Sunday, December 31, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Make ONE Resolution/Goal for 2018

Randy Seaver for Genea-Musing has another great mission for us this week:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) Did you make any New Years Resolutions, or state Goals and Objectives, for genealogy research in 2018? If so, tell us about them.

2) If not, then make ONE resolution, or state one goal, for your genealogy research that you are determined to keep during 2018. We'll check on progress toward that resolution/goal during the year in SNGF (if I remember!).

3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook status post or Google+ Stream post.

I have never been one to have "Resolutions." They are so easily broken before the end of January. But I truly like the idea of goals. I have many goals: exercise more, eat better, write more in my blog, find more birds this year, etc...

But my main goal this year is to turn in my BCG portfolio. I think I can make this happen. It is more than half way completed. I probably won't get it in before my clock runs out on March 3. I will probably have to extend for another year, but my goal is for 2018 to be the year it is turned in!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of Dec 18-25, 2017

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

Sunday, I finished up the KDP. I printed it out and put it aside to read in about a week when it might look fresher. I started working on the Case Study again. I thought it was almost done, but I have lots of work still to do on it. I might try different approaches and see which works out the best.

Working on the Case Study, brought out the need for a few documents from Todd County, Minnesota. There are no professional genealogists up there, nor none in the Minneapolis area willing to go up there. I made a request last summer for some deed records but they never got back to me. I’ll try once more with the request, then I’ll try a title company in the area. That email is all written and waiting in the draft box. I’ll probably have better luck if I wait until next week to make requests. It’s just that I want it now!

No Hangouts, but I did view a great webinar presented by Judy G. Russell, “The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive Research.” It got some great tips, and the most important one, is to know the law that was responsible for every document created by a government entity. That way you know why the document was created and any limitations placed on the information found in the document. It’s too bad that some states don’t have their older statutes online. I think I’ll create a page for each state in my OneNote Toolbox, for the link to that state’s laws.

Family & Christmas Season Activities
This was a quiet week for us. We got the last of the packages sent to daughter in New York City and to grand-niece in Tracy for her birthday. Instead of going to the bookstore where I’d only get one or two books for her, I shopped at the Friends of Martinez Library bookstore and got her fifteen used books. Some were favorites of mine when I was nine.

With sadness, I have to report that our ten-year-old Australian Shepard, Sidney, became very ill and passed away on Tuesday. We took him to the vet and from an ultra sound we discovered he had two tumors on his spleen. It was a very difficult decision to let him go. We called our daughter, Margaret, so she could see Sidney for the last time. Everyone, with tears, said good-bye to our dear friend of nine years.

The feeders are attracting mostly lesser goldfinches, house finches, chickadees, and woodpeckers. An occasional scrub jay would come and scare them all off.

Christmas was spent with just the two of us. We found a recipe in the bon appétit magazine for turkey thighs and legs, and for a turnip salad. Like most recipes in that magazine, it took longer than we expected, but was very tasty. I managed to listen to about 80% of the vinyl records during the day. I do love Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Roger Whittaker, Neil Diamond, John Denver, and others, singing Christmas carols.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

The big news this week was finishing up on the last story of the KDP. I still have a few holes to fill on the second and third stories. The probate records from Merced County, California and the land record from Montgomery County, Iowa, should come in this week and that will be extremely helpful. I’ll need to do some editing and proof-reading both the text and footnotes. It feels good to be nearly 90% done with this part.

The online session with the Mastering Genealogical Documentation hangout went very well. We were talking about Chapter 13, citing original online content. I focused on recording negative searches done online. If you’re interested in the recording, check out DearMyrtle’s YouTube channel.

I worked at the desk at the California Genealogical Society’s library in Oakland on Friday. I only had one customer and two volunteers come in. I was able to get a bit of work done on my KDP. Riding BART in and back, I read Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith. I wished I commuted somewhere everyday so I had time to read good books.

More Christmas Season Activities
Both German classes had Christmas parties this week. We watched some German TV at Nancy’s house on Monday. 

Wednesday, Bud invited the German Conversation class to his house, where we brought potluck and he had tables decorated and laid out. After lunch, we sang German Christmas songs while he played the piano and then we sang English ones while he lit the candles on his tree.

The joint Contra Costa County Genealogical Society and the Concord Family History Center Christmas party was on Thursday. I brought a cabbage slaw salad. There were some wonderful treats and we sang Christmas songs—a favorite was the 12 Days of Christmas.

The volunteer staff of the Contra Costa County Historical Society was treated to a Christmas lunch on Thursday. Pizza, salad, and cookies were on the menu.

Went to hear the Lowell Trio play at Armandos with Elaine and Diane. Janet Popesco Archibald played oboe & English Horn. Emil Miland played the cello, and Margaret Fondbertasse played the piano. The trio played wonderfully and my favorite was Hallelujah, especially the cello parts. I really love the cello. Elaine’s favorite is the English horn.

I got in some birding on Saturday. I arrived early to Heather Farm Park before the sun came up. It was quiet on the ponds. I saw the ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, grebes, coots, and Canada geese on the pond. As I walked around I found a great blue heron staring into the concrete pond. After a few shots with the camera, I continued walking. When I turned back to see if the bird was still there, I was surprised to find the bird had a fish in its beak. Another wonderful find was the black-crowned night-heron and the red-shouldered hawk.

At home the feeders are attracting lesser finches, house finches, and woodpeckers.

Saturday, we celebrated my sister, Renee’s birthday. Sabrina hosted and grilled salmon, roasted Brussel sprouts, and salad was on the menu. After gifts were opened, we sang some Christmas songs while I played the ukulele. Then we exchanged sister gifts. Danna gave us an oyster where we pulled out the pearl and placed into a special holder on a chain. I also got some dark chocolate, a nature calendar, and bird plasters (English bandages). It was fun being with my sisters, niece, and daughter.

Ah, what a wonderful week!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Pauleen's Christmas Meme

Randy Seaver has another great SNGF this week. Our instructions are:

Pauleen Cass (Cassmob), who writes the Family history across the seas blog started a Christmas meme in 2012 - see Deck the Halls - 2012 Christmas GeneaMeme. So we will use that for SNGF this week (since very few readers did it in past years!):

1)  Copy and paste the meme questions into your blog or word processor, and then answer the questions.  You could use short statements, long paragraphs or provide a link to one of your earlier posts.

2)  Tell us about your meme answers in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

3)  Be sure to leave a comment on Pauleen's blog post about your entry in this Christmas 2017 Geneameme.  She'll be surprised!

Here's mine (questions in green, answers in red):

  1. Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?  Growing up when the children believed in Santa Claus, presents came on Christmas morning. We couldn’t open them until after we got back from Mass. There was one present from Nana that could be opened the night before: pajamas! As an adult, Christmas eve always means potato soup or clam chowder, though I think we’ve had crab once or twice.
  2. Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?  Always went on Christmas Day.
  3. Did/you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa? I was the oldest, so apparently when I found out there was no Santa, I told all my three younger brothers and sister. My mother was furious. We did better keeping the secret when the next two children came along. Our children probably believed until about seven or eight.
  4. Do you go caroling in your neighbourhood?  No, but my daughter’s Girl Scout troops did a few times, caroling along Main Street.
  5. What’s your favourite Christmas music?  I love both the traditional and modern Christmas music. I spent all day last week loading up my iTunes with all of my Christmas CDs. I have much more, but they are on vinyl.   
  6. What’s your favourite Christmas carol?  O Holy Night, Drummer Boy, Carol of the Bells, and Sleigh Ride. The girls’ high school band played a great Sleigh Bells. And I loved my high school A Capella group singing Carol of the Bells.
  7. Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read?  I watch Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer every year. I love Burl Ives’ voice singing the songs. 
  8. Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?  Some years to family, some to individual. My sisters and I exchange “sister gifts” which are small inexpensive tokens. We do this during my youngest sister’s birthday party (she was born just days before Christmas).
  9. Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?  Indoors, sometimes as home, sometimes at another home. When young, my mother always did the Christmas dinner (with 8 people in our house, who would want us all?). My grandmother, grandfather, and great-aunt would come, bringing pies and cookies. Once married, we started the every-other-year dinners with our parents. Sometimes my mother-in-law had Christmas on the Saturday after Christmas so everyone could come.
  10. What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal?  My mother always had ham, yams, maybe potato salad, plus all the cool hor d'oeuvres like smoked baby oysters, olives, onion dip and potato chips.
  11. Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?  My grandmother always made this green Jello salad with cottage cheese and walnuts, topped with cream cheese and cherries. I loved it, and pecan pie. I liked making gingerbread and I had a tree-shaped pan I used.
  12. Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?  We've never had Christmas pudding. It's not part of my mother's southern culture.
  13. Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?  Our girls loved decorating sugar cookies.
  14. Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?  Some years I have made fudge or cookies to give. I’m not too crafty, though I have made family calendars.
  15. Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?  See no. 9. With our parents gone, we’re usually alone. Christmas is then celebrated when we can get together.
  16. Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?  Yes, it’s much quieter now, with a smaller tree and fewer gifts.
  17. How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins? I have already been to several Christmas get-togethers this year. My two German classes had parties. Our genealogy society has a yearly a pot-luck party with the local FHC. The local historical society has a party for all the volunteers. We might go to an open house or two at friends’ houses.  
  18. Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?  I have lights in the windows, much easier than getting out the ladder.
  19. Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?  Nope. We live on a dead-end street. However the road leading into our street is lined with houses that decorate.
  20. Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?  When the girls were in Girl Scouts, they used to attend the Christmas Revels in Oakland and then one of my troop parents had a Santa Lucia party afterwards at their house. It was always a nice festivity.
  21. Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?  No...
  22. Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?  Sometimes, sometimes and no.
  23. Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?  No snow in our area, though one year at the piano teacher's home where she had an informal recital in December, there were snow flurries that melted before landing.
  24. Do you have a Christmas tree every year?  Usually. My mother had artificial trees until we were older. She liked Scotch pines. She would place the balls and tinsel perfectly on the tree. Later we talked her into having interesting and homemade ornaments and no tinsel. Our trees were always real. We’d cut them from the local tree farm. We now have a dog, who would bother the tree, so our tree is fake and small enough to fit on the piano.
  25. Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?  see no. 24
  26. Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?  I have lots of different kinds of ornaments, but am drawn to brass musical instruments and birds.
  27. Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?  Christmas. 

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

I took my camera to the Meadow this week and got some interesting shots. The sun was shining nicely on the wooden cows at the fence. The Baccharis (coyote bush) was in full seed dispersal mode which made everything white. The moon was setting behind Mt. Wanda and I managed to get a nice shot. Also a shot of a California Scrub Jay. Wintertime, the recording of the phenology study goes pretty quickly, as many of the plants are in dormant mode.

I also went on the first tour of John Muir’s grave site. A van took us out to the site and we learned a little about each family buried there: The Strentzels, the Muirs, and their children. We learned also about the Sierra Club coming to the site after Muir’s death. The large eucalyptus tree has significant history with the Sierra club gatherings. 

After I got back, I visited the house to see the Christmas decorations and sit a while in the cupola at the top. I love the 360° view from there.

Part of the John Muir National Historic Park

I sent several letters out to county recorder’s and court offices asking for particular records. The court office has had my request for three weeks and I wrote asking how my project was coming along. They have no email option and I had to send a blank check for the payment. I sure would like to know how much it will be so I can record it in the checkbook. It’s hard to keep it balanced if the amount is not known.

Worked on the “problems” list in RootsMagic. I had twenty-one errors. Some of them were easy to fix. I had put in the wrong century for their birth, for example. Others were not so easy to fix, due to not knowing the source of the information. These were lines I had worked on over twenty years ago when I wasn’t as careful as I am now. I got the list down to ten. These will have to be researched some more.

We had a APG Writers SIG board meeting, which we did online. I am secretary and took minutes. We had some planning to do for next year and discussed a new subgroup we’re starting for the SIG.

Viewed the following webinars: “Finding Your Roots in Catholic Records” by Lisa Toth Salinas. She did a great job explaining the laws and types of records created by the Catholic church. I also participated in the DearMyrtle Hangout for MGD. Our discussion was about the locations for offline records and I had two examples of records I found at a historical society in Merced and a genealogy society library in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

I worked on the BCG Certification element, the KDP. I’m just about done with two of the bios and about half way done with the last one. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have just under three months left on my time, or I’ll have to renew. We chatted about that on our Cert Group weekly chats. I’m okay with having to extend, though I’d rather just finish.

Played Pickleball only once this week due to other activities on Wednesday and Friday, and only one yoga class with Linda. Monday, I managed to get in over 10,000 steps due to pickleball and a walk to the mailbox. My exercise this week wasn’t as productive as previous weeks.

My sisters, Sabrina, Renee, and Danna, celebrated by daughter, Elizabeth’s 29th birthday on Wednesday at the Barndiva Restaurant in Healdsburg. We had a nice ride up but the traffic coming back during commute was horrible. We had a great lunch and a nice visit afterwards while walking about the square in Healdsburg. It was a beautiful day, clear and not too cold.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

The online session with the Mastering Genealogical Documentation hangout went very well. We were talking about Chapter 11, citing online sources and the exact place where the document was found. If you’re interested in the recording, check out DearMyrtle’s YouTube channel.

I worked a bit with the KDP element of my certification portfolio, using the many documents that I photographed from Norman’s cousin. It gets very tedious reading it on the computer, so I have printed out the document in order to see it in a new light. I am about three-quarters of the way done—only one more person’s story to write. Most of the docs from the cousin will help fill in this story.

The Friday chat with my certification buddies went really well. We’re reading North Carolina Genealogy by Helen Leary. Even though we all don’t have NC research to do, the chapters in part I are useful to any genealogist. These chapters talk a lot about methodology— methodology and analogy tips for all kinds of common genealogy resources: land, wills, probates, marriage records, census, tax records, etc. We all agreed that we would read many of the chapters for our discussions.

The deeds arrived from Merced County Recorder and I’ve been working on transcribing them. I’m trying to figure out which pieces of land was bought when, and who later lived in the houses. I learned from the deeds that there is a map of the Hilmar Colony, so I have ordered that now. Each time I order some documents, I have to have a money order sent—such an archaic system. Wished they would just take a credit card over the phone.  I’m still waiting for the documents from the Merced County Superior Court. These are needed for the end of the second generation and the third generation. I hope they come soon.

Played Pickleball twice this week. It is great exercise as well as lots of fun. I like this game better than badminton or tennis. Also had two yoga classes with Linda. Had a bit of an ache from both sessions—one we worked on legs and the other on hips. I got in only one walk with Norman and Sidney. He doesn’t go to the mailbox everyday.
Here are some players on the Pickleball court. I play mostly indoors.
I love the Christmas season as it becomes very busy with lots of activities.

Tuesday, we had a potluck dinner with the Friends of Alhambra Creek group, celebrating Shirley’s retirement as president. We created a quilt that Jane put together and Shirley loved it. Diane’s home was so nicely decorated with Christmas items, and everyone brought such scrumptious food. It was a wonderful gathering!
I did the hummingbird square in the lower left corner

Saturday was the annual meeting of the Contra Costa County Historical Society. We met in the newly opened Masonic building that the Concord Historical Society had saved and moved to their property. The Rotary Club was using the building after us and had the room decorated very nicely. It was a honor to be the first group to hold a function in the big main hall. Lunch was wonderful, and the two speakers gave great talks about the moving of the Masonic building and the history of the Concord Naval Weapons Station. 

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Genealogy Database Problem Report

Randy Seaver’s mission this week is to:

1)  Is your genealogy software family tree database perfect?  With no errors or inconsistencies?  Yep, mine isn't either!  Big time.  With over 49,000 persons there are bound to be some errors in my tree.  Even 1% would be 490 persons or 1,500 events!

2)  This week, find your genealogy software's "Problem Report" or something similar.  Tell us how you found it, and what it tells you about the problems in your family tree database.

3)  Share your results with us in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook post.

I also have RootsMagic as my genealogy program and followed the same directions that Randy gave. I used the following criteria to find the errors:
Criteria I used for the error report
And my report came back with 21 errors. I have 7091 people in my database with 16,627 events. Twenty-one errors about of sixteen thousand or so events comes out to 0.126%, which is a pretty small percentage. I pat myself on the back for being pretty diligent.

Error Report
However, some of these errors can be quickly fixed. Ashley Brook Floyd was born before her parents. I must have entered her birthdate wrong. (I did. I was off by a century!). It was the same with Ramond Miller: birthdate off by a century. Augusta Fiday was not 8 years old, but rather 18 years old when she married. I had calculated the marriage based on married 13 years on the 1900 census. Bad math brought up the marriage date at 1877 instead of 1887.

Some of the events are correct, such as Stanley Stewart marrying when 73, and Mary Hester’s father being 73 years old when she was born.

Now to fix those that need corrections!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

Instead of writing about each day this week, I’ll take it by subject:

I worked mostly this week at the computer on my KDP (Kinship Determination Project). I have made a lot of progress, writing probably about two-thirds of it now. Wednesday I drove up to Sacramento to my husband’s cousin to take photos of Lundquist paperwork she has stored. I took 153 images of miscellaneous documents (deeds, checks, certificates, photos, etc). There are quite a few things that can be used for both Per Alfred and David’s stories.

I completed the MGD (Mastering Genealogical Document) homework for Chapter 11 but when we tried to have the Hangout on Wednesday, Myrt couldn’t get the Hangout to start recording. So we’ll do this chapter next week.

I am also part of a National Genealogical Society Quarterly study group. We read an article from the Q and discuss it once a month. We had a great discussion this week on a very complicated story. Reading these case studies gives us great ideas on records to use and how to craft the argument.

Physical Activity
Sunday I got in some gardening by cleaning up the flower pots and raking oleander leaves. It’s all ready for the rainy season. I got in a day of Pickleball on Monday. I hiked Tuesday at the Martinez Marina where it was cool and windy. I saw a pair of white-tailed kites in an eucalyptus tree, lots of coots and mallards on the pond, and both greater and lesser egrets. 

Friday, I took a walk with a California Native Plant Society member at Pt Pinole where we viewed some shore birds and looked at saltwater marsh plant species. It was a gorgeous day with wonderful views of San Francisco Bay.

We had a quiet evening just the two of us, eating pork rib roast and baked potato. Saturday, we spent the day with Norman’s brother and had a traditional turkey dinner. It was nice visiting with Brian, Linda, Maddy, Lucas, and Kenny.

Christmas Shopping
I did a little shopping online this week before Thanksgiving and met my friend, Beth, at the Giants’ Dugout Store in Walnut Creek where we picked out five games to the upcoming Giants’ season. We’ll go to three Reds games, and one each of Arizona and Colorado.

Though it seemed like a short week, I got a lot of stuff done and that felt great!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Drive Down Memory Lane: Family Cars

Another challenge from Randy Seaver of  GeneaMusings. This sounds really interesting!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Drive down Memory Lane - what were your family cars - from childhood to now, year, model, color, features.  Can you remember?

2)  Share your memories with us in your own blog post, in a Facebook post or a comment on this post.  Please comment on this post if you write somewhere else.

This is a great meme and I had written about cars a few years back with the Book of Me. I probably have more photos but they haven't been scanned yet.

The first car my parents had when I was a baby was black. The shot I have of it is when my parents left for the honeymoon. 

The first car I remember was a Chevrolet station wagon, probably a Nova. I remember riding in the back with my younger siblings and waving to people in other cars.

Then my parents got an American Motors Rambler station wagon. It also could fit our growing family of six. Back in the day, seat belts and car seats were not used much. My brother's carseat was something that slipped over the back of the seat and had a steering wheel with a horn.

Sometime in the 60s my Nana had to give up her car and we got her old 50-something Volkswagen. The kind with the oval back window. Us kids loved riding in the way back, when we were small enough to fit.

My dad got the use of a 1970 Ford Country Squire when he worked at LoRay. The way back had back-facing seats and now our family of eight fit very nicely!

My Mom finally got her own car, a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. She loved that car. It had power everything. I used it to get my driver's license and when asked to do a three-point turn, I ended up making a U-turn. Of course the tester made me try again.

My dad had a bit of a mid-life crisis and bought a Corvette. It was bright orange and stood out on the highway, especially the fast lane when Dad loved to drive. He had quite a few tickets with that car. 

My first car was also a Rambler Ambassador. I drove it to Cal State Hayward my first few years. My brother drove it after I started taking BART to school. He never checked the oil and water and the head cracked. Good-bye Rambler.

The first car I bought on my own was a 1972 Toyota Corona I purchased from the Ford dealer in Walnut Creek. It was baby-blue and had four doors. I drove it to school and work, and carted sisters around. Later, I traded it in for the next car.

When I got my BART job, I purchased a new car, a 1978 Ford Pinto. It had the "wood-panel" sides and was bright yellow. I would never buy another yellow car--it attracts bees. My friend, Beth, and I took it to Yosemite one winter and slept in the back. My husband and I used it on our honeymoon to Monterey. This car was later donated to College Park High School auto shop program.

My next car was a 1990 Ford Tempo, also four-door, and had a standard transmission. It was an easy purchase, done through a broker at the credit union. I loved that car. It did well when our daughters were young and I even carted Girl Scouts on field trips. But alas, it had issues and was traded in for a larger car.

Another easy purchase was the 1999 Ford Explorer I bought from the owner of the dealership in Fairfield. No bargaining, just a great price. This car is still with us. It has been in the snow (with chains--it's not four-wheel-drive), camping, road trips to Oregon, Colorado, and Southern California. It's the main car that my husband drives.

Our current car is a 2015 Nissan Leaf, all-electric. It's a pretty blue color. It can only go about 80 miles on a charge, so is perfect for getting around town. Someday, would like to get one with a bit more range.

My husband also has a 1970 GMC pickup and a 1980 Ford Pinto. During the teenage years, the daughters drove 1990 Toyota Camry until it was in an accident and a 1989 Honda Accord, until it too was totaled.

It seems like we have had a lot of cars, but not really. We tend to drive them at least 10 years and the Explorer is pushing 20.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

Sunday, November 12, 2017.  Most of the day was spent at the computer. I worked hard with my KDP, writing the story of the first generation and working on the introduction. I also wrote and published my homework for the DearMyrtle Mastering Genealogical Documentation Hangout on Wednesday.

Monday, November 13, 2017.  The second Monday of the month is our Monday Morning Meeting at Susan’s house where fellow genealogists meet to discuss their genealogy finds or to ask questions. Several members had great things to share that they had found. Peggy had the best stuff—her great-uncle had  been a fireman in Santa Cruz. I shared some photos of me at the National archives.
Shooting Civil War pension files
Completed a client’s report before going off to German class. Enjoyed the grammar session we had today. It was a nice review of the subjunctive case. There were lots of examples in our reading.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Amtrak ride to Sacramento and then the 30 bus down J Street, in order to be part of the planning meeting for the 2018 International German Genealogy Conference being held at the Sacramento Turn Verein. We had people from several California genealogy societies in attendance: San Diego, Burbank, and Sacramento. It was a good meeting with several teams getting started already. Too bad we don’t have a venue or date yet—but hopefully before the end of the year. Dinner was at the La Trattoria Bohemia was wonderful. We had a choice of three dishes: most ordered the Schnitzel or Goulash.
Worked on some homework on the way up

Wednesday, November 15, 2017.  The DearMyrtle hangout on the Mastering Genealogical Documentation went well. Everyone had great examples of off-line records. I showed a sheet from William C. Gleeson’s homestead papers I got from the National Archives last month.

Inside this box was the file for William C. Gleeson's Homestead

I hadn’t been to Pickleball in a while and it was great seeing people and playing a few games. I’m a bit rusty but have been busy on M-W-F. Hopefully I can go again next week.

I’m a member of the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) Writers SIG.  Out monthly meeting was tonight and I’m secretary, so I keep the minutes. Our speaker was Janice Lovelace and she spoke about writing for the commercial market. She had some great ideas on how to get started. Might have to buy a new Writers Guide.

Thursday, November 16, 2017It rained all night—our first good rain storm. It sounded really nice. Most of the day was in rain and I didn’t go to the meadow to do phenology. I spent most of the day working on researching and writing for one of my clients. It was a good day to be inside, keeping warm, and working. I only took one break to go to guitar class—still working on three Christmas songs, which are getting along better. Maybe I’ll have them down by Christmas this year.

I also got an email from Australian blogger, Jill Ball, saying I was the winner of her RootsTech 2018 give-a-way contest. The announcement is here. I am very excited to be going to my first RootsTech. I hadn’t thought of going before because this conference is so BIG! I’m not a fan of big crowds. However, my fellow panelist from DearMyrtle handouts, Hillary Gadsby, will be coming to RootsTech and I’ll get to meet her in person! I will also get to meet Jill as well.

Friday, November 17, 2017Up early this morning for a BART ride into Oakland and a day of Desk Duty at the California Genealogical Society’s library. I had more customers come in today and a few who called by phone. One was interested in going on the Salt Lake City Trip.
The Library before researchers started coming in

Saturday, November 18, 2017. A good stay-at-home day, just like when I used to work. Got some laundry done and clothes put away. But mostly worked at the computer and reading genealogy journals. A very relaxing day. I did do Randy Seaver's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" and you can see it here.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Expanded "Ancestors Geneameme"

Our assignment from Randy Seaver today is:

1)  Jill Ball created a 40 question "Ancestors Geneameme" in 2011, and Linda Stufflebean recently expanded it to 70 questions on her Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog. 

2)  Let's do Linda's expanded list this week for SNGF.

3)  Copy and paste the list of questions below and replace my answers with your own.

4)  Share your answers as a comment on this b;og post, in your own blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.   Please leave a comment and al ink to your answer in a comment on this blog post.

Here are mine:
  1. Can name my 16 great-great grandparents.   YES
  2. Can name my 32 great great great grandparents   No.  10 of my paternal, 8 of my maternal
  3. Can name over 50 direct ancestors  YES
  4. Have photos or portraits of my 8 great grandparents  YES, seven of them
  5. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times No
  6. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist   NO, not that I know of
  7. Met all four of my grandparents  NO, not my paternal grandfather
  8. Met one or more of my great grandparents  YES, though I was 3 years old
  9. Bear an ancestor’s given name/s  NO
  10. Named a child after an ancestor  Not really, but there are many Elizabeth and Margaret names in my tree
  11. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland  YES
  12. Have an ancestor from Asia  NO
  13. Have an ancestor from continental Europe   YES
  14. Have an ancestor from Africa  NO
  15. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer  YES
  16. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings   No
  17. Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi   YES, several
  18. Have an ancestor who was a midwife  NO, don't know for sure
  19. Have an ancestor who was an author    NO
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng    NO
  21. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones   YES, Jones
  22. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X  NO
  23. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z  NO
  24. Have an ancestor born on 25th December  YES, Maria Catharine Trösster
  25. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day   Not a direct ancestor
  26. Have an ancestor who shares your day and month of birth  Not a direct ancestor, but a cousin
  27. Have blue blood in your family lines  No
  28. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth    NO
  29. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth  NO
  30. Can trace a direct family line back to the 18th century  YES
  31. Can trace a direct family line back to the 17th century  YES
  32. Can trace a direct family line back to the 16th century  No
  33. Have seen signatures of some of my great grandparents  YES
  34. Have ancestors who signed with an X (or other mark)  YES
  35. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university   Yes, my grandmother went to Normal School
  36. Have an ancestor convicted of a criminal offense    NO, don't know for sure
  37. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime  NO, don't know for sure
  38. Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine/periodical  YES
  39. Have published a family history online or in print  YES
  40. Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries  No
  41. Have a family Bible from the 19th century  YES
  42. Have a family Bible from the 18th century or earlier  NO
  43. Have an ancestor who was part of a multiple birth (twins, etc.)  No
  44. Have a family member who closely resembles an ancestor  NO
  45. Have an ancestor who owned their own business  YES
  46. Have an ancestor who belonged to a trade guild  Yes
  47. Have an ancestor who moved more than 100 miles away from his/her birth home, EXCLUDING emigration to another country  YES
  48. Have an ancestor who gave birth to twelve or more children  YES
  49. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/uncommon forename  YES
  50. Have an ancestral family who changed their surname  No, but my husband has one
  51. Have a passenger list or travel manifest for an ancestor  YES
  52. Have an ancestor who was adopted  Not that I know of
  53. Have an ancestor who adopted a child   Not that I know of
  54. Have a naturalization record for an ancestor  YES
  55. Have an ancestor who received a military pension  No
  56. Have a school record or school census for an ancestor  YES
  57. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 18th century  No
  58. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 17th century or earlier  No
  59. Have an ancestor who had only one child who survived to adulthood  No
  60. Are descended twice from one couple  No
  61. Are descended three times or more from one couple  No
  62. Are descended from an American president or other political figure  Not that I know of
  63. Are descended from a person famous in history, other than in politics  No
  64. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/unique surname  No
  65. Have an ancestor who you have found mentioned in a pre-1870 newspaper  YES
  66. Can name the ship on which at least one ancestor emigrated  YES
  67. Have a female ancestor who worked outside the home pre-World War II  YES
  68. Know of at least one ancestor who returned to the ancestral home after emigration  No
  69. Know of at least one ancestor who permanently returned to the ancestral home after emigration   No
  70. Have an ancestor who was survived by 50 or more grandchildren  No

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Genea-pourri

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

Sunday, November 5, 2017.  I worked most of the day at the computer, catching up on a variety of projects, such as completing my Mastering Genealogical Documentation homework for the DearMyrtle Hangout on Monday. I also helped my husband pick the rest of the pomegranates on our tree. We have gathered four bags this year to give to our neighbors.

Monday, November 6, 2017.  I got into a cleaning state today (actually it had started the day before). I recycled some things and took some things to Goodwill. Feels great to have some more space. German class was fun because everyone was there.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Spent several hours with fellow board members of the Contra Costa County Historical Society discussing how to conduct fund-raising. After a quick lunch, I went to the History Center and worked on some genealogy queries. We often get queries asking for obituaries. We have a pretty good collection of clipped obits.          

Wednesday, November 8, 2017.  I had a big day. Left Martinez Amtrak Station at 8:36 on the San Joaquin train for Merced for a day of on-site researching. During the ride down, I listened to the Mastering Genealogical Documentation on the DearMyrtle hangout. The wifi worked great on the train. The ride was just over two hours. I walked from the station to the area where the county government buildings were.
Martinez & Merced Amtrak Stations
First stop was the Merced County Historical Society’s archives, located in the old courthouse. What a wonderful place! The society has the entire old courthouse building where they have both a museum and an archive. The archive had some interesting records: original voter applications and I photographed the ones from Hilmar precinct for the Nilsen and Lundquist families. There was also a book listing men who served during WWI however, the entry for John E Lundquist gave no details. I still don’t know where he served.
One view of the archives. Those books on the nearest shelves
are original voter applications
Next, I headed for the Superior Court building and stopped at the civil records division. The clerk found three records for me, but I have to order them by mail. The downloading of the files is time-consuming and they couldn’t guarantee that it would be done that day.

The last stop was at the county administration building where the County Recorder’s office was. I ordered a death certificate and then spent an hour or so reading deed indexes. I copied nearly two pages of index records for Lundquist and Nilsen. Again, I need to order these by mail. The copies come from microfilm and the clerk was busy with another order.

I got done earlier than I expected and was able to ride the 4:36 train back, in time to attend the Contra Costa County Historical Society’s board of directors meeting.

Thursday, November 9, 2017. After a nice rain overnight, the Strenztel Meadow was all damp this morning. Luckily I have rubber boots to wear for doing our weekly phenology survey. The sun came out for a moment and I got a few lovely shots of the hillside of Mount Wanda. Here is Shirley inputting the data into an iPad.

Friday, November 10, 2017.  This was a pseudo holiday--most government workers were off today, so the BART ride into Oakland was great--seats for all. I worked Desk Duty today at the California Genealogical Society's library, located in the basement of the Breuner Building. It was a quiet day--only one customer, who wanted to know how to best preserve his family papers. I also got to have an online chat with my BCG-Peer Group. The ride home on BART was also nice, with few standees.

Saturday, November 11, 2017. Happy Veteran's Day. I posted a blog post I had written a couple of years ago listing all of the ancestors who served in the Armed Services. I worked most of the day writing about the first generation of my KDP. I feel I made some good progress!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Make an Ancestor's Timeline

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has another great activity tonight.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) Have you created a Timeline for one of your ancestors using a genealogy software program (e.g., Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy, Reunion, etc.) or an online family Tree (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree, FamilySearch Family Tree, Geni, MyHeritage, etc.), or in a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel)?

2)  If not, try to create a timeline using the program/website of your choice.  If so, create another one for the ancestor of your choice!

3)  Show us your Timeline creation, and tell us how you did it.  Which program/website, the process you used, and how you captured the images to display your timeline.

4)  Share your Timeline creation on your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+.

I’m working on writing up a story about Per Alfred Lundquist, the great-grandfather of my husband. 

I created it the same way that Randy did, using RootsMagic and printing out the Timeline (Chronology) List. I rarely use the timeline view, as in the Edit Person view, every event is in chronological order.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Ancestors Who Were Veterans: Revisited

This is republished from 2015.

Today is November 11, a day we honor veterans who served in the Armed Forces. I do not have many direct ancestors who were veterans, but I still want to honor those who were. This list includes those ancestors of my husband (in blue) and mine (in red).

World War II
Tom J. Johnston Jr.
Tom J. Johnston Jr., U.S. Navy. He served just a short time and was discharged due to a medical disability. He had been stationed in Idaho.

George J Gorrell
George Joseph Gorrell, U.S. Army. He was a staff sergeant with the 913th Air Engineering Squadron. He served in England and Germany.

World War I
William Cyril Hork
William Cyril Hork, U.S. Navy. He served in submarine service and was last stationed in Long Beach aboard the submarine tender, USS Alert.

Civil War
Amos Gorrell Jr.
Amos Gorrell, Jr., Union Army. Co A, 18th Ohio.

George Wilson Lancaster, Confederate. He served with the 6th Texas Cavalry as a corporal.

Reuben Mack Johnston, Confederate. He served with the 8th Mississippi Cavalry, Co. A.

Benjamin W. Jones, Confederate. He served as a physician and died during service.

War of 1812
John Coor. Served in 13th Regiment (Nixon's) of Mississippi Militia as a corporal.

Revolutionary War
David C. Shotts. Served in Pennsylvania.

Phillip Wagoner. Served in Pennsylvania.

Thank you for your service!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.