Thursday, October 28, 2010

Practical Archivist Free WebChat Friday October 29

I received an email the other day from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. She is having a free WebChat tomorrow Friday, October 29th from noon to 1pm (Chicago Time). You can ask her questions regarding how to organize, preserve, and share your family photo treasures. All you have to do is go to:

I took her Joy of Organizing Photos class last summer. Sally is incredibly knowledgable and helpful not only with photos but with any of your archiving questions. She has gave me quite a bit of invaluable advice with the Time Capsule project, the Archival Closet and my massive photo and slides project. The best part is that she presents and explains in a way that is easy to understand. Her solutions are very practical for the family historian. That's why she's the Practical Archivist!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Organizing Research Documents

I'm taking the Family Tree University course, "Organize Your Genealogy: Get Your Research in Order (and Keep It That Way)" taught by Nancy Hendrickson. This week I chose to organize all of my "unprocessed" research that has been accumulating. You know, the stuff from the last trip to Salt Lake City, those death certificates I ordered but haven't entered into my database, the census records downloaded from Ancestry, and the list goes on. I seem to find documents faster than I can analyze and process them.

The first step was to gather up all of the piles and bins of semi-organized documents (I'm sure more will turn up). Next I spent a couple of hours doing a quick sort by surname and in some cases locality. Fortunately, I had been organizing and sorting in spurts along the way so the pile wasn't a complete disorganized mess. The problem I have is that life gets in the way and the half organized papers get stuffed in a pile somewhere and forgotten.

I had a file drawer in the room where I work that would be a perfect place to house these papers, so I cleaned it out and threw most of the stuff away. Yeah!! Using the advice of my daughter's fourth grade teacher that "the brain loves color," I decided to color code the files by my four grandparents' lines and file by surname within those four colors.

Hopefully with these files within easy reach of my workspace, I will make some good progress on processing the results of some of my research.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finding the Low farm in Boulder

In my Almost Wordless Wednesday post the other day, I mentioned we were driving around the outskirts of Boulder. One of my family branches, the Lows, had a farm that we were looking for. If you read my Time Capsule series, this would be the Lowe family that Frances Robinson Lowe married into.

I obtained the legal description of the property from the estate file of Theodore Low, the original of which is housed at the Colorado State Archives. Using Google Earth and the legal description, I was able to produce an arial map showing the boundaries of the property. Then it was a matter of hopping in the car and driving out there. Don't you just love modern technology?

As I was reading off the directions from the map, Younger Family Member, who was with us, suddenly exclaimed, "Jay Road! That's where my friend lives. Give me that map." Upon examination, Younger Family Member determined that said friend lives adjacent to the former Low farm. A text message ensued informing said friend that they are living almost on the property where Younger Family Member's ancestor's farmed. I think that might be a GOTCHA! Only time will tell.

Today the area is still very rural with a couple of housing enclaves consisting of what I would call "horse property." There are lots of fenced pastures.

I like to think that this peaceful spot with the beautifully painted buildings could have been the site of the Low home.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (Almost) - Jay Hill Farm

While driving around Boulder, Colorado the other day, in the area of Jay Road, we ran across the Jay Hill Vegetable stand. They have some of the most unusual gourds I have ever seen.

We were in the mood for pumpkins on that day and there was an excellent selection.

The "Cinderella" pumpkins spoke to us so one of those was selected.

For my Boulder readers, I encourage you to stop by the stand on Jay Road just east of Highway 119. They have a really fun selection of the fall harvest!

For the rest of the story on why we were driving around the area, check back in the next day or two...

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum
Photos printed with permission.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Family History Society of Arizona Fall Workshop October 23rd

The morning begins with a Round Panel Table of published genealogy authors with ASU professor Duane Roen as the moderator, followed by his class "The Writing and Preserving of Family History." In the afternoon will be a presentation "Historical Research" by ASU professor Eduardo Pagan, team member from PBS’ "History Detective".
There will be several classes to choose from during the afternoon sessions.

If you are interested, you can get a registration form from the FHSA website. Registration is due October 16th. The workshop is being held from 9:00 to 4:30 at the Glendale Adult Center, 5970 West Brown St. in Glendale, AZ (Brown Street is one block south of Peoria on 59th Avenue).

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Inventory of Genealogy Lectures

I keep reading that one should keep a list of all of the family history/genealogy related books so as to avoid making duplicate purchases. As I was reviewing the FGS 2010 lectures that are now available on JAMB, it occurred to me the other day that it might be a good idea to do the same with genealogy lectures.

At first I didn't think I had purchased enough to make it worth my while to put together a list. Then I remembered all of the lectures I purchased from from the 2006 FGS Boston conference. I started a list.

As it turns out, I have purchased more than 80 lectures over the years to while away the time on the treadmill and while toting kids to and fro. And yes, there are some that I almost ordered again so I am glad I was able to avoid ordering duplicates.

I made a simple Excel spreadsheet with columns for Lecturer, Title and Conference. Since it's in Excel, it's easy to change how it's sorted. I'll be making an Excel list for my genealogy books too. Right now that list is on a piece of notebook paper.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - The End of Summer

The end of summer. Labor Day weekend, Whidbey Island, Washington.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Stabilo All

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum Labeling photographs in an "archivally friendly" way is a real challenge with more recent photographs. Modern pictures have a coating on the backside that is not friendly to the typical pencil, forcing people to use a pen of one sort or another to label the picture. Pens, even the "archival" ones, are not necessarily friendly to photos in the long run as the ink can eventually bleed through to the front of the picture.

Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist, recently recommended to me the Stabilo All pencil. I must admit I was skeptical that there really was a pencil that would write on the back of current day photos. After ordering a couple from Gaylord, and trying them out, I am thrilled! The Stabilo All pencil is like magic. It writes clearly and easily (I don't have to press hard on the picture), and it doesn't smudge.

I know I am not the only one out there who has struggled with getting her modern day photos labeled in the best way possible. I urge you to give this magic pencil a try!

Disclaimer: I am not employed nor being paid or given anything to write this recommendation. I used my hard earned sheckles to purchase my Stabilo All pencil.

Friday, October 1, 2010

98th Edition of COG - Document Analysis! - Bessie Maud Passmore Birth Certificate

The topic for the 98th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is Document Analysis!
Show us a document that helped you break down a brick wall on your family tree. Discuss the information that appears on the document and how it contributes to your family history.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum When I think of breaking down a brick wall in family history research, I have this vision of what's on the other side of that wall: a Genealogy Garden of Eden of sorts. Beautiful green fields with babbling brooks and cute wooden bridges, peaceful little cemeteries where my ancestor's headstones are prominently displayed, family homesteads overflowing with family photos, stories, old documents and maybe even a curator to show them to some curious soul who happens by. All the answers to any question I ever had on that family line are there for the picking. For most of us the reality of what's on the other side of that brick wall is quite different.

Earlier this summer, I discovered among my parent's papers, a Certificate of Birth for my great grandmother Bessie Maud Passmore. Actually it's a delayed birth certificate as it was issued when Bessie was about 56 years old and applying for her Social Security card.

We are dealing with an original source (the best kind) which is full of both primary and secondary information. What's so great is that due to the credibility of the informant (Bessie's older sister Cora), I consider both the primary and the secondary information to be high quality and reliable.

Much of the information in the birth certificate is supported by other evidence I have: Bessie's full name, date of birth, place of birth, father's name, and residence of her parents. What I want to focus on is some key new information in this document and how it helped me chip a hole in my brick wall large enough to wriggle through.

Let's start with the father, Thomas Passmore, analyze the information and see where it leads in relation to a question I wanted to answer: Who were Thomas Passmore's parents?

Age and Birthplace:  Now armed with a specific birthplace of Mt. Vernon, [Knox Co.,] Ohio and an age of 28, which translates into a birth year of about 1854, I was quickly able to locate 6 year old Thomas and his family in the 1860 Census in the 5th Ward, Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio. Having a specific birthplace was particularly helpful since there is at least one other Thomas Passmore in Ohio who is about the same age as my Thomas.

So now I at least have his parents initials, ages and birthplaces. I feel like I've crossed the bridge over the babbling brook in the Genealogy Garden of Eden.

The next bridge I had to cross was a little rickety so I had to be careful. I located Thomas and his family in the 1870 Census living in Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois. I had to do some additional research to be certain that I had the correct family. Here's a summary of the household:

I carefully made my way across the somewhat rickety bridge in the Garden of Eden after noticing that Edith Gladmon in 1870 might have been Edith Passmore in 1860. The 2 children listed under Rueben and Edith were born in Illinois so I checked the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index for Edith Passmore. Edith Passmore married Rueben Gladman on 29 March 1866 in Mercer County. I had the correct family.

So now I have a first name for Thomas' mother - Eliza. Unfortunately, RJ Passmore is missing and possibly dead. However, I've got a bonus, the names of two additional sisters, Mary and Cora. After tracing them through the census records, it turns out they never married and Eliza continued to live with them. This information allowed me to stop at a beautiful rest area in the Genealogy Garden of Eden and order death records for the three women. Hopefully, the death certificates will allow me to connect Eliza and "RJ" to each other and their daughter's Mary and Cora. If I am unable to eventually find a death certificate or other document connecting Thomas to his parents, I will need to connect Thomas to his sisters to "prove" who his parents were.

The same process will be used to answer the question, "Who were Jeanettie Poor's parents?" once I figure out the name of that village that is her birthplace on Bessie's Birth Certificate (hopefully this is just a little gate I need to figure out how to open and not another brick wall).

There is much, much more information that can be gleaned from Bessie Maud Passmore's birth certificate, especially when taken in context with some of the other information I have on the family:
  1. The number of children born to the mother (6) and how many are now alive (3) has helped me to make a tentative identification of a second sister to Bessie.
  2. Since Bessie's sister, Cora, was the informant, I now have additional information on Cora that I can use to lead me down yet another path should I choose to follow it.
  3. Then there is the plate my mother has with the name Cora Passmore written on the back and a letter from one of Bessie's son's to Mom that discusses "...the two hand painted plates (painted by an Aunt, or Great Aunt of ours)..." I am wondering if the plate Mom has one of the plates referred to in the letter. If it is, which Cora did it belong to? In my Genealogy Garden of Eden I see this as a little path with a patch of woods that I might want to wander down someday.
I know my continuing journey through the Genealogy Garden of Eden will be pleasant, fun and at times frustrating. Hopefully I will encounter navigable fences, hills and streams rather be stopped in my tracks by brick walls.

Data Backup Day Or...When You Know Just Enough To Be Dangerous-Part 2

We all know the importance of backing up our data. These days I am both thrilled that I have been doing that, for a number of years and scratching my head and asking myself "What happened?"

It all started when I went to write the post for the September 11th anniversary. I was looking through this notebook where I have written notes about various events and experiences from my life, when I noticed a nice printout from Word with some stories on it, the name of the file at the bottom of the page and the date it was printed. I decided since I was typing up and editing my previously handwritten notes about September 11, 2001, I could just add it to this file. Only I couldn't find the file on my laptop. Sigh...Or on my other laptop, or the external hard drive.

I've been through more than one computer and hard drive reorganization since creating this file and thought I had been careful about transferring and backing up everything. I guess I had been sort of careful - I found the file on a CD backup from 2004. Makes one wonder what else has been "misplaced" along the way.

The moral of the story, backup your files in numerous ways. Contrary to most of the advice I've received to toss old backups that are on CD or DVD, I don't recommend doing that. However, I have to clarify that I only backup all of my files to DVD about once or twice a year, so the pile isn't all that big. Just backup your files! Someday you will be glad you did!

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum