Friday, April 30, 2010

NGS Conference Day 3

I had forgotten that learning can be so exhausting and exhilarating!  It didn't help that I closed down the Family History Library at 11 last night either.

This morning I played hookie and slept in, missing the first session.  It was time well spent.  The rest of the morning was spent in, "The Master Genealogist Advanced" where Bob Velke went over filters, tag groups, sources and reports.  It was all the meat and potatoes kind of information that I wanted to learn from this excellent speaker.  He finished up with some of the very cool features that will be coming out in version 8.

After lunch, I perused the never ending vendor hall and became a member of ISFHWE - International Society of Family History Writers and Editors.  They have a number of great benefits and at $15 a year, is an excellent value.

After lunch, I listened to, "The Science of Keeping Records" given by Christopher McAfee who is a conservator.  His talk was excellent and right up the alley of this "family archivist/keeper of everything."

The day was wrapped up by Barry Ewell's fabulous presentation, "Digital Photography for Genealogists."  It was jam packed with excellent tips.  He could have gone on for another couple of hours and kept my attention.  Afterward, I went right to work putting some of what I learned to good use by grabbing my camera and heading out to take pictures of the beautiful tulips in the area around the hotel.  I can't wait to apply some of his other techniques.

One more day...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NGS Salt Lake City - The Halfway Mark

Well, I've made it halfway through this year's NGS Conference in Salt Lake City. We've experienced a warm sunny day, a terribly windy afternoon, and now snow, more snow and wind. The weather has been interesting to say the least!

The conference is huge and from what I hear maybe one of the largest they have ever had. Every one of the speakers have been excellent and I leave the conference at the end of the day exhausted from all of the wonderful learning that has gone on. From what I have been able to see, it has been extremely well run - an impressive feat!

Favorite speakers so far:
  • Thomas W. Jones - Five Ways to Prove Who Your Ancestor Was
  • Barry Ewell - Photo Editing Software-Tricks, tips and applications for genealogical novice to expert
  • Bob Velke - Using the Master Genealogist

A huge benefit to attending a conference of this size has been the opportunity to meet and sometimes talk extensively with a lot of really fun and interesting people, including quite a few fellow Geneabloggers. Being new to the Geneablogger community, it has been wonderful to meet some of these people in person.

I'm off to the Family History Library. 

More to come...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NGS Conference - BCG Education Fund "Putting Skills To Work"

I arrived in Salt Lake City before lunch on Monday.  Amazingly my room at the Plaza was ready so I was able to check right in, unpack, grab a bite to eat and head for the library. 

I guess I am spoiled.  My only visits to the Family History Library have been in December and July when things are fairly quiet.  It is pretty busy but I brought my new camera to try out by photographing microfilm and was able to avoid standing in line to make copies to my flash drive.  It seems to be working out great.  I was able to stay in my cubby, take pictures of deeds and be fairly productive.

Today, Tuesday, was the BCG Education Fund's "Putting Skills To Work."  It started with Kip Sperry's session on "Reading Early Handwriting" which was excellent.  I feel like I really struggle with this subject and after this morning, I am much more comfortable and competent in reading what previously often looked like a foreign language to me.

At lunch, the table that I sat at got into a really good discussion about various genealogy education routes to take and the certification process.  There were lots of different experiences from the group to draw from and it was a group of really nice people to spend an hour or so with!

After lunch, Pamela Boyer Sayre presented "Sunchronized Research and Reporting"  where I picked up a lot of really good methods and tips.

After a quick trip to the library and then the grocery store, I am beat and it's only day one!  But it's been a very good day.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, April 26, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 17 - Photos

From Amy Coffin at We Tree and from GeneaBloggers this weeks assignment:

Get out your family photos and label them. You’ve seen them a million tines because they’re YOUR photos, but what happens when they’re passed down to others? Will those people know the names of everyone in the pictures? Take some time and label your photos with pertinent information. If you’re working with old photos, take consideration with their age and condition. Devise an archival-friendly labeling system. For digital photos, you can use computer programs to tag the images with names or other identifying information. If that’s too confusing, you can at least save and/or re-name digital photos with details of your choosing. Don’t let another generation slip by without documenting your photos. Your ancestors will thank you. If you have a genealogy blog, share with your readers your system for identifying photos, and even share a photo if you like.

Since I love anything to do with photography, I just had to do this.  Well not exactly.  Labelling pictures for me is a life long project.  When the kids were little, I would sit at their gymnastics, dance or music lessons and label pictures.  I would use a ballpoint or an "archival safe" pen - yeah, yeah, I know they will bleed through your photos.  I just write really small (and lightly) along the edge where there won't be any damage if it does bleed through.  There haven't been any problems...yet.

Now that we are in the digital age, it's much easier since you can batch name your photos when they are uploaded from the camera to the computer.  I try and use a general who, what, when, where title for the group.  That way, when they are printed out from, they will at least have that information printed on the back.  I must admit, I'm not as good anymore about labelling pictures with the who.

Another trick has to do with putting photos in albums.  I'm not into scrapbooking, so I like to use the albums where you can slip the photos into the slots where there's say 3 slots on a page.  Then I'll make up an index card where I write a few sentences, or a paragraph about the group of pictures and slide that into the first slot for the group of photos.  This works great for vacations.

Now, I am trying learn about using tags and other metadata to identify information about my photographs.  You just gotta love the digital age!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sorting Saturday or Should I Say Packing Saturday?

I've been sorting through clothes and other genealogy essentials for the upcoming NGS conference this week in Salt Lake City.  The shoe count is 3 pairs in my suitcase.  Somehow I managed to fit everything into one bag that will be checked.  I'm not sure how that happened but I'm also not quite finished packing.  Since I'm flying Southwest, where 2 bags fly free, I may still end up with two bags :)

I'll be posting about the conference throughout the upcoming week so check back!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Photo Locket

This locket was in the same little box as the WWI pins and buttons I wrote about on April 8th.

Grandpa was able to get a 3 day pass while with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.  He went to Paris to check up on his father's family and must have picked up this tiny souvenir.  The pictures from top to bottom are of the Statue of Gambetta, the Monument of the Republic, the Grande Roue, the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, Invalides and Sacre Coeur all in Paris.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, April 19, 2010

Madness Monday-Time to Pack for NGS in Salt Lake City

The NGS Conference is a week away!  It's time to start thinking about packing for a week in the world's genealogy research mecca.

For my FHL researching needs:
  • Research plan for my Ballinger family.
  • List of books to copy pages from.
  • Laptop and "periphery".
  • Flash drive to copy documents to instead of having to print them out.  I have enough stuff to tote back and forth without having to add a bunch of papers this trip.
  • Camera.  I'm going to try taking photos of book pages and maybe even of microfilm this trip.  We'll see how it works out.
  • FHL copy card.  I think I still have some money left on it from the last trip.
  • Healthy snacks.
  • Paper, pens, pencils, folder or two.
  • Yellow sheet of paper to aid in reading films
For the conference:
  • A list of books I already own so that I hopefully won't purchase any duplicates.
  • Clothing such as jackets/sweaters so I can dress in layers.
  • More healthy snacks.
  • Some really comfortable walking shoes.
In general
  • Copies of Janet Hovorka's excellent articles with suggestions on where to eat.  Hmm, there seems to be a food theme emerging here.
  • Maps of the area so I can find those yummy restaurants.
  • Great attitude and mental preparation to meet lots of new people.  After all, isn't that half the fun?

I'm sure there are some things I haven't thought of.  I still have a few days to figure it out.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Follow on to Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting or Part 4

I hadn't planned on posting another article regarding my mother's old photo album but I ran across something today that will be very useful and wanted to share it.  You can read about the photo album here in Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3.

In Part 2, I mentioned that I wanted an inventory of all of the digital file names of the pictures in the album.  What I had done was to take screen shots of the directory/file folder that listed the file names and post it into a Word document.  There is another option and it's free! 

In GenBlog's Friday Finds this week, Julie mentions a Freeware tool that she discovered at iPimento called Directory List & Print.  It allows you to export a directory to another program such as Excel or Word.  You can read the GenBlog and iPimento write up for more details. 

Using Directory List & Print, I now have an Excel spreadsheet containing the file names of the scanned images of Mom's photo album to which I can add additional information if desired.  This is much better than the screen shot copy and paste method!

If you try this free program, let me know.  I'm curious as to how others use it and how it works for them.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Festival of Postcards - Geography - Monument Valley

"This edition of A Festival of Postcards is dedicated to Geography, so this is your chance to pull out all those landscape and other VINTAGE postcards depicting Earth's natural features."

This postcard of Totem Poles in Monument Valley, Utah was found among some of my parents papers.  Since they visited the Southwest in the early 1960's, I am guessing that this postcard is from that time frame. 

Monument Valley is located on the Navajo Reservation, along the Utah/Arizona border in Northeast Arizona and Southeastern Utah.  You can read more about it here.

Hubby and I visited in March of 1995 touring the valley on our own.  Someday, I would love to return and take a guided tour to some of the more remote areas of the valley.  Below is a picture we took from very nearly the same location as the postcard photo (purely by chance). 

On our visit, we were struck by several things.  While the landscape did not change much in 30+ years, we were amazed at the changes that occur in the course of a few minutes due to changes in lighting caused by moving clouds and the position of the sun.  Also, we were not aware, until driving through Monument Valley, that people live there.  It was interesting to drive along, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and see livestock and a home.  What a beautiful place to live but also incredibly remote.

I'm happy to be able to share this vintage postcard with you and my photo taken decades later.
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, April 12, 2010

Madness Monday & 52 Weeks Challenge-Week15-Write a Letter

This week, I'm doing a dual assignment since I've had one of those "what the heck?" moments that fits the Madness Monday theme and the solution fits right in with Amy Coffin's blogging prompts, 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 15 which is:

Write a letter. It these days of emotionless email, the art of letter writing is getting lost. Pick one of your information needs or queries and write a letter requesting information. You may want to write to a small library or a relative asking for family history information. If you’re requesting a return reply, be sure to include any forms that are required, funds (if necessary) or a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return correspondence. If you write a genealogy blog, include a post about the information you requested and from whom.

To be perfectly honest, I had pretty much decided not to do this week's challenge just because I'm so busy.  But then this turned up:

We all looked at other and said, "What the heck is Grandpa's marker doing in the garage?"  Or at least that's what we think it is.

Our theory is that since he was cremated, the marker may have been too large (its dimensions are about 12” by 24”).  But then one asks the question, does he have a marker?  No one can remember and anyone who should remember is no longer with us. 

So, I've written a letter to Riverside Memorial Park in Spokane, Washington where my grandparents are interred, asking if they have a marker of any sort for my grandparents and if not how we can go about rectifying the situation.  It seemed like this warranted a letter, rather than a phone call, and the timing of this week's challenge couldn't have been better!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Big Discovery

I am doing the Genealogy Happy Dance today.  I was sorting through some papers of Mom's when I came across a small file folder with several goodies.

The best of the bunch:
  • My maternal grandmother's birth certificate stating where her parents were born.  Not just the state which I already knew, but the town.  Now I finally have a specific location to begin looking.
  • My mother's maternal grandmother's birth certificate also stating where her parents were born.  Again with the town so I can begin looking in a specific location.

Also in the same folder - more original, documents corroborating information I already had:
  • My maternal grandmother's Record of Baptism
  • Marriage license for my maternal grandparents (I already have their marriage certificate)
  • My maternal grandfather's "Certified Copy of Register of Births"
  • Original Social Security card for my maternal grandmother
Of course, these documents also raise some other questions, some of them procedural. So after I get done celebrating and then analyzing, I'll post some copies and ask some questions so we can learn a thing or two.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - WWI tags and buttons

While going through some boxes a couple of weeks ago, some interesting items turned up. 

These are my grandfather's dog tags, some buttons and a pin from a reunion.  He served with the 361st Machine Gun Infantry in WWI.  I was surprised while watching the WDYTYA episode with Matthew Broderick.  They mentioned his grandfather had fought in the Meuse Argonne offensive.  My grandfather had been involved in that battle as well only several days earlier.  I loved being able to see the area in living color.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, April 5, 2010

Madness Monday

Things are pretty "mad" around the Goodrum household right now. My regular Madness Monday posts will return soon...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

I am pleasantly surprised and very appreciative of receiving the Ancestor Approved Award. The Ancestors Live Here blog began this award.  It was passed on to me by:

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.
There are many who, in my opinion, are incredibly deserving of this award, some of whom I see have already received it.  So I am going to attempt to pass it on to 10 who haven't yet received it.  Here goes:

1.   The Shy Genealogist
2.   Kinnexions
3.   Gene Notes
4.   Kick-Ass Genealogy
5.   Family Matters
6.   Keeper of the Records
7.   Gen Wish List
8.   Elyse's Genealogy Blog
9.   Greta's Genealogy Blog
10. A Tale of Two Ancestors

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sorting Saturday - Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 3

The last 2 Saturdays, I've written about my mother's family photo album and the process I've gone through to digitize and preserve it.  You can read about it here and here.  Today I'm going to explain how I handled the physical preservation part.

This was the really hard part for me because frankly, I wanted to take the album apart and get those pictures off of those black acidic album pages and away from the nasty glue.  In the end, I decided not to attempt removing the photos with floss or a flat spatula type tool as had been suggested by several people.  The pictures were glued on incredibly well and I was afraid of damaging the photos.

What I did was place one or two sheets of buffered lightweight paper between each album page to protect the pictures from acid migration as much as possible.  This didn't add too much volume to the album since the buffered pages are fairly thin.  The reason I added two in some cases was because I had sketches of many of the pages with notes that Mom had made identifying the pictures.  I put those sketches between the two pieces of buffered paper to prevent any potential damages to the photos.

Next, I put the album in a drop front, archival box that had passed P.A.T. with a copy of the inventory and provenance I wrote about last week, labeled the box and put it away in the dark, temperature controlled closet that I call my archive.  I am still hoping that eventually I can figure out a way to get those pictures out of that album. In the meantime, at least I can rest a little easier knowing the album is in a much better situation than before starting this project.

There were several resources that helped me with this project.  Here is a list of the ones that I found the most helpful.  I hope you will find them helpful too.

The Practical Archivist
Sturdevant, Katherine Scott. Organizing & Preserving Your Heirloom Documents. Cincinati: Betterway Books, 2002.
Taylor, Maureen A. Preserving Your Family Photographs. Cincinati: Betterway Books, 2001.

To read the other installations in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, April 2, 2010

April's Genealogy To Do List

Tiny Lyons of Gen Wish List does a monthly Genealogy To Do List which really impresses me.  Since I am a list person, I thought I'd give it a try.  After all, telling the world your goals is a way of making you accountable and hopefully more likely to reach those goal.

Since we are getting into the busy time of year in our household, it will be a short list this month.
  • Prepare a research plan for the upcoming NGS Conference in Salt Lake City later this month.
  • Rework my process for going through a box of family history to be more efficient in light of the need to get these document and photographs in a safer storage situation.
  • Begin to process recently found Ballinger documents.
  • Start the next NIGS course.
That will keep me busy this month.  As if I didn't already have anything to do :)

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum