Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Tiki-Baki

Every toddler has that one object that brings the feeling of safety and security. For some kids its a teddy bear or a blanket that is dragged through everyday life like a best friend. For other kids it is a Binky that is only used when unsure situations occur.

As a toddler, I had my security blanket which I called "My". The blanket went with me everywhere and my parents had to beg me to wash it. As the years went by, the blanket became more and more tattered, dirty, and ripped.

My parents finally decided that it was time that I let go of my blanket (My mother still tells me how disgusting the thing got). I completely disagreed. They tried telling me that it was important to be a "big girl" and they tried big "goodbye parades", but nothing was going to sway me.

During my parents' desperate attempt to rid me of the blanket, I went to spend a weekend up in Pasadena with my uncle Dudley. I loved spending time with him at his house because he spoiled me just like a grandparent would (My grandparents died before or right after I was born). His house was big, beautiful, and completely magical to my imaginative self.

I was dropped off at his house as usual and I waved goodbye to my parents as they drove off. Everything was going well until I tripped in the backyard. While I wasn't injured, I went to reach for my blanket. When I couldn't find it - I began to panic.

I searched the entire house in a panic and I began crying heavily. My uncle finally took me into a big hug and pulled out a small square of fabric. He told me that it was his security blanket, which he called his "Tiki-Baki". He took it with him when he traveled and he left it in his bedside table while he was home. He said that it was okay to keep my blanket if I wanted to, but that I would have to learn to be okay without it.

That story is one of my favorite memories of my Uncle Dudley, who passed away last year. At his Celebration of Life, we all saw his Tiki-Baki for the last time. While his ashes were spread among many of his favorite locations, his Tiki-Baki was placed inside a small photo album where it can be remembered forever.

The point of this story is to get you to think about the meaningful items in your family...and then to write about them. I know that if I found a journal entry that my ancestor had wrote about an item that meant so much to them, then I can only to do favor for my descendants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My GBG Badges!

I have decided to post the badges that I won from the Genea-Blogger Games here since they take too much space up on the sidebar.

I won the Bronze Badge in "Back Up Your Genealogy" and in "Organize Your Genealogy".

I won the Platinum Badge in "Genealogical Acts of Kindness".

I won the Diamond Badge in "Cite Your Sources".

It was wonderful doing those games and congrats to everyone who participated! I can't wait until we do those again - hopefully it won't be in four more years!

This was a really fun and creative activity and I very much enjoyed getting to know everyone.

And now I must get to bed and prepare for school tommorrow...hopefully I'll be able to get a few posts in.

School has Started!

As of yesterday, another semester of school has started for me. There is no doubt that my schedule will now be filled with due dates for papers and exams to study for. I will probably be worried about my grant money coming in on time and stressed out over the bureaucracy of college. And of course, I will no doubt be living like a zombie as I try to fit more hours into the day (I already am exhausted!).

But with school comes the memory of how I first began thinking about genealogy...

My seventh grade teacher gets the award for sparking my interest in genealogy. As we were learning about World War II, the class was given a project to interview a veteran of World War II. He told us hat if there was no one in our families that we could interview, then we would have to go out into nursing homes and retirement homes to find one.

While I had at first thought my grandfather was too young to have been in World War II, after talking to my dad, I discovered that my grandfather was perfect for the assignment.

I nervously got on the phone and called my grandpa in Tennessee, whom I never really talked to often. We had always exchanged letters and pictures, but we had never really talked on the phone (I am still not sure why) His deep, scratchy voice and southern accent was certainly something I had to get used to and it took me a while before I was able to understand him.

While I don't remember exactly what I asked him or the stories that he told me, I do remember feeling more connected to history than I had ever felt before. After I had completed my assignment, we continued to talk about where he lived. He told me old ghost stories from the area and told me that I would have to come visit him. He told me about how the people in the area still made moonshine and had small family farms (Which was certainly a shock for me. As he would say "You glitz and glamour types wouldn't understand none").

After that, I began to wonder what other things in history my family had contributed too. I thought of all the prestigious things such as being the descendant of the Queen of England, being related to a president, or proudly serving in the Revolutionary War.

Soon after, I became bit by the genealogy bug...and the rest is history.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Final Genea-Bloggers Tallies

Since I have work tommorrow morning, I won't be able to post my final tallie for the Genea-Blogger Games.
I wish I would've had more time to work on these tasks, because they were rather fun to do. I also haven't had the chance to post every little thing on this blog in the last few days because I've been so busy (mainly with source citations). So, without further ado, here are my final tallies:

Citations: 42
Organization: 1
Acts of Kindness: 5
Back-ups: 1

Congrats to everyone who participated and thank you to all of our cheerleaders! Thanks for letting me participate in such a fun challenge!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interviewing Older Relatives

A few days ago, I visited the 24/7 Family History Circle ( and one of their main articles is entitled "Call A Family Member". After I read the short article, I realized that I hadn't called my family members in Washington in a very long time. The generation that still lives up there is getting older and I knew I better call, even if it was just to talk, before it was too late.

Often times, we don't ask questions about our family history or even just about everyday life until it is too late. Little clues and stories that can be so valuable to your genealogy can disappear if you don't act fast.

So, I decided to get on the phone and call my Auntie Shirley. Auntie Shirley is actually my great aunt who lives in a Seattle apartment all by herself. She is getting near 90 now and she is blind, but she refuses to give up her independence. While she sometimes gets lonely, she fills her time by volunteering at the Seattle Science Center, where she runs a spinning art exhibit (That is the best way to describe it) and she stays with any kids that get lost.

My Auntie Shirley is a very interesting person and has lived a life that is more full than I could've imagined. She has never been married - and honestly, she is too much of a free spirit to be held down. As we got to talking, she told me stories of the 1940s, when swing music ruled the night clubs. She told me stories of singing and dancing with the soldiers as they came home from World War II. As it sounds, she was the life of the party - and parties didn't really start until she walked into the room.

She told me a story about her being in a parade (what the parade was for, she can't remember). She said that as she was sitting in a nice car, waving to the crowd, Frank Sinatra pulled up very close behind her car. He asked if she wanted to dance and she accepted. They had the music turned up real loud and they jumped out of their cars and began dancing - right in the middle of the street! She said that he had wonderful rhythm...and while I wonder if this story is true, it really doesn't matter to me.

I don't care if the story is just her imagination gone wild or if the story really has some accuracy because just listening to her voice light up as she told the story made the entire thing worth it. The story means something to her, and that is truely what I was going for.

See, interviews with older relatives don't have to be just dates and places and names. They can be stories that, while sometimes exaggerated, bring your family to life. The names, dates, and places are wonderful - but nothing makes your family history more rewarding that finding out how your ancestors lived their lives.

So - where exactly do you start when interviewing relatives? Good question, and there are a bunch of different approaches that you can take.

First, you're going to need some supplies...
  • The number one thing I suggest is some sort of recording device - the most widely used of which is probably a basic tape recorder. These are especially helpful if you are doing the interview face to face. Make sure you test it a few times to make sure that you hear everyone on the tape and make sure you bring extra tapes!
  • The next thing you are going to need are a pen/pencil and paper. You're going to want to take notes as you go along, because you never know when you'll think of a good question for someone else or a special note you'd like to include in your family tree.
  • A copy of your pedigree and maybe even a family group sheet or two so that you can understand how all the names fit in.
  • Lots and lots of patience!! Don't make family members feel rushed or pushed. Sometimes, they truly don't know something - so don't make them feel ashamed for it.

Next, you're going to need to figure out how you'd to conduct your interview. Do you want it to be a casual conversation or do you want it to be more formal and with a focus?

If it is going to be more formal, remember not to make it an interrogation. All I mean by formal, is that you have questions carefully laid out.

Now - how do you go about picking questions. Well, that really depends on how the person fits into your family tree, the information that you have missing in your family tree, and the time period for which they lived and would probably remember.

You can always stick with the tried and true basics:

  • When and where were you born?
  • When were your parents married? How did they meet?
  • What schools (if any) did you go to and did you graduate?
  • Can you remember any wars in your lifetime - how did they affect you?
  • What was it like living in the {insert blank decade or time period here; example: the 60s}?
  • When did you get married? How did you meet
  • When were your parents born? Where?
The list of questions that you can ask could go on and on...they really are limitless.

Warning: Don't ask questions that could make people uncomfortable. Generally, you'll be able to find the answers to such questions through some other way. For example, I tried asking my grandfather what his parents were like - he instantly tensed up and told me not to concern myself with such things. Through census records and the information I could gather from other people, my great-grandparents had been married and had a few children, the last of which was my grandfather. Shortly after, my great-grandmother came down with TB and died, causing my great-grandfather to immediately remarry. This hurt my grandfather although he will never admit it. He quit school and spent most of his time away from his house. Once he was of age, he immediately joined the Navy and left home...never speaking to his father or step mother again.

If you are going with the casual route for the interview, the pick a few general questions and let the conversation flow naturally. Ask questions when it seems appropriate or for clarification.

After the interview - enter the information into your family tree and made transcripts of any tapes that you have.

But the number one thing I can offer as advice would be to enjoy the moment and to enjoy your family member. You never know when you won't be able to do it again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Citations, Citations, Citations

Wow - I just made SO many citations for this family. I went through my large stack of papers to seeing if I had the information recorded on my gedcom. Sure enough, I didn't have everything, so I began creating the sources and filling in the gaps.

Needless to say I put into my gedcom 28 sources and my fingers are KILLING me. lol. I can already see needing wrist braces because of carpal tunnel.

So overall, that brings my Citations to: 33
Organization: 1
Acts of Kindness: 5
Back ups: 1

The Funny Names, Words and Phrases of My Family.

I was on Facebook today, and I noticed that someone mentioned a challenge to post some of the funny names, words, and phrases that are used in your family. Since my family practically has their own language, it seems fitting that I do the challenge.

My family uses a million different words, nickname, and funny phrases. Since there are so many, I am mainly just going to list a few of them with a little explanation.

  • When I was little, I called my uncle (Who was about 20 years older than my mom) "Unca Oowee". I picked it up when I heard my cousin Vicky say one knows why Vicky chose the name.
  • The nicknames for the kids of my generation are: Booters (Myself), Poopsala, Peeps, and Mermaid.
  • In the Seattle area of Washington State, there are a lot of cities named after Indian words. If you aren't from the area, it can definitely become a challenge to pronounce the words. When my uncles were kids and they first read the signs that showed the names of the towns, here is what they came up with: "Fif-ee" (Fife), "Sattle" (Seattle), "Snow-qua-mie" (Snoqualamie - I even think I am spelling that wrong).
  • My grandparents on my mom's side raised their children as Catholic. Well, as a kid my mom used to play "First Holy Communion". Someone would pretend to be the priest and they would place Nilla Wafers into everyone's mouth. So whenever we eat Nilla Wafers, we call them Communion Wafers.
  • And of course, there are the funny words that are said around Christmas time when everyone is getting ready to eat breakfast: "Toes-a-rellie" (Toast is ready!), "Es-a-peas" (Eggs Please), "Ca-fee" (Coffee), "Sannie-uz-ear" (Santa was here), "Tank You" (Thank you)

So there you go. (We're a little bizarre aren't we?) I tried to spell the words out phonetically as best as I could - hopefully you got the main idea.

This is a really fun prompt idea if you are going to be compiling interesting little stories to go along with your family tree. (I really suggest doing something like this. It'll make all those dates and places come alive!)

Genea-Bloggers Games Updates

Alrighty so for the weekend I've had a pretty lousy cold and I've been out of it for a bit. However, the cold did give me time to do some work for the games on and offline that I haven't recorded here. So, it is five in the morning and my stupid cough won't go away, but I will do my genealogy anyway.

Alright so I joined 3 blog networks this weekend (Genealogy Roots Blog, Forensic Genealogy, GeneaNet Genealogy Blog - GeneaSofts). All of these blogs are really rather interesting and I am happy that I joined them.

I also went on my computer and began backing up a lot of the genealogy related files that I have saved. I back all the articles and pictures onto a flashdrive and I upload my gedcom onto multiple genealogy websites to store it. It felt good to do that because I realized that I had strayed from my routine of backing up twice a week.

I also went through and deleted some of the old backups. Creating back ups twice every week makes the backups clog everything on your flashdrive. So, I deleted some of the old ones but I always keep atleast 3 of the last back ups (That way, if one doesn't work, hopefully the other will).

I am very proud of myself because I also created 5 new citations on my brand new tree that I've been making. I'm making a brand new tree because I felt that my other one (which I've used from the start) lacked citations, logic in some places, and overall truth. So I've been rebuilding my family tree from scratch in an attempt to preserve the truth of my work.

Oh and not to forget, I commented on Amy's Genealogy Blog (Which apparently for some reason I forgot to subscribe to...opps! I'll have to get on that!)

Wow - it has been a jam-packed weekend. But lets tally that up:
1.) Genealogical Acts of Kindness: 4
2.) Organization: 1
3.) Back ups: 1
4.) Cite Your Sources: 5

We'll see - look what a cup of hot chocolate and waking up at 5 A.M. will do to you! You'll get ahead on all your genealogy to-do items.

By the way everyone, last night I finished my video series on the U.S. Federal Census. The only video I will add to this is a video describing where you can find the census, where you can find forms to help you record what you find, etc. It'll be a really basic video, whenever I get around to creating it. As you'll notice, the last 6 videos or so are short. The reason for that is because I want to eventually upload this series onto but they have a requirement for the videos to be a lot shorter than what is allowed on Youtube. The goal is to redo all those U.S. Census videos before school starts at the end of this month so that I can upload the entire series to RootsTelevision. I'll keep my fingers crossed on this one.

Alrighty, my cat is begging me to get back into bed. That cat of mine loves to snuggle.

Good luck on the games everyone!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Favorite Memories of Stores

I saw a challenge on Facebook the other day: It asked people to write about their favorite memories of stores and to explain the influence that those stores made on their lives. To anyone who isn't a genealogist, this topic probably sounds odd (especially if you aren't a huge fan of shopping in the first place). However, to us genealogists, this journal entry makes a ton of sense. Imagine your descendants 100 years from now finding this entry that you wrote; Imagine their excitement to have a journal entry like this that serves as a great door to their time period?

So, without further wait, here is my journal entry on my favorite stores and their impact on my life:

As a kid of about 8 years old, I lived in a suburb of Seattle, WA known as Kent. I lived on a small dead-end street about 5 blocks from a larger street with a Fred Meyers on it.

For those of you not familiar with the store - it is a large store, someone similar to a WalMart or Target that sells groceries and department store items.

My friends and I practically lived on our bikes at the time and we were allowed to go out on our bikes and ride around the neighborhood. We had walkie talkies that we carried with us so our parents could talk to us should they need to, but we were rarely home. We spent our time outside.
While I was the cautious child, my best friend Erin was not. She was a dare devil and always up for adventure. Whenever our sweet tooth called but our parents denied, we would search the house for nickels, dimes, quarters...going through couches, washing machines, even our parents' underwear drawers in hope of finding some cash. We would grab our money, get on our bikes and sneak down to Fred Meyers.

We would stroll our way down the candy isle, devising a plan to get the most candy for the little money we had. Picking candy up, counting out our change, making last minute decisions, prioritizing our sugary selections.

When we finally got to the cash register, candy and a zip lock bag full of change, the wonderful brunette that ran the cash register would smile at us.
"Stocking up I see," she would always say.
"Yep, gotta have our Twix and Butterfingers," we would say. She would patiently ring us up, help us count our change and tell us to hurry home before we became caught.

She was so kind to us. When we would go there with our parents for the grocery shopping she would never say a word. She would always just give us a good wink. It was like our little secret.

As I got older I went to Fred Meyers less and less. Soon, I realized that the wonderful brunette who had contributed to my candy consumption as a child had moved on and left Fred Meyers.

So that is my story about Fred Meyers and the wonderful memories it has given me. I only wish that I could go back in time and listen to my ancestors talk about the general store or the local grocery store... It is the little things like this that make genealogy so worth while.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Scleroderma Walk in Seattle!

Hi everyone!
So this is a little bit off topic from genealogy - but it is still all about family.

My cousin has an autoimmune disease called Scleroderma. Her local chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation is holding a Step Out To Cure Scleroderma Walk on Sept. 20th at Seward Park in Seattle, WA.

I am asking you guys to either sponser someone who is walking (like my cousin - Her name is Krissy), or to volunteer in anyway possible, including walking if you live in the area.

Can you guys please help me out in spreading the word? I am really trying to help my cousin out in anyway that I can because I don't like in Seattle and I don't have the money to fly up there.


Friday, August 8, 2008

What is a genealogist?

My little cousin noticed my filing cabinet with all the pictures and documents neatly stored. She started asking me why I have it and what I use it for.

But as I tried to explain the word "Genealogist" she got confused and didn't seem to understand what I meant. So after some brainstorming, we went over what a family tree is, the pictures of our family tree, and what a genealogist is. So here are the things we came up with.

- A Genealogist is like a detective. They search for clues in order to solve the mystery of our family tree.

- A Genealogist is a person who travels into history to get the story about their family.

- A Genealogist loves photos because they give the story of the family tree in pictures

- A Genealogists' work is never done because a family tree is never done.

Even though my little cousin is only 6, I am already recruiting her for genealogy. I am so excited - hopefully she can be the person I pass all my work to once I can't do research anymore.

Okay...this cold is really getting rather ridiculous. I want to stay up and research and get started on those games but I have this stupid cold and I can't stay awake for long. My head just might explode....

Hopefully I'll be feeling better tommorrow and I'll be back on track with those games.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Flag!

Alrighty everyone - Can I get a drumroll please? It is time for me to unvail my beautiful flag that I choose to represent me in the 2008 Genea-Bloggers Games!! Yay! it didn't upload here exactly correct but that is just fine - it still looks pretty awesome, don't ya think?

I chose the flags of America (Born and raised!), Germany, and Wales. Since I am Welsh and German it really fits me rather well - don't ya think?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The 2008 Genea-Blogger Games!

I want to let you all know that I will be competing in the Genea-Blogger's Facebook Group's 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games!!

Yay! the areas I wish to compete in are the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, Organize Your Research, Back Up Your Data, and possibly Cite Your Sources (We'll see how much time I have...)

I really believe in helping other genealogists in need so I will definitely do that. I will probably be commenting on a few blogs so...all of Genea-Bloggers look out - some comments are coming your way.

I really want to do Organize Your Research because ever since I started re-doing my research and making sure everything is accurately sourced, I've noticed that I've gotten behind on my filing. So that will definitely be taking place.

I want to do Cite Your Sources because we all could use a little practice on that. Practice makes perfect!!

[EDIT: I just realized that I cannot start participating until Friday, Aug 8 - the day the Olympics start - it makes sense!] my tally for today is:
Category: Back Up Your Data!
Task: C - Back up your data using a flashdrive.
Comments: I was a good girl!! I backed up my pictures onto my flashdrive along with my Gedcom.

Alrighty so if you are curious about what in the world I am talking about you can go and visit and it will give you all the details!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Research Binders

So as many of you know, I have already made a video on Youtube specifically describing the uses of a research binder. (Find the video here:

So the first thing you want to do is figure out how you are going to store and organize it. What I suggest is using a 3 ring binder. From there you can use dividers to make it nice and neat. Or you could use a filing cabinet and various file folders to keep it organized, but I don't suggest that because the papers can fall out rather easily. (Trust me, in the heat of the moment when you are on a hot search, you are not going to want to waste time neatly searching through things...or atleast I don't!). You could even keep it on the computer if you are really computer savy - although this is not very effective for going on research trips.

So what you have established the means of storage and basic idea with organization, you can begin to either collect things to put in the binder and/or create categories to organize the information you have. In other words, take a step back and try to figure out a logical way to organize all the stuff you have.

For example, I have a lot of how-to articles in my research binder because I love to reference them and refresh my memory every once in a while. But because I have so many, I don't like to put them only under the category of "how-to". Instead I have "How-to Organize", "How-to Cite Sources", "How-to use Legacy V.7"...and various other ones. By breaking down a large category even further, you can more easily find the information you are looking for.

A lot of people break their research binders into categories based on location or a specific type of record. For example, I have a TON of relatives from eastern Tennessee, which has gone through a lot of boundary changes over the years. So what I have is "General [insert state here]". In there, I have the research guides that FamilySearch provides because those are always a good stepping stone. Then I have seperate sections that are all about a specific county like "Carter Co., TN [insert dates here]" or "Washington Co., NC [insert dates here]".

Another great idea is to have a section based on where to order records. I have a huge list of the major archives I send for and it lists the cost of the record, the address, and the name of the archive. It is an easy way to figure out how much it'll cost to get what you need and where to send your request.

I also have a section just for people that are researching the same lines or are historians for the area. I call this section "Cousins/Genealogy Buddies". I go to these people when I just need someone else's advice or when I want to get some more detailed information on a area.

As for good places to go to get information to put into your research binder, here are some links:

1.) This article includes a lot of the useful informationt that is based on the mistakes that a lot of genealogists make. It is a a great resource to make sure you don't take these wrong turns!

2.) This one just has a lot of genealogically helpful articles and links. So check this one out, and use the ones you like.

3.) I love this one because it gives you the links to a lot of great genealogy articles posted all over the net - no more searching for you:

4.) This guy is really very kind and has a lot of useful information on his site. So check him out.

5.) This one is just stockpiled with useful information.

6.) This one, while rather plain looking, has some pretty cool articles; like 101 Ways To Research Your Family History for Free!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How Many Can There Be?

So since last night I have been doing some genealogy research on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. She comes from a bunch of common last name (Frank, Rogers, makes my head spin).

So I was surfing the net and came across someone who appeared to have done the research for me. So I printed the information, sources (that were not properly cited) and all. I then went onto Ancestry in hope of finding that this information was all true, and that finally, my headache was atleast over for the moment.

Well, the first census I was looking for was for a James Frank, his wife Julia, their daughter and my ancestor Josephine. According to this last researcher's notes, they were supposed to be in the 1870 census in Indianapolis (Ward 3), Marion, Indiana. So, accordingly I start my search with this knowledge.
There were 17 results - ALL of which had the James Frank, Julia, and Josephine that I needed to find. All of them were living in Indianapolis (Ward 3). I stared at the screen dumbfounded.... many James Franks can there be out there who married a Julia and had a daughter named Josephine who lived in Indianapolis Ward 3 in 1870? Apparently...the answer was 17.

So then I looked back at the researchers information and found that James Frank was a Real Estate Agent. So I looked at my search results and narrowed it down to only those as Real Estate Agents...

Guess how many were left? Go ahead...just guess....

There were still FIVE more left. Honestly...this is like a joke....a really sick joke that is playing on me. How could it possibly be true? head hurts so much that I can't even begin to figure out how to sort through these. I've never come across a situation like this...It is pretty much pure insanity!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

One Crazy Week

Hey everyone,
Sorry for the delay in updating...I've had a rather hectic week. I found out that I am getting laid off by November from my job (And I actually LOVE my job...I am completely bummed about it). Plus, there was the earthquake earlier this week - which definitely took everyone by suprise.

Speaking of the earthquake...It was a HUGE suprise that it happened. I live in an apartment right next to the stairs that lead to the other levels of the building, so I am used to some slight noise and shaking every now and again. I was even doing genealogy on the computer, trying to get out of my bad mood from finding out I was losing my job. Then all of a sudden, the shaking began and it took me a moment to realize what it even was. My boyfriend and I quickly stood in the doorway and patiently waited for the shaking to stop. Anyone who lives in California knows about the long over due "Big One" that is supposed to pretty much destroy California....I have to admit, I was pretty terrified that it was going to be that big earthquake.
I won't lie and say that the first thing I thought about was my genealogy and family heirlooms...but I have to admit that afterwards I sure did! Once I realized that everyone was okay, I knew that I had to immediately back up my genealogy. I then took my camera out and started taking pictures of my family heirlooms to make sure that even if they got damaged, I would have something to remember them by.

All in all, I unfortunately haven't been updating my genealogy and working on it as much as I should. I have a to-do list that goes on for pages, and yet, here I am typing away...oh well.

Happy hunting!