Friday, November 30, 2012

Master List of Genealogy To-Dos

For 2012, I had a list of 12 things I wanted to accomplish.  I think I did a great job:

1.    Finish rough draft of Dukes of Mixager.  DONE

2.    Edit Dukes of Mixager.  DONE
3.    Publish Dukes of Mixager.  DONE
4.    Finish rough draft of Chicken Wings and Peas.  DONE
5.    Edit Chicken Wings and Peas.  Adding footnotes and final edit.
6.    Publish Chicken Wings and Peas.  Pending footnotes and final edit.
7.    Put together a photo book of William Mason Conner.  I incorporated this into the Dukes of Mixager.  Done.
8.    Order death certificates from Iowa.  Done.
9.    Order Civil War pension file and service records for Miles Price.  Done.
10.  Write up John Shelton and do research on Shelton line.  Move to 2013. 
11.  Write at least one post per week on genealogy blog and family blog.  Getting better
12.  Do not get sidetracked by other projects.  Working on it.

For 2013, I looked at the master list of to-do’s that I just keep adding to.  I thought I would share my current list of Genealogy Things I Want to Do Someday and then my 2013 list of things I want to do:

Lucas County, Iowa where my Conner and Price families lived
Capa, South Dakota where my grandfather lived.  Preferably WITH my grandfather.
Haakon County, South Dakota where my 2nd great grandfather had a homestead
Sacramento- 2nd great grandparent's house
Sacramento- Roots Cellar Library
Massachusetts- New England Historic Genealogical Society
Massachusetts- Plymouth again
Indiana- Allen County Public Library again
San Francisco- Sutro Library
Salt Lake City- Family History Library
Motor home the Civil War route that Miles’ took
Carluke, Scotland
Go on a genealogy cruise

Write a book about my dad
Write a book about Miles Price
Write a book about the Mariani family
Complete a genealogy scrapbook
Enter footnotes to Duke’s book
Write a 5-generation book of the kids' ancestors
Write my personal family history book
Picture book of Christmas decorations 
Revisit blog posts and update to provide source info

Roots Tech
FGS conference
NGS conference

Find out more about Miles Price’s parents
Take classes at National Institute for Genealogical Studies
Learn to do presentations
Learn Photoshop
Learn inDesign
Learn how to do a for-family podcast
Update my website with all new features 
Map and pin where ancestors were from and lived

Sacramento- 2nd great grandparent's house, Root Cellar Library (schedule for a Sacramento weekend)
San Francisco- Sutro Library (field trip with 4-H family history class maybe)

Write a book about the Mariani family (currently in progress)
Write a book about Miles Price (currently in progress)
Write a book about my dad (currently in progress)
Write up Shelton line

Take classes at National Institute for Genealogical Studies (currently in progress)
Learn to do presentations (currently in progress - just joined TOASTMASTERS and am giving mini-presentations in the L-AGS groups I do)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas List!

It's National Shopping Day!  Also known as The Day in which Debbie Does Not Leave the House.  Time to make Christmas lists!  I’m a list maker at heart and if I’m making a list, I feel like I’m doing something, even though I’m really not.  But this time, it’s different, because I’m helping people.  See?  I’m giving back, not just making a list. 

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to ask for when someone says, “What do you want for Christmas?”  I stutter and don’t know what to say, because I never quite know.  My extensive, cross-referenced, hyperlinked Excel spreadsheet lists are all about what to get other people not about what I want.  So here is where I help you make YOUR list of what YOU want. 

Based on what I already have and love, and on what I am coveting, here is what you, the genealogist, should also have and love:

·         These sticky notes.  Really, you need them.  Lots of them. 
·         This notebook with your blog name on it.  It is fun to make lists in and to put notes for your blog in.  And makes you feel royal and important. 
·         This bracelet.  The link is to eBay because Premier Designs Jewelry doesn't have a website you can order from.  You have to order it from a Premier Jewelry representative (I’ll give you the email address of mine if you need her!) and it’s less than $30.  It holds 5 pictures, so you could, as I did, do 5 generations of photos.
·         Two copies of this book.  One PDF for your Kindle (what?!?!  You don’t have a Kindle!?!?  Add that to the list…) and one hardcopy.  You can search the PDF copy and you can look good with the hardcopy (and, of course, read it cover-to-cover.
·         This computer program.  It is past time for you to record your own stories.  This makes it easy and fun. 
·         This scannerI was able to scan my grandpa’s 500 photos and write a book all because of this scanner.  This is the most awesome, easy to use scanner ever. 
·         A bunch of these stickers to stick on stuff.  Then you write a short story about the stuff and everyone will know that even though it is extremely hideous, that lamp was made by your great grandfather and they really shouldn’t Freecycle it. 
·         A subscription to this and/or this.  Just a month or two helps, even if you already have a subscription.  
·         A gift card here so that you can load up your new iPad with great programs to help you with you genealogy.  And your lists. 
·         A gift certificate for here or here.  DNA and Discovery.  One tests your DNA (or someone else’s) and one helps you discover family history in SLC without, you know, going to SLC.  

Updated to add a chart from here. I forgot because it's on my own covet list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grand Theft Genealogy

I read an article the other day in which I was told in essence that I’m not good enough to write my family history.  Now, the author, Sharon Tate Moody, doesn’t know me and doesn’t read this blog or know about me or it or anything I do or say or don’t cite, but she said that she wonders if I should, “have a research license (sort of like a driver's license)” before I can publish my work “in print or on the Internet.”
Now, I know I shouldn’t always internalize everything written on the internet, but I did and I do.  I write family books and I write blog posts and I don’t have a research license and I doubt my citing of sources is usually or even sometimes entirely kosher.  So it was about me, or at the very least, people like me.

She also wrote about those who “believe the television ads about how easy it is to click on a few links and find your entire family.”  She said that those people “steal the family car and have a grand old time for the weekend, racing around the Internet and leaving a mess for someone else to clean up on Monday morning.”  Since she doesn’t define “a few links,” I have to believe this could be me, too.  I do race around the internet when I get a bug up my butt about an ancestor.  I work full time and have two small children, so I don’t have time to race around the real world.

I didn’t really want to think on it too much as my Grand Theft Genealogy brings me great pleasure and I don’t really want to give it up.  But I also don’t want to spend more time on sources and information and evidence and proof than I do on finding and sharing my family stories.  My time is extremely limited and in the grand scheme of time-ration, source citations get about 2% of what’s leftover.  Over the last few days, I had those thoughts one after another and then moved on to thinking about what I was going have for dinner.

In between, I tried to decide if I was mad or had hurt feelings.  Thinking on this, I decided I was neither mad nor hurt; I simply disagree.  I don’t believe the author’s intent was to anger, hurt or be disagreed with.  I think the intent was to express her discomfort with coming across “garbage” on the internet and she was trying to find a way to fix it.  Welcome to Earth.

I had my 4-H Family History group meeting on Saturday and my students told me that not everything you read on the internet is true.  They know this because they ARE the internet.  I looked at them while we made family tree posters and talked about tradition.  I watched them get excited over little things.  The spelling of their great great grandfather’s name.  That they could remember it was called a pedigree chart.  That they have a family bible at home to look in. That they get to see Grandma and Grandpa on Thanksgiving and can’t wait to find out what their traditions were growing up.

What if I had taken that moment to read the second half of Ms. Moody’s article to them about the differences between source, information, evidence, and proof?  What if I had taken that moment to tell them that they were not allowed to write anything until they learned the rules and got a license?

I just can’t believe that source citations are more important than passion and excitement.  Definitely important, but definitely not MORE important.  Without this passion, excitement and curiosity, the future of genealogy would be very, very bleak and not something I want anything to do with. 

When I started this in 1995, I did it to make a plaque for my grandfather.  I couldn’t get his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren lined up correctly, so I bought a computer program to plot it out for me.  I kept adding the things I knew and here we are.  I never intended on being a genealogist; I was just out for a test drive.  Or perhaps “joy ride” is the better term.

With all that said, I think I’ll just keep on ridin’ until someone carts me away to Genealogy Jail for Grand Theft Genealogy.  I will be in good company there, at least. And maybe I can finish Grampa’s plaque.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Funeral

I’ve been putting off writing about Dad’s funeral.  I guess because I’m not sure what to say and kinda sorta didn't want to relive it, but I need to say SOMETHING.  So today I decided to just begin writing and see what happens.

The day of the funeral began with preparing for the after-party.  Set-up of the room and shopping and whatnot.  The Medford, Oregon weather cooperated and the sun shone for my dad’s final goodbye.  We arrived at the Eagle Point National Cemetery at 12:45pm and the afternoon began at 1:00 p.m. with the playing of Taps and the flag-folding ceremony.  Much tears were had (and are still being had) over Taps.  If my dad were here, he and I would be discussing the history of Taps and the flag folding.  I’d pull it up on my iPad and he on his Google and we’d spend about 45 minutes in deep research over the history of Taps.

In honor of Dad… (and with thanks to Wikipedia, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and West Point.)

Taps is traditionally played on a bugle and features a mere 24 notes.  It is taken from a French bugle signal that notified soldiers to stop drinking and return to camp (called, “Tatoo”).  The last five measures of Tatoo, apparently, resemble that of Taps.  This last call came an hour before the final bugle call to end the day and turn out the lights, which was called, “L’Extinction des feux.” 

Today’s Taps was created during the Civil War by Union general Daniel Adams Butterfield in Harrison Landing, Virginia.  He decided the “lights out” music was too formal and so in July of 1862 he hummed what he remembered of Tatoo and an aide wrote it down in music. Butterfield then asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, to play it and, after some work, it became the call at the end of each day.  Union and Confederate buglers alike began using this as the call at the end of the day.  It was given the name, “Taps” in 1874 after the command, “Tap Toe”, which was to shut the tap of a keg. 

With its beginnings as a call to end the day, Dad and I might wonder when it started to be used in military funerals.  While fitting (what more end to the day could one possibly have???), there was already a three gun firing over the grave as part of a military funeral.  So we’d find that later in 1862, Captain John C. Tidball began the custom when one of his soldier’s died.  They were not allowed to fire the guns due to giving away their position.  But they were allowed to play Taps.  And the tradition began.   By 1891, it was a standard component in US military funerals.

Following Taps, the soldiers performed the flag folding ceremony, whereby two soldiers truly made a ceremony of folding the flag.  I found these instructions on and this is pretty much exactly how it went:


  1. Two persons, facing each other, hold the flag waist high and horizontally between them.
  2. The lower striped section is folded, lengthwise, over the blue field. Hold bottom to top and edges together securely.
  3. Fold the flag again, lengthwise, folded edge to open edge.
  4. A triangular fold is started along the length of the flag, from the end to the heading by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open edge.
  5. The outer point is turned inward parallel with the open edge, forming a second triangle.
  6. Repeat the triangular folding until the entire length of the flag is folded.
  7. When the flag is completely folded only the triangular blue field should be visible.

A properly proportioned flag will fold 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag is emblematic of the tri-cornered hat worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident, leaving only the blue field with stars.”  

Dad’s flag was presented to my Dad's wonderful wife Molly as a keepsake for his service in the U.S. Navy.  The soldier knelt before her with the flag held out and said the words, “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Navy, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service.”

And Dad got his Final Salute.