Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mystery Monday-Estate Papers of Margaret A. Mitchell

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum  Recently I blogged about the Homestead Certificate of my great great grandfather's that I discovered in the Archival Closet. Also among those Mitchell papers were the Final Settlement papers for the estate of his wife, my gg grandmother, Margaret A. Mitchell. This was another of those woohoo moments!

Years ago, I was given a copy of a page from the Mitchell/McDonald Family Bible (whose provenance is completely unknown to me). It said Margaret died 26 March 1911 in Tum Tum, Stevens County, Washington. I have never been able to locate a death certificate for Margaret, even though according to the information I had, she died after death certificates began to be required in the State of Washington (that was in 1907). The Final Settlement papers sort of corroborate the information I already had (they say Margaret died on or about March 1st, 1911 near Tum Tum).

With this new discovery, I decided to take another look and I've noticed something rather interesting. I'd love to know what you think. The Washington Digital Archives has a death record for a Margaret Mitchell who died 19 March 1914 in Spokane.

A couple of points:
  • I find it a little odd that Margaret's estate wasn't settled for over 3 years after she died (that's if you use the March 1911 DOD)
  • The March 1914 DOD of the woman who died in Spokane fits into the timeline of the estate of "my" Margaret Mitchell
  • I was told (this is family lore, if you will) that "my" Margaret's maiden name was McConnell.
  • My Margaret Mitchell's first husband was a McDonald.
  • The Margaret who died in Spokane apparently was the daughter of a Michael Ryan.
  • A copy of a Washington State Death Certificate currently costs $31.50.
I've definitely got some conflicting information. What would you recommend doing next? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Finally, if you happened here because you're researching Mitchells and you know anything about that Bible, please email me at turningofgenerations at cox dot net. I'd love to hear from you!

(Coincidentally, Carol over at Reflections From The Fence wrote a post on finding a marriage record that she had been searching for forever at about the same time these papers appeared. Her story reminded me that tenacity pays off. I found myself rejuvenated after reading her post).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tech Tuesday-A Magic Wand for your Genealogy

A while back I read about this thing called the Magic Wand by Vupoint Solutions over at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. It's a hand held scanner that fits into your purse, briefcase or maybe even your coat pocket. After reading the reviews and noticing that several individuals were using it for genealogy, I decided I had to have one and ordered it.

I've now had the opportunity to use it on several research trips and have fallen in love with my new portable scanner. This has opened the door for paperless research for me. That's right; no more photocopies. Plus the Magic Wand is way faster than any photocopier. While researching in several books this summer, I've used the Magic Wand to scan the book covers, title pages and whatever interior material is of interest. I can remain seated with my research material so there is no more running back and forth to the copier, which saves a ton of time.

The only possible drawback I have been able to find is that a steady hand is really important. So if you are trying to scan something that you want a super image of, the Magic Wand may or may not work for you depending on how steady your hand is. However, for the copies where I am just after the information, it's perfect, fast, and there are no pieces of paper to keep track of when I leave.

Here's an example of a scan and a picture of the Magic Wand. The scan has not been edited. That's what was scanned with the Magic Wand and uploaded to my computer.

[I have no affiliation with VuPoint and have not been paid or received anything to write this testimonial. I'm just a GeneaGeek who spent her own money on a new toy tool that she loves.]

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sorting Saturday - An Organizing System for Slides

[© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum] In the last Sorting Saturday post, I talked about the hundreds, if not thousands, of slides belonging to my grandparents and parents that I am now housing. Grandpa's organizational "system" was pretty loose, unlike Dad's; so I decided to come up with one myself.

As an example, in looking at the brown metal case in last week's post, I was able to discover an arrangement of the slide trays by date, so I numbered them accordingly. Those numbers transferred over to the new bin the slides were moved to.

So each little box of slides now has a number that looks something like this:

  • The number 1 is for the number of the box the slides are in now.
  • The capital letter A is for the box that the slides came from (the brown metal box). I have a list of all the slide descriptions that were in that box (see below).
  • The number 10 is the new bin that the roll of slides is in. These slides were from a roll labeled "Disneyland." If the slides from that roll wouldn't have all fit in one bin, I would have numbered them 10a and 10b.
If I were to notice something particular about the roll of slides, such as an approximate time frame or subject, I would make a note of it in my notes using square brackets like this: [  ]

As I inventory and move the slides to their new, space efficient, archivally safe, and friendly home, all of my notes will go with the new boxes of slides. This should help down the road after the slides have been culled and I start digitizing them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September 11, 2001

I wrote the following edited account of September 11th on January 29, 2002:

Upon turning on the TV nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. The second tower to be hit had already collapsed and seconds after turning on the TV, Tower I collapsed right before our eyes. I burst into tears. All I could think of was all the people in that building, possibly thousands, who were killed right before our very eyes!

This is what I experienced after receiving a phone call from Husband shortly after 7 AM that Tuesday morning. He was out of town on a business trip and scheduled to return that night. A normal morning of getting two kids ready for school was transformed by his words over the phone, "There's some really bad stuff going on in the world." A plane had been crashed into the World Trade Center and other airplanes were missing. He told me I needed to turn on the TV. Of course I was stunned and very shaken...finished drying my hair...fed the kids...told them what had happened and that we needed to turn on the TV and see what was up.
I went ahead and took the kids to school that day. On the radio and TV that morning I learned of the plane crashing into the Pentagon and another report of a crash in Pennsylvania. There was also talk of one near Chicago but that eventually died out as the morning wore on. It was sickening and awful. Of course all air traffic in the US was ordered grounded - a first.

Then my thoughts turned to family. Mother-in-law was on a cruise in Europe, other family members were in Italy, another relative travels for work constantly and there was no telling where she was. What about Husband? He obviously wasn't coming home that night!

The following days were filled with so much emotion: sorrow over such needless loss of innocent life, despair, fear, anger towards whoever had done this, defiance that they were not going to get the better of us. Emotions that have not completely subsided nine years later.

I was also busy making arrangements to get Husband home safely which is another story. Finally, there were 2 little girls whose daddy was stuck in another part of the country. They needed to know he was safe and would be coming home and they needed their mommy to be at her best.

One of the memories that stuck in my mind is the quiet outside of our house in the days following 9-11. We have a fair amount of air traffic as we are on the approach to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and have another local airport a few miles away. In fact, I hear a jet approaching Sky Harbor off in the distance as I write this. The quiet was weird and really stood out. Part of our everyday life was literally missing. While I love peace and quiet, this is a quiet I hope to never experience at my home again.
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sorting Saturday - Hundreds & Hundreds of Slides

As I mentioned in my last Sorting Saturday post A Hoarder's Paradise, the Archival Closet is getting rather full. As the Family Archivist, one of my missions is to have an efficiently organized area where our family history can be accessed and enjoyed. So I took a break from sorting the family papers (both those in the Archival Closet and those more recently acquired). A way to quickly clear up some space without getting rid of anything had been spotted.

We are a family of amateur photographers: grandfather, father and daughter. Now that three generations of pictures are together under one roof, I noticed that dad and grandpa (particularly grandpa) liked to store their slides in those trays that could be fed through a slide projector. One roll of 24 or 36 slides takes up a significant amount of space in one of those trays. We have dozens and dozens of trays.

So I purchased a couple of archivally safe slide storage systems to move some of the slides into, came up with an organizational scheme and began moving slides. In just a short time here's what happened:

The contents of the two metal boxes in the back and the 3 slide trays moved into the two blue boxes in front. Each of those boxes holds around 360 slides so I've got about 700 or so slides in a space that is less than a half of the space they were taking up before. When I have time, I can pull out one of many slide viewing devices that have been absconded from the family home and view and cull the slide collection down to something even more manageable!

Here's what's left to be "containerized" into a more space friendly, archivally safe storage situation:

As you can see there are a lot of trays and the burgundy container, the two tone brown case, and the gray case also contain slide trays. The two blue boxes in the upper right corner are the slides that are already done. So there will be a lot of space freed up just by changing the housing for this portion of the family slide collection. Even more will be free once some culling has taken place. We could really have some family fun by pulling out one of the old slide projectors, looking at pictures and sorting at the same time...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Phoenix Sunset Series

Recently we had a beautiful evening (temperature wise) in the Phoenix area. So Husband and I relaxed on the deck and watched the sunset. I hope you enjoy the sun setting over downtown Phoenix. Complements of Husband who was the shutterbug that evening. Thanks to Barbara of Life from the Roots for suggesting the sunset pictures!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - When I Think of Florida...

Water, Spanish Moss, humidity, heat, more humidity, and an ice cold lemonade.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum