Sunday, July 28, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Looking back

I'm back in HOT Arizona.  That's OK.  And I'm unpacked.  That's GOOD.  I woke up on EDT (not PDT or MST).  That's NOT GOOD.

So I was writing research questions when I woke.  I was trying not to make assumptions.  All of you in the GPS class understand what I'm saying.  So, I was writing a question, "When did C Y Trice marry Luna Estelle Drake?"  But is there an assumption here?  That they did marry?  I know they had children.  I know that CY seemed to have a good relationship with Luna's father.  So, I assumed (there's that word again) that they did marry.  And then I asked myself the question, "Does it matter?"  (Tom Jones's voice said that.)  I think it does matter, especially if I start to fill out lineage society applications.  Well, all of that will be looked at in the future; definitely not before about the 20th of August.

Now looking back at GRIP 2013.

The weather was a nice change for me even if it was too wet some evenings to walk.  I definitely LOVED the mornings, and drinking hot coffee not iced.

Except for minor computer problems and the fact that I couldn't keep the sheet tucked in, I was quite comfortable in my room.  Even if I have to leave out a shirt or two, I'm going to bring a fitted sheet next year.  So you may see me in the same shirt numerous times.  Yes, I know.  I could bring an extra suitcase, but I prefer to travel light.  This year I had my computer case, a small purse, and a suitcase that was checked. 

I loved the salad bar in the cafeteria.  Also I found the cooked vegetables good.  Of course the best part of meals was visiting with other researchers.  For some reason, though, I never seemed to sit with anyone who was in Paula's class.  And I certainly enjoyed her class last year. 

I still can't decide which class to take next year.  Fortunately registration is not until February.  For those of you who want more information, visit the GRIP web site at  All of the information will be posted soon. 

I want to especially thank Elissa and Debbie for all of their efforts.  Of course I want to say thank you to the instructors and the evening lecturers who were great.  And then a thank you to all of you who attended, whether I was in class with you or not; whether I sat at a table with you during meals or not.  Without all of you, GRIP wouldn't have been any fun.  And it may not have even existed. 

So Thank You!!!!.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Thursday night

Tonight's the last night.  And only a half day tomorrow. 

I "checked in" for my flight; checked my shuttle reservations.  I need to think about packing, but that shouldn't take too long.  I didn't buy too much this trip, so I don't have to figure out how to get everything home without paying for excess weight.  That's good.

Let's start with the end of the day.  After class ended Kristen and I sat in the class room and just talked for over an hour.  Then we went to dinner and talked with Sara and Tina with Connie joining in for awhile.  I left a little after 6 to make sure I didn't miss any books I couldn't live without.  And I skipped the chocolate cookies that I couldn't resist last night.  Kristen, Sara and Tina sat and talked until they had to leave the cafeteria. 

We all heard Michael Hait talk about probate records. Thank you Michael for filling in.  Inventories are really the best way to really get to know a family who lived in the past.  What did they think was important enough to spend money on, or to make or to keep?  I really like the inventory book and the interesting items listed in it.  Unfortunately, I've just looked through it since I haven't found any inventories during the past year.  But this next year is going to be different.  Right?!!!

We finished citations this morning and moved on to assessing information.  The exercises were good but I would have liked to have another one or two because I realized that I wasn't getting all of the clues from the info presented.  After lunch we moved on to gathering the evidence and resolving the conflicts, if there are any.  With only two sessions tomorrow morning, I know we'll be busy.  And some of the good-byes are going to be difficult.  But I hope to see you in Pittsburgh about one year from now.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Wednesday night

In class today we moved on to citations.  We'll be finishing them tomorrow.  This was after the topic of "reasonably exhaustive research."  I'm sure you can imagine the discussion on that topic.  After all, how do you know when enough is enough?  And, no, it's not some magic number. 

There are four couples attending GRIP this year.  They even were recognized in our daily newsletter.  It would be great to have my husband here, but he has his hobbies (and I definitely support them) because he encourages and supports mine (basically genealogy, quilting and reading.)  And while I'd love to have him here, I don't know that I would have really had a chance to get to know Pam, and Kristen, and Hugh, and all of the other wonderful students here at GRIP. 

Because there was no talk speaker scheduled for tonight, a few groups went to the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh to research.  Others are wandering around this beautiful campus.  The weather is beautiful tonight with blue skies and some clouds.  And not too hot or humid.  It's really nice.  Then some of the other students were talking about working on their class projects.  So lots still going on.

I started thinking about GRIP 2014 already.  I haven't found anything yet that I needed that I didn't bring this year.  But next year, I think I'm going to see if I can fit in a fitted twin sheet.  Those flat sheets just don't stay tucked in all night.  Everything else is working fine in my room.  I originally had a problem with the blinds, but those were efficiently fixed.  So, now to decide which class to take next year and then get on the computer and hope that not everyone else wants the same class I decide to take.

One more full day of classes.  The topic for tomorrow night's talk is Divorce records.  Then a half day on Friday, and time for the shuttle to the airport. 

I'll check in tomorrow night.  Have a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Tuesday night

Today was a long day, even though it's not THAT late right now. 

I worked hard to understand the differences between types of sources, types of information and types of evidence.  And just as I thought I understood one part I was confused again.  But it wasn't just me.  So I felt a little better about that. 

Tonight, after dinner, Angela Packer McGhie gave two presentations: a short one on preparing for a research trip in Washington, D.C.  What great suggestions she gave; and a wonderful handout.  Her second one was just as good but this was on researching in newspapers.  Again we received a great handout including a checklist that I'm sure we're all going to find invaluable.  Find Angela's blog at this address:

The last part of the meeting was a group watch of Who Do You Think You Are?  Kelly Clarkson was the subject.  Josh Taylor, one of the GRIP instructors, was on the show as was his voice.  What fun to watch with a 100+ "fans".

Something we don't think about when planning on attending institutes is the opportunity to be with others who love to hear about our family stories.  And we get to talk about them, and listen to them, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, breaks, and after dinner.  What fun.  No wonder many of us have our minds racing and have trouble getting to sleep.

Hope to see you all soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Monday night

A day of classes followed by an evening talk.  I'm tired.  But I have a few things I want to talk about before all of those pre-bed activities.

I'm in Tom Jones's class on Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard. I'm sitting between Kristen and Eric.  We are in the last row, because we arrived ONLY 15 minutes early.  Oh. well.  The only problem is that many of the students forget that others are sitting behind them and they don't speak up, so it's hard to hear them.  The class is not lecture; it's a college seminar, where everyone is encouraged to contribute.  So it's important for everyone to speak up.

We're using Tom Jones's new book as a guide (although you didn't have to buy the book to take the class.)  We started today discussing what is the GPS and its components.  Then we worked on writing research questions that were not too broad or too specific and also did not make any assumptions.  A few of us heard Dr. Jones ask a few times "Does it matter?" when we came up with a research question that was, perhaps, not as direct as it could have been.  So I think that may be our class motto.

Later we reviewed two articles and identified the type of sources that were used.  For some reason I never thought about the fact that deed books are derivative sources.  We also began discussing the types of information.  These topics are in the book Mastering Genealogical Proof, which is available through NGS.

This evening I heard Michael Hait, CG, speak on "What is a 'Reasonably Exhaustive Search?'"  It was very good.  Michael has a great sense of humor and his case study was excellent.  I really liked one of his explanations for WHY we need to become good researchers.  It's because we don't want any "former ancestors."  As he explained it, those are the people who we thought were in our tree and then we found out, perhaps after hours of research, that they aren't a part. 

Another idea that I may need to post above my computer at home is this: "Don't tailor research to what's available; tailor research to what you want to know."  Too often I forget to look at library catalogs, archives' websites, and other possible locations for sources.  This is a good reminder for me.

Hope you all had a good day.  It's that time for me.  My goal is to write tomorrow.  We'll see.  It's going to be a busy night, what with a talk and then the new WDYTYR on after that.

GRIP 2013 - The 2014 Classes

Last night I promised that I'd post the 2014 GRIP classes as soon as I had accurate info.  Well, here it is.  And.  OH.  How difficult it's going to be to make a choice.

Intermediate Genealogy:  Tools for Digging Deeper - Paula Stuart-Warren. CG, FMGS, FUGA 

Determining Kinship with the Genealogical Proof Standard - Thomas W Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS.

Becoming an Online Expert:  Mastering Search Engines and Digital Archives - D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

Finding and Documenting African-American Families - J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Dr. Deborah Abbott

Practical Genetic Genealogy - Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL;  CeCe Moore, and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., JD

Law School for Genealogists - Judy G Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Richard G "Rick" Sayre, CG, CGL

I didn't write detailed course descriptions.  This info will be in the GRIP website in the near future.  But aren't these wonderful?  So, which one will you be taking?

Oh, yes.  The dates are July 20-25, 2014 and REGISTRATION opens on 12 February 2014.

See you in Pittsburgh a year from now.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Sunday Intros and Dinner

Dinner with friends.  Lots of friends.  Yes, we're at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh for the GRIP Sunday night dinner and orientation.  It was great seeing some friends from last year.  I'm really looking forward to talking with some others since I saw them across the room.  And I believe that Elissa said that  about one-third of this year's attendees were also here last year.  
I met Tina Lyons before dinner and we sat together.  She's the amazing lady who has been working hours and hours working on the FGS conference that begins just one month from today.  She has been the primary blogger on the FGS conference blog.  I'm so glad she can take a week off from her busy schedule to come to this. 

Susan and Stephen also ate with us.  They were both here last year and they are from West Virginia.  Sarah also came by.  She's my across-the-hall dorm friend from Texas.  She not only stops for cemeteries, she stops for old bridges (as part of her job.)  Can you believe?

Becky and Shelley filled out our table tonight. I didn't talk as much with them as they were at the other end.  But there will be lots of time, and many more meals.

Here are our "fearless leaders": the two ladies who had the idea of GRIP and who take very good care of us for the week we are here. Debbie Deal is on the left and Elissa Powell is on the right.  Thank you very much, ladies. 

LaRoche College was generous with door prizes again.  I  really wanted the mascot for my dorm room.

But the biggest news for the night was the announcement of next year's classes.  Unfortunately I was unable to get all of the correct information; so I'll wait to post until I have it.  But you will be pleased to know that of the six classes, two are similar to this year's and last year.  I believe two instructors who are here this year are working on new courses for 2014 and two courses are completely new with new instructors.  Decisions!  Decisions!!

It really rained during dinner and while Debbie and Elissa were talking.  But Elissa assured us that the weather was going to be nice for us.  And, guess what?  It stopped raining before we left the dining hall to walk back to the dorm.  I hope all of her predictions are "right on" like this one was.

I'm still having a little trouble connecting to the internet; at least through google.  But I found a way to get to blogger anyway, so that's why you can see this post.  I hope I can continue to do it this way, since it works. 

I'm going to look over the notebook with tomorrow's class information and do a little catching up on some other stuff.  But I expect to be here tomorrow night, although I'll be later.  There's going to be a great talk by Michael Hait:  What is a "reasonably exhaustive search?"  See you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

GRIP 2013 - Saturday Travel Day

I'm in Pittsburgh.  I flew from Phoenix this morning on a FULL flight.  But we landed about 5 minutes early even though the last 90 minutes we had the seat belt on because of turbulence.  But it wasn't too bad.

I'm at the Econo Lodge in Wexford.  The room is clean; the beds seem comfortable; the staff are friendly and helpful.  With free internet, I'm writing this blog.  There is a nice little table and two chairs next to it so that even two of us could use computers at the same time.  That's great. 

I had dinner at the King's Restaurant next door.  Because of traveling all day (leaving at 9 am and getting in at 4:35 due to time differences), I wasn't really hungry for dinner, but I knew I had to eat.  And so I had 4 glasses of iced tea along with a light dinner.  I'd come back to these two places again. 

I am hoping that I will see someone tomorrow morning or early afternoon and get a ride to LaRoche College.  Otherwise, I'll call a taxi and meet all of you there.

Hope everyone else had a good day traveling today or they have a good day traveling tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to the week, although I'm not sure how comfortable I'll be with the humidity.

See you all tomorrow.

Shopping Saturday - J C Penney

Shopping isn't what it used to be.  While I don't shop much anymore, I've almost always relied on J C Penney's for some basic items.  In the past few years, as many of us know, the store changed.  And it's changing again, trying to "win back" some of us who didn't fit into their new customer profile. 

With these changes, I started thinking about the J C Penney when I was little.  What do you remember?

I remember loving to go shopping at J C Penney in Arcadia, California, with my mother and/or grandmother.  No, the shopping wasn’t the best part.  The greatest fun was watching the tubes run on the cables in the ceiling. 

The cashier was upstairs in the back corner.  At the service desks, the sales clerk wrote up a receipt, took the money from the customer, and put both in the tube.  Then, up and away!!  To the cashier.  A few minutes later the change came back down, the merchandise was then bagged and we were off. 

I don’t know when this method was phased out.  However, imagine my surprise to find cables and tubes in a store.  While my husband and I were in Canada.  (We lived there from 1999 to 2001) we went to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue for breakfast one summer Saturday morning.  After eating we decided to “window” shop.  I believe the store’s name was G D’Aoust.  We went into this department store and there were the cables again.  And, they were still being used.

We walked up the wide, well-worn wood steps to the half balcony, to view the merchandise as well as the little “office” used by the cashier.  What fun and what great memories!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Original sources can be WRONG!

We just received the official copies of my father-in-law's death certificate.  AND, his father's name is WRONG!!!!  Being the family record keeper, I provided the information.  BUT, I have a copy of what I gave the mortuary (and the form is filled out correctly) and someone there, or in the county recorder's office, put the middle name as the last name.  So it says that Glenn Chester Blackmore's father's name is Clifford Franklin instead of Clifford Franklin Blackmore.  Now what????!!!

Now a minor problem is that we reported that Glenn had been in California for 93 years, but only in the county for 27.  The death certificate says he's been in the county for 93 years. 

Just another problem for us to solve, but a remember to all of us researchers to question even original, official documents. 

Those Places Thursday - TRICE and Little River County, Arkansas

The following is from page 54 of a book (9" x 12") which seems to be about counties in Arkansas.  Page 53 is Lincoln County.  I only have this one page.  Because C.Y. Trice died in Ashdown, Little River County, Arkansas in 1915 and I believe he moved to Ashdown about 1912, the book must have been published around that time. 

I am looking for more information about the book.  Also, if you have an interest in either Lincoln County or Little River County about this time I would be happy to send you the complete transcription.


            "The writer thought he was familiar with Little River, having made numerous trips there.  However, in gathering figures for this book he made another trip there, and while in Ashdown, the county seat, had the pleasure of meeting one Col. C. Y. Trice, a “land advocate,” as he describes himself.  Colonel Trice knows as much of Little River County as possibly any one man in Arkansas, because he has made a profound study of conditions there.  He is a likable distinguished gentleman, the soul of honor, and came to Arkansas from Clarksville, Texas, although originally from Lamar, Mo.  When he left Clarksville the citizens of that city, over 100 of them, officials, lawyers, merchants, physicians and business men generally, signed an expression of appreciation of his efforts to build that section up.  He is a booster of the first magnitude, and the following is a statement of conditions as he sees them in Little River County, prepared for this publication.  It is with pleasure the Director of Publicity submits it to the world, and suggests that, if you are interested further you write him direct:

            “Little River County is located in the extreme southwest corner of the State of Arkansas, the first county south of the foothills of the Boston Mountains; wedged in, you might say, between the two beautiful streams, Little River and Red River.  Little River on the north and east, is a small stream coming down out of the mountains of Eastern Oklahoma, being fed on the way by numerous small streams and springs.  Red River, on the south and west, is the boundary line between this county and the States of Texas, and Little River County, being between these two streams, is composed mostly of rich, fertile valley lands.

            “Ashdown, the county seat and largest town in the county, is located in the central portion of the county.  Public roads from all parts of the county lead to Ashdown.  It is a town of about 3,000 people, and has three trunk-line railroads (the Kansas City Southern, the Frisco and the Memphis, Dallas & Gulf), which afford very fine shipping facilities to the North, East, South and West.  It also has a stave mill, cotton oil mill, flour mill, two wholesale grocery houses, two banks, two good hardware, furniture and implement stores, several good dry goods and grocery stores, a $40,000 courthouse, a $20,000 school building, four nice churches, a $40,000 brick hotel and numerous other buildings.  Ashdown is a comparatively new place but is growing very fast, there being at least six modern dwelling houses together with a brick store building going up each month.

            “While we have the above enterprises, we have the resources for more, and want them.  Ashdown and Little River County afford resources for a large saw and planing [sic] mill, box factory, furniture factory, spoke and handle factory, brick factory, ice plant, truck gardeners and dairymen."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

GRIP - Two Weeks to Prepare

In two weeks I'll be in Pittsburgh, at LaRoche College for GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh).  Since I'm a list-maker, my lists are started. 

Don't forget: 
THE BOOK!!...Mastering Genealogical Proof by Dr. Thomas W Jones
ethernet cable - for the room
hair dryer - this isn't a hotel
body wash and hand soap - again this isn't a hotel
drinking glass
umbrella and/or rain jacket - the Pittsburgh weather is a little different from Phoenix weather
dressing in layers - who knows whether the classrooms will be hot or cold
business cards
computer power cord and extension cord

So, what am I forgetting?
Oh, yes.  A list of books I already have so I can shop at Maia's books
the normal clothes, toiletries, etc.
cell phone charger

Now I need to get back to reading the two articles in THE BOOK

I'm looking forward to the week: from the classroom, to the cafeteria, to the evening programs and especially to the people I'll meet, or meet again. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sympathy Saturday - Write Your Own Obituary

Why should you write your own obituary?  Well, what do you want to remembered for?  What have you done in your life that you are especially pleased about?  And, and, and....

I just wrote an obituary for my father-in-law.  No, it isn't a sad occasion.  He had a great life; was 96 years old; and died peacefully in his sleep AT HOME.  But....the most difficult part of the arrangements was writing the obituary; not an emotional problem, but one of figuring out what to include. 

Now, being a researcher, I've read lots of obituaries.  But it's different when you start to write one.  I had others "proof read" my drafts, but I still forgot things.

First, I forgot to list the spouses of the children.  Then, I forgot to list surviving siblings.  AND, I forgot to list siblings that predeceased him.  I forgot to include his two wives to predeceased him.  I forgot to list to mortuary (but they helped with that.)

My husband added two great pieces of informatio about Dad's working career.  Dad's caregivers reminded me that he considered himself the original "Cookie Monster," a comment that has made many laugh who read the obituary and remember Dad.  I also needed help with his current and past activities (which I got from his caregivers) since we live almost 400 miles from him and weren't a part of his daily life. 

So, please consider what you would like to have written about you.  If you don't want to actually write one, at least starting a list of things you would like to have mentioned.  Or make a template and add topics as you think of them.  All of these ideas would definitely help anyone who is trying to write a complete obituary and celebrate your life.