31 January 2008

California Voters Registrations Online

Take one evening and a new online resource and pretty soon the evening is gone. This past Wednesday, Ancestry.com posted indexing and images of the printed lists of registered voters from 1900-1944, with a scattered number into the 1960s. I lived in California in 1967 but did not register to vote in the short time I was there. I began to write this blog post, but got quite waylaid using the Voters lists, so am finishing my posting two days later!

I found my cousins, granduncles and grandaunts, and some paternal relatives of my children. In light of the current overload of political campaigning, I was fascinated to see the declared political party designations which provided a few surprises. The lists give the voter's name, age, address, occupation, and the politicial affiliation. Searching is done by name and a county can be specified. One name I searched is quite uncommon so I searched only by the surname.

I found the lists helpful in looking for some Los Angeles area relatives. City directories are quite sparse after the 1930s and by the 1950s and 60s the regular directories were not published for L.A. I was searching for more info on relatives in the later time period. I did find a few clues to use in searching for possible living relatives.

For more details on the origin of these lists that were published every two years, visit Ancestry.com. The description includes a list of what years are available for a given county. Be sure to be flexible in your searches. And for some years in a given county you may have to check several lists to find the surname and then the correct relative.

30 January 2008

Researching American Indian Ancestors

On Saturday, February 23d, 2008, I will be teaching a 2-hour class on American Indian Research. The class is being offered at the new location of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, 1185 Concord St. N, South St. Paul, MN.

The class fee is $12.00 for MGS members and $15.00 for non-members. The fee includes an extensive handout.

Check the MGS website for both online and mail reservation instructions. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged to assist with space planning and handout duplication. Visit the MGS website for more details.

29 January 2008

Family History Library Closed Saturday, Feb. 2d

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City will be closed this coming Saturday, February 2d in memory of Gordon B. Hinckley, the Presdent of the LDS church, who passed away Sunday, January 27th.

27 January 2008

January 27, 1967

Forty-one years ago tonight, I watched in horror as three astronauts perished in a fire aboard the spacecraft, Apollo I. Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White III, and Roger B. Chaffee died in the launchpad tragedy due to faulty wiring that ignited during tests.

That date has always stuck in my mind as I was about to leave the house to go to a college dance that I have always remembered fondly. Genealogists (including me) should write about the major events that have occurred during their lifetimes. I am reminded of this when one of my granddaughters seeks my sage advice when writing something for school. Gee, does this mean she respects my knowledge or that she is simply acknowledging my age by thinking I should know about historical events?

NARA & Connie Potter

In its "Off the Beaten Career Path" series, The Washington Post of Sunday, January 27th had an article about a person known to many genealogists. It featured Connie Potter, an archivist at the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration's Washington DC site. Click on the series title to see the full article about a friend to genealogists. I told Connie I can always say "I knew her when . . ."

24 January 2008

Memorial Service for My Mother

My genealogy friends have helped me through some very trying times the past few years. Five days after my Mom’s death on January 8th, a group of these friends held a memorial service for her. It was held at the Salt Lake Plaza hotel in Salt Lake City. I was there that week teaching at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and for meetings of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. I will never be able to put my gratitude into powerful enough words to express my thanks to the friends who did the planning and those who attended. Some drove to downtown SLC on their day off from work at the Family History Library. Some were flying back home that day and gave up prescoius last-minute research hours to be there. Thanks to Marilyn Markham and Geoff Morris for letting the Institute teachers and registrants know about my Mom. Thanks to Rich Williams of the Plaza Hotel for providing the room and chairs for the service.

J. Mark Lowe, from Tennessee, presided at the service. His loving and humorous eulogy touched many people. Some said it was as if he knew my Mom. He didn’t, but I did know his special Mother who passed away just this past September.

For a few days before the service, Mark and others were making notes of things I said about Mom. Mark used these in preparing his remarks. Pam Boyer of Virginia was not in Salt Lake City, but did a nice job of informing people about Mom and the service. During the service a slide show of pictures of Mom and a recent four generation family picture were showing continuously. The four generation picture included Mom, me, my daughter Katie, and her daughter, Kendall. (Someday I will tell you about the quirks of another four generation family picture.)As we walked into the service, music with a meaning was playing in the background. The day before, I was given a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir by the Institute staff. Several songs from that were playing, as was a meaningful spiritual sung by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus that another special genealogical colleague belongs to. As a group we sang On Eagle’s Wings (Mom requested this for her funeral) and Amazing Grace. Marjorie Sholes from California sang a solo of How Great Thou Art and we joined in. Readings were done by Mark, Jan Davenport from Arkansas, Pat Oxley, Texas, Lou Szucs, Illinois, and Josh Taylor from Massachusetts. Birdie Monk Holsclaw from Colorado and Karen Mauer Green also helped with music and other parts. Martha Henderson from Missouri helped with the set up and passed out the yellow ribbons.

There were bouquets of flowers, including yellow roses to represent my Mom’s favorite color. Tea candles were lit and placed on mirrored tiles. (Thanks, Josh) A guest book was placed next to them by Sue Kaufman of Texas. The wonderful friends spent a long time making yellow ribbon pins for us all to wear. Another friend, Dawne Slater-Putt from Indiana, gave me a special Angel to add to my pin. I was crying and smiling at the same time. The service was very ecumenical and was also a healing time for friends who had lost parents, in-laws, and friends over the last year. Some who attended were in the midst of personal health and other strife.

I did giggle a bit as I realized this meaningful service was put together and carried out by genealogists. Mom probably groaned at this! Mom, you didn't get to choose the time for this gathering, so it was a time that worked for many others. I hope she also realized how many faiths were represented by the 50 people in attendance. Genealogy is not judgmental in the areas of faith, color, disabilities, nor in the horse thief ancestors. I counted Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Mormon, Episcopal, Lutheran, Jewish, Orthodox Jew, Baptist, and other religions in the room. Those in the room represented many U.S. states and Jan Gow from New Zealand was there. Others were there in spirit and by emails and cards.

Thank you all for honoring my Mother. After more than a decade of suffering, she is at peace. Your outpouring also helped my Dad and helped me be at peace with her passing. I am so fortunate to have my birth family and my special genealogy family. I love you all. Now, she can help us by urging our deceased ancestors to show us the way to solving those genealogical questions that are always on our minds!

The Digital Genealogist

One of publications that I subscribe to is Digital Genealogist. It is edited by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CG, CGL. Liz was editor of the Computer Genealogist that was published by Ancestry. Liz created the Digital Genealogist to fill the void left by the demise of that publication. She is also the editor of the NGS NewsMagazine. I eagerly await notice of each new issue and as a disclaimer, I don't write for DG and paid for my own subscription. DG is only available online which is so fitting. I do read this publication from beginning to end and add considerably to my technology related education. I am not a techie by any means, but I can understand what is written, gain practical knowledge, and even better, learn while sitting at home in my robe.

The Table of Contents for the current issue is online and features articles and columns by some well-known names. The range of articles is impressive and as usual, includes the regular column for MAC users. Another regular column gives us a refresher on search engines, key words and phrases, and related help this time. Another explains more about the wealth of info provided by Google Maps, finding addresses, collaborating with others and how to create our own family history maps. I have visited most streets where ancestors lived and found views of the homes. Liz tells us about selling used textbooks and duplicate genealogy books via Amazon.com. These articles represent only a small portion of this 51 page January/February 2008 issue which includes software reviews. DG is viewable in a PDF format which gives readers the ability to increase/decrease the size of the print.

The DG website allows curious genealogists to read the sample first issue of the DG from 2006. Other back issues are available for $4.00 via PayPal and the T of Cs are online. A one year subscription is only $20.00 and can be processed online.

19 January 2008

My Mother's Passing

I haven't posted anything to this blog since January 1st. I left for Salt Lake City on January 3d to teach at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy for one week, for meetings of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and for research at the Family History Library. When I am there, the hours go by quickly. On January 8, 2008 I received word that my mother, Patricia Margaret Ann (Hanley) Stuart had passed away. Five years ago on the same date, January 8th, I was in Salt Lake City when her sister Jeanine died.

Mom died peacefully. One of her caregivers called me shortly after and tearfully told me how he tried to save her. She had suffered over many years with Alzheimer's, emphysema, severe osteoporosis, and was a cancer survivor. On Christmas Day she appeared to be enjoying the activities, the meal, and watching her five great grandchildren run around.

I didn't return to Minnesota for the funeral. My Dad wanted the funeral immediately. He called me and told me that I needed to stay in SLC. I was so torn, but that generous call and the cost of the bereavement air fare helped with my decision. I completed my teaching at SLIG, attended meetings, and felt so much love from friends that I had lots of help in my grieving. Telling them stories about Mom helped immensely and the laughs were helpful.

In the next few days, I will post about the meaningful and beautiful memorial service that friends who were with me in SLC had for Mom. I had 50 people to grieve and smile with. Some of them needed that service for their own healing after loss of parents, in-laws, and friends. I love my special genealogy family.

I also learned that at the service back in Minnesota, some of my family and friends talked with each other -- some of them might not have had those connections if I had been there and had talked with them separately. I had emails and cell phone text messages immediately after that told me how beautiful Mom looked and that the funeral was beautiful.

01 January 2008

Banished Words

I just finished reading an interesting article in the December 31st St. Paul Pioneer Press about an annual list of banned words and phrases. Now, before your mind goes into the gutter, let me explain these are words that are overused, misused, and just plain annoying to many.

Lake Superior State University of snowy Sault St. Marie, Michigan, has published these lists for 33 years. The newest list has such words as wordsmithing, organic, surge, webinar, GITMO, awesome, and the phrase "it is what it is."

The full list is at the LSSU's website. You might want to read the hundreds of comments with other suggested words and some disagreement on the 2007 list.

I confess that I do use some of these words.