Friday, December 31, 2010

Ancestor Approved

The Ancestor Approved Award is still going around and I've been fortunate enough to receive it again from:

Cheri Daniels of Journeys Past
Lazylover at Slowly Being Driven Mad by the Ancestors
Dee-Burris from Shakin' the Family Tree

I can't thank them enough for thinking enough of The Turning of Generations to include it in their Ancestor Approved Award.

The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlighted you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.


My great grandfather, John Eugene Roos, established the Cheney Bakery in the young town of Cheney, Washington where my grandfather and father grew up. I have many fond memories of the time our family spent there on visits during my childhood.

My great great grandfather, Jean Nicolas Georger, had a saloon in Cheney called Nick's Place.

My great grandmother, Hulda Haun Mitchell committed suicide in Tum Tum, Washington by throwing herself in the Spokane River when her youngest child was only 10 months old.

The extended family who settled in Stillwater County, Montana during the late 1800's, is more extensive than I ever could have imagined and I am still discovering more.

Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel Donelson is my 1st cousin six times removed.

Daniel A. Robinson, my great great grandfather, was an early settler and community leader in Boulder, Colorado. He continued service to his community when he moved to Columbus, Montana for the last few years of his life.


My grandfather, Richard Roos, served overseas during World War I. He reported for duty just a few months after the death of his mother.

Elizabeth Haun, my great great grandmother, emigrated from Germany with her husband and young family which included my great grandmother, Hulda Haun, who was just an infant. That had to have been a challenging and difficult trip.


There are so many ancestors in my tree who were farmers. They contributed to the settlement of our great country by moving west and making a living off the land.

By the same token, there are also quite a few ancestors who were businessmen, leaders and contributors to their communities in a variety of ways. This includes my parents. I can't help but feel that they passed on a belief of and commitment to community service to each succeeding generation all the way down to my children. I tip my hat to them.

Here are my 10 choices for the Ancestor Approved Award.

  1. Kerry at Clue Wagon
  2. Cynthia of Heritage Zen:
  3. Tonia's Roots
  4. Donna from What's Past is Prologue
  5. Linda of Documenting the Details
  6. Carol at Reflections From The Fence
  7. Gini of Ginisology
  8. Barbara of Life From The Roots
  9. Susan at Nolichucky Roots
  10. Nancy from Sassy Jane Genealogy
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 30, 2010

101st Carnival of Genealogy - Genealogy Research/Writing Plan for 2011

The topic for the 101st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011. Figure out what you think you can accomplish in 2011 and write it up on your blog.

Thanks to fM for the poster.

My plan is to find and prove the identify of the parents of my gg grandfather, William H. Ballinger, who was living with his wife Lucinda and their children in Black Oak, Mahaska County, Iowa in 1856.

I've been struggling with this for several years now and I've finally got enough information together to come up with a hypothesis. So 2011 is going to be the year I answer the question. Here's the plan.

Condensed version of known facts
  1. Living in Adams Twp., Mahaska Co, IA 1854 (IA State Census).
  2. Living in Black Oak, Mahaska Co., IA 1856 (IA State Census).
  3. Associated with John F., Samuel and Jeremiah Ballinger by proximity and business/land transactions (deeds, land maps, census records).
This is quite literally the kindergarten condensed version. I have lots more specific information and sources. if you are researching this line, please contact me.

Working Hypothesis

John F. and Catherine Ballinger were William's parents.

Research Strategy

  1. Investigate Ballingers in Mahaska County, Iowa will and probate records. I will be pulling all Ballingers that show up in order to identify or eliminate people.
  2. Finish transcribing, plotting and analyzing land records for Ballingers in Mahaska County.
Identified Sources

I have prepared a list of films that will need to be ordered from the Family History Library in order to carry out my research strategy.

This should keep me busy for quite a while. Thanks Jasia for prompting me to come up with a formal plan to accomplish this goal that has been in the works for a long time!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - Desert Botanical Garden's Luminarias

    An annual holiday event at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden is Las Noches de Las Luminarias. We had the good fortune to enjoy the evening stroll while enjoying the lights and music.

    I didn't feel like dragging my tripod along so I was pretty happy to get these two photos with semi steady hands.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    There's Still Time To Win A Ticket To The Arizona Family History Expo

    That's right you still have time to enter my drawing for one of two tickets to the Arizona Family History Expo.

    Send an email to turningofgenerations at cox dot net with your name and email address and tell me why you want to attend the Arizona Family History Expo. Then if you are a winner, all you have to do is come say hi to me at the Expo. Easy!

    Two winners will be drawn at random on January 3rd so you need to get your entry in by January 2nd to be eligible. See you at the Expo!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Advent Calendar - December 24 – Christmas Eve

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum  Our favorite Christmas Eve activity actually started several days ahead. When our kids were little, we were boarding our horses at a friend's place so we would pile the kids and some of their friends in the car and go down to visit the horses. While we were there, we would get a small amount of grain and hay to leave out as a snack for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve.

    Shortly before the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve, we would go out front and leave the reindeer their snack in the front yard. Then after they were asleep, Husband would go out and clean most of it up but he would always leave some scraps. Since the reindeer were in a hurry, they left quite a trail of hay across the front yard, on the garden wall, the bushes next to the house, and even several strands hanging from the edge of the roof.

    In the morning, usually after we opened presents, we would go outside and those little girls were absolutely enthralled with the trail of hay Santa's reindeer left behind!

    Photo by jonseidman1988

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Win a free registration to the Arizona Family History Expo!

    Are you up for learning some new tricks? This ol' dog sure is!

    I've got two tickets for free registrations at the Arizona Family History Expo in Mesa and I'm itching to give them away. Send an email to turningofgenerations at cox dot net with your name and email address and tell me why you want to attend the Arizona Family History Expo. Then if you are a winner, all you have to do is come say hi to me at the Expo. Easy!

    Two winners will be drawn at random on January 3rd so you need to get your entry in by January 2nd to be eligible. See you at the Expo!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    There's Still Time To Vote For Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

    There's still time to vote for Family Tree Magazine's 2011 Best Genealogy Blogs. You have until Monday, December 20 at 11:59 p.m. To see the complete list of nominees, click here.

    The Turning of Generations is honored to have been nominated in the New Blogs cagetory! There are many really awesome new blogs out there, so I truly do appreciate the nomination.

    Get out and excercise your right to vote. If you've already voted, do it again. You can vote as many times as you like. Oh yes, and if you like this blog, please check the box next to The Turning of Generations!

    Good luck to all of the nominees. There are some fantastic blogs that have been nominated.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Advent Calendar - December 19 – Christmas Shopping

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum  Christmas shopping has really changed in our family the past few years. I can remember getting up early on Black Friday to hit the stores and get the good deals. Husband even stood in line at 4 AM one year to get a screaming deal on a ping pong table for the kids. Now Youngest Child is the one getting up at oh dark thirty to get the good deals and stretch her limited budget. This year, I must say she did quite well, from what I've seen that is...

    I am another story. I love to shop online and find that perfect gift for those hard to shop for people (and we have several in our family). If I work it right, I sometimes manage to find a deal or at least free shipping. I still spent plenty of time in the stores but online shopping has been a real Godsend and has made the holidays a little less frantic.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    A Digital Genealogical Disaster Plan or What's the Minimal Amount of Family HIstory to Pass On?

    For a while now I've had something nagging at me. After reading Michael John Neill's Rootdig post titled Cleaning Mother's House, it's really been niggling at me; especially as it relates to digital files. Today we seem to accumulate more and more digital documents through continuing research as well as by scanning our paper documents. Don't get me wrong, we should be digitizing, backing up, and migrating our files as technology changes. But I also think about who is going to be left with these files that could be wiped out with the stroke of a few keys. If that statement made your skin crawl, it should!

    If you have family members who aren't as enthusiastic about family history research as you are, you have a potential digital nightmare on your hands should you die or become incapacitated. None of us wants our hard work to be wiped out by disaster or deliberate act but that's exactly what could happen.

    I've been toying with a "Digital Genealogical Disaster Plan" of sorts. It's along the same lines as a natural disaster plan: if you have 3 minutes to get out of your house, what are you going to grab? If you die or are incapacitated tomorrow, what do you want your family to know is important?

    I've started a file called "1IMPORTANT-DONT THROW AWAY-THIS MEANS YOU" (the title starts with a 1 so it sorts to the top). In it go copies of only the most important genealogy and family history files. I'm hoping to make my family understand that if they don't/can't save everything, at least they need to save these items. If I use the KISS method (Keep It Simple Silly), I'm hoping to have some success.

    This file folder will contain things like:
    • A backup copy of my database with all of its cited information.
    • A pdf "dump" of the contents of my database.
    • Copies of really super critical original documents.
    • One of a kind copies of ancestral photos.
    • A copy of the Heirloom Book.
    • Notes of interviews with family members (including notes about my own life).
    The trick is in deciding what is so important that it just can't be thrown away. I'm hoping, if I keep it really, really simple, maybe this file folder will have a better chance of surviving into the future where someone will realize the valuable treasure they have on their hands.

    Surely there will be more to say on this in future posts. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts too.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Advent Calendar - December 18 - Christmas Stockings

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum Oh, how Christmas stockings have changed since I was a child! Like food portions in our society, the stocking sizes have grown! A few years ago, Mom gave me my childhood stocking thinking I might like to hang it over the fireplace on Christmas Eve. Actually, I would have loved to but it would have been about half the size of everyone else's!

    As a kid, we would find our stockings stuffed, on Christmas morning, with Santa's gifts wrapped in the same paper Mom used for everything else. I never could understand that but also never thought to ask.

    I looked forward to the chocolate coins Santa would leave every year. In the bottom of the stocking there was always a navel orange which made for a good mid-morning snack. As an adult, I found out Santa always left Dad a navel orange in his stocking when he was growing up. It seems that it was a good way to make sure the stocking was full during the Depression and WWII years. My parents continued the tradition. I have been known on an occassion to put those scrumptious Cutie oranges in my family's stocking as well.

    Photo by melalouise

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Advent Calendar - December 17th - Favorite Holiday Shows

    With only 3 major TV networks to choose from when I was a kid growing up in the 1960s, our television holiday choices were somewhat limited, unlike today with cable TV and dozens of channels to choose from. It seems like we mostly watched the same shows in December year after year: A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frost the Snowman, and my favorite, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (For a trip down memory lane check out the list of US Christmas specials on wikipedia.)

    I have to admit, however, the second half of Rudolph, after he ran away and came across the Abominable Snowman, was a bit more than I could take. I had to leave and hide my head under a pillow in another room until it was safe to come out. Admittedly, I missed quite a bit of Rudolph in those days. Fortunately, I outgrew my fear of the Abominable Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer remains one of my favorite holiday TV shows.

    Photo by foggydave
    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Treasure Chest Thursday - Or - It Takes a Thief

    When I was a kid I remember a "safe" sitting in my grandparents extra bedroom. It was more of a file cabinet with a combination lock on the bottom compartment. We used to sit and twirl the dial trying to open it up.

    After my grandparents passed, the "safe" was moved to Dad's office where it sat for many years. Recently another family member expressed interest in having the "safe." Suddenly there was a need to open it and see what was inside. But how? No one alive seems to know the combination or where it might have been written down.

    Enter Husband with his common sense ingenuity; and a butter knife. Yep, he popped that baby open like it a pro! While there was no family fortune waiting inside, there was a family historian's delight: old photos, letters and other documents. Some of which are both valuable and helpful. Others have left me with questions but no answers.

    Check back over the next couple of weeks and I'll share a few items. You might even be able to answer some questions for me.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum
    Photo by Marcin Wichary

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - ZooLights

    This tree was one of our favorites this year at The Phoenix Zoo's ZooLights.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs Nominees

    I've been travelling for a few days without normal conveniences like internet or TV. What a nice surprise to return and see The Turning of Generations has been nominated for Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs! You can go here to see the entire list and vote.

    Thank you genealogy blogging community for the nomination!!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Arizona Family History Expo Blogger of Honor

    I am pleased and very honored to be able to announce that I have been named as a Blogger of Honor for the 2011 Arizona Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona.

    For a complete list of Bloggers of Honor as well as other bloggers who will be in attendance, you can check out Family History Expo's latest blog post.

    I'll have more info, news and a freebie so stay tuned...

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    An Adventure In The Cemetery

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum Recently I wrote about stumbling across my grgr grandmother, Elisabeth Georger's tombstone on Findagrave. Right before Thanksgiving, my family went to a softball tournament in southern California not far from where Elisabeth is buried. The tournament was rained out so we had time on our hands. Softball Player went to Disneyland with her teammates and Husband and I headed to Calvary Cemetery with our raincoats and umbrella.

    I had called ahead to get the burial location for Elisabeth and also asked if her husband, Jean Nicolas Georger, was by chance buried there as well. He was!

    First we stopped at the office to get an idea of just where in this humongous cemetery we should be looking. Apparently this is the New Calvary Cemetery. The original cemetery was located near downtown Los Angeles and that is where Elisabeth was originally buried. A school was built on the site and all of the remains were moved to the current location. Unfortunately, many records have been lost and the very nice people in the office were unable to tell me her burial location.

    After getting our bearings on the location of Nicolas Georger's burial site, and that of another relative, we headed out into the rain. We did find Nicolas but were not as lucky with the other relative. However, we did find other family members in the same area.

    Husband and I ended up soaking wet but nonetheless very satisfied at having found my gr gr grandfather's Jean Nicolas Georger's marker.

    We are befuddled about Elisabeth, however. We know her stone is in that cemetery somewhere! Right now I am feeling like I went for a virtual walk in the cemetery, tripped over the exact tombstone I was looking for, but when I turned around to see the tombstone, it had vanished! AAAGGGHHH!

    My very smart cousin has made a suggestion as to how we might proceed.  So, it looks like I have a little project on my hands. I will keep you posted.

    To read the rest of the story:
    To cite this article:
    Goodrum, Michelle. “An Adventure In The Cemetery.”The Turning of Generations, 9 December 2010. : accessed [access date].

    Artwork by wackystuff

    Advent Calendar - December 9 – Grab Bag

    When I was a child, my parents would put presents under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas, as the presents were wrapped. Crawling around under the tree to discover any new packages was great fun. It was even more fun to try and guess what was in the package!

    When Santa came Christmas Eve, he would stuff our stocking with wrapped gifts and leave "the big gift" unwrapped under the tree. I was always perplexed though. Santa used the same wrapping paper as my parents. I just didn't get it.

    When we had a family of our own, I was determined not to leave any question whatsoever as to the genuineness of Santa Claus. Special wrapping or tissue paper was purchased and hidden. Any gifts that went into the stockings must have different wrapping paper from presents under the tree. We laugh about it now but apparently I was successful.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - ZooLights

    This desert display at The Phoenix Zoo's ZooLights reminded me of the Harry Potter series.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Advent Calendar - Santa Claus

    Do I believe in Santa Claus? You bet!

    There's nothing like seeing the wonderment in a child's eyes and hearing squeals (or screams) of joy on Christmas morning when they see what Santa brought.  Even playing Santa Claus through various charitable programs leaves me feeling really good even though I never see the faces of the children and their families.

    Preserving that spirit is not without challenges however. One year the neighbor kids told our kids that it's Mom or Dad who writes the thank you note Santa leaves next to his milk and cookies. We had to go though handwriting analysis to prove it really was Santa who was writing those notes. A little nerve wracking but we passed.

    I don't know exactly when Oldest Child figured out the truth about Santa Claus. We knew that she knew but she wasn't about to come clean. It turns out she was afraid she wouldn't get any more gifts from Santa if she let on to what she knew.

    Youngest Child came home from school in 6th grade and sat me down for "the talk." Her best friend's mom had given her daughter "the talk" and now Youngest Child needed to know what was really going on. It was a traumatic conversation for the both of us, tears and all.

    Our conversation ended with this: everyone is Santa Claus. This is the season of giving and it's as much fun, if not more, to play Santa by giving as it is to receive. Santa is not going away. With that, we started a new tradition in our family; Santa still stuffs the stockings Christmas Eve, only now there are several Santas doing the stocking stuffing in our house.

    We also do at least one Christmas Angel every year, which the kids immensely enjoy assisting in selecting the gifts. I just wish we could be flies on the wall and see the wonderment and hear the sounds of joy from those children for whom we were able to play Santa.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Advent Calendar - Outdoor Decorations

    One of our family's favorite ways of enjoying outdoor holiday decorations over the years has been to visit the annual ZooLights display at the Phoenix Zoo. We have taken many out of town guests to ZooLights and have seen immense changes as it has grown. Visiting the zoo at night has also been a great way to see some of the nocturnal animals when they are more active.

    The constantly changing colored ball over the lake is a new addition since our last visit to ZooLights.

    Every few minutes a new piece of holiday music is played and the lights in this avenue of trees change in time to the music. It attracts quite a crowd.

    This is the first year we went with no children (they had other plans). I have to say, it's just not the same without kids. However, I was able to be my geeky self by bringing my camera bag and tripod along without having to embarass any teens!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    December 4 – Christmas Cards

    The tradition of sending Christmas cards seems to have changed over the last hundred years. This year, I'm going to focus on my great grandparents generation. They seemed to like to send postcards like these.

    I am really thankful to have them because this line would have been a dead end for us otherwise. We have literally pieced the family together through clues left in their correspondence. Unfortunately for me, much of it is in French, which I do not speak, so translating has been slow!

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #48

    This week Amy over at The We Tree Genealogy Blog asks us to:

    Week 48: Examine different online tools for cataloging your personal genealogy library and keeping track of the books you read.
    Several weeks ago, I set up a LibraryThing account to begin inputting all of my genealogy and family history related books. I was very surprised at how easy it was to input the books and add them to my account! For the most part, all I had to do was enter the book title. Then LibraryThing would do it's thing by finding the book and its relevant information. Now I am beginning to play around with the tags.

    A feature I like is that you can print out your book list, if you feel the need. I plan on doing this before the next conference I go to so I don't make any duplicate purchases.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    There's One In Every Family - 100th Edition of COG

    Every family has that someone who is "special." We all define special in slightly different ways. In my case the special someone was my dad. He played many roles including that of teacher, the one who always made time for those he loved, a maker of memories, a recorder of memories, and a keeper of memories.

    We are all teachers. We teach by just doing what we do every day. Someone is always watching and learning, especially children. Dad had this concept dialed in. When I was about nine, Dad was building a deck on our place. I was hanging around watching him lay the boards and nail them down. So he showed me how to hammer nails and straighten out the ones that were a little bent so they could still be used. I spent quite a bit of time straightening out my bent nails so occasionally he had me straighten out the ones he had bent a little too.

    Not only did Dad teach me a skill and how to solve a problem, he did it in such a way that he was able to continue with his project and actually make some progress while keeping a little kid busy at the same time! Looking back, I think he knew exactly what he was doing. The deck got built and I helped.

    Dad was the same way with his grandkids too. Dad loved to garden and when it was time to weed, he would take the grandkids kids along to "help".

    He would give them their own can to put weeds in. Then he would go along, pull weeds and leave them for the kids to pick up. The grandkids would even pull a few weeds themselves, until they got bored...

    When it was time to pull carrots, he taught them how to break the tops off and rinse them. Then it would be snack time. I'm sure there were  a lot of carrots that never made it into the house.

    To this day my children have fond memories of gardening with Grandpa. I even recently found out that one day he decided to take a nap under his tomato plants!

    Dad would also make time for just about anything. On one visit, Husband and I decided to take the kids to Port Townsend for a picnic. I was looking for a place called Chetzamoka Park. It was one of those spur of the moment "just because" types of adventures. We asked Dad if he wanted to come along even though he had mentioned earlier he was going to fix something around the house. Being one not to miss out on something potentially fun, he jumped at the chance. We found the park and had a lovely picnic. At one point he asked what the point was in coming all the way to Port Townsend for a picnic so I reminded him of the ferry we used to ride when we were little kids named the Chetzamoka. I just wanted to find the park with the same name.

    Being an avid photographer, Dad was also a recorder of memories. Unfortunately, that meant he was behind the camera way more often than he was in front of it. Now it's hard to find him in any pictures.

    As it turns out, Dad wasn't just the maker and recorder of memories; he was also the keeper of memories. I mostly have him to thank for all of the family history we have right at our fingertips. I suspect there are a number of our family lines that essentially would have turned out to be dead ends if it wasn't for the various letters, postcard, photos, and other documents that he saved.

    Thank you Jasia for this opportunity to share my someone special in the 100th Carnival of Genealogy and congratulations on making it to 100! I’m looking forward to many more.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Advent Calendar - The Christmas Tree

    Growing up we always had a real Christmas tree. It seemed like it was huge but as an adult, when I stand in our family's living room, I realize it wasn't all that tall because we didn't have tall ceilings! I was just small. We would all decorate the tree every year.

    After Husband and I were living in Arizona and had a family of our own, we continued to purchase a real tree every year. It was quite the production with the entire family driving around town to all the Christmas tree lots to find the very best tree. The kids thought it was great fun and they would come home tired so it worked out wonderfully!

    Over time, we realized we were waiting until closer and closer to Christmas to buy our real tree so that it wouldn't be all dried out by the time Christmas Day rolled around. We tried to do all the right things to keep our trees from drying out but the dry Arizona environment just isn't conducive to real Christmas trees. Finally, we gave in and bought a huge, beautiful, but fake tree. Now we buy a nice smelling "real" wreath to make up for the lack of a real tree.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

    Wordless Wednesday - Javelina Alert

    Teenager walked in the family room earlier this week and said she thought she saw a javelina disappear behind a bush out back of  the house. I grabbed my camera and headed up on the deck. It turns out there was a whole family out for a late afternoon walk! Javelina are regulars around here although this particular family is usually seen very early in the morning.

    This one seemed to be watching over...

    Mom and her two babies.

    © 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum