Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SCGS Jamboree 2009 - A Weekend of Fun! (Part 2)

Saturday was a very eventful day....

It started out with Gini and her husband picking me up bright and early so we could get to the conference for the early morning lectures. I spent the early morning socializing with the other geneabloggers and checking my email using my laptop and the free wifi in the hotel.

At 9:30 A.M., the Summit 2: Son of a Blogger began. There were some great people up on panel: Lisa Louise Cooke, George G. Morgan (who was the moderator), DearMyrtle, Leland Meitzler, Dick Eastman, Steve Danko, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Craig Manson, and The Ancestry Insider (who was wearing a blue mask around his nose and mouth because he had a cold....convient excuse!). Needless to say, the panel was definitely full of experts and they offered some great advice and information.

During the Summit, I tried to post things on Twitter....but to be honest, I couldn't tweet and listen at the same time. Besides, Randy Seaver was seemed to have the twittering down!

Then came an amazing point of the day: I met my long time blogging idol (I have been reading her stuff since I was 13 and she was on AOL) - DearMyrtle. It was such an honor to meet her and she was so kind and sweet! (Here's a secret: I wish she was my Grandma!)

After lunch came two of my favorite lectures at the Jamboree. Both of these classes were packed - and for good reason too! I learned so much in there!
  • The Winter of our Discontent: 3 Months to Better Organization by DearMyrtle
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Genealogists by DearMyrtle

Since I had gotten a free copy of RootsMagic 4 in my geneabloggers goodie bag (Thanks Thomas and Denise for putting those bags together! They were stocked with goodies galore!), I decided to stop by one of the classes put on about RootsMagic. I learned quite a bit and while I haven't decided if this is the absolute best genealogy program, I do like it so far.

Since we had some time between the lectures and the Geneablogger dinner, I decided to take a break, wander around the exhibit hall, and socialize. It was nice to have a moment to breathe and take in the fun day.

Then came dinner: FUN, FUN, FUN! I sat at a table next to Gini and her husband, Amy Coffin...and wait: across the table was Lisa Louise Cooke. I have to admit, I got a bit starry eyed when she sat down. It was a pleasure to meet her - and even more of a pleasure to find out how down to earth she was. She was bubbly, fun, and energetic. She was incredibly easy to talk to and it was almost as if we had known eachother forever!

It seemed as if for the first 20-30 minutes, everyone was just taking pictures and socializing:

The dinner was so much fun!!!! I had a blast! At the end of the dinner I went to my Aunt Caroline's house and knocked out! All-in-all, an eventful, fun, educational day!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Madness Monday - My Morris and Downer Line

Since my Aunt moved into my apartment building, I have been fortunate enough to gain much of her old genealogy notes and many family pictures. She has been kind enough to allow me to look through her notes and use her notes to further my own research.

My main challenge while looking through her work was that a lot of her notes on our Downer line was based on FamilySearch's IGI - which is not the most credible of sources. In fact, I couldn't find any sources attached to the IGI's family group records.

So, I decided that it was up to me to prove all of this information. In fact, it has become a bit of a mission for me.

So I looked at this first family group, which I have in my database and was actively researching. The couple was William Morris and Julia Ann Downer. Here is the information I have on the couple:

William Morris -
Born: Abt 1827. I can't find an actual birth record to prove the actual date. On the 1900 Census, William is listed as being born in January of 1827 in Virginia. The 1880 census lists him as 53 years of age, which would corraborate with the year 1827.
Death: Between 1900 and 1910. The reason I believe this is that William is on the 1900 Census, but by the 1910 Census, his wife, Julia, is listed as a widow.

Julia Downer -
Born: Abt. 1831. I haven't been able to find an actual birth record to prove the actual date. On the 1900 Census, Julia's birth month and year is listed as Feb 1831 in New York.
Death: I haven't found a death record for her yet, but I also haven't found her in the 1920 or 1930 Census yet. I've been searching, but haven't finished my list of possibilities.

I believe William and Julia married around 1855, since that is around the time that their first child, Alice, was born. I haven't looked up the birth records for each of the couples children just yet, but I am in the process of communicating with a newfound cousin on getting this information. We've been comparing notes and records and coming to some new conclusions. Our emails back and forth have been very enlightening.

I'm still searching for the couple's marriage records. I have the census record of Julia living with her parents (thanks to my Aunt's notes) in 1850. Julia was living with her parents in Belpre Township, Washington County, Ohio. I've been searching for their marriage record there, as well as in Sullivan County, Indiana, where Julia and William lived once they were married.

This couple has been driving me crazy lately. I've been searching for their marriage record for a while now with no luck. Since the last name Morris is so common, it creates a difficulty finding the right Morris family. But with some persistence and creativity, I know I'll find that marriage record.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

SCGS Jamboree 2009 - A Weekend of Fun! (Part 1)

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree of 2009. The Jamboree was held in Burbank, California at the Marriot Hotel.

I arrived to the hotel at about 8:15 on Friday morning. I had volunteered to help with the Kids Camp, which was being put on by Michael Melendez (finally - someone who attended the conference who was younger than me!). The first person I met (who was also volunteering for Kids Camp) was Diane Wright (a Graveyard Rabbit!). Diane is such a sweet person and it was great hanging out with her during Kids Camp. After Kids Camp, the two of us went to go get some lunch at Del Taco, which was just across the street.

After kids camp I went wondering over to the hotel lobby, a bit nervous and unsure as to what I should do. I had some time to waste before my first lecture and I was a bit anxious to start meeting people but, I'll be honest, I was a bit terrified at first. This was my very first genealogy conference and I had never met any of these people in person before. It wasn't long however, before I spotted some geneabloggers sitting in a small group of the hotel lobby. I was a bit scared at first, but I took some deep breaths and worked up the courage to walk up and introduce myself. Everyone was so welcoming, so kind, so funny - and within miliseconds, everyone was cracking jokes and discussing the plans for the weekend as if we had all known each other for years. Everyone was more amazing than I could have dreamed (and that is not an exaggeration!)

Before I show the picture of some of these wonderful people, I have to tell you about how I met footnoteMaven. I did not recognize her at first and I didn't even realize it was her until I looked down at her badge. As soon as I saw who she was my eyes got big and I went "Oh, it is such an honor to meet you!" (I also believe a little squeal slipped out too). So footnoteMaven, I hope you tell your husband this story and he finally believes that you are someone special in the geneablogging community.

And here is the picture of some of the great geneabloggers that I met, including footnoteMaven (of course, with her face blocked!)

Top row from left to right: Susan Kitchens, Schelly Dardashti, and me.
Bottom row from left to right: Kathryn Doyle, Sheri, and footnoteMaven.

I spent the afternoon in some lectures:
  • Organize, Plan, and Share Your Family Tree with Legacy Family Tree by Geoffry Rasmussen
  • Writing Your Research Plan by Betty Lou Melesky, CG
That night I finally met Gini and her husband, Steve (Steve deserves the "Husband of the Year" award because he isn't into genealogy, but he spent the entire weekend with Gini being the driver and attending the lectures). Both of them are so incredibly kind, caring, and sweet people.

Then Gini and her husband Steve, Randy Seaver and his wife Linda, and I all went out to dinner. We went to a Greek restaurant that had some pretty good food.

Then Gini and Steve drove me to my Aunt Caroline's house, where I was staying for the weekened. I then stayed up until about 11:30 talking to my Aunt Caroline about the time I had. I had a great weekend and had a blast!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Recent Picture Goldmine!

Since my Aunt has recently moved into my apartment building, I've been given permission to dig through her genealogy notes and lots of pictures. It has been wonderful.

Just so you understand my joy and elation at what I found, I need to give you some back story....

I didn't have any pictures of my dad's side of the family from before I was born. I didn't have a single picture of my dad and his siblings when he was a kid and not a single picture of my Grandpa Dugger. As far as my great grandparents, I have nothing at all.

As I was looking through my Aunt's photobooks, I found a goldmine! I found a multitude of pictures of my dad throughout his childhood into his 20s, pictures of his siblings, my Grandparents, and even some of my great grandmother! To top it off, my Grandma Dugger had written on the back of many of the pictures, giving an idea of not only who the pictures were of and where they were taken, but also, the general feeling of the time.

So here is a glimpse into my goldmine:

To the left is a picture of my dad as a baby. The picture was taken in Hermosa Beach, California at his maternal grandmother's house. He was baby of the family and certainly, my Grandma Dugger's favorite (although, I've been told that she would never admit it).

This is a picture of my dad as a baby in the arms of his maternal grandmother, Julia Morris Rogers. I can totally see the resemblance between my dad and me in this picture.

To the left is my Aunt Deb (my dad's sister). In the middle is her maternal grandmother, Julia Morris Rogers. On the right is my Uncl Gary (my dad's brother). This picture was taken around 1958.

On the left is my dad, who is almost 9 years old. On the right is his maternal grandmother, Julia Morris Rogers.

On the left is my Grandma Dugger, Nancy Rogers Dugger. On the right is my dad, at about the age of 18.

So look at the goldmine I found!! I have been on cloud 9 since I discovered these pictures. I am still in the process of scanning all of these, and I offered to buy archival safe supplies to store the photos so thy don't get damaged.

I am so happy that I've finally found these pictures and I no longer feel an empty place in my scrapbooks when it comes to my dad's side of the family.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SCGS Jamboree - Here I Come!

I am so excited that I am officially going to my very first genealogy conference - The Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree 2009. The conference will be held in Burbank, CA at the Burbank Airport Marriot on June 26-28.

For this trip, I will be staying with my Aunt Caroline (who is officially my hero for letting me stay at her house that weekend) in Northridge, CA. I am currently planning on communiting by bus back and forth from her house to the conference. (However, if anyone is driving and going in that direction and wants to carpool, let me know! I will split gas with you!)

I am absolutely thrilled to be going to this conference. Not only is it a HUGE learning experience, but I get to meet wonderful people who I already talk to through Facebook and Twitter and the blogs I read. It is going to be such an honor!

Thomas MacEntree over at Geneabloggers is already making some plans for all of us geneabloggers. Just to give you an idea of what he is planning, it includes mardi gras beads!

I've got my plans 90% figured out:
  • I will be bringing my backpack if I have to bus it to the conference merely because I will also be using my bike to get between bus stops (it is not an easy bus trip back and forth). If I am carpooling with someone, then I have the option of brining one of my tote bags to the conference instead of the backpack, it really depends.
  • Since I am pretty much going to be broke for this trip (money just isn't there), then I am mostly going to be brown bagging it for lunches and snacks, while bringing a little bit of money for dinner.
  • I've got most of the lectures that I plan on attending figured out - and it was hard to make some of those decisions! There are so many great speakers and great topics that are going to be presented that it made it very hard to choose. Good news is, they will be recording most of the lectures, so even if I can't attend one of the lectures, I'll be able to purchase a recording of it on CD.
  • I won't be able to buy any cool genealogy stuff from the vendors, but I figure I'll be too busy talking to everyone and meeting people and taking notes that I won't mind one bit!
  • I'm taking my laptop (I don't have a laptop bag...so I am going to kind of make one - or at least attempt to make one so I can bring it along). I want to be able to blog and twitter and facebook my excitement and all of the cool new things I learn! Plus, it'll be extra handy for taking notes.
  • I am going to try my best to not be shy and actually talk to people. I don't know anyone and pretty much everyone there will be older than me. I've also never gone so far away from home completely by myself (I am such a baby! haha!) so I am a bit nervous. I know everything will turn out fine though! I am just going to have to get over my shyness and talk to people.

Another cool thing about this conference is that the geographical/ethnic focus is on the British Isles where a good chunk of my relatives come from! Yay!

Anyone else going to this conference? I can't wait to meet you!

FamilyBuilder DNA Tests

Just to let everyone know, I am now an affiliate of FamilyBuilder DNA. I got an email from the company, suggesting I try out their affiliate program. Why am I telling you this? Because I think it is important to be straight up with you.

To be honest, I've never taken a DNA test before merely because I've never been able to afford it. I've always wanted to buy one so I can use it to test my dad and a distant cousin I found (We've got an ancestor that I can't quite prove). Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like $100 to spare will drop out of the sky, so I doubt I'll be taking one any time soon.

Now, I want to know what everyone thinks about this:

1.) Anyone have any experience/thoughts/comments/suggestions with FamilyBuilder DNA?
2.) Anyone have any thoughts/comments/suggestions/experience about affiliate programs? Are they good, bad, so-so?

I really am just curious as to what people think...so please share!