Monday, July 30, 2012

Much in Common

My family and I recently used our Visit Salt Lake Connect Passes to explore the spectacular new Natural History Museum of Utah.  What an impressive place!  The building is beautiful and captures so much of the structure and beauty of this amazing state.  Visitors are greeted at the beginning with an huge hall, built to represent a canyon, with arches reaching from gallery to gallery.  In the side of the canyon wall is a glass case stretching up with pieces of each part of the museum collection, an artistic kaleidoscope of the history and nature of Utah.
I tried to capture the magnificent dinosaur exhibits but you just can't fit it all into the camera lens.  We aren't big dinosaur aficionados in our family but you couldn't help but be impressed.  The exhibits taught us all sorts of things about the way dinosaurs are interpreted by modern archeologists trying to figure out what life was like.  We were fascinated, but we were only getting started in this huge place. 

I really enjoyed the Great Salt Lake gallery with interpretive displays on the way the lake is changing and how diverse the landscape and the animals are there.  There were exhibits on the ways the lake is used and preserved and hands on exhibits about the water flow through the valley.  The Land gallery was fascinating too with interesting exhibits on how areas of the state have changed and about the fault line running through the Wasatch Front.  In the Life gallery were some fantastic exhibits about dna and speciation.  The hands on exhibits were fantastic throughout with pottery shards to reassemble and cell structures to put back together. 

But when we got to the top of the building, I was really moved by the Native Voices exhibit.  As I've been writing about in my blog, I've been working hard lately to instill in my teenage children a sense of their history: a connection with the inspirational stories of their ancestors, and an understanding of the positive and negative traits that have passed through our family.  I found in this Native Voices exhibit, the same longings.  I have a very different background from those exhibited here, but the quest for grounding was the same.  So much of what they've said in this exhibit is so close to what I've been writing.  That sense of who you are is so deep, such a hunger. 

"Ever since I grew up, I've always been told that I am Paiute and should be proud of who I am.  Now research says that the more an Indian child knows about his culture, his history, the better he's going to be academically--and if they are well-versed in their language then that's even better.  And so that's why I think it's really important for our people to know our culture --Karma Grayman, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah"

I found a profound similarity between my reaching to preserve for my kids who we are, and what they can have pride in.  And yet with each passing generation in this melting pot nation, we become more and more diverse.  I am Swiss and British, my husband is Czech and Swedish.  So while I identify with certain immigrants, my children identify with twice as many.  They are becoming more and more removed from our past.

"The full blood, now, like us, we're slowly dying off.  And what we have here now is, blonde hair, red hair, blue eyes, gray eyes, those are our young generation.  And who's going to believe them when they say, "I'm a Northwestern Shoshone?"  They have to be speaking their Native language for them to believe them.  That's their disadvantage.  So we better hurry up quickly and try to teach 'em.  --Helen Timbimboo, Northwestern Band of Shoshone."

It is so important to preserve our history, and to give our children a strong sense of their heritage.  I'm so thankful for the people who have preserved my family's stories. 

"My sister and I have so many ideas on how to bring the bear dance, circle dance, and quail dance.  My dad preserved all that he knew about the dances; I have old recordings that he'd done back in the '60s of all these old people that have passed away, so we can relearn it.  It's not dead yet, I know a lot of songs...
--Shanan Martineau, Shivwits Band, Paiute."

When you have time, go see this exhibit.  And then go teach someone in the next generation of your family about your heritage.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tour of our offices

We had a pipe break and our offices have been torn up this summer. It has taken too long to get things straightened out because we've been too busy with family reunion season to be able to deal with it much.  I'm so thankful the company that is taking care of it has been great to work around us.  I'm missing our usual arrangements, so I'm going to show them to you here.  Hopefully the good vibrations will get things back to normal quickly. 
Entrance.  I love the logo on the wall.  It reminds me of our goals "Share, Honor, Inspire."  I love that.  I love what we do.

The main work room.  Big cutting table, laminator, marked with all of the places around the world where we've shipped charts.  The Generation Maps logo is still on that wall.  We've come a long ways baby.
Several of the plotters and the paper.  4 stretched canvases of fall shots that I took one year.  I love autumn.
Ok.  confession.  This is where a little bit of my regular life invades the offices.  This wall is full of craft supplies and around the corner is my sewing machine.  This part wasn't affected so much by the pipe leak but I'm afraid they are going to have to move everything when we recarpet.  I'm sure it is going to be fine when they put it all back.  (thinking good thoughts.)
My office.  Too many computers, lots of pictures of the kids, a few blogger beads, Egyptian papyri, pink, floral, me. 
Kim's office.  There is usually alot more going on than you see here. 
Our other office for when our employees come in.  They work alot from home, but when they come in they have a clean space where they can concentrate.
The print server station.  My syllabi from all the years of conferences overfloweth.  Lots of good reference.  

The good news is we get new carpet throughout and I really love the carpet we picked out.  We have been able to keep up with customers but now you know why the blogging has been sparse.  We will be put back together by the end of  the week--and it will all have that wonderful smell of new carpet.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pioneer Days in Utah

If you've ever been out of the country at Thanksgiving or through December, you've probably noticed how the rest of the world only celebrates "the holidays" from Christmas to New Years.  But in the US, we get to celebrate for an additional couple of weeks starting with Thanksgiving in November.  Americans celebrate with parties the whole month, stretching out the enjoyment of the season for weeks. 

In Utah, we have that same luck in the summer because the patriotic/historical season lasts an extra couple of weeks.  When you are in Utah at the end of July, you simply must do as the locals do--Celebrate the 24th of July.  We get extra fireworks and parades and everything.  Known as Pioneer Day or the Days of '47, it is a celebration of the arrival of the first pioneer settlers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th 1847.  It is a founder's day celebration of sorts--only bigger than you've probably seen other places.  There are great parades, family barbeques and and events across the state.  Everyone takes a break and enjoys another summer holiday.

In Salt Lake many families will grab the blankets and sleeping bags and camp out the night before with the huge slumber party that happens along the parade route.  Then at 9am on the morning of the 24th, the parade starts, with great floats, bands, antique cars and thousands of people celebrating.  The map of the route can be found at the official parade site

That evening, the place to be is the Maverik Center at the Days of 47 Rodeo.  Nationally known professional cowboys compete for prizes in several different events.  The rodeo actually goes for several nights (starting this year on the 19th) culminating in the last evening on the 24th.  Tickets can be purchase at the rodeo website.

But I think the best way to celebrate the 24th is with a visit to This Is The Place State Park. They celebrate Pioneer Days with special events, including a breakfast at the Huntsman Hotel, a flag ceremony, pioneer games, the watermelon eating contest, the candy cannon and lots of pony rides and special craft projects.  You can really get into the pioneer spirit learning more about the settlers to the area amid the historical buildings and talented interpreters. 
Of course the 24th of July is special to me because it is my Dad's birthday.  He always said the fireworks were for his birthday, not the holiday.  This year he won't be in Utah for his birthday.  We'll have to do the celebrating for him I guess.  Have a fun and safe 24th of July.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The UGA Cedar City Conference

Cedar City's first ever Family History Conference will be held Aug.18, 2012 at the Hunter Conference Center on the Southern Utah University campus. It will be a one day event with sessions on local history presented by people in the know.  We will have presentations on Historic Trails of Southern Utah, the Frontier Homestead State Park, and the First Settlers of Cedar City.  There will also be classes on how to do foreign research including Scandinavian, Irish, and English research.

Presenters are coming to teach  about how to write our family histories, teach about DNA genealogical research, and reading Early American Handwriting.  There will also be sessions that are just for fun including story telling and music from the past. The day will begin at 8;30 A.M. with keynote speakers Dixie and Anne Leavitt and the the day will end at 4:30 following a closing address from Harold Grant Shirley.  Come and spend a special day with us on one of Utah's beautiful college campuses.  Registration is online at the Utah Genealogical Association website found at

Family ChartMasters will be there.  Be sure to stop and say "Hi."  And while you are at it, Cedar City is the home of Utah's Shakespearean Festival.  Stay an extra day to take in a world class play while you are there.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catch up on conferences

Catching up with what we've been doing.  Great conferences and lots to do.  It has been a great summer.  I'm thankful that we've been so busy with family reunion season that I haven't had time to blog.  But I have lots to tell you about.
At NGS in Cincinnatti I got to have a booth next to Jill Crandall of Research Ties.  Very innovative new product to help you track your research.  Take a look at  Still in development but you can sign up for the beta at the website. 
 Dear Gena Philibert-Ortega was there with her new book, From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes.  It is a fascinating book about the heritage of food and historical recipes.  It includes space for your own recipes.  I bought a copy for my Mom for Mother's Day.  You can check it out at Amazon and try the Cheese Straw, Hominy, Johnny Cake or Ox Tail Stew recipes yourself. 
 It is always good to see Candice Buchanan and Glenn Toothman of Memory Medallion.  More on that to come.  Such good people.  I just love the people we get to work with in genealogy. 
 Stopped to pick up something from Maia's Books.  She collects the greatest historical games and things for kids. 
 And it was so fun to see Tara Meitzler of Family Roots Publishing.  We so appreciate them.  It was especially fun to see Tara because she brought her new baby.  I didn't get a picture of Leland carrying the baby around but you could tell he was a proud grandpa.  I think grandpa and new grandbaby are really bonded because their hairstyles match.  :)
 Of course we love Bruce and Laurie Buzbee of RootsMagic.  Don't usually get to take pictures of them though because there are always people at the booth and they are always busy talking to someone. Congratulations to them on Elizabeth Shown Mills' endorsement at this conference.  ESM uses RootsMagic.  Kudos.
 And here's the group at My Heritage.  Shelly Mark and Daniel are holding down the fort.  It was great to have a few minutes to talk to them. 
 A good picture with one of my favorite ladies--the Photo Detective Maureen Taylor.  She brought me a cupcake treat just when I needed it.  Thanks Maureen!
 The best part was the food of course.  I'd already fallen in love with Cincinnati Chilli when Erin had made it for me.  She has a great recipe and grew up in Cincinnati so I've had it several times.  Luckily Allison Dolan lives there and I was lucky enough to have her show us where the best Chilli parlor was.  The great talk with Lisa Louise Cooke and Allison on the way made it even better.  I got to share a room with Lisa at this conference.  What a treat. 
 Then we also went to SCGS.  Always a great conference.  More on that to come too.  While I didn't get lots of pictures, I did get this great one.  We brought our pedigree quiz game to try out on the SCGS attendees.  Gini Webb's daughter Emma won our high score.  She answered all the questions correctly--some of them were quite hard.  Way to go!
It was fun to bring Randy Seaver, Gini Webb, and A.C. Ivory and their families along to the favorite restaurant we always go to with the Buzbees.  So good to have time to talk to everyone.  I really appreciated Randy's write up about my lectures at SCGS.  I think they went well.  Genealogy conferences are so much fun.  Looking forward to the next ones.  I'll try to take more pictures as they come.