Monday, May 31, 2010

Madness Monday - Moving on with the William Ballenger Family

When I started this blog, I was using the Madness Monday theme to discuss one of my difficult families, that of William Harrison Ballenger.  Each week I was discussing one member of the family.  Life got busy and I had to suspend the posts.  Well, now I've uncovered some new information so I am going to take a slightly different tact.  One of the things I would like to try out is something I learned in Pamela Boyer Sayre's workshop, "Synchronized Research and Reporting" at the NGS Salt Lake City conference; write as you do your research.  Well I'm already behind, but I'm going to try and use Monday's to write about some of the items that are being discovered regarding the Ballenger family. 

For an overview you can check posts here and here.  I'll wait until you return...

One of my original goals with this family was to identify the alleged 12 children of William and Lucinda.  I have accomplished this.  Here's the family group sheet.  I want to acknowledge The Shy Genealogist for her posts on how to do some great things like this form in Word or Excel.

I was tempted to use a family group sheet from my genealogy program but I like this table format a little better.  It was an interesting excercise in that putting this form together manually forced me to evaluate each piece of evidence rather than just taking the easy road and printing off and posting the FGS.  That's why there's so many "probably," "circa," and "or" statements.  Much of the evidence is not yet conclusive in my mind.

Next week we'll look at the newest Iowa state census record I found on this family.

By the way, if you think this might be your family or are just interested, please contact me, I would love to share information and sources.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sorting Saturday - The Time Capsule's Top Layer

I am writing a bi-weekly series on Thursdays and Saturdays about the contents of a small suitcase belonging to my great grandmother Frances Lowe.  Another family member referred to it as a Time Capsule and the name has stuck.  You can read the first two posts here and here if you missed them.

I've read several books in recent weeks and am trying to incorporate what I've learned into the steps of going through the Time Capsule.

Upon opening Frances Lowe's suitcase, this is the first sight.

It's a picture book of Cape Cod, undated.  Many of the pages have handwritten notes like this one:

The person writing seems to be explaining where they now live and some of the sights they have seen.  It appears they don't plan on living on the Cape for long.  Unfortunately, I don't know who the author of these notes is but I have a couple of clues from these handwritten notes:
  • "I was taking Bobby to his drum lesson near here. Now his drum teacher has gone to Florida." [From the picture above]
  • "Phil and Bob took a sailing ship ride from here this summer."
  • Map on the back showing where this family first lived, where they live now and where Phil works.
I can't find any extended family members by these names but it is possible that I am missing some individuals from the extended family.  It also could be that this was a family friend.

Finally, a couple of possible clues were found inside the booklet:
  • Photo of one of Frances Lowe's grandson's
  • Photo of one of Frances Lowe's grandson's
Whether these two items "belong" inside the Cape Cod booklet or if they were randomly stuck there is unknown but I will keep it in mind as a possible clue.

So, I have a couple of action items from the Cape Cod booklet.  
  1. I need to query some of the older extended family members to see if they might know who Phil and Bob are. 
  2. I need to verify that I have identified all of Frances Lowe's descendants.
On Thursday we will take a look inside the leather pouch that is peeking out from under the Cape Cod book.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Layout for Turning of Generations

Wait! No, you haven't landed on the wrong blog.  I've been playing around with Blogger in Draft and picked a new template so I can do some additional customizations.  Hope you enjoy the new view!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Time Capsule - First Steps

I don't know about you but boxes, or in this case suitcases, of really cool old things tend to get me very excited.  Kind of like a little kid on Christmas Day.  I want to know what's in it now.  When presented with the Time Capsule (you can read about it here) I did take a deep breath. I was going to try and do it right.

My hands were washed; I had the digital camera handy.  As we went through the suitcase, layer by layer, I took a picture of each layer before removing the items.  Since I was going to have to put it all back, I wanted to keep the contents in order for now.

After going through the "Time Capsule," not only had my initial curiosity been satisfied but I was able to get a general understanding of this particular collection.  The next step was to write a short description including how I know that these were Frances Lowe's things, when and where they were found and how they came to be in my possession.  The book, Organizing Archival Records, A Practical Method of Arrangement and Description for Small Archives, by David W. Carmichael, has some good forms for this activity.

On Saturday, I will begin going through Frances' Time Capsule, layer by layer, describing what I found and how I will catalogue and store this collection.

Here are links to the other posts in this series as well as a couple of related articles:

The Time Capsule
First Steps
The Time Capsule's Top Layer
Part 2
Teacher's Certificate
Teacher's Certificate #2
Baby Shoes
Sewing Anyone?
Help! Do You Know What This Is?
Frances' Necklace
A Bottle of???
More Stuff To Sort
Pictures, Announcements, etc.
Pictures, Announcements, etc.
Preserving the Time Capsule
Sorting Saturday - The Time Capsule is Sorted. What I learned.
COG-Scrapbooking Your Family History! Frances Lowe
Treasure Chest Thursday-You Are My Treasures

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boulder Genealogy Society's Annual Dessert Night

Earlier this month, I was in Boulder, Colorado and it just so happened that the Boulder Genealogical Society was having their monthly meeting while I was in town.  I have been a "long distance" member for many years but had never been to one of their meetings, so I contacted the president and got directions.

Once a year they have Dessert Night.  Members bring lots of yummy goodies to feast on during their meeting.  This particular night they had the meeting in one of the local retirement communities which has a room with a beautiful view of the flatirons that overlook the town of Boulder.  There was some interesting weather that particular evening which made the view even more dramatic.

It was a large meeting and is a very active society.  The group was very warm and welcoming and I had a great time meeting friendly genealogists (are genealogists anything but friendly?).  I have been reading articles written by many of these people in the BGS Quarterly for quite a few years now so it was great to be able to put a face to a name.  I hope I can attend another of their meetings when I am in Boulder again!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sorting Saturday-The Time Capsule

Recently another family member made an interesting discovery in the family home.  It started with this very cool old leather suitcase.

Inside was another small, old, cute suitcase.

Tightly packed inside this suitcase is what appears to be a snapshot of the life, memories and some personal items that my great grandmother Frances Lowe held dear.  It has appropriately been dubbed the Time Capsule. Frances lived from 1871 - 1964 in Boulder, CO, Nye, MT and various homes in King County, Washington.

Follow along with me on Thursdays and Saturdays while I sort through the Time Capsule and figure out how to catalog, preserve and archive this fascinating look into the life of my great grandmother.

Here are links to the other posts in this series as well as a couple of related articles:

The Time Capsule
First Steps
The Time Capsule's Top Layer
Part 2
Teacher's Certificate
Teacher's Certificate #2
Baby Shoes
Sewing Anyone?
Help! Do You Know What This Is?
Frances' Necklace
A Bottle of???
More Stuff To Sort
Pictures, Announcements, etc.
Pictures, Announcements, etc.
Preserving the Time Capsule
Sorting Saturday - The Time Capsule is Sorted. What I learned.
COG-Scrapbooking Your Family History! Frances Lowe
Treasure Chest Thursday-You Are My Treasures

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Family Fortune

A while back I discovered a letter to my mother from her grandmother on the occassion of Mom's college graduation.  You can read the original post here.

The letter read in part:
These antique napkins rings are the remnant of your Great Grandfather and Great grandmother’s fortune. The silver in the rings were part of a silver brick given to them by a friend and my father had six napkin rings made out of same and when their three daughters were married they gave each of us two napkin rings. They are over Seventy-five years old.
I finally found them!  They weren't where Mom thought but the box they were in was just as Mom described it and the fact that they were tied together with a ribbon.

The inscription reads:
Presented to
By Wm Parker of
Sherman Mine
Caribou Colo.

According to the letter the would have been made in the early 1870's.

It was common for Boulder residents to be involved in mining ventures during this time.  Daniel A. Robinson was no exception.
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Re-evaluating the Work Flow

I've been reading a lot lately trying to figure out a better way to sort and organize all of this stuff in the archival closet.

Several years ago I wrote up a To Do List for handling photos based upon two books:
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs, by Maureen Taylor
  • Organizing & Preserving Your Heirloom Documents, by Katherine Scott Sturdevant.
Over the last several weeks I have reread both books as well as a new one.  It's called Organizing Archival Records, by David W. Carmichael.  I know, it sounds really technical but it's not.  The first sentence of the Introduction reads, "This manual is designed for the person who has little or no formal training in archival work but who is responsible for the care of historical records." That would be me! He does a very good job of taking you step by step through the process of organizing records.

So now I am working on a new To Do List (I guess a more correct terminology would be Work Flow) that covers not only photos but papers of all kinds.  I'm looking forward to sharing what I'm learning with you and I hope I get some suggestions from people as well.  More next Saturday...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandpa's WWI helmet

Apparently, Grandpa (Richard Roos) saved his WWI helmet.  After I don't know how many decades of sitting in a cardboard box, it now enjoys a place of honor.  I was able to make a definitive identification of it by the 91 Division's evergreen tree insignia on the front.  By the way, their motto - Always Ready.

There's even still a blank piece of the stationary Grandpa used to write home on stuck way up in the crown.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Census Follow-up Phone Call

I had an interesting experience yesterday.  I got a phone call from the 2010 Census following up on the census form that our household submitted. 

You see, we had overnight houseguests on April 1st.  Question 2 asked if "there were any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?"  So I marked the box that said relatives.  Seems the Census Bureau wanted to know more about that.  I think they were partly verifying I had understood the questions when I filled out the form.  However, they wanted the name, sex, age and all of the other information the census form asked of people living in our house.

So I guess the information will be there when it's released in 72 years.  Maybe our descendants will wonder why the cousins spent the night with us on April 1, 2010.  Ha - probably not but just in case, I've made a note on my copy of our census form.  They were on their way to hike the Grand Canyon.  I've included a picture too just for fun.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Note Taking

This post is a response to a query made by Amy Coffin over at We Tree.  She is looking for input on how other researchers take notes.  Since this a topic that grabbed my attention, I thought I'd do a post on how I take notes.  I'm always interested in how others take notes too so that I can improve my methods.  I encourage readers to head over to Amy's blog and see what she and other bloggers have had to say on this topic and leave her a comment if you have something to add.

One of the tools I've found to be extremely helpful is Microsoft Office OneNote.  I use it not only as a research log but also a document log, data collection, transcriptions and much more.  For instance, when I was at the Family History Library last week, in the Genealogy Notebook that I created, I have a tab for Research Log.  I just started a new page titled FHL with the date and listed the items that I searched, including the call number or film number, who I was looking for and what the results were.  If I found something of interest that I didn't want to bother copying, I made a notation right there of the pertinent information, including citation.  The next time I am doing Family History Library research, I can quickly review the FHL pages to see what I have/have not done and where I left off if I wasn't finished with something.

In the genealogy data base that I use (The Master Genealogist), I extensively use the Memo field for the individual Tags (events) to make notes.  I also can create a Tag called Note that can be used for those items that don't fit neatly into the other Tags.  This is similar to what Amy is doing with Roots Magic.  Since I give the documents I obtain a document number, I can use this in the notes to refer back to the document.

As for the actual documents, I am now trying to follow what I learned in Pamela Boyer Sayre's BCG Workshop, "Synchronized Research & Reporting."  I am taking each document and writing down what I've learned from it and then put the relevant information in TMG.  Maybe it's a formal research report, if there is a lot of information gleaned and analyzed, or maybe it's just a few lines.  I'll keep the document and notes together so that when I need to refer back, I won't have to relearn the document.

One of the really interesting tips I took away from the workshop was that it takes almost as long to write a report as it did to do the research.  It's a lot easier to write as you go instead of trying to go back and write up a report on a ton of research that you have done.  By writing up little bits on each document as you examine and analyze it, you are really giving yourself a head start. So I am trying to follow that format in research, notetaking and writing from now on. As a side note, I've got a lot of catching up to do in this area with the stacks of research that has been accumulated but not processed.

Amy, I hope this helps.  It's a subject that I'm really interested in too.  So if anyone has any comments on how you take notes, I encourage to pop over to We Tree and leave Amy a comment.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, May 7, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Social Networking

Amy over at We Tree has done it again with her 52 Weeks Challenge.  You can read about it at GeneaBloggers or at the bottom of this post. 

This week's challenge is about social networking which most people think of as being Facebook or Twitter.  I don't Twitter (yet) but am active on Facebook, mostly with my family.  I can say that it has been a fantastic way to stay in touch with those who are geographically spread out across the globe.  Last week at the NGS conference, I learned about a great way for genealogists to network when I attended Gena Philibert Ortega's talk, "Beyond the Horizon for Social Netorking in Genealogy."  One of the ways to network that she talked about is called Genealogy Wise.

Genealogy Wise is basically a Facebook for genealogists.  I must admit I was initially skeptical but by the end of Gena's talk, I was impressed with what it has to offer.  Here's a sampling:
  • Free
  • Scheduled educational chats
  • Blog postings
  • Groups for surnames, localities and topics
  • Your own page where you can:
    • Create a page listing surnames you are researching
    • Post photos
    • email feature
  • Connect to other social networks like Twitter
  • Feed your blog to Genealogy Wise
This is something I am going to sit down and set up later this summer.

Getting back to the use of Facebook for genealogy.  One of the tips Gena had that caught my attention was to upload pictures to Facebook.  Then do a mass message to family members, who are on Facebook, asking them to tell any stories that go along with the pictures.  Facebook could be a wonderful way to collect the stories of your family members.

Thanks Amy for your timely 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy assignment.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 18
Dip your toe in the social networking pool. Genealogists are some of the friendliest people on the block. Networking with them by using “social” web sites will help your research and provide you with new friends. If you’ve never used social networking tools, this Social Networking in Plain English video by Common Craft is a good place to start. Picture the ways you can use social networking to meet and collaborate with other genealogists. Some of the more popular social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and even Linked-In (though this site is more business-like in its purpose). You do not have to join these sites if you do not feel comfortable doing so, but you should at least know they exist and that they can benefit genealogy research. Those that are well-versed in social networking can refer others to the video. Bloggers are encouraged to discuss how they use various social networking sites in their own research.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - WWI German Bayonet

This turned up a while back in one of the boxes of my grandparent's things.

The manufacturer was Simson & Co SUHL. A quick Google search revealed that it is a German bayonet.  The Allies referred to it as a "Butcher Blade" due to it's shape.  A pretty nasty looking weapon if you ask me. This particular one is a "sawback bayonet" characterized by the 29 teeth on the backside of the blade.  It was designed to be more of a tool than a weapon. 

Grandpa's diary and letters home referred to him wanting to find a German helmut and bring it home. In one of his last letters home, he mentioned that whenever he found one, they would have to move out before he could get it mailed.  He also mentioned that he was shipping home a box of stuff for himself and a friend.  I'm guessing this was one of the treasures in that box.

You can read more about this particular bayonet here if you are interested.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (not so) - Richard Roos

Let me introduct you to my grandfather, Richard Roos, and the procurer of the WWI treasures I've been writing about lately.

Richard served with the AEF, during the latter part of WWI, as a cook with the 361st Infantry, Machine Gun Company E, out of Ft. Lewis, Washington.

This is one of the pictures my grandparents gave me when I first started inquiring about the family history in the early 1970's.  It's something I've always treasured.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April & May's Genealogy To Do Lists

Since April is over, it's time to review my Genealogy To Do List for the month of April and see how I did.

  • Prepare a research plan for the upcoming NGS Conference in Salt Lake City later this month. Done and most was excecuted in the last week.  I always take more the the FHL than I can possibly do just because one never knows how much one will be able to do.
  • Rework my process for going through a box of family history to be more efficient in light of the need to get these documents and photographs in a safer storage situation.  I can say I have started on this task since I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject.  I'll write more on it later.
  • Begin to process recently found Ballinger documents.  There has been no processing done on the part of this researcher this past month.  Now that my pile has gotten bigger, it would be a really good idea to start though!
  • Start the next NIGS course.  Started.  Now I need to finish it this next month.
So what's on tap for May?
  • Continue to rework my process for processing family history.  Documents and photos are crying for a safer storage home.
  • Process those Ballinger documents.
  • Finish the NIGS course.
  • Write a backup plan with information learned from Dick Eastman's talk on data backup, storage and preservation.
  • Help my family get through the last few weeks of school :)
  Thanks to Tina Lyons at Gen Wish List for this great idea to hold myself accountable.
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, May 3, 2010

Madness Monday- Final Thoughts on the NGS Conference

Now that I'm back home, I've got a day to get caught up before heading out on another trip.  I wanted to put down my final thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

As a first time national conference attendee and newbie blogger, my goals were:
  • Education
  • Networking with other genealogists and bloggers
  • Research at the FHL
Those goals were met and exceeded.  I will be absorbing and assimilating notes from the sessions and FHL research for weeks to come.  The networking and social aspect was fantastic.  I met many fun and interesting people during the week. 

I was particularly honored to be able to dine with or otherwise extensively visit with the following bloggers:

AC Ivory - Find My Ancestor
Amy Urman - The Genealogy Search
Donna Pointowski - What's Past is Prologue
Deborah Large Fox - Irish Genealogy: Help! The Faery Folk Hid My Ancestors!

During the week I also met the following bloggers (in no particular order):

Denise Levenick - The Family Curator
Randy Seaver - Genea-Musings
Kathryn Doyle - California Genealogical Society & Library
Diane Haddad - Genealogy Insider
Mary Clement Douglas -Notes That Matter
The Ancestry Insider - The Ancestry Insider
Steve Danko - Steve's Genealogy Blog
Sheri Fenley - The Educated Genealogist
George Morgan - The Genealogy Guys Podcast

Check out their blogs and see what they had to say about the conference.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the way the conference was run.  Sessions were on time, there were plenty of designated people around to ask for help or directions if needed, the banquets were great from the standpoint of food, service and speakers, the exhibitor hall was fantastic, the dining/cafeteria area was never overly busy and from what I heard the food offered was good (expensive but good).  I really have no criticisms of anything.  OK, the weather didn't cooperate but then I wasn't exactly there for the weather either.

I only have two regrets:
  1. I didn't attend the "Celebration of Family History."  I am a huge fan of David McCullough and had been looking forward to hearing him speak.  Alas, hunger and exhaustion had taken over.
  2. I did not attend the group viewing of "Who Do You Think You Are" on Friday night.  It would have been another great opportunity to meet some fellow bloggers.  The exhaustion thing was creeping in once again and since I had to check out of my room first thing Saturday morning, the suitcase was calling to be packed earlier rather than later.
Overall,  I am glad I went and will jump at the opportunity to attend another conference in the future.  I encourage you to do the same if you are able.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

NGS 2010 - Day 4

Saturday was the last day of the conference and I made a last minute decision to listen to Daniel Lynch's presentation, "Google Your Family Tree."  It was divided into 2 talks and I listened to both.  I already have his book but listening to him speak was a real treat and I learned a lot about Google during those 2 hours.

Before the talk started, I ran across lady who lives in the teeny, tiny town of Tum Tum, Washington, where my grandmother grew up.  Her extended family was pretty much the entire town way back when. This very nice lady knows everyone and numerous descendants of my ancestors still live there.  It was really fun to have the opportunity to talk with her!  What a small world.

I'll have a wrap up posting on my experiences at the conference and some follow-up postings in the coming days.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum