Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent Calendar - Shopping with 5 Children

My Dad used to take all five of us children shopping for Christmas gifts for my Mother.  And, yes, he did it at the same time.  We each had $1 to spend.  Now, there is a 9 year age span, so we older children could help a little with the younger ones.  But we were all in the store together.  We went to J.C. Penney and Hinshaw’s in Arcadia, California.  Both of these stores were on Baldwin Avenue. 

Each of us children also bought gifts for each of our siblings.  That meant that Mother or Dad had to take us shopping so that we could each find four gifts.  Again, I believe we had a $1 limit for the gift.   Of course that meant that each of us children had 6 gifts to wrap:  one for each parent and one for each of our four siblings.  There were a lot of presents under the tree.  In many ways I think I was more excited about watching family members open the gifts that I bought than as in opening the gifts they bought me.  Christmas morning was exciting.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Calendar - Stockings that Grow

Can you imagine stockings that grow, and Grow, and GROW?  My Grandmother knitted Christmas stockings for all of her grandchildren.  All 9 of them had Santa faces knitted into the front of the stocking and an ornament knitted into the back.  Just hanging, they are about 16 inches long and about 10 inches around.

However!!!! Think of how a knit sweater can stretch.  Now, put lots of things into a knit stocking:  apples, an orange, nuts in shells, and a few small wrapped gifts. 

After Santa arrived, the stockings were now about 30 inches long and about 18 inches around. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent Calendar - Other - Underwear?

Just a thought:  For some years my husband's work group collected toys and donated them to a school for homeless children.  Walt and I started buying packages of underwear.  What?  Yes, packages of 3 undershorts, or 3 t-shirts, or 3 pairs of panties.  We would buy them on sale at one of the major department stores;  and in various sizes.  We hesitated to do this the first year.  The feedback from the school staff was so positive that we did it for the next few years, until Walt was no longer a part of this work group.

So, if you want to donate to a homeless shelter, or a home for abused spouses, or some group like that, consider underwear.  It may not be as exciting as a toy, but it may last a lot longer.  Another option is coats, jackets, gloves or hats.  Just a thought. 

And thank you to all of you who think of others, both at this time of year as well as at other times. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Dear Thomas and Bloggers,

Thank you for the memories.  A few times this month, I haven't felt the Christmas spirit.  To change that, all I needed to do was to read your blogs (or even those of the past few days since I missed some of the daily reading).  Thank you all.

Advent Calendar - White Christmas programs at school

Do you remember “White Christmas” Concerts?  I was in the orchestra during elementary school and we would play at different schools for their program.  The children would bring cans of food wrapped in white tissue paper and put them under the tree, at the front of the auditorium.  The school chorus would sing, some of the classes would have a short skit, and the orchestra would play as the children walked up. 

My high school performed Handel’s Messiah every year.  The solos, chorus and orchestra were all high school students.  I don’t know how good we were, but the memories are great.  I played cello and even now I “hear” the cello part when I hear the Messiah, whether on CD or in person. 

In the 1950s and 1960s we weren’t very aware of non-Christian beliefs, and the children who would have been uncomfortable with the religious activities at school. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendar - Phoenix To Arcadia

For years we drove from Phoenix to the Los Angeles area for Christmas.  In the 1980s, with 2 children in the car, and Interstate 10 not completed, we drove through Wickenburg.  If you live, or have lived, in the Phoenix area, you’ll know what it’s like to travel rural desert roads.

Then, when the interstate was finally completed, EXCEPT for the interchange in Phoenix, we just drove I-10, day or night.   For a few years we would stopped at Griswold’s restaurant. It was always decorated so nicely for the holidays.  It was in Redlands on the south side of the interstate.  This smorgasbord restaurant had some great recipes and I still have two of their recipe books.  There was a gift shop also, and we really enjoyed walking through it.  Unfortunately, both the Redlands and the Claremont restaurants closed many years ago.

Sometimes we would stop in Blythe at the Courtesy Coffee Shop.  We haven’t been there for years, but it was something that our children expected, and it was about half way through the trip. 

So, for years we packed two children and gifts, and drove 7-9 hours to celebrate Christmas.  Because sometimes because Walt had to work the day we planned to travel, like Christmas Eve,  we’d arrive very late in Arcadia.  My parents were always up, even if they had napped before we arrived.  Then to get the four of us settled.  But this was the beginning of the family visit.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Calendar - Child-Friendly Dinners

My mother started two special dinner traditions.  The first one certainly made the holidays easier for us as parents.  Because young children often need naps, especially with the excitement of the holidays, Mother started having dinner begin at 4:30 or 5 instead of 2 to 3.  This began with my two children, the first two grandchildren.  Oh, did this help.  The children could have their naps and wake up when they were rested.  AND they had time to wake up before sitting down to dinner.  So no grouchy, tired children.  This is still the tradition, as some of my other siblings had young children and came for dinner. 

The second tradition was that the youngest people were always served first and we went up in age.  This worked especially well when a parent, or parents, needed to fix plates for the young ones.  So, the children’s plates were fixed and the children sat down. They chose which table they wanted to sit at.  Then the adults served themselves and sat in empty seats.  This avoided a “children’s table” and an “adult table.”  And the adults who sat with the children enjoyed the time talking with nieces, nephews or younger cousins whom they hadn’t seen for a while.  The children learned to carry on conversations during dinner and had good examples as to table manners at a holiday dinner.  Also, there was an adult or two to help cut food, get seconds, etc.  And it was a lot of fun.  (I often chose the “children’s” table after my children were grown.)  After all, I could always talk with the adults, but to get a child to sit down and talk to me when there was lots to do and many things to play with was more difficult.

Even now, with all adults, the youngest at dinner serves himself first.   And now often the youngest adult is over 40.  We do this even when we visit and it’s not a holiday.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Calendar - Gifts Given & Received

My Dad used to take all five of us children shopping for Christmas gifts for my Mother.  And, yes, he did it at the same time.  We each had $1 to spend.  Now, there is a 9 year age span, so we older children could help a little with the younger ones.  But we were all in the store together.  We went to J.C. Penney and Hinshaw’s in Arcadia, California.  Both of these stores were on Baldwin Avenue. 

Each of us children also bought gifts for each of our siblings.  That meant that Mother or Dad had to take us shopping so that we could each find four gifts.  Again, I believe we had a $1 limit for the gift.   Of course that meant that each of us children had 6 gifts to wrap:  one for each parent and one for each of our four siblings.  There were a lot of presents under the tree.  In many ways I think I was more excited about watching family members open the gifts that I bought than as in opening the gifts they bought me.  Christmas morning was exciting.

Christmas gifts from my parents were always clothes, or something very practical.  The gift from Santa was usually a toy or doll or something not as practical.  As children we usually opened the Santa gift before breakfast but all of the other gifts were opened after breakfast.

Now, we get our grandchildren a practical gift (something they can really use)  and a fun gift.  As practical gifts, one year we bought them new mattresses.  another time we bought each of them a suitcase to make it easier to pack when coming to visit us or their other grandparents. Another year we bought them new flannel sheets and last year they each received soft new bath towels.  This year they are getting extra warm, extra soft warm blankets.  It's amazing how many of these gifts are still being used.  And the grandchildren still remember that Walt and I gave them these gifts and how few of the "fun" gifts or toys are still around.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent Calendar - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays OR...?

I love the prompts that I have been using for these blogs.  I know this blog may be somewhat controversial.  I wrote it a couple of months ago, and it’s been sitting in my “draft” file since then.  Please understand that I am not trying to anger anyone but it’s a topic that I strongly feel needs to be considered.

Many people seem to be getting irritated every year when they are being told “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.  Why?  Are you one of those?  Have you considered some of the reasons behind the change? 

After all, the United States was not organized to be a Christian nation.  Studying our founding fathers, many of them were not traditional Christians, but Deists.  They knew about religious intolerance and they didn’t want the United States to be formed based on one religion.  So, people of all religious beliefs were supposed to be welcome and accepted here.  Are we doing that now? 

Please let me tell you a brief, personal story.  In 8th grade I became friends with Diane who was in orchestra class with me.  She was Jewish.  How did I know?  Because in the 1950s and 1960s all of the Jewish students missed a couple of days of class in September, right after school started.  Well, that year was the first year I sent out Christmas cards to my friends, probably only 5 or 6 that year.  But, I didn’t feel that I could send a card to Diane, because I knew that she wasn’t Christian.  My mother suggested sending Diane a Hanukah card.  I did.  Then, for the next 4 years, I sent a Hanukah card to Diane and she sent a Christmas card to me.  Even though we often rode together to orchestra practices because our parents took turns driving, we never spoke about it.  It just “wasn’t done.”

I realize that the majority of the U.S. population is Christian.  However, is that any reason for us to “push” our holidays onto everyone else?  How would we feel if we, individually, were no longer in the majority?  Permanently?  

So now, when we hear Happy Holidays, should we be insulted or should we consider that the speaker is trying to make sure not to “push” his religious belief on to us?  Since we all look similar, how are they supposed to know what our religious preferences are?  And should we be more considerate to those we meet and wish them a Happy Holiday, since we can’t be positive which holiday they may celebrate during the month of December?  So, please wish people a Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas, or some other special term, and let’s all have a great peaceful December.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Calendar - Baking & Baking & Baking

Oh, do I love Christmas cookies.  Lots of them.  And all kinds.  I probably have more than 200 recipe cards with cookies.  And then I have cookie cookbooks.  I used to have even more, but I gave about half away. 

What’s really funny is that I love making the cookies, but I usually don’t eat many of them.  While Walt was working, his group would have holiday foods brought in for two weeks during December.  Because I loved to bake, I always made a variety of “goodies”.  Then by keeping just a few for us, the rest were enjoyed by the people Walt worked with. 

This may be a holdover from my childhood.  We made plates and plates of cookies to give to friends and neighbors (and anyone else who came by) during the holiday season.  Some years we probably had 25-30 plates of cookies and brown bread.  You can imagine how many cookies it took, since each plate probably had almost two dozen cookies on it, sometimes even more if the family had lots of children.  Of course, with five children in the family we ate a lot of them also.

Every year I baked Russian Tea Cakes, also called Mexican Wedding Cookies among other names.  Last year I helped my three youngest grandchildren bake them.  Sometimes I made peanut brittle.  I have a recipe for cream cheese lemon bars that were good.  The recipe for chocolate balls with cherries in the center is a messy recipe to make.  (Make sure the dough is COLD before making the balls;  there is lots of butter and warm hands make the dough very sticky.)

For a couple of years, when I was about 11 or 12, I made rolled cookies and cut them into circles.  My aunt had taken a cake decorating class and we then decorated each of these 3-4 inch round cookies with stockings, Santa faces, wreaths, trees, bells, and stars.  Aunt Jo taught me how to make a pastry tube out of parchment paper and one year she gave me my own set of decorating tips.  I still have those tips, even though I seldom use them.  (I’d rather store them that get rid of them.  And they don’t take much room.)  This is still a special memory.  Perhaps I can teach my grandchildren to decorate this year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Calendar - 59 Cent Santas & More

I don’t remember ever sending a letter to Santa.  I do remember looking through the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs for toys.  But we really didn’t expect to get any of those things we found.  

Our children visited Santa a couple of times.  About the time they started not believing in Santa, we had them “play” Santa to my sister and her husband.  We bought small gifts, put them in a stocking, and on Christmas Eve, hung the stocking on the door of their apartment.  We explained that Santa Claus was the spirit of giving.  They loved this and still remember doing it. 

Our children still hang stockings.  Our married daughter and son-in-law have cross-stitched stockings that they fill for each other, in secret.

Our five grandchildren have handmade stitched stockings with appliqued snowmen.   Some of them are still young enough to believe totally.  Two of them are teenagers but they still want stocking stuff.  Of course, one of them didn't go to sleep last Christmas Eve and didn't get her stocking filled.   

I have a Santa Claus collection.  Some were purchased in a set by mail; some were purchased in a set at a department store (Dillards).  I have some little special ones that I was given.  I have some large hand-carved Santas made by friends.  (He carves them and she paints them.)  I also still have 6 “international” Santas that I bought at Pic ‘n’ Sav, one of the predecessors to Big Lots.  There is still the 59 cent price tag on them.  I finally sold or gave away about 300
Santas because I ran out of room to display them and I wasn’t as attached to them as I am to those I kept.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday Travels - Christmas Markets

For me traditions are something to cherish.  No, you don't have to be "stuck" in the past, but you may want to try a new experience. 

German Christmas markets are so unlike our Black Friday or any of the other sale days after Thanksgiving.  The couple of times I've been fortunate enough to be in Germany during December, I visited markets in both small and large towns.  Some open on December 1; some are just for a weekend (in the small villages). 

They all have great atmosphere.  There are lots of handmade items.  I've bought wood carved ornaments, ornaments made from walnut shells, ornaments made from blown glass, ornaments made from lace, ornaments made from something like paper mache, and much more.  I've found hand knit scarves and sweaters.  Of course there is candy and roasted nuts.  And, there is food.  Oh, what food.  And, to drink there is gluhwein which is a mulled wine.  However, there is also kinder gluhwein which doesn't have wine, but is based on a juice.  The first time you purchase a cup in a market, you pay a deposit on the ceramic cup.  (The cup may have the year on it, but definitely has the town.)  For refills, you pay a smaller fee.  Then, at the end of the market, if you wish to return the cup, you get your "deposit" back, or you can keep the cup as a souvenir.  I have cups from 9 or 10 markets.  What fond memories I have when I drink coffee, tea or apple cider from them during December. 

Chicago has a great Christmas market.  Phoenix has a one day market that was in Mesa for the first 3 years and has now moved to downtown Phoenix.  I'm certain other U.S. towns have the markets also.  If you can find one near, check it out.  You really get an idea of what shopping was like for our ancestors in the "old" country.  AND, for many of our "cousins" even now.

Advent Calendar - Lichtbogen, Peppermint Sticks & Decorations in March

Some years we decorate and some years we don’t.  Often, especially while the children were young, we would put lights on the house.  These were those BIG lights on strings, so that if one went out they all went out.  I know that Walt was happy when we finally bought some where the string stayed lit even though one light was out.

For a 3 or 4 years we made decorations that looked like peppermint sticks.  We scrounged the back of carpet stores for carpet tubes.  I wrapped the tubes with heavy duty aluminum foil and then put red outdoor ribbon in spirals around each tube.  They were placed along the driveway and the walk to the house by sticking a 16 inch piece of wood in the ground and placing the tube on top of it.  Then I strung gold garland between the “sticks”.  Those were fun and affordable.

Now, even when we don’t put up house lights, I put a German candle holder in the window.  It’s called a “Lichtbogen” or loosely translated “light arch”.  It’s really not an arch, but a triangular shape.  Since it is electric, I put it on a timer,  and it stays lit all night long.  Walt and I saw these in many German windows the couple of years we visited during December.  So now we have a two of them and we put them in our windows in Phoenix.

In Phoenix, and in Southern California, outside decorations always were removed around New Year’s Day.  It was quite a surprise when Walt and I moved to Montreal, to find Christmas decorations still up the middle of March.  Then, after living there for a couple of years we could understand the difficulty of removing some of these decorations when you have 4-6 feet of snow on the ground.  After all, how do you place a ladder securely to remove the lights; many on the second floor eaves?  How do you traipse through all of the snow to remove the snowmen and other figures that are in your yard?  (And they may be half covered with snow also.)  So that was a new event for us.   

When I was a child, and then when our children were young, we would walk around the neighborhood, or drive further distances, to see the lights.  There were some houses that had huge amounts of lights, but we didn’t really care.  We just enjoyed all of them.  And the oohs and aahs of children and adults is still a pleasant sound.  We don’t do it as much, but I still enjoy strolling the neighborhood the middle of December.  Of course, in Phoenix, it’s something you CAN do without being totally bundled up.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Calendar - A Subtle Message of Peace with Cards

Trying to think of a subject for this post was a little difficult.  As you’ll read later, almost all of the cards I send now have some message of “peace” or international harmony, or some message similar to these. 

Now I purchase cards, and we send out about 80 or so.  I look for cards that say “Peace”, or have a holiday message in various languages, or that show international flags, country costumes, or other international symbols.  I still write notes in most of the cards.  This is the time I write notes to many friends that we don’t see regularly but like to know how they are doing.

We have sent cards every year since 1964.  In the 1970s I made cards by hand painting on felt.  Later Walt and I silk screened the cards, on paper, with a different design each year.  I learned how to actually make the screen.   The cards were laid out on the kitchen floor to dry, since we usually made about 150.  Even then on each card I would write a personal note, except for the cards sent to work associates that we saw regularly. 

Oh, yes.  We always have, and we still do, display all of the cards we receive.  We don’t just pile them in a basket.  They are taped to some cabinet doors in a hall so that we can see all of the fronts.  Since this hall connects the living room and kitchen to the bedrooms, we pass the display many times each day.  I just love the variety, color, and thought of each card.  What a wonderful way to easily think of others during this busy month!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent Calendar - Ornaments Are Memories

Oh have we had a variety of Christmas ornaments.  We have some that the children made in preschool or elementary school.  These included yard dipped in white glue, curled on waxed paper and dried; some with a small photograph; bell cut from construction paper and colored. 

When I was young, Mother made some ornaments out of a flour, salt and water dough.  When my children were young, we also made some.  The dough was colored and then the ornaments were decorated with glitter or thin tinsel.  We still have some of these and they were made about 1983 or 1984.  Many of them broke and were thrown out, but I still have a few of these fragile ornaments.

We have some ornaments from other countries.  Some of them my mother gave us from her travels.  Some Walt and I bought on our travels.  We even have some leprechauns that were meant to be key chain holders.  (I just removed the chain part and key loop and attached an ornament hanger.) 

We also have some bubble lights.  I found some in a catalog a few years ago.  What great memories.  They are not the large ones of my childhood, but they still bubble and keep me entertained.  I still need to make sure that they stand up straight on the tree; otherwise they really don’t bubble well.

I made some tatted snowflakes that also hang on the tree.  My sister made some crocheted ones for me.  So, our tree has many memories of family and travels. 

Do any of you remember the metal key that used to be on the top of cans like coffee and shortening?  And you ended up with a strip of twisted metal?  My grandmother used some of these twists on her tree.  Some years later, in an antique store I actually found a small package of 10 of these, commercially made.  The original price says 10¢.  So they weren’t that expensive, but Grandmother still made her own. 

Because we have an artificial tree, I no longer use icicles made of light-weight foil.  Instead, I have some hand-blown ones that have colored liquid in them.  I also have some that are just decorative hand-blown ones that really look like the icicles hanging from the eaves.  And, because it is artificial, we can put it up early and keep it up until after New Year’s.  And NO dried tree needles stuck in the carpet months later.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar - Oh! The Breakfast (and More)

Christmas morning breakfast was special.  For as long as I can remember we had Merk’s Coffee Cake, a recipe Mother found in one of the Los Angeles newspapers.  It was made in an angel food cake pan;  then later in a Bundt pan.   Dad cooked the bacon and scrambled eggs. 

My grandparents would come for breakfast.  We children (all 5 of us) would open our stockings before breakfast and our one gift from Santa.  The rest of the gifts were opened after breakfast, after everyone went to the bathroom and after the adults had a fresh cup of coffee. 

Dinner was sometimes turkey and sometimes a roast.  We would also have dressing, potatoes gravy (my Grandmother always made the gravy), a vegetable, a green salad, and dinner rolls.  (Do you remember those soft, white ones you got from the store? And then browned in the oven?  Well, those.)

Pies would be served later.  Usually they were homemade, but later Mother would buy they frozen and then bake them. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar - Fresh & Artificial Trees

When I was a child, we had a real tree and we always bought it from the tree lot run by the city fire department.  Since my dad worked for the water department, we knew many of the firemen.  This was part of our holiday traditions.  As you can imagine, with 5 children running in different directions looking for the “best” tree, getting a decision was a major project.

Once the tree was home Dad would put on the lights.  Struggling with the lights was more like it.  These were BIG lights, and we had aluminum reflectors to go behind them.  And, if one light went out or was bad, then the entire string of lights was off.  During the entire season we had to go back and switch bulbs to see which one(s) were not working this time. 

The 5 children in the family took turns putting on the ornaments.  The special ornaments were attached by my mother and, for years, they were always put up high.  Some of them were her grandmother’s small ornaments, and a few she acquired in other places. 

We also had bubble lights on the tree.  I loved watching them bubble.  Trying to get them to stay up straight, so that the bubbles would rise, was something else we worked on during the entire holiday season.  Again, think of 5 children, and a dog, walking past the tree many times each day. 

Usually my mother and I put on the tinsel: those thin strips of light-weight foil.  Of course, with a dog, some of them always were all over the house.

For some reason I don’t remember taking down the tree and packing up all of the ornaments.   

As an adult, when our children were small, my husband and I would apply for a tree-cutting permit.  Then we would drive (2-4 hours) to the designated national forest.  With 2 children bundled for cold and snow (we lived in Phoenix), we found a tree and cut it.  Most of the time we found out that the SMALL tree that we found in the forest needed at least 10 inches cut off of the bottom once we got the tree home.

Walt, my husband, put on the lights.  Then we all put on ornaments.  Many of them were made while the children were in preschool or they had other special memories.  Every year, I bought or made each child a special ornament. Those ornaments were given to them when they moved out so that they would have special ornaments for their first tree.

We began decorating the tree in the afternoon.  Since we never knew how long it would take, we usually had homemade New England style clam chowder and popcorn for dinner.  Sometimes we finished decorating after dinner.  Of course we listened to Christmas music while decorating the tree. 

Some years later, we bought an artificial tree because we were usually gone for a week.  With the “live” tree, we would return to dead needles that were difficult to clean up. An artificial tree made sense.  And now we can have the tree up for a couple of weeks before traveling, and it isn’t dead when we return. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolates in an Advent Calendar - Start December 1

Do you have an advent calendar?  Did you have one as a child?  The first one I remember had the Christmas story, one part behind each window.

Then, when my children were in high school, the German Club sold German advent calendars.  Behind each window is a small piece of chocolate.  If you haven't seen these, they are an easy way for children to count down the days of December.

Now, I buy 5 of them for my grandchildren, ages 4 to 17.  I can get them at World Market, and I've seen them at a couple of other stores.  But ONLY before December 1.  Because some of my grandchildren are young, and have a little difficulty controlling the impulse to open more than one window a day, they are hung near the ceiling.  (My son and daughter-in-law are both tall.)  The children were so excited when we took the calendars over to them at Thanksgiving.  Then, this year, we bought one for our daughter-in-law also.  Usually our son doesn't care for sweets.  But, next year, I think we're going to have to find 7.  But what a fun way to have a small treat each night, and quietly anticipate December 24.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving & Family

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for decades.  It was always about family and, of course, great food.  The adults didn't seem stressed or as tired as they were in December.  There was a lot of laughter and joking.  Extended family would come by.  Friends would drop by.  It was just fun.

One Thanksgiving, when I was about 10 or 11, I was allowed to help with the dishes after dinner (before dishwashers).  I really felt grown up because I wasn't shooed away like the younger children, and as I had been in the past.   I wanted to help with the kitchen clean up because the ladies always seemed to have so much fun talking and laughing.  And the kitchen was SMALL.  So they were always "running" into each other.  But it didn't matter. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pinal County Genealogy Workshop - Arizona January 2012

The 9th Annual Genealogy Workshop will be held on Saturday, 28 January 2012 in Casa Grande, Arizona.  This event is from 9 to 3:30 and various sessions will be held.  Details on the sessinos and a registration form will be posted soon at

Dr. Thomas Jones - 17-18 Feb 2012, Arizona

I just found out that Dr. Thomas Jones will be speaking at the Green Valley Genealogy Society workshop and seminar on the 17th and 18th of February 2012.  For all of the details, use this link.

On Friday 17 February Dr. Jones will be giving a workshop limited to 30 experienced genealogists.  On Saturday 18 February, Dr. Jones will be presenting four topics at a seminar and this not limited to experienced genealogists.  I'm certain that at lest the Friday workshop is going to be filled quickly, and perhaps the Saturday one also.  So if you are interested in hearing Dr. Jones, register early.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - $2.99 blog book

 Can you believe?  $2.99?  What a Bargain!!  What, you ask?  Well, it's this.  The Big Genealogy Blog Book.  Author:  Amy Coffin ( ).  Book now at

If you are a new blogger or just read blogs, OR if you need some new ideas on what to blog about or how to improve your blog, then this is something you want to look at.  And the price is right!  And it's easy. 

Disclosures:  Do I know Amy?  Yes.  And she's a really great lady.

Does she know I'm writing this?  NO.  She has no idea, at least I haven't told her.

Does she know I "bought" her book?  I don't know.  I downloaded it the first day I heard about it.  And I started reading it immediately.  Unfortunately life interferred before I could finish reading it.

Did I get any discount for this?  No. 

Or any other compensation?  No.  Except for hopefully another smile and another great greeting the next time I meet her at a conference.  And would you believe I didn't even know her until June 2010?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FHSA - Phoenix Arizona genealogy

I spoke at two FHSA chapter meetings this week.  I enjoyed them and had a great time.  However, I really  enjoyed the other presentations I've heard this week.  And this blog doesn't even talk about the great Saturday with Curt Witcher presenting.  (Another day)

On Monday night Suzanne Brayer talked about the passengers on the Mayflower and their families.  She included personality issues with information gained from first and second hand accounts of the events.  Since I don't think any of my ancestors are Mayflower descendants, I often find the talks on this subject to be just O.K.  Well, Suzanne's was great.  Can you believe that there were two dogs on the ship?  And that of the 17 women on the Mayflower, 13 died before the end of the first year? 

Then Wednesday afternoon I heard Charlie Schultz speak on church and vital records.  He gave us so much information about where to look and what to look for.  And I really appreciated a little bit of the history of the churches in the "New World" although it wasn't what I expected. 

Wednesday night I went to the East Valley Chapter of FHSA, where I spoke also.  But Wayne (I'm sorry I don't know his last name) talked about web browsers and all that goes with searching and using them.  A very interesting quotation he provided was by J.C.R. Lickliter who envisioned something like the internet in 1960.  Can you believe 50+ years ago?

I know how much time I spend preparing presentations and so I know about some of the time these people put into theirs.  I hope that each of you were able to attend or participate in at least one great event this week (or even this month.)  I feel fortunate that I had 3 this week and one last Saturday.  And it's only Wednesday night.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day - Please Remember

Thank you to all of the men and women who served, or are now serving, in our military.  Thank you to my ancestors and descendants:  friends, neighbors and relatives.  We Remember!

Some gave all;  all gave some!!

Brian David Blackmore
Combat Medic - HHC, 3rd Battalion/17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division (Light)

Arthur Hill Shunk (1913-1990)
He served during World War II and in Korea.  He retired from the California National Guard.  He is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, California.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Has parenting changed? - Parenting Rules to write about

This column was in The Arizona Republic, today, Wednesday, November 2, 2011.   I normally don't read Dear Abby, but I couldn't resist when I looked at the title "Teen's mom sooo strict."  I know lots of parenting practices have changed.  Perhaps we need to include parenting rules when we write about our families.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Message Boards

Let’s get back to reading message boards and queries:  on rootsweb, USGenWeb, and those on our societies'  web pages.   (I am assuming that we are members of more than one society.)  Let's make an effort to answer at least ONE each week, even if it is not directly related to our family and our research.  Obviously the surname will be one of ours; perhaps just not our direct ancestors.

What will happen?  We’d have more activity on what used to be very active sites but are now floundering.  Just not enough postings or responses.   We might find new cousins.  We may have someone answer our queries.  Who knows what will happen?

I know that I could probably spend 30 minutes each week looking something up for someone else.  No, I’m not the expert, but my search techniques may be different than those of the person who posted the query.  So, perhaps I could find an answer that has stumped them.  Or I could make a quick phone call to a repository nearby.  Perhaps I could look through a catalog of a local library. 

So, what’s my tip?  Use those message boards, both by posting queries and answering them.

Monday, October 31, 2011

AzGAB - Curt Witcher in Arizona

Curt Witcher is the speaker for the Arizona Genealogy Advisory Board  (AzGAB) fall meeting on Saturday, November 12, 2011.  This is the link for the information and registration form.  Hope to see you there. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Cuddle Rocker

This piece of furniture was always called a “cuddle rocker” by my Grandma and Grandpa.  It was where my sister and her boyfriend and later my brother and his girlfriend sat when they visited Grandma and Grandpa. It’s just the right size for two people to sit on if they like to sit close to each other.  And it rocks.   I don’t know where Grandma found this, although it was not new when it came to her house.  It was upholstered in a red fabric. 

Grandma didn't get it early enough for me to sit in it while dating my husband, Walt.  But we did sit in it for many years later, after we were married and moved close enough to visit.  When Grandma needed to move, I was the only one who had the space for this piece of furniture.  I did have it reupholstered, but the fond memories of her house, where it sat, and of Grandma and Grandpa remain.  What a treasure!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mystery Monday - POE, Zollicoffer (Zollie Coffer...)

I’m hoping that someone can help me solve this mystery.  Z C, as he’s sometimes listed in documents, was born about 1855 in Mississippi and died 23 Apr 1923 in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma.

In the 1860 census he is in Bethlehem, Marshall County, Mississippi, with his parents.  In 1860 he’s in Waterford, Marshall County, Mississippi, also with his parents.  I have been unable to find him in any census records until 1920, when he is in Oklahoma, with his second wife, Mary.

The mystery:  Where is he between 1870 and 1920?  I have information from others that include his first wife Lola Mont Swinney (1861-1952), his three children Harman Lamar Poe (1878-abt 1964), Minnie Dove Poe (1879-1959), and Thurman Allen Poe (1888-1979).  Of course I’m still looking for documentation of his marriage to Lola and the births of the children.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Arizona Genealogy - NAGS

Yesterday (Saturday, October 22)  I attended a one day workshop in Prescott, Arizona.  This was organized by the Northern Arizona Genealogy Society (NAGS).  What a lovely day.  There were two sessions before lunch and two after lunch.  During each time period we could choose from 7 sessions.  What a great variety in a one way workshop. 

And I can't forget to mention the lunch.  Since two friends and I drove from Phoenix, the weather was cooler.  So, the homemade beef stew, homemade bread and homemade cookies were greatly appreciated.  I'd like to thank all of those great volunteers who provided a day of educational opportunities for all of us, whether we are beginning, intermediate or advanced researchers.  Thank you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Arizona Genealogy

I've given two presentations recently on conferences I attended in 2011.  While I talk about what I've learned, what presentations are available, what great speakers I heard, etc. I'm trying to encourage the chapter members who attend to continue to go to chapter meetings.  After all, that's where we learn about new ideas, new web sites, and perhaps something that would help us break down our brick walls. 

So, for all of you who are only on the internet; who feel that you don't need genealogy societies, I'm trying to reach you.  Think about a genealogy meeting as a single session of a conference.  No, you don't have choices like you do at conferences, but you may find one piece of information that you didn't know and it helps you solve one of your long-time problems.  AND, if you think you can never learn anything at these meetings, please volunteer to present programs.  A basic powerpoint presentation is, just that, basic.  But even those can pass along great information to those who can benefit from them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Find A Grave Volunteers

I hope you all check out if you haven’t already.  No, I’m not affiliated with it.  In fact I have never posted to it.  BUT, those great volunteers who do are to be thanked.  And check back often.  I just found photos of a couple of headstones and I didn’t even know where my ancestors had died. 

This is another great group of volunteers.  I hope to become one of them in the near future (when I have nothing else to do?)  Well, that will never happen, so I just need to have a little more time.  Then you’ll see my listings and photos there too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Speaking Topic - Conferences

I will be  talking on Tuesday, October 4 at the Phoenix Genealogical Society meeting.  My topic will be Conferences:  What's New? Why Go?  and Getting Ready.  The society meetings begin at 1 pm and are held at the Crosswoods United Methodist Church, 7901 North Central Avenue, Phoenix.

Society Saturday - FHSA Seminar - Lisa Louise Cooke

The Family History Society of Arizona is pleased that Lisa Louise Cooke will be speaking at our Seminar/Annual Meeting.  She will be here for the entire day:  4 topics.  This meeting will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2012.  See the FHSA web site,, for more information starting in November.  More details will also be available on this blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Article by Thomas on Collaborating with Genealogists

While reading google+ this morning, Caroline Pointer had a link to this article.  It's really good and has some great ideas for all of us.  Thank you, Caroline, for posting this link.

Thomas MacEntee wrote "How To Collaborate With Other Genealogists" and this article was posted on September 23, 2011.  The link is below.  Thomas, thank you for a well-written article with some really good suggestions.

 I'm going to mention this to some other genealogists.  If we all made an effort to follow even half of these suggestions, our community would expand and we may get through even more of our "brick walls." 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Society Saturday - FHSA (AZ) Glendale & Scottsdale Meetings

Next week, two chapters of The Family History Society of Arizona (FHSA) have meetings scheduled. 

On Monday night September 26, the Glendale chapter meets at the Glendale Public Library at 6:30 pm.  The program is a discussion on how previous speakers have improved our research.

On Tuesday night September 27, the Scottsdale chapter meets at the Paiute Neighborhood Center at 7:00 pm.  The speaker there will be Judy Nelson and her topic is "Updates and Changes in 

For more information on these chapters as well as the other five chapters in FHSA, please see  Our society welcomes visitors and encourages members to attend as many chapter meetings as they wish each month. 

The third Wednesday of each month is a busy one because two chapters meet on that day:  Daytimers in the afternoon and East Valley in the evening.  I was glad to be able to attend both meetings today. 

Lynn Crawford spoke at the Daytimers chapter about PAF and gave ideas that were applicable not just to PAF and other genealogy software programs but to most windows programs also.  I didn't realize that you could reorder lists; add columns in lists, etc.  I also didn't realize why I would get different options when right clicking on things.  Thank you Lynn. 

Then I attended the East Valley meeting.  Trudi Arledge reminded us about some of those "old" ways to look at things that we often forget because we get so busy with all of the new technology.  Ideas like looking at neighbors and following migration paths were helpful years ago and are still good things to look at now.  Then Sherry Richardson, PhD gave us examples of a variety of ways to use technology to present our genealogy.  This including web sites, blogs, as well as scrapbooking, mapping and using digital recorders and YouTube.  These two ladies provided us with lots of things to think about as well as to try.  Thank you Trudi and Sherry.

So I'd like to encourage all FHSA members to look at other chapters and there meetings.  I also want to invite all visitors to Arizona as well as residents who are not FHSA members, to visit one or two chapters and enjoy the benefits of sitting with others who share our passion.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Organize Business Cards Received

Did you come home from FGS or another conference with a stack of business cards and you can't put a face with the name?  Do you exchange business cards and then can’t remember who the person is and what common surnames you share?  Did you forget what you had in common, what you talked about, or what session(s) you both attended?  In the past I have.

The FGS Conference in Springfield was different.  I exchanged cards with many attendees.  But instead of just keeping the cards filed until I returned home,  every night, I made a note of what this person and I talked about, whether it was a surname, a society issue, or just general genealogy information.  A couple of great people I shared meals with, both of us being singles and deciding to share a table.  I noted all of that, or at least as much as I could remember after a long day at the conference. 

At past conferences, I wasn’t as diligent in keeping track of the great people I met, and so I am not able to easily contact them with information that may be of interest to both of us.  I mentioned this to my daughter and son-in-law after the conference and they both stated that they often write on the back of the new card special information.  They do this as soon after they exchange the card as is politely possible to do.  I think I may try this next time.  I can always make notes during a session before I start taking notes or put the new card away.

I’ve only been home 6 days and I still need to organize some of the cards I received. But I know who they are.  And I promised a couple of new friends some information.  Now I just have to get it ready to send.  That will be next week’s project. 

So, my suggestion is to decide the best way for you to record enough information about the person you receive a card from so that you will benefit from the meeting at a later date.  And, you will know who you promised what information so that the next time you meet, you won’t be embarrassed about your short lapse of memory (senior moment?)

And if you have other ideas, please share them.  I’m open to new ideas.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday - FGS Conference Volunteers

Thank you FGS and ISGS volunteers for a great FGS conference in Springfield.  Also, thank you Speakers for the great presentations.  I learned so much.  Now I need time to organize the information so that I can benefit from it all.

I had a great time and I know many, many others did to. So, thank you All for your efforts. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FGS 2011 - Attendees from Arizona

Last week in Springfield, I believe I heard someone say they were from  Arizona.  When I turned around, I couuldn't figure out who it was.  And I was on my way to a conference session, so really couldn't have talked long anyway. 

So now I'm looking for attendees from Arizona.  Who are you?  Where do you live?  Did you fly or drive?  Do you live in Arizona full time?  What other conferences do you generally attend?  Are you a blogger? 

If you attended the FGS conference or know someone who did, please get in touch with me.  I'd like to compare some notes, perhaps by having a mini-reunion in a couple of months.  We may be able to help each other by filling in missing information we obtained during those busy four days.

FGS 2011 - After the Conference - Part 1

The FGS conference in Springfield ended Saturday.  Packing up the flyers, syllabus pages and my notes was a reminder of all that I had learned or been introduced to in four days.  There was a lot of new information; a lot of reminders; and some just plain "Don't forget this!!!" information. 

Now that I am on my way home, I stopped by Skokie, Illinois, for a few days before flying back to Phoenix, I realize that the after conference summaries and reviews are just as important, or perhaps more important, than the planning before the conference. 

Where am I going to file the flyers so that I can find them and retrieve the information?  Or am I just going to put the information someplace on my computer (and remember while file I saved it to?

The notes that I took regarding web sites need to be near my computer so that I can check out the sites.  The notes I took about research facilities and collections need to be filed with the state and with research sites.  The notes I took about research techniques need to be filed in some appropriate place.  (Otherwise why learn new techniques?  I want to be sure I try some new methods which may make searching more productive.  And then, where do I put all of the bibliographic references?  Just keeping them on the flash drive won't necessarily help me when I need information.  So do I copy and paste these to a separate file and then save them (again in an appropriate place on my computer and remember where I saved the file)? 

As you can see, I have different types of information that I want to be able to readily access.  I'd love to here how you do it.  And, obviously, it's going to take me some time filing before I actually can use a lot of the great information provided at the FGS Conference. 

Oh yes.  And I need a little time to rest (from the days filled with information) as well as to catch up on yard work and even some work around the house.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystery Monday - Paralee Steen(e)/Steele TRICE

This mystery woman married my great grandfather Charles Yancy Trice.  On her headstone in Belle Vista Cemetery, El Dorado, Kansas, it states “Paralee, Wife of C Y Trice” and the dates 1847-1893. 

In the History of Boone County Missouri, “He was married November 19th, 1878, to a daughter of Alfred R Steele.”  Unfortunately the book doesn’t say anything more about her.  I have not found her or her father in 1850, 1860 or 1870 census records.  The 1880 census records show that she was born about 1857, not 1847, as the headstone.  But we know that a wife may not want to indicate that she is older than her husband. 

On the death certificate of Odon Charles Trice it states that his mother was Paralee Steen, born in Joplin, Missouri.  On the death certificate of his sister Harriet Trice Sheley it says her mother was Perilee Steene, born near Joplin, Missouri.

An obituary for Charles Yancy Trice stated that “By his first marriage to Miss Paralee M Steen…” 

So the family has her maiden name as Steen.  The history book has her father’s surname as Steele.  I have been unable to find her, or her father, with either spelling.

So, who is she?  Who were her parents?  Are there any birth or marriage records for her?   Do any of you have any knowledge of her?  Do you have access to a death record for her that may give more information? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

FGS 2011 - Part 4 - Friday

This afternoon I attended my first session that wasn't actually scheduled.  What?  Yes, this is a new idea.  In the one room set aside for these informal sessions, Amy scheduled the topic on Blogging.  I believe 13 or 14 attended and the discussion was on different aspects of blogging.  It was really interesting.  Thank you, Amy, for setting up the session.  Thank you, Bloggers, for the providing so much information that no one person would probably ever know. 

For dinner I walked to Gianfranco.  It's on Adams, just past the bookstore.  I had a great dinner.  And they are open until 8 I believe.  While Gianfranco's is an informal place, the service was prompt and the food came out hot.  And it was really good.  I saw a few other FGS attendees there.  I hope they enjoyed their dinners as much as I enjoyed mine.

Reading the WeTree blog I found out about  If you have looked at the map books in the Arphax booth, and wish you had $2000 to buy all of the books for your counties, this NEW web site is much less expensive.  You can sign up and look at some basic maps FREE.  And then there are two subscription levels.  If you are still here at the FGS conference, you may want to get "hands on" instruction at the booth on Saturday.  If not, check out the web site or call them.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the last day of FGS 2011.  Some attendees will be leaving tomorrow and some of us will be staying until Sunday.  I have had a great 3 days and I know the last one will be just as informative and fun as the past 3.  Thank you Paula and Josh and all of the great volunteers.  And a huge thank you to the city of Springfield and the little cafes near the hotels who were sometimes inundated with all of us who were wearing lanyards with ribbons hanging down from our name badges.

FGS 2011 - Part 3 - Friday

Oh have the days run into each other.  Sessions at FGS began at 8 am this morning.  Since many of the cafes don't open until 7 there wasn't much time.  It was also raining, but I went out anyway to get a light breakfast (at the Trout Lily, again).  Almost no one was on the street.  Guess people may think they shrink?  I don't know. 

Sessions yesterday with the door prize drawings not starting until 6:30 made for a long day.  I won't write about the details.  At the moment I don't remember all of them although I do have complete notes. 

Something great is that about half (I'm guessing) of the talks are being audio recorded.  With this noted in the program I sometimes have attended a talk that isn't recorded because I'll order a CD for one that is recorded.  I wish there were some video recordings also being made (SCGS's Jamboree had some).  These are really great.  But I guess we need to be concerned and consider if anyone would go to a conference or even a session.  I would, but would everyone? 

Time to leave for another session.  Also, I need to check out one of the vendors.  I just heard about a new subscription site on maps.  Need to check it out.  More later.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FGS 2011 - Part 2 - Wednesday

Oh, so much is happening.  And there are three more days to go.  I will survive!!

Last night I attended a reception for bloggers that was hosted by FamilySearch.  All bloggers who were attending the FGS conference were invited.  It was great to actually meet some of the bloggers I had never met and to be reintroduced to some of those I did know.  Fun. 

FamilySearch representatives provided so much information about new projects and improved services on  There was lots of information regarding RootsTech 2012.  Many of us are going to want to help indexing the 1940 census starting next April.  Progress is being made on putting Civil War records online. 

One of the most impressive statements to me is that records are being added online within 4 weeks after being digitalized and the goal is to have them available in 2 weeks.  Amazing.  Indexing will come later but the images are going to be available for browsing.  Well, we used to just wind microfilm; now we click on images.  Which is easier on the shoulder? 

Wednesday was society day.  We had sessions on so many different topics from making sure our society is thinking about the future in meeting the changing needs of our members, both our current ones and our new ones.  Sessions on social media in all forms were available all day.  Brainstorming sessions were also offered so that we received ideas from many attendees.  What a great variety of ideas.  I loved it. 

It's so difficult to unwind tonight.  But tomorrow morning is coming.  And there will be great sessions and the exhibit hall will also be open.  I'm really looking forward to another great day. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FGS 2011 - Part 1 - Tuesday

You will probably be able to read about this FGS conference by many bloggers.  This will be my first conference since becoming a blogger. 

The conference actually starts tomorrow.  This morning, Tuesday, a took the Metra from Morton Grove to Union Station in the Chicago area; then the Amtrak from Chicago to Springfield.  Guess what?  Three of the four people sitting in front of me were also coming to the conference.  Harold, from Indiana, and Jacqueline from Evanston, sat together.  Then is seems that Harold had never met Jane from Michigan, but I believe Jane had helped Harold out with some research.  SMALL WORLD!!

I checked in and then went looking for someplace for lunch.  You can't believe all of the Welcome signs in the cafe windows.  What a nice feeling.  Unfortunately, in the few blocks I walked, I'm going to be unable to visit all of the very interesting restaurants during the time I'm here.  I like to walk before and after a day sitting during a conference.  I also walk during the lunch break, if I'm not signed up for a lunch.  If you're looking for someplace, walk Adams and Monroe, and 6th and 5th streets.  (That's what I've done so far.)  I had a great chicken, walnut, raspberry salad at Trout Lily on 6th Street.

Next stop:  the convention center to pick up registration materials.  I still need to get myself organized for tomorrow.  Oh, yes.  On the way back from the convention center, I found an Irish pub that is supposed to have music Wednesday, tomorrow, night.  I don't know whether or not the music is traditional.  But I may stop by.  The Celtic Mist is on 7th street, just across from the Abraham Lincoln Hotel. 

As I walked into the hotel lobby, Amy had just finished checking in and was going to drop off luggage.  She was meeting a friend in a hotel restaurant and invited me to join.  Instead I'm here, back in the room.  I  figured out how to connect to the internet, unpacked, and I'm resting. The next 4 days are going to be busy, exciting and fun.

Come back and read additional parts. I'll try to let you know about my experiences as if you are here.  And, don't forget to check out the other bloggers who are writing about this FGS conference.

Disclosure:  I've mentioned a couple of specific restaurants, but I have received no compensation or discount from either of them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

FGS 2011 - Tai Chi - Yang Style (Long form)

I'll be in Springfield next Tuesday afternoon.  Does anyone practice Tai Chi Yang Style Long Form?  Would you like to meet during the conference?  Morning, lunch time, evening? 

I'm still a beginner.  I studied for about 3 years with a great teacher, but have had to practice on my own for the past 2 years.  Unfortunately the studio closed and I've been unable to find another location that also teaches/practices this style.  

At Jamboree and at FGS in Knoxville, it never occurred to me to ask if any one else wanted to practice.  Of course, I may not have asked since I wasn't a blogger then. 

Please let me know.  Perhaps we can find some time that is good for us all.  Thank you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Mel's 19 cent hamburgers - Pomona

Did any of you live in the Pomona California area in the 1960s?  Did you ever go to Mel’s?  It was located at 304 East Holt;  at the corner of Holt and Palomares).  They had 19 cent hamburgers and 21 cent cheeseburgers; just what starving college students needed on weekends when the Cal Poly cafeteria was closed, or when we needed something other than cafeteria food.

What a difference 50 years makes!  (Oh, is that hard to write!!!!)  But now we can buy 99 cent hamburgers.  So maybe things aren’t that bad. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FGS - Planning - Part 2

The other day I wrote about my list and the items I needed.  A new post on the FGS Conference blog says that the weather will be great.  Again, the jacket is high on my list.  Nights are going to be downright COLD for me.  (Winter style).

I forgot to mention that I have another list, not the one for items to be sure to pack.  That list is for everything I need to do before I leave for two weeks:  cancel the newspaper; complete a mail-hold form; water houseplants; laundry; set timers; and clean.  I really don't like to come home to a dirty house, so I make sure I vacuum, clean the stove and kitchen floor as well as clean out the refrigerator (open milk or cottage cheese has a distinctive odor after two weeks in a closed refrigerator).  I also put clean sheets on the beds, clean towels in the bathroom and also clean the toilets.  Not exciting, but I'm much happier to return to a clean house.  I also check to make sure the drip system for the outside plants is working and the timers are set appropriately.  Two weeks of 110+ weather really can sizzle plants. 

Lastly, don't forget to unplug or turn off all of those electronic devices, especially anything that may not like a power surge or a power outage what occasionally occurs during a bad storm. 

FGS - Introduce Yourself

Amy Coffin of WeTree wrote about Sheri Finley's (The Educated Genealogist "We Were All First Timers Once."  If you haven't read these blogs, please do.  THEN, let's all make sure we introduce ourselves to those first timers.  Well, why not just introduce ourselves to those sitting around us at sessions. 

Oh, by the way, I'm from Arizona.  In Springfield I plan on wearing a long skirt and some Indian jewelry (pendants and earrings), and I'd love to meet you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FGS 2011 - Planning for the Trip

Since I live in Arizona and the FGS2011 conference is in Illinois, I have been making plans for some time.  I have had my hotel reservations, conference registration and flight plans for a few months.  Now, since I'm leaving in less than one week, I need to make all of those last minute arrangements.

I can't forget an umbrella.  (Arizona rain storms don't last long enough to need one here.)  I also need to bring a jacket.  And not just one for sitting inside.  The high temperatures in Springfield during the past week have been lower than the low temperatures in Phoenix.  So I'll need a jacket for mornings and evenings. 

Since I won't have a car, I need to be sure I have all of those little extras:  over-the-counter meds; pens/pencils;  sticky notes; snacks (to keep up my energy).  I'll be taking the train from Chicago, so I need to have a map of how to get to the hotel from the train station.  (I don't mind a few blocks walk and I have a roll-on suitcase.  Of course, I'll also have my computer case so I'll need to make sure I don't make it too heavy.)  Oh, yes.  I need to make plans for getting my notes and anything (Anything? Everything!) else I purchase from the vendors into the two cases on Sunday when it's time to leave Springfield. 

 I received the syllabus online.  Now I need to decide exactly what sessions I want to attend.  Of course, I may make changes once I arrive.  But I want to have a basic plan.  Unfortunately, I found conflicts at some time periods; two or three sessions I want to attend at the same time.  Well, that's what CDs are for.  And I know I can purchase some at the conference.  I just need to decide which session to attend and which one to get a CD for.

I think I'm ready.  I'm a list-maker, so I have a list started.  During the next few days I'll cross off items as I pack them and add items as I think of something else I'll need.  I'm looking forward to the trip (except perhaps for the security at the airport), but the conference is worth it.  Definitely!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

FGS 2011 - Blogging

I am learning a little more about the blogging community.  While there are "Official Bloggers" for FGS, it seems that all bloggers are encouraged to participate in activities.  In fact, there was a list of all geneabloggers who are attending the FGS conference in the FGS Conference Blog a couple of days ago.  Can you imagine?  Almost 50 bloggers were listed!  I'm looking forward to putting names and faces with blogs.  (Those little photos don't always work for me.) 

As a new blogger (I started my blog 2 months ago, after SCGS Jamboree), I am beginning to understand how bloggers and conference organizers work together.  While I don't think I'll be blogging during sessions, it's nice to know that there will be a place to charge computer batteries (if necessary) and meet with other bloggers.  Thank you, conference planners.  I'll see all of you next week.

Society Saturday - FHSA Arizona, Phoenix area

I am currently the President of The Family History Society of Arizona (FHSA) which has 7 chapters throughout the Phoenix area.  Each chapter has a monthly meeting with a speaker or two.  Some chapters meet during the day; others at night.  Please check out our web site: and look under chapters to find out the specific dates, times and programs for each chapter.  We love to have visitors and quite a few of our 300+ members are also "winter visitors" or part time residents of Arizona.  Please join us.