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.