Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Growing an ancestor garden.

The lilacs are in bloom here, and I can't help but spend time thinking about my Grandmother Dana. Her favorite flower was the Lilac, and she would often try to visit us when they were in bloom because they didn't grow well where she lived. We would bring big armfulls into the house and arrange them in huge bouquets, even on the years she wasn't able to visit. Later, when my grandparents moved closer to us, they planted a large hedge of lilacs, and my Grandfather taught me about the different varieties and which were valued for smell, looks and etc. Of course, as I have been on my own, I have always brought big bouquets into the house too. The sweetness of those memories have made them my favorite flowers too. I planted one where we live now in honor of Grandma Dana.

We have planted crocuses for my Mother, Impatiens for Kim's mother, Rose bushes for my Grandmother Carpenter, Hollyhocks for Grandmother Schwendiman, Tiger Lillies for Grandma Anderson, and Violas for Nama (Grandmother Romney). My honor for these women for the great legacy they have left me is woven into many areas of my life and even my landscaping. And the love, work ethic, and patience they have taught me is often stretched in my gardening abilities.

Sunday evening we went with my sisters and parents to Grandma and Grandpa Dana's grave for Memorial day. I brought a big bucket of lilacs. My sister had brought another bucket from her bush too. It was a beautiful evening as the sun was starting to set in the large cemetery. It was busy for the weekend, almost crowded. But there were lots of family groups there gathered together and honoring their ancestors. With the multitudes of flowers everywhere, it was just heavenly. Hope you had a good weekend too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blog post of the week

This week I have chosen Dick Eastman's strongly worded commentary on paying for the genealogy data sites. A very clear and well thought out discussion.
http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/05/i-have-a-compla.html

The bottom line is that a strong genealogy industry helps us all. If we want services and products that make genealogy easier, we have to support efforts to make it so.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Upcoming Conference Announcements

From Kim at My Ancestors Found:
The Family History Expo Mesa, Arizona 2008November 14th-15th, 2008 – Mesa, Arizona

WHERE: Mesa Convention Center 263 N. Center Street, Mesa, Arizona
WHEN: 8 am to 6 pm ~ November 14th-15th, 2008 (Check-in and at the door registration begins at 7 AM on Friday November 14, 2008.)
THEME: Cyberexchange 101: Learn the tech to trace your roots
20 jam-packed hours of genealogy! My Ancestors Found, a local Utah business, has pinpointed Mesa, Arizona as the place to be November 14th-15th, 2008. Family history and genealogy enthusiasts will be gathering at the Mesa Convention Center and will not be disappointed with the more than 100 classes being offered to help you jump start the process. The great thing about this is you don't even have to have Arizona roots. Don't Delay Sign Up Today!

Pre-register online at www.MyAncestorsFound.com, by phone at 801.829.3295, or send a check to: My Ancestors Found; PO Box 187; Morgan, UT 84050. Questions? Email: kimberly@myancestorsfound.com or call Holly at 866.701.5071

And

The 5th Annual Family History Expo St. George, Utah 2009February 27-28, 2009 - St. George, Utah

WHERE: Dixie Convention Center-1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George, UT
WHEN: 8 am to 6 pm ~ February 27-28, 2009
THEME: Family History for Fun and Profit
20 jam-packed hours of genealogy! My Ancestors Found, a local Utah business, has pinpointed St. George, Utah as the place to be February 27-28, 2009. Family history and genealogy enthusiasts will be gathering at the Dixie Convention Center and will not be disappointed with the more than 100 classes being offered to help you jump start the process. The great thing about this is you don't even have to have Utah roots. Don't Delay Sign Up Today! Pre-register online at www.MyAncestorsFound.com, by phone at 801.829.3295, or send a check to: My Ancestors Found; PO Box 187; Morgan, UT 84050. Questions? Email: kimberly@myancestorsfound.com or call Holly at 866.701.5071

These are always great conferences for us and for everyone that comes. Generation Maps is glad to be a sponsor for both of these conferences. Stop by and say hi. We'll see you there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another of my articles published.

From Kip Sperry:

Janet:
Thank you very much for writing for the current issue of
BYU Family Historian, Volume 6 (Fall 2007).This issue is now posted online at the HBLL website:http://www.lib.byu.edu/dlib/spc/famhistorian/(click on BROWSE, then Volume 6, Fall 2007).

Thank you again,
Kip Sperry, editor

My article, "Where to start when you inherit family history."

Final report on NGS

By far, the big event that I thought was important was the announcement that Family Link will be working with the Family History Library Catalog. I'm sure bringing the catalog into what sounds like it will be a more wiki environment is going to be a great improvement. That should be a good central place to start research queries. I'm glad that it will encompass digitized and non-digitized works. I'm impressed that a company that is so focused on the internet can see the value of "one of the most valuable tools in the world for family history." They are right. It is. (And Paul Allen started a Master's in Library Science at BYU just before I was there. I'm glad I finished mine :-).

I'm concerned that there were so many vendors that apparently didn't show at NGS. It sounds like the numbers were similar to recent years for attendees. That is good. But again, we did many times better with our regular orders than we did with conference orders last week. Conferences are always good for networking and getting a feel for what customers want and what is going on the industry. That is important. And they are so darn fun--the icing on the cake of running a genealogy business. I'm glad we have My Ancestors Found doing conferences out west more and that their conferences are just as well put on and well attended.

Kim gathered several new affiliates and started some new partnerships that we will be working on. I'll let you know as things develop.

It looks like Legacy is about ready with their printing capabilities in their charting program. We are looking forward to being able to work with them on that. I think it will be a great deal easier for their users to be able to submit charts to us through the software.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blog post of the week

A little slow this week. We have been swamped. It is busy this time of year with family reunion season in full swing, getting back from NGS, and end-of-school programs--the kids busy etc. I'm thinking about what to blog all the time, but it is probably good for you that it doesn't all get put down on the keyboard.

Here is what I liked this last week. Carolyn revisited an article by William Dollarhide on Death Records that is very informative. Being the librarian, I always like check lists of everything I should have checked. I like to be thorough and know all my options. http://www.genealogyandfamilyhistory.com/?p=37



I'm looking forward to the session on blogging at SCGS, mentioned here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More feedback from my NGS Magazine article.

Calley Savage wrote asking for my thought processes on the way I suggested to archive the most important pictures versus the less important pictures in my NGS Magazine article. Here is my reply:

Dear Calley,
I'm glad my article was helpful to you. I was surprised to see your e-mail as I haven't seen the issue yet.

Sleeves should work fine for you and you did a good job getting binders that slide into covers. That will protect 99% of what will damage your photos. My reasoning for putting the "most important" photos in boxes is that sometimes older photos will be warped, or cracked, or already have some damage to them. Storing them in boxes, horizontally without uneven pressure from the surrounding materials can I think help reduce pressure on those areas that might have already been damaged. If your pictures are in good shape, I think your binders will be fine though. Just be careful that you don't have too much pressure between the pages when the binder is closed. If the edge of one photo crosses through the middle of another on the opposite page, and the sleeves are crushed too tightly together, you will get a nice (or not so nice) crease through the middle of the second picture. Does that make sense? Just try to keep the pressure off the pictures and you will be fine.

Also be careful how you put them in the sleeves. If possible, try not to attach them to anything else, of course don't tape or paste the back to something. If you use photo corners, try to keep them kind of loose as well so that there isn't any damage if you need to take something out. Again, be careful of the pressure the photo corners have on the opposite page. Ideally, if you can get sleeves with multiple pockets that are the right size, it would be best not to attach them to any backing paper.

With what I called, the "most important" maybe 10 or 20 of the wedding pictures, maybe professional pictures etc, you may want to put copies in the binders, and keep those pictures in boxes, suited to their size to be sure to keep any undue pressure off them and make sure that they aren't handled very often. But that is only a suggestion. If they are in good shape and you are careful with them, they will be fine. They will be much better off in the binders than if you left them stuffed together in a dirty trunk in the attic or something.

That is my reasoning. I'd be happy to discuss any other questions with you. It is good you are trying to take such good care of the pictures. Good luck with your project.
Thanks,
Janet Hovorka

All the fun at the NGS conference

I'm missing all the fun. Kim went to NGS without me this year and you know how much I love conferences. I appreciate all the people who Kim said have stopped by the booth to say they missed me. We decided I needed to hold down the fort this time. It is probably good that I have to organize more of the printing around here once in a while. (You know how I'm fond of that.) The home-based plotters and I are becoming better friends.

Kim reports it seems that the numbers are down from previous years. But he has enjoyed talking to lots of people. He said it was good to see Karen Clifford who is speaking, we haven't seen her for a while. He talked to David Lifferth with World Vital Records about how our promotion with them is going. It was good to get to know Ken Aubuchon at AGES-online better today and we'll be working with them further. And of course it is always good to talk to all the regular conference participants. Lots of good ideas flowing. He is looking forward fleshing out more of those ideas tomorrow.

And on the home front, I have a fun new car. Another one that I'm sure will take us to many conferences to come. Everything arrived great and we are sitting pretty now. It is Sweeeeeet. Life is sweeeeeet.

Un-du and pictures

I received a wonderfully considerate e-mail from Jim Moses about my NGS Magazine article this week. He had a great suggestion.

In the article I talk about the magnetic scrapbooks that all of my mother's life's pictures are in. Not only can we not get the pictures out, the stripes from the glue are showing through many of the pictures. I mention in the article that some have had success with heating the glue with blow dryers (yikes) or dental floss but that neither of those methods worked for us.

Jim suggested that I use Un-du. He said he had had success with it. I have used Un-du extensively, especially for getting price tags off books. When used on paper, I find it can leave an oily residue. But, considering that we are losing my Mom's pictures anyway I think I will give it a try. We have already digitized everything we wanted out of the scrapbooks. But digitizing isn't the same as the actual photo, even damaged. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Adventures on the way to Kansas City.

It has been exciting around here. To say the least. Like I mentioned, I was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and the car was totaled. I'm still shaken up about people stopping short in front of me but I'm ok. So we spent the last two weeks looking for a car because we knew the other car was going to be going to the NGS conference in Kansas City with Kim this week. At long last we found the right car and it is being transfered up from Vegas.

Meanwhile, Kim got out in the middle of WY yesterday and the other car started acting up. By the grace of God, he made it to his hotel in Lincoln and the (second!) car died in the parking lot. Luckily he had all day today to get from Lincoln to Kansas City (about 4 hours) so he spent the morning having the fuel pump replaced. Unbelieveably, the garage had wireless so he could get some work done. Really, you couldn't have planned it better. He made it to Kansas City with time to spare.

So things are looking up. My new car will be here tomorrow, and Kim is ready to go for the NGS Conference in Kansas City. Fate must have something really wonderful planned for this conference because that is usually when we run into obstacles like this. It always works out though. That is the serendipity we all run in to in Family History. I'll let you know what Kim reports from the conference.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blog Post of the week

I actually have an old one for you this week. This is from Dear Myrtle and was a wonderful research evaluation sheet going with my recent theme of evaluating and cleaning up your research. It is kind of LDS slanted, but has some principles that I think apply to everyone. Take a look at: http://www.dearmyrtle.com/powwow/images/ChecklistLDSCleanItUpPink.pdf

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Primary and Secondary Sources--basic principles

I didn't learn what primary and secondary sources were until way too late in my schooling. So I thought I would do a little review of that here.

The basic principle is: A primary source is something written by the person, at the time of the event. A secondary source is something written by someone who wasn't there, later.

This isn't always black and white but rather a continum. A source that is written by the person but later is a somewhat primary source, but the memory of the person could have changed the story. Or a somewhat secondary source could be written by a person who was close to the person who experienced the story, or, more secondarily, a person who heard things third, fourth or even fifth hand.

So, a quiz. What is a death certificate? answer: some of both. It is a primary source about the person's death, the person filling it out has a close knowledge of the time, place and circumstances of the death. But it is a secondary source on everything else. On my grandmother-in-law's death certificate, her children that helped fill it out didn't know anything about the grandmother's place of birth or parents.

Something else to consider as we are evaluating sources. Especially when we are evaluating two sources against each other.

Another note on hanging large descendancy charts


I talked about how to hang descendancy charts earlier here. I had a momentary lapse and couldn't think of the name of the clips that work the best. I called them "binder" clips. I have been informed today that the are really "butterfly" clips. They work great. You could even flip the tabs up and tie them along a piece of string to hang between two poles.

Descendancy charts

Well, the family reunion season has hit Generation Maps this week. Things had been a little slow for a couple of weeks, and I was beginning to wonder if all the news about the slowing economy was going to affect us. But I am happy to report, it is just the regular bad-news-sells retoric and we have more than made up for the slowing this week. No bad economy around here. Quite a bit of it was for family reunions already, so I thought I would talk to you about descendancy charts.

In the past it has been really hard to figure out how to print a descendancy chart. How big is it going to be; how much; where do I get it printed? Likewise it is hard for us to predict, and price because different families plot out different ways. A person can have 1 child or 12 children, and then different generations can go different directions. Generation Maps solves that problem with our Free Consult offer. Just go to http://www.generationmaps.com/php/consult.php and send us your file. We will get right back to you with different options and prices for printing your information. From 50 people to 40,000, we can print it out with images that will entice more questions, and space to add more information.

Most people think of a descendancy chart as the ancestor at the top, and their children and grandchildren, etc streching out beneath them. We can certainly chart things out that way, but usually that gives you a very short, and wide chart. So we can do other options for you too. Often we'll take a descendancy chart and do it left to right, with the ancestor on the left and their children and grandchildren stretching out to the right. That saves quite a bit of space because of the way the boxes are laid out (they are wider than they are tall.) This left to right chart is usually 1/2 to 1/3 as big as a top to bottom chart. We often have people print descendancy charts left to right to save space, but then hang them on a wall at a family reunion sideways and people have to tilt their head to read the information. Then they don't have to find as big of a wall.

Lots of other options exist too, including wrapping parts of the family down and underneath, or splitting things up different ways. Then when you add pictures--even a few, decorative elements, flags and ethnic elements, or color-coding--you have a chart worthy your wonderful family. We have lots of different charts we can do depending on your priorities: space, readability, adding information or just creating a spectacular centerpiece to your reunion.

We are constantly thanked for making the family reunion a success. A great chart creates lots of family history discussion, makes everyone feel included and creates a space to gather more information. So, whatever kind of descendancy chart you need, we can figure it out for you. Whatever you do, don't tape 8 1/2 x 11s together. We can make it much easier for you. Just send your file to our free consult to get started.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Evaluating Sources--basic principles

I've been helping the librarian at my children's school do some curriculum development on research and evaluating sources for 3-6 graders. It has kind of brought me back to basics in thinking about how to evaluate what we find on the internet. I think we need to closely evaluate the genealogy sources we find on the net. And maybe some of these basic principles will help. So here is a little of my librarian slant:

Basically you can ask yourself: Who, What, Where, When and Why.

1)Who. Ask yourself who is the author? Does he/she give credentials or tell why his/her experience qualifies him/her to write (or compile) the information?

2)What. What is the content? Is it reliable? (This is a major one for genealogists.) Have you found other sources that confirm the information? Are there books or magazines that agree with this site's facts?

3)Where. Where did you find the information? What is the authority of the source? What is the domain of the website (.com, .org .edu) Is that domain appropriate to the information that you found? Is this information a primary or secondary source?

4)When. When was it written? Is the information up to date? Does this information need to be current? When was the website last updated or the information published?

5)Why. Ask yourself why was it written? What is the bias of author? Is the purpose to give information? Is the purpose to sell something? Is the purpose to entertain? Is the purpose to promote an idea?

6)How. How does it look? Is it professionally presented? Did the author use correct spelling and grammar in their writing? Is it easy to read?

Final Evaluation: What is your general impression of this source?
And be sure to cite your source using the appropriate format.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blog of the week, and a post

This week I found a new-to-me blog that I'm sure is going to be a favorite. So I have for you a whole blog:
http://practicalarchivist.blogspot.com/
I'm looking forward to reading this one regularly. Since much of what I do in Family History is to inspire my kids and pass things down, archiving is really important to me. It comes from being a librarian too.

To go along with that,
This article by Craig Manson, OSCAR WILDE, SONNY BONO ANDTHE NAKED ORPHANS on copyright issues with photographs was interesting as well. I'm not sure what to think, as our lawyer has given us other ideas and instructions regarding the copyright of photographs. I guess you just take the most conservative road and hope your lawyer is right.
http://www.shadesofthedeparted.com/2008/05/friday-from-collectors-may-2.html

Friday, May 2, 2008

2 good reasons to fill out a blank chart

Yeah. There are only two good reasons that I can think of to fill out a blank chart.

1) To preserve the family's history in someone's writing. It would be nice to have a genealogy chart in Grandma's handwriting. That won't work for my grandchildren. They would probably rather have one they can read. But it might be a nice idea in your family.

2) You know I had another one--that you would understand a file better if you look at the details while you fill out a blank chart--but I think I would rather spend my time looking over an already printed chart, color coding and adding notations, and then moving on in the research.

So I guess I really only have one. People ask us for them, so we have them--in case your Grandmother wants a writing project. Or if you have another good reason, let me know.

A confession

Warning: short mind dump.

My blog says that I'm a genealogy chart printing expert. I really need to clarify.

I'm really not the printing expert around here. In fact, quite often I think our printers are controled by an evil maniac on an island somewhere with a remote control trying to ruin my day.
Luckily we have Kim. He is the real expert. He can do anything. It is really alot more complicated than you would think to get something to print out 150 feet long, or even 2 feet long. Plotters don't work like regular printers. I have learned alot about charts, but he is the amazing print director. We would be sunk with out him getting everything to print right. He has been able to teach other people around here how to do it, but not me. I don't think I want to learn.

Just want to make sure the right person gets the credit. I've become a chart expert. But I'm not a chart printing expert.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Five Good Ideas for Family Reunions

Since we are getting ready to plan another family reunion, I thought I would post this article from our newsletter. Hopefully it will be useful to you too.

5 Ways to Have a Great Family Reunion
There is nothing like a great family reunion to catch everyone up and get re-connected. If you are in charge of the reunion this year, or helping, or in charge next year, here are 5 great ideas on how to make it a great one.

Get Organized. Put together a notebook with all contact information or try a software such as Family Reunion Organzier. Enlist help and put together committies so everyone only gets a small part of the load. Talk to your close family first to start compiling an invitation list and then branch out from there. Take a look at resources on the web such as http://www.family-reunion.com/ for great ideas and helps.

Keep people busy. Icebreaker games such as family trivia, sack races, musical chairs, and boardgames can get the fun started. Storytelling, craft tables or scrabooking family history, skits, timecapsules are great activities. For little kids make sure there is a kiddy pool, coloring books and colored chalk available. Doing a service project is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationships and do something good in the world.

Finance the fun. Make sure you don't go over budget. Some easy ways to raise money for a reunion include asking for donations, charging admission, or holding an raffle or auction. Auctions can include white elephant gifts, surprise bags, homemade crafts, baked goods from family recipies, or family history items such as decorative charts or giclees of family photos from Generation Maps. Make sure you include every thing in the budget, large and small so that the small ones don't add up and surprise you.

Create a Family Tree or Map. Show everyone how they are related with a large printed family tree. We are doing lots of these already this year. Make sure to leave lots of space for adding information because even the most reluctant relative will want their information complete. Create a map of where everyone lives by hanging a basic map and making some available push pins or markers. Or create a professional map of your ancestors lived, or the descendants whereabouts with a program like Family Atlas (which you can also send to Generation Maps for large scale printing). And don't forget a good group photo.

Wrap things up. Be sure to get everyone's updated contact information and pass it on to next year's organizer. Send out thank you notes to every one who helped to make sure everyone is willing to help in the future. Certificates or Awards can be passed out to recognize the year's achievements and thank the reunion organizers. You might use an evaluation form to see what you can do better next year.