24 April 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

Technology. It adds so much to our lives, including the weight of the things we take along with us. I am writing this as I sit at a research table on the second floor of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the last 12 months I have been here three times. I thought I knew pretty much what was here but my usual self-guided tour, browsing through the online catalog, microtext catalog, shelves of books, and microtext cabinets added several things to my research list. I did come armed with some important tools to help with the research process.
  • Digital camera, battery charger, cable to transfer images to my computer, and SLIK compact tripod
  • Computer with CoolPad to keep the air circulating under it
  • Canon flatbed scanner that connects with a USB cable, no power cord needed
  • Zune and earbuds to listen to my favorite women's radio station or music stored on the computer. I can listen to the radio station as a live stream online.
  • Copy card for the ACPL
  • Cell phone and charger (of course the phone is always on silent or vibrate)
  • SimpleTech portable, pocket-size hard drive for backup with USB cable to connect directly to my computer.
  • 2 flash drives for storage and sharing documents
  • Special wipes to clean the computer and scanner screens
  • Power strip with a heavy duty surge protector that has extra outlets for the various equipment
  • Vital to all this: acetaminophen for the aching back and shoulders and a briefcase on wheels to carry all of it.

10 April 2008

Another driving trip

April showers bring May flowers. The flowers should be amazing this year. The rain in the central third of the U.S. has been beyond believable.

I left home to drive to St. Louis to speak at the St. Louis Genealogical Society Conference this Saturday. What did I leave behind in Minnesota? My residence in Zimmerman will get about 10 inches of snow Friday and Saturday. Duluth (where my daughter lives) will get snow amounting to close to two (2!) feet.

As I drove through Iowa today, I didn't have snow to contend with, but I did have heavy rain, strong winds, and was dodging tornadoes. I spent quite a bit of time in stores once I heard the tornado warnings. Thank goodness for books on CD -- that makes the driving time seem to pass quickly.

After the conference, I will be doing some research and then will be in Cincinnati next Friday and Saturday for the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference. One of my talks there is on researching people who lived and worked on or near Midwestern rivers. I am spending some of my driving time along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers so that I am immersed in the topic (not immersed in the river!).

08 April 2008

These are my favorite things . . . about genealogy cruises

  1. So many interesting people to talk with
  2. So many interesting people to just watch
  3. Teaching genealogists in a relaxed setting and then sitting around talking genealogy at lunch (even better watching the people who hear the word genealogy and want to join the group -- but, it's too late, you have to be a part of our special group)
  4. Visiting white sand beaches and wading in the clean, bright blue water and then sitting on the beach talking about genealogy brick walls
  5. Shopping on ship and in the ports of call (such bargains!)
  6. Walking around the ship listening to neat music on my headset
  7. Taking historic and nature tours in the ports of call
  8. Doing nothing except sitting in a deck chair sipping a cool drink and reading a book
  9. Singing in the piano bar at night
  10. Having a late night snack with new genealogy friends and just laughing
  11. Teaching genealogists in a relaxed setting and then sitting around at an umbrella table talking genealogy at lunch with a pool and the ocean in the background
  12. Having breakfast on a beautiful morning as I look out at the ocean and the blue sky
  13. Winning an exquisite tennis bracelet (I really did win one on a cruise)
  14. Attending a free Broadway style stage show one night, a movie the next day, and playing miniature golf in-between
  15. Not using the rock-climbing wall but instead having a glorious massage
And talking with someone you never met before who says that the genealogy groups seem to have a better time on the cruise than some of the other groups! I know why -- we are quite passionate about what we do, we enjoy life, we want to help each other, and we understand that people and networking are vital to our passion. To join the entertaining and educational fall 2008 Genealogy Cruise check out this website.

Why I love cruising (of course, there are the genealogy lectures, too!)

07 April 2008

If budget is approved, NARA's restored hours will stay in place

The post immediately below this one about the U.S. National Archives and the restored hours being cut again is thankfully not correct. I relied on the posting on the National Coalition for History's site and on information from another reliable source, but did not double check the "facts." I was just going to pull the posting I did, but thought it would serve us all as a reminder to double check. The loss of hours would have been another research blow and I thought it was important to post immediately. I am guessing that the word had spread already as I saw the same item posted on Dick Eastman's blog and some electronic mailing lists at about the same time I did. It just shows that U.S. citizens are truly interested in the archives that is supposed to be protecting our nation's history and allowing "ready access."

Check here for the correction.

06 April 2008

Once again -- possible loss of evening and Saturday hours at NARA

Ouch. During discussion of the proposed budget for the National Archives and Records Administration, Archivist Allen Weinstein admitted that the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 did not include funding to keep the restored evening and Saturday open hours [in Washington DC and College Park, Maryland]. This was in a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (How's that for a mouthful!)

This news and other details appeared on the National Coalition for History's blog. This link was forwarded by Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL, a Washington DC area professional researcher and frequent NARA user. Thanks Marie - I think. It's like watching a tennis match -- this way, that way, this way, that way. The additional evening and Saturday hours that were restored don't even begin until April 14th. Thus, they are deciding to cut them again in the future before they have even begun again?

05 April 2008

Will you be in or near St. Louis on April 12th?

The 38th annual St. Louis Genealogical Society Conference is Saturday, April 12th. I am one of the nine speakers and there is something on the program for everyone. The full program is at the Society's website. Just tonight I checked with the conference chair, Pat Stamm, and she said they can still take reservations. I hope to see some of you blog readers there.

Have your Visa or Master Card handy and you can easily register online.

03 April 2008

Free Genealogy Fair at National Archives in D.C.

The following is from a Press Release received from the National Archives. It's a free, all day event and you don't even need to preregister! Be sure to click on the link below to see the lecture titles and more about each speaker.


WHAT: The National Archives will host its fourth annual Genealogy Fair. This year's program will highlight Federal records located at the National Archives relating to general genealogy, World War I, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Sessions will offer guidance on topics including Civil War pension files, Freedmen's Bureau marriage records, World War I draft registration records, and New Deal publications. National Archives staff will demonstrate how to use databases including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and Access to Archival Databases (AAD). The fair will provide information and guidance for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike. This event is free and open to the public. For a schedule of lectures and demonstrations, see this link.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Research Center Lobby, National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. Government-issued photo identification or student ID is required to enter the building. The closest Metro stop is the Archives/Navy Memorial stop on the Yellow and Green lines. The National Archives is fully accessible.

WHO: Speakers include historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Marian Smith, author Raff Ellis (Kisses from a Distance: An Immigrant Family Experience) and National Archives experts Susan Abbott, Bill Creech, John Deeben, Kenneth Heger, Claire Kluskens, Constance Potter, and Reginald Washington.