Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Did It! It's Over!

NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month. One post every day for one month! Whew. It was enough for me. I don't know how Randy Seaver does it!

My objective really was to get rid of some of the backlog of ideas that had built up. Particularly the 52 Weeks of Genealogy and Family History. Objective accomplished - mostly. There's still a few stragglers hanging on that had to be saved for later.

What I learned: An Editorial Calendar really is your friend. At the beginning of the month I laid all the prospective posts out on the calendar. Then I proceeded to change every last one of them. Some were moved to a different day. Others were spread out over multiple days. A few ideas had to be saved for later and of course there were a few posts that just popped up and pre-empted others. Fortunately, I printed the thing out and just marked it up. The calendar is a mess now but I couldn't have done this excercise without it.

I think I will be a regular user of an Editorial Calendar now. It allows you to plan but also to be spontaneous when you need to be.

I connected with other bloggers. You never know which posts will be a hit with someone and that makes blogging fun. Sometimes your posts bring in helpful comments from readers too. Connecting with other people is fun and educational.

Hopefully I improved those writing skills at least a little.

On to December and the holidays! No, you will definitely not be seeing a post a day in December!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organize Your Family Archive Webinar

I just finished the "Organize Your Family Archive" webinar with Denise Levenick. All I can say is WOW!! I am not new to this topic and Denise had a fantastic approach to dealing with a large collection (have I ever mentioned I have a large humongous collection?) and some really good suggestions. My favorite had to do with an analogy of creating a parking lot when unpacking a box of items. Not gonna say anymore. You have to watch it for yourself! Check it out!

Seriously, I left feeling like I can get through all of this stuff. It can be done.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: I paid for this webinar with my hard earned money and it was worth every penny. I am not affialiated in any way with Family Tree University. Just a regular ol' customer.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 3

We are attempting to answer the question, Who is the woman in this picture? The notation on the back, which was written by my great grandmother Frances Lowe, says, "Walt Wood's mother." In Part 1, I tied Walt and Mary Ann together using the 1900 and 1910 census. In Part 2, with the help of fellow bloggers, I was able to narrow the time frame the photo was taken to the mid 1890s and then locate the photographer in the Denver City Directories to identify a date range.

Moving on to 1920, we find Walter is married to Maud (or Mand) with a son, Kenneth, and living in Rosebud County, Montana. He is 30, born in Colorado with his mother also born in Colorado. So not all of the information is consistent but it is pretty close.

At this point you might be wondering why I believe this Walter W. Woods in Rosebud, Montana to be the same as the one we have been following in Colorado. A little over a year and a half ago, I wrote a four part series, "Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting" about one of Mom's very old photo albums. In it is a photo from East Rosebud, Montana. Frances Lowe and her family lived a couple of counties to the west in Stillwater County, so I always wondered why they had this photo. Walter Woods and Frances Lowe were first cousins so that might explain why the Lowe family living in Stillwater County, Montana had a photo of a house in East Rosebud, Montana.

Taking things a step further, in 1930, we find Walter Woods with wife Maud (or Manda, if you believe Ancestry), and son Kenneth living in North Bend, Washington which is where his cousin Frances and her husband Mike Lowe were also living in 1930. When you compare all of the censuses, Walter's info is not completely consistent but it is reasonably close.

Finally, coming full circle, when we examine yet another of Frances Lowe's boxes of pictures and letters, we find a get well card address to Frances. It is postmarked 14 June 1949 in Snoqualmie, Washington just a stones throw up the road from North Bend. It is signed "Maud and Walt" and refers to visiting Kenneth. It starts out "Dear Cousin".

So we have tied Frances and Walt together which explains why Frances would have had this photo and written "Walt Wood's mother" on the back.

Later this week, I'll try to sum it all up and you can decide if you think the woman in the photo who is identified only as "Walt Woods mother" is in fact Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods.


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.

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.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 2

In Part 1, I hypothesized that the woman in this photograph is Mary Ann Woods.

Reader Brett Payne of Photo-Sleuth blog left a comment on yesterday's post stating that the size of the sleeves on the woman in the photograph indicate it was taken in the mid 1890s. What a great clue!

The Denver Public Library has many Denver City Directories digitized and on its website. Brett's clue allowed me to hone in on the directories published in the 1890s. The photographer, G. R. Appel of 1529 Larimer, is first listed in the Denver City Directory in 1892! He continued at that address at least until 1899. I stopped searching at that point.

It seems logical that Mary Ann Woods might have stopped for a portrait in Denver on her trip to Boulder from Telluride in December of 1893.

Tomorrow we will get back to the provenance of the photograph. Today was a short but necessary detour. Thank you again Brett!

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.

Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 28 September 2007).

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 1

If you look closely you can see the words, "For Frank" written in pencil under the picture. Frank was my great grandmother, Frances Lowe's nickname.
Have you ever wondered who the person in an old photo is and if you will ever figure it out? My great grandmother Frances Lowe had plenty of pictures in her old candy boxes where she stored photos, cards and letters. This one had me baffled for years. This is what Frances wrote on the back:

Recently, while looking for something, I ran across this picture once again. Immediately, light bulb came on. I think I know who this is! Follow along with me and see if you are convinced I have the answer to the question - Who is the woman in the picture? If not challenge me! Where else should I research? What else should be considered?

The clues:
  • The photo was taken in Denver.
  • The photographer is G.R. Appel, 1579 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado.
  • According to Frances, the woman is Walt Woods mother.
Back in the very early days of this blog, I wrote two pieces about Mary Ann Ballenger, including a timeline of her life. Right there is Walter Woods! Take a moment and at least read the second piece on Mary Ann Ballenger Woods. I'm not going anywhere...

It looks like the Walt Woods named on the back of the photo is Mary Ann Ballenger Woods son. It gets more interesting when I follow Walt through the census.

Re-examining the 1900 census we see that Walter and his sister are listed at the top of the page with his parents and another sister at the bottom of the previous page. Walter is 12 years old, born in Colorado, his mother is listed as born in Iowa which is consistent with what we know about Mary Ann. They reside in Montrose County, Colorado which is in the southwest part of the state, consistent with the Boulder Daily Camera, 7 December 1893, Boulder Daily Camera newspaper article.

In 1910, Walter is listed as the 24 year old head of household with no one else in the home. Further down the page is Milton, Mary A and Hazel. His birth year is a little different from that listed in the 1900 census but his mother's birthplace of Iowa is consistent.

So nothing directly proves the woman in the photo is Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods but the evidence indirectly indicates that to be the case.

  1. In December 1893, Mrs. Milton Y. Woods, the former Mary Ballinger, visits her sister, Mrs. Dan (Nancy Ballinger) Robinson in Boulder, Colorado with her 3 children. (Boulder Daily Camera, 7 December 1893, front page).
  2. Mary was living in Telluride, Colorado at the time the news article was written and had moved to the southern part of the state about 15 years earlier.
  3. The 1900 census shows the Woods family including Mary and son Walter living in Montrose County, Colorado.
We have tied Mary and Walter together. Tomorrow I will show how the provenance of the photograph ties these families together.

How is it looking so far?

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 28 September 2007).

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.

Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 25, 2011

Input Needed for 2012 Genealogy Blogging Projects

Now that we are nearing the close of 2011, it’s time to begin considering goals for next year, as they relate to family history and this blog. Even though the Family Home has been cleared out and sold, there is still plenty of material to keep going for years to come. One of the things I would like to do is write some mini-series on topics that will help my readers solve their problems, while keeping with the goals of The Turning of Generations: blogging about home sources, developing questions, then researching to find answers and putting together a product of interest to future family members or historians. I need your input. What would you like to read about in 2012? Here is a list of potential topics I have come up with. Do any of them look interesting to you. Or do you have any other ideas where my "expertise" could be of help to you?

  1. How to use genealogical records to identify family photos. In this case, using my great grandparents’ homestead file to identify many of those unknown pictures in Frances Lowe’s candy boxes of pictures (that’s where she stored them, in old candy boxes!).
  2. The ongoing process of sorting and organizing the contents of the Family Home.
  3. How I am organizing and culling several generations of family photos and slides.
  4. The process of organizing, researching and telling Grandpa’s WWI story using his own letters, photos and other documents.
  5. Family lore, fact or fiction? Mom had an inheritance from a Canadian ancestor. Well the inheritance was fact but the circumstances surrounding it had to be considered lore until some solid evidence turned up, which it did. Now to follow the trail…
  6. How to go about verifying a family story. In this case, my husband’s ancestor used to have to hide from the Indians while her parents were away. Allegedly the parents were killed by Indians.
Let me know what you think! I figure this is a win, win situation. You win because you get to read about some things that interest you. I win because a project or two get completed - and there are plenty of those around here!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, November 24, 2011

West in New England's Poetry Challenge is Out!

That's right Bill West's Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge is out! Hop on over and enjoy. I really like the way he organized the entries by state and country. There's quite an ecclectic collection.

Happy Thanksgiving.

You can read my family's entry The Snob here.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Go Hiking to the Coast - Wordless Wednesday

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving. So let's work up an appetite for our turkey dinner by hiking to the Oregon Coast in Florence. We did this trek in September starting at one of the many parks just south of Florence. I hope it motivates you to get out and get moving tomorrow in preparation for the big feast.

After a picnic lunch, we started down the trail at the top of the bluff.

A significant portion of our hike was in soft sand. Can you spell "workout"? Fortunately the trail through the wooded area was fairly firm so we had a bit of a break.

Then we went through a grassland area. Notice the sand. It's fairly soft.

Up and over a small bluff and we were at the beach and the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived the day after the nesting period for the Snowy Plover had ended. Apparently there were restrictions on where you could walk during designated nesting times.

Even though it was sunny, there was a haze along the coast which made for some interesting pictures.

You never know what will appear. In this case it was the park rangers patrolling the beach.

On the way back, Husband decided to take the short cut up the bluff and through the very deep sand. You can see him starting out in the photo below. Did I mention the sand was very deep and it was uphill? Hehehe.

Me? I took the scenic and shaded route the way we had come down. Did I mention this trail was firm?

I had a lovely, leisurely time snapping pictures on the way back up to the car. Husband not so much. He was found waiting at the car pretty much whupped. Did I mention the sand was deep?

All in all it was a very enjoyable day trip to a location I had been wanting to visit for years decades. We did come through the area in the 1990s but the wind was blowing, it was raining and there were two little kids asleep in the car. No, we did not stop and get out.

I hope you enjoyed this photo essay and find yourself motivated to get out either work up an appetite for your turkey dinner or work off your Thanksgiving Dinner (or whatever dinner you might be enjoying if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving).

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grandma's Kitchen - 52 Weeks

Made using MyMemories and A Fresh
Start Quick Pages by LeeLou Designs..

Grandma's kitchen was small by today's standards, and old, even by 1960s standards. I have many warm memories of "helping" Grandma cook in her kitchen. While unpacking one of the many boxes from my grandparents' house that had been sitting in the Family Home for several decades, I ran across this set of measuring spoons. I immediately recognized it because I used to love to measure out ingredients with these spoons. It now has its own place on our counter at the cabin.

One conversation I remember having with her, while sitting on the countertop one day, was asking how or where people went to the bathroom back in the olden days. Since Grandma grew up out in the country as a little girl, they had an outhouse. I was fascinated by that thought. Not so much anymore today though...ewww.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adventure in my Grandparent's Bathroom - 52 Weeks

Former home Dick & Margie Roos taken June 1994 by J. Richard Roos.
Cheney, Washington. It's pretty much as I remember it was when I last was there in 1977.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series about my grandparent's home. Yesterday I wrote about their very cool basement. Today, I'll tell you  about a little adventure in their bathroom when I was about five.

One summer day after using Grandma and Grandpa's only bathroom, I found myself locked in. I'm really not sure how that happened but I couldn't open the door to get out. So I called out to the family through the window that was over the steps leading to the back door. Everyone was on the patio which was just beyond the steps and a conference convened at the bathroom window.

Old House Parts
After demonstrating that the vintage lock was jammed and not allow me to turn the glass door nob and open the bathroom door, the search for some rescue supplies began. I'm not sure if someone tried unlocking the door from the other side with a skeleton key, which were in abundance in Grandma and Grandpa's home. I've always wondered about that...but I have to assume they tried this and failed.

So, I waited in the bathroom and visited with whoever was hanging with me at the window. I probably stuck my head down the laundry shute and asked if I could escape that way. I always wanted to do that but was strictly forbidden...

Eventually Grandpa returned with a very long dowel or something that would reach the length of the bathroom. He always had stuff like that around. He had carved the end to fit over the jammed latch and made it a game for me to guide the dowel securely over the latch and help him turn it to unlock the door. Wouldn't you know it worked! I was free!

I was told later that the entire ordeal was made out to be a game so that I wouldn't panic. Dad and Grandpa were really good that way and it worked.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Grandparents had the Coolest House - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Richard & Margie Roos home circa 1930.
My grandparents had the coolest house. At least it was cool from the perspective of a little kid. Over the next three days I'll tell you three things about the house, and our adventures there, that made it so great.

First, there was the basement. It was never properly graded and so there was a slope to the floor. Dad's bedroom was down there and since there was a slight slope, if you got out of bed on one side, it was a bit of a drop to the floor! This was where I slept most of the time when we visited. I always made sure to get out of bed on the uphill side until I was older and taller. I loved this room because all of the cabinets and drawers were built into the wall and there were lots of them. They were full of old things like toy soldiers and marbles. Some of those very items have appeared from boxes this past year in our adventure of cleaning out Mom and Dad's house, where I grew up, and have brought back many fond memories.

In addition to Dad's room, there was a dark room for film developing (remember, I'm the 3rd generation of avid amateur photographers). There was a freezer and washing machine too. I don't remember if there was a drier but I do remember there being clothes lines that Grandma used to hang clothes to be dried in the winter.

There also was a door that led out the back of the house to the garage. I remember everyone using that door in the winter instead of the back door to the main floor of the house. That's probably because it was only a few steps from the garage to the basement door and then you were out of the snow and ice.

Finally, there was the back half of the basement that was Grandpa's workshop and storage. Since the floor sloped, the adults had to stoop a little when they got back to this corner. I remember the storage area being kind of dark and creepy. Come to think of it, all of these super old boxes of photos and other papers that I have inherited were probably stored there!

More tomorrow...

Adventure in my Grandparents' Bathroom

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Day at the County Recorder's Office-Part 2

Courtesy of

...Continued from yesterday...You can read Part 1 if you missed it and would like to catch up.

Upon arrival at the Boulder County Recorder's Office, with my prioritized lists, I presented myself at the front desk and explained that I would like to look up some old deeds, marriage records and other documents. The nice person behind the desk asked if I had used the fische before and took me over to explain the system before turning me loose.

All of their older documents are on fische, organized by book and page number with some documents having been digitized.

First, using the information printed out from their online system, I looked up each item to see if it had been digitized. Very few had but those that were had been scanned at a very high resolution so the copy printed out very clear.

Next, it was on to the fische. Since I had the book and page number of each document I was after, it was very easy to pull the fische one by one, find the page and make a copy from the reader. I made sure to note the book and page number on each copy.

I had been warned that sometimes the printer in the fische reader could be temperamental and after a couple of jams, I asked if it would be OK if I were to unjam it the next time there was a problem. The lady was more than happy to show me how and she went back to work and so did I. I always like to ask before messing with other people's equipment because sometimes they don't like you doing that.

So what can you find in the Recorder's Office? Here's a list of some of the types of documents I pulled. I'm still transcribing, citing and digesting the information. The time period of documents I looked at covered the early 1860s through the 1950s. That's close to 100 years!
  • Marriage certificate
  • Deeds
  • Patent (as in land patent)
  • Quit Claim Deed
  • Deed of Trust
  • Warranty Deed
  • Notice of Intent to Hold Mining Claims (lots of those)
  • Mortgage
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Purchase
  • Contracts
  • Notary Public Commission
  • Location Certificate (related to mining)
  • Bond Official
  • Satisfaction of Judgement
  • Chattel Mortgage
  • Cemetery Deed
  • Power of Attorney
There are probably a couple of other types of documents that I missed. As you can see there's quite a variety of information in the County Recorder's office about your ancestors. Each one contains clues about their lives, the people they associated with and when and where.

Boulder's Recorder Office seems to be pretty modern and it was easy to locate records by doing my homework ahead of time. If you haven't visited the Recorder's Office where your ancestor lived, it could prove to be a very productive experience. I hope you give it a try.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day at the County Recorder's Office

Courtesy of

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the Boulder County Recorder's office to retrieve a number of documents recorded by my ancestors. As it turns out some of them were rather "active" in that regard and this has turned into a fairly significant project. Today, I want to share with you the planning that went into this trip and my experiences in a Recorder's Office in the hope that it will encourage you to visit, if you haven't. I also hope you might share some of your experiences with us if you have.

First, I asked for advice. Since I am a member of the Boulder Genealogical Society, I contacted one of their members who was able to provide some fantastic pointers allowing me to prepare a list of documents I was seeking. She also explained the organizational system of the records and mentioned that the staff are very helpful (whew! for some reason I was intimidated by the thought of going into a place of business and asking for historical records).

Next, as instructed, I went to their online site to search records. I was able to compile lists of the documents I was interested in. Imagine my surprise when, by extending the search periods past the times my ancestors lived in the area (and even past their death dates, items appeared in the 1930s and 1940s. There was even one in 1951, decades after he had passed away.

Now with my compiled lists, I prioritized the items I would be looking for.

Finally, I checked the hours of operations and obtained a map to get to the office.

I was ready to go to the Recorder's Office. Tomorrow we will talk about my visit.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another of My Favorite Android Apps...

Courtesy of

A while back I wrote about my new smart phone and asked for advice about Android Apps for genealogy. GeneaPopPop of Stardust 'n' Roots responded that he had CamScanner that allows him "to take pictures of documents, crop them, save as PDF, and email to my desktop." I had heard of this app but hadn't really given it much thought since I figured the same thing could accomplished by taking a picture and editing it with the Photo Editor. GeneaPopPop spurred me to download the CamScanner and give it a try. Boy am I glad I did. Thank you GeneaPopPop for mentioning the CamScanner!!

So why is the CamScanner better than the Photo Editor for documents? Here are two reasons:

  1. It really cleans up the image making it clearer and much more readable. It looks just like the original document.
  2. If you have a multipage document, you can combine them all into one pdf file.
Fortunately, this app was free to download to my particular phone which was an added benefit. I hope this helps you if you are searching for apps for your Android. More to come...

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: I have not been paid or compensated in any way for the products mentioned in this post. I'm just expressing my opinions and experiences.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Football Fun - Go Ducks - Wordless Wednesday

The University of Oregon Ducks have quite the pre-game ceremony which includes their mascot leading the football team into the stadium on a motorcycle. Fun!

University of Oregon Duck. Digital Photograph. 29 October 2011; original taken by and privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2011.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One of My Favorite Android Apps... the photo editor. I found Adobe Photoshop Express (free on my phone) although I'm sure there are any number of good photo editors available. After taking a picture, you can crop, make all kinds of adjustments to exposure, contrast, brightness, make it black and white, etc. You can also add borders and other special effects.

The reason I wanted an app like this was to take a picture, make some quick adjustments - cropping in particular, and then upload it to Facebook, Picassa (where it can be added to my blog) or directly to a blog post. The photo editor has been used for this very purpose in a number of my blog posts. It's a real time saver over having to transfer pictures from a camera and a life saver if I don't have a camera around for those picture perfect moments that I want to share on Facebook or this blog.

I'll be back with more smart phone app suggestions and experiences. Do you have any?

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: I have not been paid or compensated in any way for the products mentioned in this post. I'm just expressing my opinions and experiences.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Can You Say Giddyup? 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
Actually my first job was no where near that glamorous. I was a stall mucker for $1.50 a day. Yep, you read that correctly. I cleaned stalls and after I proved myself trustworthy, I was given the responsibilities of feeding and turning out horses and then bringing them back into their stalls in the evening. Rain or shine, I loved every minute of it.

After holding these high responsibilities for a time, I was allowed to excercise some of the horses and then I was taught how to halter break the foals. Around this time I was given a big raise to $3.00 a day. Yeah, that's $3 per day.

It was hard work. I still loved every minute of it. It kept a 14 year old kid busy and created wonderful memories and fabulous opportunities. We'll talk about those another day.

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What I Learned From Curt Witcher this Weekend

On Saturday, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending the Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board's workshop with Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center Manager at the Allen County Public Library. This was my first time hearing him speak live and he is as inspiring, entertaining, and educating as the recorded talks I have heard him give.

Here are take aways from each of the four talks he gave:

  1. Roll Call - New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research. This talk was jam packed with information and sites. One thing that I wasn't aware of is how powerful is. Did you know that you can sign up for your own free account? WorldCat can literally be your research assistant. You can set up bibliographies and to do lists for a particular repository.
  2. Using Government Documents for Genealogical Research. Local communities may have "yearbooks" of people who held positions in that community. This can be anything from mayor down to constables and town clerks. State and counties have Blue Books and Red Books which are like yearbooks. Have you sought these resources when researching your ancestors?
  3. Pain in the Access: Getting More from the Internet for Your Genealogy. This was my favorite presentation. Mr. Witcher gave us  a step by step surfing strategy which I won't outline here because I would be giving away the heart of his talk! Suffice it to say that I now have another checklist to use when researching online. I will share some links that I was not familiar with.
  4. SOS! SOS! Saving Our Societies: Answering Our Distress Beacons. There were many great points in this talk but two things stood out in my mind:
    • People want to have fun and be successful doing genealogy. Is this happening for your society members?
    • Them vs. US - There are more of "them" (meaning genealogists who were "born digital") than there are of "us" (genealogists who have been researching since before the digital age). What is your society doing to attract and engage "them"?
          It's important for societies to keep these and other points in mind in order to keep our societies alive and vibrant.

If you have the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Curt Witcher, I highly recommend taking advantage of it. In the meantime, I hope you picked up something useful from this brief summary.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge

It’s time for the Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, hosted by Bill West of West in New England. This is my first year participating. I hope you enjoy this poem written by one of my husband’s ancestor’s. I’ll tell you more after you finish reading the poem.


To the Snob


You can't go through life
With your head in the air.
Meeting unfortunate friends
With a stare.
Good character shows
From each line of your face.
A warm friendly smile
Adds much to your grace.

So come down from that high seat
You’ve chosen to take.
Grasp the hand of that poor friend.
‘Twill lessen the ache,
Of a life full of sorrow,
Not made by his hand.
With a smile on your face,
Show that you understand.
By Mrs. Roy Bindon
Inspired by a remark of my 13-year-old daughter [NAME WITHHELD FOR PRIVACY] concerning some of her friends saddened and hurt by snobbery.

Husband's grandmother, Caroline Ebling Bindon, loved to write poetry. Apparently when the mood struck, she would write her poems down on whatever paper (or scrap of paper) she had on hand at the moment. Several years ago, I transcribed and compiled them into a book for the family, along with some photos, narrative and history. The Snob is one of my favorites and is as pertinent today, in the first half of the 21st century as it was in the first half of the twentieth century.

Now for the challenging part of Bill's challenge: citing something from a scrap of paper!

Source List Entry:

So I decided we are dealing with a manuscript of sorts, after looking in Evidence Explained, (page 143, 3.29 Diaries, Journals & Authored Manuscripts), it looks like there's a couple of ways I can go. You can bet I'm adding this to my Citation Style Sheet. LOL.

Citing the original "manuscript"
Bindon, Caroline (Ebling). "The Snob." MS. Three Oaks, Michigan, circa 1943. Privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD FOR PRIVACY]. 2011.

Citing the book I compiled:
Goodrum, Michelle, compiler. Poetry of Carrie Marie Bindon. Mesa, AZ: self published, 2001.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You for your Service, Dad

That's one of the few things I never got around to saying to my father.

Dad did "double duty," serving first in a Navy training program for fighter pilots in the later years of WWII. Fortunately, the war ended, the program was cancelled, and his service was no longer needed. So he was discharged.

Years ago, I asked Dad what he thought about dropping The Bomb on Japan. I didn't fully appreciate his response until recently, when I discovered some of his military and personal papers. His response was that it was the right thing to do. It saved American lives and that he would have gone in next. I now understand that he would have gone in next in a fighter plane. I hate to think about that because it could have meant that I might not be here today and my children might not be here today.

During the Korean conflict, Dad went on to serve in the Air Force in Mountain Home, Idaho. Fortunately, his life was not particularly at risk.

Thank you Dad for your willingness to serve your country not once but twice and for being willing to put your life on the line for us.

Artwork assembled by Michelle Goodrum using My Memories Suite.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Speaking of Citations

Artwork from Office

As genealogists and family historians, we have unlimited types of sources that we use and need to cite. We've all heard the phrase, "cite your sources" but sometimes it's easier said than done.  Let's face it, putting those citations together can be work. How about starting a citation "style sheet"? I did a few months ago and am now finding it to be extremely helpful, and a real time saver. Especially when I go to add citations to the documents uncovered during research.

Use your favorite word processing software. Each time you find yourself writing up a citation, put it as an example under a heading for that type of citation.

Here's a couple of examples from my "citation style sheet".

State Census –

Source List Entry:

Iowa. Mahaska County. 1854 State Census. Digital Images. : April 2010.

Full Reference Note:

1854 Iowa State Census, Mahaska County, Iowa, Adams Township, no page number, line 7. William Ballenger; digital image, ( : accessed April 2010), citing _____

Subsequent Reference Note:

1854 Iowa State census, Mahaska Co, Iowa, Adams Township, no page, line 7, William Ballenger.

Document obtained from County Recorder

Full Reference Note:

Boulder County, Colorado, R:186, William H. and Lucinda Ballinger to George C. Corning, Warranty Deed, 30 Oct 1872; Boulder County Recorder, Boulder.

(see page 488 EE)

The next time I need to cite one of the many documents obtained from a county recorder's office, for example, I can do a cut and paste and then change the information to what I am citing. Occassionally I even reference Evidence Explained in case I need to go back and check something out.

My style sheet is nothing fancy and is a work in progress. It's also proving to be a time saver as I collect more and more examples related to the research that I am doing. I hope you give it a try.

To cite this post:

Michelle Goodrum, “Speaking of Citations.” Michelle Goodrum, The Turning of Generations, 10 November 2011 ( : access date DD Month YYYY), para. XX.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ProGen Month 1

We just finished our first month of the ProGen program with a group discussion. October's topics were Defining Professionalism and Ethical Standards; excellent subjects to begin a program like ProGen with. Our assignments had to do with citations and mission statements.

It was fabulous to prepare the assignment and get feedback from my classmates. The different perspectives people have are always helpful and keeps one on their toes.

This month's "light bulb moment" came from page 12 of the book, Professional Genealogy. In discussing research assignments, work must "... be performed with the greatest degree of efficiency possible in both time and cost." As hobbyists, efficiency in time isn't necessarily a priority. As professionals, doing client work, efficiency is a priority and a necessity. By doing my own personal research as if I had hired myself would be a great way to up the level of work performed  and better manage my personal research time (translation: you could find more of your dead ancestors!).

Have you heard of Parkinson's Law? Tim Ferriss discusses it in his book The 4-Hour Workweek. As Ferriss puts it, "Parkinson's Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion." (p. 77) How does this relate to your own research? Put a deadline on your research assignments, even if it's your own personal research. Then report back to yourself as if you were the client. See how much more you can get done.

The other thing I learned is that a mission statement really is critical to whatever kind of work you are doing as it will help you stay focused and communicate to others just what you are all about. It's also not easy to come up with one.

To learn more about the ProGen program visit their website.


Mills, Elizabeth Shown, editor. Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001.

Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. New York: Crown publishers, 2007.

To cite this post:

Goodrum, Michelle. “ProGen Month 1.”  Michelle Goodrum. The Turning of Generations, 9 November 2011. : 2011.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family History Expo Coming to Mesa

That's right folks. Family History Expo will be returning to Mesa, Arizona this coming January 20-21. Early bird registration is available through December 12. They don't have a schedule up just yet so keep checking. I can't wait!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Computer Setup Lessons Learned

Photo by Michelle Goodrum
Last summer my laptop suddenly began having significant issues, so I decided to make the switch to a different laptop while I still could - before mine totally crashed. As always, one learns a few things when setting up a new computer and transfering data. Today I would like to share with you, what worked, some challenges encountered, and a couple of discoveries. Hopefully this will help you out when you have to set up a new computer.

What Worked

Dropbox: After installing Dropbox on the new computer, all of my files were just "there." No transferring necessary. The files were right where they had been. Since I keep most of my genealogy files in Dropbox, this was a huge time saver. I didn't even miss a step as far as research. It was business as usual.

Evernote: Ditto Dropbox. What more can I say? Whatever was in Evernote, still was in Evernote when installed on the new computer.

Having a current backup:  You knew this was going to come up didn't you? I have an online backup and also backup periodically to DVD. It was time for a new set of DVD backups so I went ahead and made one and used it to transfer the majority of files that weren't on Dropbox or in Evernote. A few items it was easier to retrieve from the online backup. So this part of the setup process while time consuming was relatively easy.


Outlook files: Oh where, oh where, does Outlook save those files? This was the biggest challenge and I finally solved it in my post, "Solve a Problem - Outlook 2007."

Photoshop Elements: I hadn't given a thought as to where Elements Organizer was saving the catalog of photos brought into Organizer. I had been using Organizer just long enough to be worried when I discovered this little issue. So after some searching, I was able to find the file and transfer it. Now it's stored in my Pictures folder.

The real point here is that we all probably have some files that we don't know where they are saved and thus will have a difficult time transferring them to a new computer. Do you know where all of your files are saved?


Saving as much as possible in as few main folders as practical was a time saver. My main folders:
  • Dropbox
  • My Document
  • My Pictures
  • My Videos
  • My Music
I try and discover where a program is set to "save" and if it's not to one of the above, change it (well maybe not Outlook that seems to cause a lot of problems for me). This is especially true for the various genealogy programs. Having them save to Dropbox or at least My Documents is helpful when the time comes to change computers.

I hope this helps you prepare for the time when you switch to a new computer. Or at least that I have given you some things to think about. What have some of your experiences been?

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Private Domain Name for your Blog?

Artwork from Office
A number of genealogy bloggers have their blogs on their own domain as opposed to, say, Blogger or Word Press. I have been considering doing the same thing. J. Craig Anderson's article in Sunday's Arizona Republic (page 1 of the Business section, if you are a subscriber), titled "Private domain names multiply" got me to thinking.

Basically the article was about domain registrar and how they invented "private" domain registration through their affiliate company, Domains By Proxy. Apparently registering your domain through a company like this keeps your name and contact information out of the searchable "Whois" directory. If you are concerned about privacy or stalkers this would be a good way to go. So my question is this:

If you have your own domain, or are considering getting one for your blog or genealogy business, do you think it is better to go with a "regular" domain registration or a "private" domain registration and why?
Please respond in the comments. This inquiring mind really wants to know!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Road Trips & Smells - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

This post for 52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy combines the topics of smells and road trips. Our family took lots of road trips when I was a kid. None of them were of the true cross country type but we took road trips all over the Pacific Northwest. There was one we took regularly;  from our home near Seattle to my grandparents home in Cheney, Washington.

There are three places we would stop for a break on our journey to Cheney: Ellensburg, Vantage near the Columbia River, and Moses Lake. In Ellensburg there was a restaurant right off of I-90 where we would stop to eat. I always enjoyed stopping in Vantage; there was A&W Root Beer, or something like it, and the Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. Sometimes we would get out and hike around Ginko and maybe have a picnic lunch. I've always been fascinated with petrified wood because of our stops here.

The most fun place to stop was in Moses Lake. There was a park with an awesome playground right next to the lake. It was the perfect place for little kids to burn off some energy after being cooped up in the car and have a nice picnic lunch. As we got older we didn't stop there as often probably because the park lost its allure.

So where do the smells come in? Well, when I was younger, our car didn't have air conditioning and Eastern Washington gets rather warm in the summer. So we had to drive with the windows open. The smell I can remember is that of Sage coming in the car windows from the desert. I've always been fond of Sage.

One last memory I have of these road trips was doing the drive at night. Our family had a station wagon so my parents would make beds for us in the way back and we could sleep on the ride over. This was in the days before seatbelts were mandatory. In fact, I'm not sure our station wagon even had seatbelts in the backseat. My how times change. I remember one night we had stopped for gas and I woke up and my mom said to me, "we're in George Washington and Martha's in here." I was perplexed but then she explained to me that we were in the town of George, in the state of Washington, and there was a motel called the Martha Inn. I know, bad joke.

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Curt Witcher Workshop For Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board

There's still time to register for the AzGAB workshop on Saturday, November 12. Curt Witcher from the Allen County Public Library will be giving 4 talks. The cost is $30. After November 8 it will be $35.

For more information, visit the AzGAB website.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seaview Elementary School - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and HIstory

Seaview Elementary School. Photographed by
Michelle Goodrum, August 1997.
Seaview elementary was and is a kindergarten through sixth grade school and is where I attended for those grades. It was fairly new back then and probably had around 600 students.

The classrooms were organized around four bays with five classrooms opening into each common area. These common areas had a boys and girls bathroom and a large open area where the lunch carts would come every day. Each of the five classrooms was dismissed one at a time to get their lunches and you had a choice of hot lunch or the milk cart. We had 30 minutes for lunch and then a half hour recess afterward. The lower grades had both a morning and mid-afternoon recess of about 15 minutes. each. The upper grades just had one 15 minute recess and I can't remember if it was in the morning or afternoon. We had a playground and two covered “sheds” which got used a lot because of the constant rain in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1997, Seaview was modernized and remodeled. We wandered by before they had gotten too far into the project and were able to look into the windows of some of my former classrooms. My old second-grade classroom, Miss Poor was my teacher, still had the same blue countertops and probably the same blackboard. Yes, I said blackboard, complete with chalk. Did I mention the school needed to be modernized?

Another family and the construction manager were wandering around at the same time we were so we started talking. The construction manager told us all about the modernizations that were coming to the Seaview and then asked us if we had children who attended. I replied, no we didn't but I had attended Seaview Elementary from grades K through six. The other dad looked at me like I was an alien from another planet. Either I looked really young or he couldn't believe school was that old! Moving on…

It was really fun to wander up to my old school, before they had done too much remodeling, reminisce and learn about the changes that were coming which by the way are probably completely outdated by now!

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