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Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's almost here! You could attend RootsTech for free!

Yes, you certainly could!

If you have even once hesitated about attending, think again.  During this next week, let me know what you think you can learn at RootsTech.  Then, you can do any of the following:
1.  Send me an email at:,
2.  Contact me on Facebook:
3.  Get the word to me somehow.

If you have already paid for a three-day registration, directions will be given for reimbursement.

Remember, this is a wonderful opportunity to advance your genealogy research skills.  Go to this link: Why attend RootsTech?

I will announce the winner on February 1.  So, be thinking about what you would like to concentrate on in your learning experience at RootsTech.

And, remember!!!  It's a three-day pass!!

The last gift

Son Peter passed away just over five years ago.

When Mr. Kerry and son Jordan drove to retrieve his belongings shortly after his death, they remained in our basement for awhile.  There were two suitcases, and three or four plastic see-through tubs.

Try as I might, I could not go through them.  Each time I would open up one of the suitcases, his "scent" would come wafting out.  I would close the lid and make a note to try another day.

Mr. Kerry has slowly been going through some of the tubs.  There were miscellaneous papers which probably didn't have much meaning.  Nevertheless, he still went through them.

Once, he asked me if I felt I could look through some, too.  I did.  One of the things that slid out into my lap was a gift card for International Diamonds in the amount of $50.  Since it had been so long, I didn't even know if it was still valid.  I looked the company up online, and it directed me to Kay Jewelers.

This past week, sister Betty and I were shopping at a mall near her home when I spotted Kay Jewelers.  I wandered in, explained my story, and had them check the card.  Sure enough, there was the correct amount showing on the card.  I asked what they had in the store that could help me remember him for about that amount.

I had just received a beautiful bracelet from friend Lucie Consentino's daughter with a family tree on it.  We went to the bead showcase, and low and behold, I saw the perfect item.

It was a diamond letter "P".  It's his initial...and mine.

I won't receive anything else from this son, but I now have an everlasting memory that will bring his memory to me each time I wear it.

Love you, dear Peter...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Fresh New Year For Research

I know that the year 2014 was not a good year for many of us.  But, there were some high points in all of our lives, if we choose to find them.

It's a new year for researching family members, I am going to continue to use the wonderful web sites that are available to us to research from home.  Some of my favorites include:

I can't say enough about FamilySearch.  I know that there have been many frustrations expressed as people muddle through FamilyTree, but hopefully the administrators are listening.

Aside from that, the records that have digitized and indexed have saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in travel and cost of documents.


Ancestry has also been a wonderful resource for my research.  I have used the Family Trees, but am still more inclined to use the records that I am able to access.

I love the shaking green leaves!  They have alerted me to sources that give me the opportunity to accept or reject them.

I discovered USGenWeb many years ago, and have actively used it ever since.  It's one of the top sites I recommend in my classes.

God bless the coordinators that are diligently uploading information to the county and state pages.  I have discovered ancestors I never knew about in the hills of eastern Kentucky.

I just live a few minutes from the Ohio Genealogical Society headquarters!  They are one of the largest state genealogy societies in the United States.  As a member, I am able to access their databases from home.  And, when I walk into their library, I am always astounded at the state-of-the-art facilities.

Their annual conference is a "must-do" for anyone researching in Ohio and many of the surrounding states.  Even if you don't have Ohio ancestors, there are classes in methodology, technology, and ethnicity that will hold anyone's interest.  They bring in some of the best of the best as speakers.

This is my absolute favorite web site!  I use it nearly every day, and have added hundreds of grave sites to my database, as well as contributed dozens more.  I have looked for name, or simply browsed through cemeteries and their listings.

I haven't even begun to list all of the sites I use from home every day.  These are the ones I frequent the most. These are the ones that keep me up into the wee hours of night.  These are the ones that have led me to records I may never have known about, or even thought of.

For seasoned genealogists, there may be a sigh as you read through these.  But, my job is inspiring those that are of any age, any degree of research, and of any means.

And, I take that job seriously.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Family Dopplegangers

Sometimes family resemblances are just too strong not to notice.

Harmony licking sap from sugar cane

Angel munching a delicious apple


His grandfather, Kerry

Peter, our son
His grandfather, Orson

And, last but not least...
Jordan, our son

And me, Peggy!

When I hung up my picture in the cherry tree, son Jordan walked by and asked when he was ever in a cherry tree!

A Perfect Combination

Right in the middle of winter, when we all have the dreary doldrums, a dazzling marriage of two conferences is taking place.

We can't help but win!

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and RootsTech have combined forces to hold the largest conference yet.  And, I will be there!

I am already prepared to both attend this conference, and be one of the speakers.  The FGS conferences have always been worthwhile to attend, and this one will be no different.  My attendance at a previous RootsTech conference left me longing to increase my technology skills even more.

I can't wait!  Though there will be thousands of attendees, I expect no problem in finding fellow bloggers, Facebook friends, and genealogy colleagues.  We just always seem to be in the right place at the right time.

Having been to the Salt Palace for a previous RootsTech conference, I know:

  •  This is a large venue that will require the most comfortable shoes I own.  We are staying just a stone's throw away at the Marriot, and it doesn't sound far.  BUT, this is Salt Lake City, and the streets are wide and the blocks are long.  Brigham Young said the streets must be designed to be able to turn a wagon pulled by four horses around.  I only have two legs, so I must accomodate.
  •  I must bring the right glasses.  All of them.  I will need my trifocals, my readers, and sunglasses. Bright sun on snow reflects into my eyes, rendering me useless.
  • I must learn to condense.  A cross-body bag forces me to weed out what I don't need to lug around.  My hands are free to look over products in the Exhibit Hall.  My arms will be free for plenty of hugging.
  • I look forward to all of the address labels that will be arriving for the holidays.  They are great for filling in entry slips in the Exhibit Hall.
  • Business cards are a must!  It's even better when you remember to bring them.
  • I get hot.  I get cold.  Therefore, I love clothing that doesn't wrinkle.  I have a light jacket I just bought that can easily be wadded up and put into that cross-body bag.
  • I take pictures.  I use a camera, a real one.  I just don't like to fill up my phone.
  • My Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 goes with me, too.  I love being able to take notes on Evernote.  That is just one of the most wonderful techy-things ever!  
  • The Family History Library is across the street!!!!!!
I love attending conferences.  And, I love the networking and the camaraderie that happens when meeting friends that I have only known "virtually".  But, even more important to me, I am there to learn.

Yes, I am there to speak.  But, I am also there to learn.  I have been involved in family history all of my life.  I have spoken to thousands of people in hundreds of venues.

But, I need to learn.

Prepare to attend this combined conference, either in person or through live-streaming.  You will learn things that you didn't know that you didn't know.

That, I know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At Home in a Cemetery
I have always felt at home in a cemetery. 

I was in cemeteries before I was born.  My parents took me to cemeteries when they were doing indexing for the Ohio Genealogical Society.  While all of my friends were in movie theaters and on the beach on Sunday afternoon, I was in a cemetery with my parents.

I was born into an older family and everyone was dying when I was young, I went to funerals and cemeteries.  I feel quite at home in a cemetery, thinking of the many times a family has paid their last respects to a loved one.

I've also had some interesting experiences in cemeteries.  Two stand out.

I must have been about 12 or 13 years old.  It was Sunday afternoon, and we were off to another cemetery.  I had talked my best friend, Palm Tree (Alice) into going.  One of mom and dad's friends, Brother Steele (who never spoke) also came along.

Mom wore a wig.

We were all in various corners, with Alice and I hanging together writing on our index cards.  Mom was down on her knees pulling weeds from a tombstone that had sunken into the ground.  The information she needed was below the level of the grass and the ground, so she had a job to do. 

Then, she came face to face with a snake!

She jumped up and started doing this warhoop thing that mortified Alice and I.  I was SO embarrassed.  Dad saw what was going on and came running across the grass with a stiff wire brush.  (Never, ever use those now!!)  He saw the snake and started beating it like that Fat Broad in the comic strip B.C.      But, the ends of those bristles are extremely sharp, and during the first strike, the snake got stuck in the bristles.  When he saw what had happened, he slung the snake straight up in the air.

That's when my mother looked up and saw the snake coming straight down for her, head over tail.

Mom ran out from under her wig.

Alice and I just wagged our heads.  Brother Steele was trying to hold his face together to keep from laughing.  I wanted to tell him to just go ahead and bust out and laugh, but I didn't.  Oh, well.

The second incident directly involves me.

I had a broken foot once again.  I was heavy.  I was unstable.  I was in a cemetery.

Ferne and Betty and I were in a Kentucky cemetery, which could be anywhere - soggy bottomland, mountains, backwoods properties, high grass, old stones, etc.  You name it - we've been there.

We were looking through a familiar cemetery once again to make sure we had all stones recorded.  The three of us were scattered around, with me over closest to the top ridge of the burying ground.  It was high up on a hill.  (People were buried high up so the floods wouldn't get the graves saturated)

I was copying the information from a tombstone that looked a little bit like the Washington Monument.  It was on the crest of the hill, and there were names on all four sides.  I kept wondering if these people were buried in a pinwheel.

I had a walking cast on that looked like a "moon boot".  It was solid and didn't bend much.  As I'm walking around all four sides of the tombstone, I hung on to it to keep my balance.  Suddenly, it toppled.  I grabbed on to it so it wouldn't break further, and cradled it in my arms.  I also lost my footing, fell, and began rolling down the side of the hill - hollering the whole time.  A true genealogist.

My sisters heard me, but couldn't see me.  When they finally saw where I had landed, they stood on the hill above me, dumbfounded.  The first thing out of Betty's mouth was, "Good night!  Is the tombstone alright?"

Yeah.  It was alright.  So was I, in case anyone was wondering...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

For the Strength of Our Youth

I have worked with some fantastic youth for the past several weeks.  They have been in and around central Ohio, most are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they are phenomenal!

Let me tell you about yesterday.  I spent the day in Reynoldsburg, a suburb of Columbus.  The youth leaders had been planning a "Beehive Bash", and wanted to know if I would come and talk to the girls.

Sometimes I say no to things, but I rarely say no to working with young people.  They need our encouragement and trust, and need to know how valuable they are.  In turn, we need them.

The moment I got there, I was taken away into another realm.  There were about 40 girls between the ages of 12-13.  There were various "stations" where the girls would go to learn family history facts:
These four women represented ladies from the early 1900's and late 1800's.  They would tell stories to the girls, the girls would listen for clues, and then they would interview the women.

The girls loved being on the computers in the Family History Center.  Their minds and fingers are quick and sharp.

They made crafts commemorating this day.  This dog tag would eventually become a beautiful piece of jewelry.
 I was really impressed with the attentiveness of these young girls.  
 They called the girls "Superheroes".  They even gave me a cape!

 Books from the local library were on hand to inspire the girls to learn.

 They even had a cemetery set up as you walked in the door.  There were clues on several of the graves.  It's amazing what you can buy at the Dollar Store and the Halloween Store.

 Of course, you have to have food.  Mr. Kerry made a wonderful banana split.
And, it finished up with me.  I don't know how had more fun - them or me!

I especially wanted the girls to know how proud I was of them.  On a beautiful Saturday morning, they chose to do what none of their friends were doing.  They chose to learn about how to better research their own families.

And, today at Church, I nearly repeated the same presentation to the girls I see each week.  

I'm happy to be working with the young people of today.  Someday, they will be taking our places.  Someday, they will be the moms and the grandmas we talked about.

God bless the youth!