Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Facebook "Have You Done This?" Meme

It's good to see that almost whatever is going on in the world, genealogists can count on Randy Seaver to challenge us with new questions for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

(1) Another "Have you done this?" meme was going around Facebook this past week.  Let's do it!!

(2) Copy and paste the list below, delete my answers, and add your own.

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

So here's this week's list:

1.  Driven 100 mph:  I'm with Randy, I don't think so.  Probably 85 mph is the fastest I've driven.  I have been a passenger in a car with someone driving 90.

2.  Ridden in a helicopter:  Once, from Ontario (California) airport to LAX.
3.  Gone ziplining:  Oh, hell no.
4.  Been to an NFL game:  Not many, but yes.  Only one with my beloved Minnesota Vikings.
5.  Been to Canada:  Yes, to British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec.

6.  Visited Florida:  Yes, visited and lived there.

7.  Visited Mexico:  Once, to Acapulco, as a stop while on a cruise ship on the way back to the States from Australia.

8.  Visited Vegas:  Yes, visited dozens of times and also lived there.

9.  Eaten alone at a restaurant:  More times than I can count.

10.  Ability to read music:  Yup, since I was a kid.

11.  Ridden a motorcycle:  Yes, and I still have my license.

12.  Ridden a horse:  Yes, a few times.

13.  Stayed in a hospital:  Yes, abdominal surgery.

14.  Donated blood:  Yes, earned a multigallon pin.

15.  Been snow skiing:  Never.  I've barely been in snow.

16.  Been to Disney World or Disneyland:  Yes, both.

17.  Slept outside:  Yes, camping with family and with Girl Scouts.

18.  Driven a stick shift:  Yes, that's what I learned first.

19.  Ridden in an 18-wheeler:  Not that I can recall.

20.  Ridden in a police car:  Not that I can recall.

21.  Driven a boat:  Yes, small boats when my family lived in Florida.

22.  Eaten escargot:  Yes, once for my birthday.

23.  Been on a cruise:  Yes, when returning to the States from Australia.  We stopped at New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico (mentioned above), Panama, and the Canal Zone (when the latter two were still separate political entities).

24.  Run out of gas:  Yes, two or three times.

25.  Been on TV:  Yes, several times with the USC Marching Band (The Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe).

26.  Eaten sushi:  Yes, many, many times, including several times in Vegas at the San Remo (awesome sushi!).

27.  Seen a UFO:   No.

28.  Been bungie jumping:  Not only no, but hell no.

29.  Visited another continent:  Yes, Australia and Europe.  South America if you count Central America as being part of it.

30.  Been to Ellis Island?  No, but it's on my list.

Not bad, only seven noes.  I expect three of those to stay that way.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What's on Your Genealogy Bookshelf?

I'm way too disorganized for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

(1) Teresa at the Writing My Past blog wrote a post about her genealogy bookshelf, even showing photographs of the books on several of her shelves.  Linda Stufflebean thought this was a good SNGF topic, so here we are! 

(2) Tell us what books, or types of books, are on your genealogy bookshelf/ves in your home.  Do you have a photo of them?  Are there specific books that you use more than others?

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

Well, I'm not only in the same boat as Randy, with too many books on too many shelves and impossible to gather in one photo, but I have lots more books not even on shelves — in boxes, in stacks on the floor, wherever I can fit them.  That's partly because I still haven't finished unpacking after my move (yes, it was more than two years ago, but I have torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, so moving boxes full of books is not an easy thing to do) but also because I still keep getting more books!

That said, I took a photo of several of the books currently closest to my desk.  It's quite a random selection, as you will see.

Instead of laying them on a bed, I kind of organized them on the floor near my desk.  The photo seems a little blurry to me, but I didn't feel up to arranging everything again, and so here we are.

Starting from the left and working across, we have:

The California Register, 1954, Social Blue Book of California
History of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, 1872–1902, Ruth Sanders Thomson
Figures de la première génération:  Les enfants du notaire Michel Roy et leur destin ("Important People of the First Generation:  The Children of Notary Michel Roy and Their Lives"), Raymond Douville, in French
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
Mary Mattoon and Her Hero of the Revolution, Alice M. Walker

The Library:  A Guide to the LDS Family History Library, Johni Cerny and Wendy Elliott, editors
Spirits of the Passage:  The Translatlantic Slave Trade in the Seventeenth Century, Madeleine Burnside and Rosemarie Robotham
The Lanphere Family Research Aid, Shirley (McElroy) Bucknum, compiler
The Southern Magazine:  Mississippi Edition, April–May 1934, Volume I, Number 2
Family Tree Factbook, Diane Haddad and editors of Family Tree Magazine
The Sea Captain's Wife:  A True Story of Love, Race, & War in the Nineteenth Century, Martha Hodes

Census Substitutes & State Census Records, Volume 1:  Eastern States, William Dollarhide
Census Substitutes & State Census Records, Volume 2:  Western States, William Dollarhide
These Hundred Years:  A Chronicle of the Twentieth Century, as Recorded in the Pages of the Youngstown Vindicator
Strange, Amazing, and Funny Events That Happened during the Revolutionary War, Jack Darrell Crowder
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society:  New Perspectives on Civil War–Era Kentucky, Volume 110, Numbers 3 & 4, Summer/Autumn 2012
Nothing Like It in the World:  The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863–1869, Stephen E. Ambrose

Legacy Family Tree User's Guide, Millennia Corporation 
A Directory of Old Boys of Trinity College School, 1865–1960, The T.C.S. Association
The Mississippi Valley Historical Review:  A Journal of American History, Volume XLIII, Number 1, June 1956
МАЛЫЙ АТЛАС МИРА ("Small Atlas of the World"), in Russian

It is rather an eclectic lot, I admit.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Fearless Females!

For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, we have a choice of 31 topics to write on!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

(1) Lisa Alzo developed a series of Fearless Female writing prompts 10 years ago to celebrate National Women's History Month.  This year's listing of prompts is in Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Fearless Females Blogging Prompts.

(2) Today is March 14, so the writing prompt is "
Newsmakers?  Did you have a female ancestor who made the news?  Why?  Was she famous or notorious?  Did she appear in the social column?"  
If you cannot write about that prompt, choose another one from the list.

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

I don't know of any newsmaking female ancestors in my family, so I'm going with the prompt for March 28:  "Do you remember your mother's best friend?  Your grandmother's?  How and where did they meet?  How long were they friends?  What activities did they share?"

It's a fortuitous prompt, because I've actually been thinking about my mother's best friend for the past couple of months.  Her name was Samantha O'Connell, known as Sam.  She was originally from back east, I think Maine.

As far as I know, my mother and Sam met at work.  They worked the graveyard shift at a plant assembling circuit boards.  My mother didn't have a sister of her own, so Sam filled that role, and we called her Aunt Sam.  My father told me that they used to be known as Sam and Mike when they hung out.

I have vague recollections of my mother telling me when she and Sam would go out and play pool with people for money.  My mother was the shill, and Sam then came in and cleaned 'em out.

My mother used to tell me that she and Sam were proto women's libbers.  Then again, after I went to college, my mother started asking me regularly, "When are you getting married?  When are you going to give me a granddaughter?"  So maybe she recovered from being a women's libber.

They were close enough that Sam used to come over often with her children, Cathy and Jeff, for dinner, particularly on holidays.  I remember Jeff didn't like peas, but if we were having peas on a night when they were there, my mother's deal with him was that he had to eat ten peas and then he was off the hook.  He always ate the ten peas.

I especially remember Sam's impact on our holiday menus.  Sam was very fond of ham.  So for Thanksgiving we had turkey and ham.  For Christmas we had turkey and ham.  And of course for Easter we had — you guessed it — ham!  (My mother may not have been the world's most observant Jew.)

We had to prepare for Sam's visits, however.  She was morbidly afraid of snakes, to the point that even a statue of a snake freaked her out.  And my mother had a lovely statue of a cobra with its hood spread out.  So when Sam was coming over, we had to hide it.

Sam got throat cancer at one point.  It had to be before 1971, because we were still living in California when it happened.  While she was recuperating, she was limited in what she could eat, and the main thing she ate was baby food.  Even after she recovered, she still liked baby food.

When Sam got a hangover, it apparently hit her pretty hard.  She used to complain:  "My hair hurts.  My eyebrows hurt.  Everything hurts."

I don't know this from my own memories, but my mother told me that Sam didn't want to be 30, but she didn't want to lie about being younger than she really was.  So she went 29, 31, 31.  I just looked her up in the California Death Index, and she was born in 1937 (and in Maine!  so I remembered that correctly!), so she would have turned 30 in 1967.  I was only 5; that's a good excuse for not being able to remember that on my own.

My mother and Sam remained friends and stayed in touch even after our family moved from California in 1971.  In 1975 Sam remarried (I never knew if her first marriage ended due to divorce or her husband's death), to Don Ellerbrake.  When I returned to California to go to college in 1979, I got in touch with her and talked with her semiregularly.  When she passed away in 1985, I tried to stay in contact with Don, but he seemed to totally forget who I was, so I gave up.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Do You Have a Mary Smith?

When I read this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver, I was positive I wasn't going to have anyone who fit the bill.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here) is:

(1) How many persons named Mary Smith do you have in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How many persons named Mary Smith are ancestors?

(2) Pick out one of those persons named Mary Smith and do some online research for her in Ancestry, FamilySearch, or another set of record collections.  Your goal is to add something to your database.

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

1.  Well, I was totally wrong.  I actually do have a Mary Smith in my family tree.  One.  Just one.  She is not an ancestor; I have no known ancestors named Smith.  This Mary Smith is the wife of my second cousin once removed.

2.  I actually did find a record for my Mary Smith!  On FamilySearch, in an aggregated database, I found a record indicating Mary and her husband were living in Falls Church, Virginia sometime between 1996 and 2007.  I'm sure it's the correct person because the birthdate is exactly as I have it in my database.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday!): RootsTech!!

Here I thought Randy Seaver wasn't going to have a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun during RootsTech, but what does he do?  He makes RootsTech the theme!  But I had no chance to answer the questions yesterday, so I'm playing catch-up today.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

(1) Have you gone to Rootstech?  If so, which years?  

(2) Describe your experience.

(3) Who was your favorite speaker?  

(4) Did you talk with any genealogy "rock stars?"

(5) What was something you learned that you use over and over?

(6) Describe something you enjoyed in the vendor area.

(7) Do you watch the streamed classes live? 

(8) Did you visit the Family History Library?  Describe your experience.

(9) What was your favorite Salt Lake City experience not genealogically related (a restaurant, a landmark, etc.)?

(10) What was a pleasant surprise about your visit that you did not expect?

My thanks to reader Jacquie Schattner for creating this list of questions!!

Okay, here are my answers.

1.  Yes.  I went for the first time in 2015, because I won a contest through Randy's blog, and I have been to the last four, 2017–2020.

2.  I try to attend as many sessions as possible, because I want to get the most out of this kind of educational opportunity.  I usually make a pass through the exhibitor hall once or twice.

3.  My favorite speaker from all the RootsTechs I have attended is probably Myko Clelland of FindMyPast.  I have attended several of his sessions over the years.  I really enjoy his presentation style.

4.  I have spoken with Blaine Bettinger, Thomas MacEntee, and Judy Russell.

5. I learned invaluable information about FamilySearch's Freedmen's Bureau online records collection in 2017 when I attended Ken Nelson's talk about how the collection was assessed, digitized, and indexed.  Because I teach about the Freedmen's Bureau records myself, learning this background information helped me understand the collection better and therefore teach about it better.

6.  My all-time favorite vendor experience at RootsTech was in 2015, when E-Z Photo allowed attendees to scan as many photos as they wanted on very cool Kodak scanners (which then became available in many Family History Centers).  I was able to scan about 350 photos in half an hour, two sided, at high resolution, and 500 total before the end of the conference.

7.  Nope.

8.  I didn't visit the Family History Library this year, but I have during my previous RootsTech trips.  I always found something related to my research.

9.  My favorite Salt Lake City experience not related to genealogy was when I was able to attend concerts by the Utah Symphony, which I did twice.

10.  I had a very pleasant surprise this year, when by pure chance I met someone who is helping coordinate a genealogy society for research in India and the Indian diaspora.  I am still working on trying to find more information about my stepsons' grandfather's family (he was from Punjab).  The group had a meeting on Saturday evening this year, which I was able to attend.  I'm optimistic that this will help a lot of people learn more about their families.