920 census is about to be released to the public (done in 1992), that there is no index to the 1910 census for most of my states (now indexed at Ancestry) and many other tidbits that I excitedly copied for my subject files. At this point I either know the details or know where to find them more easily. The files I have already sorted take up much less space than they formerly did. I challenge you to organize your genealogy files. Toss what you no longer need. Make duplicate working copies of vital pieces of paper and put the originals in a safety deposit box or house a copy at a relative or friend’s home. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. These would either be forgotten or more important things would arise.

2008 will bring a new place to live. I dread the looking stage – where do I want to live? What is affordable? Then there is the challenge of a self-employed woman starting over in life. Not all lending institutions are thrilled with those pieces of the mortgage puzzle! I will stay in the Twin Cities area for now. The majority of my family resides in Minnesota and is great factor in my decision.

Best wishes for a peaceful, healthy, and happy New Year. Several family members and friends are going through some tough times personally and healthwise -- I wish for a less painful 2008 for them.

Christmas 2007 Redux

Regular readers probably noticed that recent postings are few and far between. I took some time off from blogging for both myself and the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Philadelphia conference blog. It was a family Christmas. As of today I have been a part of seven family celebrations with one yet to come in Salt Lake City with a very special family of mine. Not every family was at the same place at one time. There are grandchildren who are still firm believers in Santa Claus. My parents are still with us and I know I am quite lucky to be able to say that given my own age.

This Christmas season was so much fun. One evening I had all four of my Minnesota grandchildren staying overnight. Added to that were two others who call me Grandma. 6 kids in one house and assorted adults, too. Pure exhaustion and exhilaration. We played "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader" several times. Our family did great on the math and literature questions, but not on science. We all laughed so hard. Earlier, I promised to tell you what genealogical gift I gave them for presents. It turned out to be family togetherness, retelling stories, recalling memories, and fun with the younger generation. And a special day with my daughter as we did day-after-Christmas bargain shopping. A long day just to ourselves. We both deserved that.

21 December 2007

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to my readers.

The tree is up, most gifts are purchased, and we have snow on the ground. The stockings are hung on the mantles. The ornaments that mean so much are hanging on the tree. I have ornaments that are not antique but that are getting pretty darn old. I remember purchasing them on sale 40 years ago in California. Then there are the special ornaments that were purchased one at a time with that year's date. Some of my own childhood memories are on the tree as are the kindergarten creations of my children. The inflatable. light-up Christmas penguin is on the front lawn. Christmas penguin? A couple of weeks ago my oldest son came home from a shopping trip and gave me the penquin. Yes, I love penguins.

Christmas is going to be a great time this year. On Christmas Eve I will be with my oldest son and granddaughter, his girfriend and her children. On Christmas Day I will be with my parents at my sister and brother-in-law's home. Their son will be there with his girlfriend. Their daughter will be there with her 1 & 2 year olds. My other sister, her son, my parents' caregivers and their daughter, and other "in-law" family members will join us. By dinner time, my daughter, her husband, and three children will arrive from up north. They will stay at my son's for two days and the kids will have one giant pajama party.

Family. Family changes. New Family Members. "Adopted" family members. All of these will be a part of our Christmas. Along with hugs, kisses, good food, smiles, a few tears, and lots of noise. That makes up the Stuart, Warren, Dougherty, DuBois, & Kerr Christmases. This year we will have the reappearance of the dancing banana. Let's see, who will be the "victim" this time. . .

I hope you have one like this, too. If you don't have family around, check to see if a neighbor will include you in their celebrations or take you to church with them. Offer to bring along something for the brunch or dinner. It will be more fun that way. On the other hand, do you have any relatives, friends, or neighbors who will be alone -- invite them to join you in celebrating.

Did you notice I said nothing about the gifts being wrapped? That's because that is next on my list of things to do. Then I have to figure out what genealogically related gift they are all getting. I will tell you about it later -- otherwise you might not keep the secret.

Internet Problems

I feel like I am in a strange zone. For the past couple of week the Internet access in my home office has been gradually more problematic. Now it is out completely and I am having withdrawal symptoms. The repairman will be here the day after Christmas. In the meantime, thank goodness for Panera Bread in Elk River and its free wireless access.

12 December 2007

Google Maps & Street Views

It is after 10 a.m. here and I have just spent the last three hours online. I know what Fairmont Ave. in Mountain View, California looks like recently. I was able to view other places in that area where I lived in 1968. Next I viewed pictures of my homes in St. Paul. The last house I owned is hidden by a tree! My childhood home and the area around it look much the same as when I last drove by it.

You might be able to find some of your places, too. Only selected cities are included at this point.

First, click on Google Maps and next click on Street Views for a U.S. map that has a camera placed on various city names. Some of these include the Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco areas in California. Some other cities include St. Paul, Minneapolis, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Individual spots within these cities can be accessed by using your mouse to move the map around or by typing a specific address in the search box. The streets bordered in blue are the ones with photos online.

If you use the Street View for any of these cities you can search for an address, click on the person figure and see a view of the street and the buildings. Once you are on a picture, you can use that mouse and get a panoramic view of the street. Back on just the map, your mouse can also take you around the city.If you are not quite so adventuresome and want some additional help, view Explore Google Maps.

Have fun with these and let me know what you were able to find.

09 December 2007

Libraries Hit YouTube

I can't wait to go upstairs and tell my 14 year old granddaughter that genealogy has hit YouTube. I am sure she will be impressed.

The Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana has a YouTube video tour of the new library and its resources. I saw many familiar faces on that video. The ACPL was the host for the Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference in 2007.Click here to watch the video.

In the same vein of genealogy conferences and new libraries, the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri will be hosting a reception during the National Genealogical Society Conference in May, 2008. The Mid-Continent Public Library Genealogy Center is building a new home that is scheduled to open in May. The video talks about that expansion and the resources of the library.

04 December 2007

How Museums and Libraries Lose Stuff

Have you ever been in a library, archives, historical society or other facility and ordered a book, collection, or microform to view, only to be told it cannot be found? As genealogists we just know the missing item is the one that holds the long-sought clue to a brick wall in our research. The loss of items has generated much press in recent months. A recent article in the George Mason University's History News Network discusses some of the losses and also addresses reasons for it.

One comment made by a reader concerns helpful patrons who reshelve the books they have looked at. The reason for book return shelves and carts is to prevent misshelving and many facilities look at the type of books being used. This aids in future purchases as well as decisions on books to put in storage when shelving capacity is bulging at the seams. I remember searching nearby shelves and behind other books to find a missing item. The same holds true for missing microforms. The article serves as a reminder to follow the reshelving or refiling rules of any place we visit in our family history research.
I just spent a great weekend near Duluth, Minnesota visiting my daughter and her family. Yes, we had 14.5 inches of snow there on Saturday. I heard that they received an additional 12 inches today. My grandchildren there are 2, 6, and 9. The 6 and 8 year old boys were fascinated by some of the pictures and maps I showed them online. The 2 year old girl always wants to see the pool pictures on my computer. These are pictures of the three of them at a Duluth indoor water park we went to last March when they had the previous big storm.

On purpose I also showed a slide show of older family pictures. The boys were curious about the names of the people and how they connected to them. Their attention span is not great, but the slide show on the computer kept them more interested than showing them paper photos. They also wanted to know where the people lived. That brought out the globe. A great way for a family history and geography lesson. Then I showed the 8 year old daily and historical newspapers online. He was furiously writing down the URLs. Then I showed him some sites with digitized books. Thankfully, these boys also like to have books they can hold and read. But it was fascinating to watch them looking at me like I was a font of knowledge. Yes, I enjoyed that.

NGS Conference Program and Registration

This past Saturday, The National Genealogical Society posted the program for its May 14-17, 2008 conference in Kansas City. Registration is open for this conference that features more than 150 lectures and workshops. Kansas City and the surrounding area is a great place for research, tourism, restaurants, and more -- check out the extensive details at the conference website.

For those who register no later than the early bird deadline of March 31st, there is a choice of either a printed or CD version of the syllabus. The availibility of both printed and CD versions of the syllabus is only $10.00 extra charge if ordered by this date. Those who register after this date will only receive the CD version.

I am intrigued by some of the interesting lecture titles that appear to be unique to this program.