Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wonderful Readers' Top Picks for 2011

As the sun sets on 2011, sit back and enjoy your top 12 picks at The Turning of Generations for this past year. According to Google Analytics these are the most viewed posts this year, so they really are the top pick of my Wonderful Readers.
  1. Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems. This particular series was about William Ballenger's Military Warrant file. Several individual posts in this series made the top 10 so I've combined this into one selection pointing you to the summary post which has links to the individual posts in the series. I was surprised this was so popular and I think we partly have Randy Seaver to thank for highlighting it in his weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs.
  2. Metadata, Image Files and Migration. Something we will want to think more about with some of our projects this coming year for The 21st Century Organized Family Historian (see #8 below). Nira Porter Chambliss of The Door Keepers provided a link in the comments to a really helpful article.
  3. 98th  Edition of COG - Document Analysis! Bessie Maud Passmore Birth Certificate. This post was actually published in October 2010 and for some reason continues to remain high on the hit list with readers. I did go a little overboard with my creative use of metaphor but why it's so popular is a mystery to me. Maybe there are a lot of Passmore researchers out there? Thanks go to Jasia, and her Carnival of Genealogy, for providing the topic for a popular post and one that has put me in contact with a distant cousin.
  4. Mt. St. Helens Eruption - Disasters. A topic that surely is high in search hits, this was part of Amy Coffin's (We Tree Blog) 2011 series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History.
  5. How Do You Organize Your Blog Reading? A topic I still am tinkering with, I'm glad it generated interest.
  6. When is it OK to Throw an Old Photo Away? Sorting Saturday. There was some excellent discussion in the comments on this post and I suspect we will continue to ponder and discuss it in the New Year (see #8 below).
  7. A Look at a Cash Entry Land File - The Summary. I'm pleased you Wonderful Readers have taken an interest in land files. It's a topic I'm finding very interesting and productive as far as making progress in my research. I haven't yet covered the ever popular Homestead Files. Look for that series in 2012. I'm putting a different spin on it.
  8. Introducing the 21st Century Organized Family Historian (#21COFH). I am shocked, pleased, humbled and a little intimidated to see that this one post in the last few days of 2011 made the top 12 for the year! There has been a debate raging in my mind for the last several months as to whether or not to do this series as I wasn't sure if there would really be much interest. Considering that this one post generated an all time high in daily hits to The Turning of Generations, I would say there is some pent up interest in the community! My hope (besides getting this family archival mess straightened up) is that we all can learn from each other by going through this process. Let's get it done!
  9. Treasure Chest Thursday - The Time Capsule - Part 2. This series is from 2010 and while I'm not sure why this one post from the series popped up as number 9 but I'm really glad. Examining and preserving the contents of a suitcase of my great grandmother, Frances Lowe, was a favorite project. I've updated the post to include links to the other articles in the series.
  10. The Green 1964 Chevy Impala. This was another 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, the topic of which was - cars. Classic cars are always fun.
  11. COG-Scrapbooking Your Family History! Frances Lowe Another  Carnival of Genealogy topic, scrapbooking of any kind is always fun.
  12. Progress on the Archival Closet on Sorting Saturday. This is the perfect post to end your list of top choices from 2011. Progress has been made! More progress will occur in 2012. I think I see an Archival Room in my future!
Have a safe and Happy New Year!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Introducing The 21st Century Organized Family Historian

Compliments of freeclipartnow

In 2012 you can look right here, at The Turning of Generations, every Sunday, for my new series The 21st Century Organized Family Historian.

I'm finding myself in an interesting position in the aftermath of clearing out The Family Home, as the curator of my family's archives. But this family's archives cover a span of over 130 years from the earlier years of photography, a time when letters were handwritten or typed and copies were made with carbon paper, through the digital age of today. Somehow I've got to get this mess mass of information organized so that it will be useful not only for myself but future generations. It needs to be preserved but also presented in a way that will appeal to my children's generation; a generation that was born in the digital age.

(OK, read between the lines here - my house is a freaking mess now and I want to get it cleaned up and get on with life and family history. There. I said it!)

Since I know I'm not alone in this position, I'm working on a weekly series with small projects so we can take baby steps toward getting our family's materials organized in a useful and appealing way.

Each week I will post a "project" that can be completed in one week. These will be based on the many projects from my family archives. Then in a separate post, I'll explain the specific task I chose and how I completed it. I hope you Wonderful Readers will participate by posting comments or in your own separate post with:
  1. Suggestions for how we might go about completing our projects, or
  2. A project of your own based upon the posted "assignment."
I hope many of you will be moved to participate regularly or when the topic moves you. In the process we will get control of this mess err, mass of material and information in a way that will allow us and those who come after to use it effectively in this 21st century digital age.

I'm working on a badge for participants to display on their blogs or web pages so stay tuned...

Related posts in reverse chronological order:

Develop a Digital Organizational Scheme - Week 2
Resources for Organizing the Family Archive
Week1 - Holiday Greeting Cards

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Going to Happen

I've decided. We are going to do it. Check back in a couple days to find out more!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Busted on Christmas Eve - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Compliments of
The Vintage Cottage

This is my contribution for Randy Seaver's SNGF - Being Santa Claus.

The mission:

1) Tell us your favorite memory of "being Santa Claus." Have you ever put on the red suit? Were you Santa Claus to your children or grandchildren? Did you bring gifts to people out of the love in your heart?

2) Tell us in a comment to this blog post, in your own blog post, in a Facebook status or a Google Plus stream post.


Most parents are familiar with the Christmas Eve ritual of putting together Santa's gifts on Christmas Eve. Our family is no different. Except I also wrap the stocking stuffers and a gift from Santa in wrapping paper different from that of the rest of the family. On this particular year, our youngest was maybe 3. Definitely young enough to really believe in Santa Claus. The children were tucked all snug in their beds and I had Santa gifts spread all over the living room floor for assembly and special wrapping treatment. It looked just like Santa's workshop.

All of a sudden this tiny voice behind me spoke! This "Santa" freaked out and froze. I was caught. Red handed. I don't remember why she was out of bed but Husband was a quick thinker swooping her up and flying up the stairs and out of sight with our little darling. Apparently she was sleep walking (for the first time), wasn't coherent and had no memory of the incident in the morning. Whew!!! Santa was off the hook and a merry Christmas was had by all.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday season!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Family History Expos Call For Bloggers of Honor

This just out from Family History Expos for those interested in being Bloggers of Honor for Family History Expos in early 2012:

Family History Expos is now accepting applications from those interested in participating as Bloggers of Honor at one of the following 2012 Expos:

Yuma Arizona Expo January 17
Hilton Garden Inn / Pivot Point Conference Center
310 Madison
Yuma, AZ 85364

Mesa Arizona Expo January 20-21
Mesa Convention Center
263 N. Center Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

St. George Utah Expo February 24-25
The Dixie Center
1835 Convention Center Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

Types of Blogs that will qualify you as a Blogger of Honor:
  • Family History or Genealogy Blog
  • Family History Product or Service Provider
  • Library, Archive or Research Center
  • Professional Genealogist
  • Preservation Awareness
  • Restoration Projects
  • Information Provider
  • Other Blogs of Historical Interest
Chosen Bloggers of Honor will receive:
  • Full Registration Benefits
  • Listing on Event Website with Hotlink to Blog
  • Promotion on Family History Expos Blog
  • Gift Bag Provided by Expo Sponsors and Exhibitors
Bloggers of Honor will be expected to:
  • Announce the Expo and Sponsors
  • Promote Expo Speakers, Exhibitors, and Activities
  • Share Press Release Information
  • Highlight Websites, Tools, and Discoveries Made
  • Share Blogging Tips with Attendees
  • Report Daily on Presentations and Exhibits
  • Summarize Overall Expo Experience
To be considered as a Blogger of Honor fill out the application below and submit to Family History Expos at

Your Full Name:
Email Address:
Blog URL:
Blog Description:
Which Event(s):
Three References:
  1. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
  2. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
  3. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
300 word essay on why you want to be a Blogger of Honor:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

ProGen Month 2

When my kids were in the public school system, I was on an advisory council at our high school. One day our principal gave a presentation on how education has changed since we were in school. Today some very odd combinations of majors can lead to careers in unexpected fields. At the root of his talk was this concept of the need for people of all ages today to become "lifelong learners."

Education and Careers were the topics of our second month of ProGen and I was reminded of our principal's presentation. Not only can interesting combinations of college majors lead you to unexpected careers, but the experiences and education we obtain in our jobs can lead to yet other interesting and even more fulfilling fields of work later in life. Consider this possibility: a business major in college gets a job with a title insurance company investigating the validity of the title to properties that are being sold. Down the road, that individual starts a business as a house historian. I'm making that particular example up but stop and think about it. What do you have in your educational, work background or even hobbies that could lend itself to the broad field of genealogy and family history?

My take aways this month: think outside of the box and be a "lifelong learner." I think being a lifelong learner comes naturally to family historians and genealogists. We have a natural hunger to know more. Otherwise we wouldn't be interested in our family history would we?

The lightbulb moment actually came after our assignments were completed. I realized, as a "lifelong learner" who also loves photography and has a humongous collection of family photos spanning more than 125 years, that I need to learn more about the history of photography. Particularly the printing of older photos and recognizing identifying features in and about those pictures that will help in dating and identifying the subjects and their surroundings. That lesson was learned from the series, Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo, and the wonderful comments and assistance I received from readers. Thank you!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

CSI & Genealogy?

Tonight's episode of CSI combined murder and genealogy! A real genealogy drama episode. I never would have expected it but frankly tonight's CSI was delightful. They did a wonderful job of portraying genealogy and genealogists. I agree with Greta's conclusion - a spinoff would be grand!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, December 12, 2011

She Educates and She Entertains

Yep, she's at it again. Sheri Fenley, aka The Educated Genealogist has taken another break from educating her fans to do some entertaining. Today yours truly is a featured "guest." Hop on over and check out the latest edition of Sheri's Christmas Video Series.

Since it's windy and rainy here in Arizona today, I'll have another cup of that hot chocolate, please!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And Then It Was Gone

Please enjoy this morning's total lunar eclipse over Phoenix, Arizona.

The moon is still there but you have to look really closely.

And then it was gone. Poof! I thought it would reappear but it never did. I imagine it either set or descended into the haze along the horizon. We were left with this brilliant burst of color instead.

Photos taken by Michelle Goodrum.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, December 9, 2011

That's One Small Step for Man - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Photo by J. Richard Roos
I always was and still am fascinated by outer space so it's no surprise that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's becoming the first two men to walk on the moon is deeply etched in my mind.

Our family was on Whidbey Island, Washington that hot, sunny day on July 21, 1969. Our black and white TV was showing transmissions from space while us kids played on the beach, anxiously running inside every so often to see if it the Eagle had landed. I don't remember the harrowing search for a landing spot or how close they came to running out of fuel. I just remember a spaceship setting down on the moon! After the Eagle landed, I remember Mom telling us that the astronauts had to take a nap before they could go for their moon walk. That meant we had to wait. Sheez!! I've always wondered if they really slept! Would you have been able to? I don't think I could have!!

It was a long afternoon for this 9 year old girl. Finally, sometime after we had eaten dinner and us kids returned to play on the beach, someone called to us that it was time. It was so incredibly exciting then and now to think of a human being walking on the moon. I still like to sit and look at the moon on a nice evening and think about those days and what it must have been like for those men to see an earthrise. I still love to watch documentaries about the moon program.

True to form, Dad was there with his camera taking pictures of the fuzzy images from space appearing on TV. I am so glad that he did! You have to use your imagination a little to decipher the picture but then if you were watching TV on July 21, 1969, it shouldn't be too diffucult.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Scrapbook template is "Colorful Memories" designed by Story Rock and can be found at

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't Miss Out on Early Bird Registration

The Family History Expo is coming to Mesa, Arizona on January 20-21, 2012. The Early Bird Registration rate of $49 for both days expire very soon - December 12th. After that the rate for the entire conference will be $99.00. Don't miss out!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Dear Genea Santa

Dear Genea Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year. I have been going to school regularly to become a better genealogist and family historian and have been working hard to organize my family's papers I was so fortunate to inherit.

It would be great if you could put a monopod and an Eye-Fi card in my stocking so that I can better keep up with the family history we will be creating next year. Also, if you could give me the clue I need to determine for sure who William H. Ballinger's parents are that would be awesome!

It wouldn't hurt if you could also point me in the right direction to find Daniel A. Robinson's parents. I'm getting burned out on him too!

Thank you so much Genea Santa!

Head on over to Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for your mission.
© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Artwork compliments of Dana's Footprint Designs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Summary

For the last several days, we have been examining this photo for clues and researching to see if we can answer the question, "Is the woman in the photo Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods?" I believe the answer to be yes. Let's summarize and see if you agree.

The clues provided in the photo:
  • The photo was taken in Denver.
  • The photographer is G.R. Appel, 1579 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado.
  • On the back of the photo, Frances (Robinson) Lowe wrote "Walt Wood's mother." Frances is the daughter of Nancy Robinson mentioned below.
  1. Using the prior series, about Mary Ann Ballenger,  I was able to link Mary Ann to her parents, and 2 siblings, Nancy and John via a census record. And have linked her to Boulder, Colorado (the home of the Ballenger family in the 1860's, 70's and possibly early 1880's). Using the previously discussed newspaper article, which is transcribed below, we can link Mary Ann to Boulder, Colorado and to her sister Nancy. 

Returns After Many Years.
Mrs. Milton Y. Woods, of Telluride, is in the city, accompanied by her three children. They are domiciled at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Robinson. Mrs. Woods is a sister of Mrs. Robinson, and in her girlhood days was well and favorable known as Miss Mary Ballinger. She comes to spend a short time with her relatives and friends, all of whom receive her cordially. It is about fifteen years since the visitor chose the southern part of the state as her home.
2. In Part 1 of this series, we linked Mary and her husband Milton to their son Walter W. Woods(possibly the person named on the back of the photo)  by using the 1900 and 1910 Census. In 1900, they are living in Telluride which is in the southern part of Colorado (consistent with the newspaper article).

3. We tie Walter Woods to Frances (Robinson) Lowe (former owner of the photograph) in Part 3, by using the 1920 and 1930 census and a get well card and note sent to Frances from Walt and Maude.

4. We can complete the circle by tying Frances (Robinson) Lowe to Nancy (Ballenger) Robinson as her daughter. We haven't discussed it in this article so you will have to take my word for it that I have Family Bible photographs showing Frances' birth in Boulder, her marriage also in Boulder, Frances' death certificate naming Nancy Ballinger as her mother, photos of Nancy that Frances labelled with Nancy's name and identified Nancy as her mother, the 1880 census showing Frances with her parents Dan and Nancy, and much more.

Clues from the photo that are important were discussed in Part 2, and the comments through out this series. The fact that the photo was taken in Denver (or at least the photographer had his studio in Denver) links the woman to the state of Colorado. The puffy sleeves date the photo around the mid 1890s. The photographer was in business at the address listed on the card during the same time frame. Thank you to Brett of Photo Sleuth blog and Sue at Family Folklore blog for your assistance in dating the photo!

What do you think? Is the woman in the photo, identified only as "Walt Wood's mother," Mary Ann (Ballinger) Woods?

Links from this series:
Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Elusive Mary Ann Ballenger
Mary Ann Ballenger Woods Continued

Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 1
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 2
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 3
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 4


1900 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, California Precinct 10, sheet 13 B and 14 A, dwelling 229 & family 250, Milton Y. Woods family; digital image, ( accessed 21 February 2010), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 127.

1910 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, Precinct 106 sheet 6 B, dwelling 139 & family 129, Walter Woods; digital image, ( accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 123.
1920 U.S. Census, Rosebud County, Montana. Population schedule, District 121, sheet 1A, family 11, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 975.

1930 U.S. Census, King County, Washington. Population Schedule, North Bend, sheet 4B, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2490.
Ballenger & Richards, …Annual Denver City Directory…(Denver: Ballenger & Richards, 1892), p. 114, for “Appel, Gustaf R, photographer.” See also Gustaf’s entries under “Appel” in Denver City Directories for subsequent years with varying subtitles, specifically: ( 1894) 120, (1896) 121, (1899) 123.

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers (http://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.) : accessed 30 November 2011.

Walt and Maude, letter, 14 June 1949, get well card and note; Lowe Family Papers, Privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Mesa, AZ.
Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum