Monthly Archives: May 2011

Honoring My Military Ancestors

In honor of Memorial Day today, I want to take a moment to remember my ancestors that served in the military.

1. World War II and Korean War:

*Herbert Hoover Dugger (1927 – 2003, my grandfather)

2. World War I:

*George M. Rogers (1882 – 1956, my great-grandfather).  George is one of my biggest brick walls.  He served in the Army before the start of World War I, and when American entered World War I, he became an Army officer.  My dad and aunt remember seeing his military medals and remember being told that he was an Army officer.  However,I haven’t been able to find him in World War I (I have his military records of him prior to World War I).  I also have not yet been able to find his burial-place, which I believe is somewhere in Washington State.

3. Civil War

*Benjamin Smith Dugger (1835-1885)  Benjamin is not my biological ancestor, but he was married to my great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Asher prior to the Civil War.  He originally enlisted with the Confederate side, but then switched to the Union side.  As far as I can tell, he never returned home to Charlotte in Tennessee, but instead started a whole new family in West Virginia.  His wife Charlotte had him declared dead.  Charlotte was incredibly poor and had four children after her Benjamin was declared dead.  It is generally unclear who the father of these children, including my great-grandfather, Monroe Dugger, was.  I have a guess who some of the fathers could be, but only a DNA test will give me an answer.  Perhaps one day a DNA test will fall from the sky so I can finally afford it.

*James L. Clawson, Sr.  (1837 – about 1910, my great-great-great-grandfather) served for the Union in Company E, Regiment 13, Tennessee Cavalry.

*William Wilbourne Vines (1835 – 1864, my great-great-great-grandfather) served for the Union in the 13th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry.  He died in the General Hospital of Nashville, Tennessee on February 19, 1864 of Rubella.

4. Revolutionary War:

* Zacheus Downer (1756-1851) of Coventry, Connecticut; Sharon, Vermont; Springfield, New York; and New Lisbon, New York

I am grateful for the sacrifice my military ancestors and their families made, and it makes me very proud to be their descendants.  I continue to be thankful to the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice made by our men and women in uniform and their families.  I pray for wisdom in the leaders of the world and for peace between all of the nations.

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you have a wonderful three-day weekend full of good food and fabulous company!


Preparing for Jamboree 2011 – Post 1

The Southern California Genealogy Society’s Jamboree is officially 15 days away (I’ll be there a day early to help out with Kid’s Camp – so it is really only 14 days away for me)!  If I was any more excited, I might just explode into a trillion piece of confetti.  I guarantee you that I won’t be able to sleep on Wednesday night, or Thursday night, or Friday night, and by Saturday, I’ll only be sleeping because my body is exhausted.  By Sunday night, I’ll be completely incoherent and exhausted – but because I will have so much fun, I’ll be chatting away incoherently to anyone who will listen.

Sharing My Jamboree Excitement With Dad

I was chatting with my Dad in the car a few days ago and I mentioned Jamboree.  I started telling him all about the awesomely cool Geneabloggers Blogger Swag Bags and the cool stuff that companies donate to be in them.  I even talked about how last year there was a bottle of water and a granola bar donated – and it was so cool because “when you’re having that much fun, you don’t want to stop to eat.  Your mind is so full of information and you have a smile so permanently plastered on your face that you just forget to eat”.  Dad instantly broke out into hysterics.

“What?  What’s so funny?” I asked.

“You.  You said that so genuinely!” He replied.

“But it’s true!  You have so much fun that you will often skip lunch or breakfast just to stay with all of the action”

He broke out into more laughter.

“What?!” I asked.  But the more I asked the more he laughed.

He knows I’m not a typical 20-something and he has known that for a long time.  I wear the titles of “Geek” and “Nerd” very proudly and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Being a Genealogy Geek is what I do best – it is just in my DNA.

Packing List

Whenever I go anywhere, I pack like I’m preparing for the end of the world.  A lot of clothes, a lot of snacks (hit me up if you’re hungry at Jamboree – I’ll never be able to finish all of it!), lots of techie stuff, and just when you think I couldn’t possibly have more stuff with me – I have more.  I always over pack.  But this year, I’m trying to cut down on that by creating a packing list.  Here is my plan:

  • 3 pairs of Jeans, my nice black pants, and a skirt
  • 3 shirts, 2 tank tops, and a cardigan.
  • 5 packs of oatmeal for breakfast on the cheap
  • Water bottles (as many as I can fit in my suitcase and carry-on)
  • My thermos and a ton of tea bags  (I drink tea obsessively)
  • Hair straightener
  • The typical toiletries – toothbrush, deodorant, mini shampoo and conditioner, lotion, razor, etc
  • My make-up bag.
  • Laptop and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Camera and USB charger
  • Webcam and headset
  • Green Backpack on Wheels (probably the best $30 I’ve ever spent – no more back pain from carrying my laptop everywhere!)
  • Digital Voice Recorder
  • Business Cards
The week of Jamboree, I’ll go to the store and find some snacks that are on sale.  Because like I said above – I have so much fun that I forget to eat.  I may pack like a maniac, but at least I’m prepared for anything this conference wants to throw at me.  :)

Planning My Time

In 2009 (my first time ever going to a conference), I came to Jamboree, I had every class I wanted to take planned out and I rarely missed a class.  I soaked up every ounce of information I could find.

In 2010, I went with the completely opposite approach.  I rarely went to other classes and spent most of my time networking.

This year, I hope to do a bit of both.  I want to gather up as much information as I can, while also giving myself plenty of time to relax, network, and write up a blog post or two.  My goal is to find a balance.

What Are Your Plans?

What are your plans for Jamboree?  Will you be attending in person or just keeping up by reading all of the Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts?  Are you a maniac packer like me?  (Please say I’m not the only one!)


Genealogy Season is Here!

At long last, another semester is over.   With no more projects, exams, and papers on my mind, I am finally free to focus my attention on genealogy.  And that is exactly what I plan to do.  Here are my major summer genealogy plans:

1.) Get Focus and Organized: One of my major plans for this summer is to work on my Downer line.  Since this is my first colonial line and my first line in New England, it has been a learning process.  This is a big project and it definitely cannot be done in small little bursts with long breaks between research – I forget too much and by the time I review everything again, I don’t have time to research.  I’ve gathered so much on my Downer line that it now has its own binder (Don’t worry, I plan on posting pictures of the binder once I finish putting it together).  The bottom line is that I need to take a long hard look at the information I have and find a way to get it displayed better so I’ll have an easier time analyzing it.

2.) Go to Jamboree! Every year I look forward to Jamboree and this year is no different.  Jamboree is like a family reunion for me because I get to see all of my genealogy family and friends.   Genealogy, tons of technology, blogging buddies, and more genealogy. If you want my opinion, this is the best genealogy conference on the planet!*

*Disclosure: I am a bit biased because the only conference I’ve ever been to is Jamboree.  I also think co-chair Paula Hinkle is about the coolest Genea-Gal there is and Leo Meyers takes my pick for top Genea-Guy.

3.) Add more information to WikiTree: WikiTree is a free wiki family tree building website with unique privacy controls that allow the user to collaborate while also keeping the private stuff private.  WikiTree gets better every single week because of an amazingly dedicated and active community and the awesome webmaster/creator, Chris Whitten.

*Disclosure: I work for WikiTree as the WikiTree Evangelist so my job is to share my love for WikiTree with other genealogists.  I do this by managing the Facebook and Twitter pages and interacting with the users.  My boss (and the creator of WikiTree), Chris Whitten, is about the coolest boss anyone could ever ask for.  He treats WikiTree as his baby and truly listens to the genealogy community to make the website better.  He is truly one of the most creative and innovative webmasters I know.  Don’t believe me?  Try WikiTree for yourself.

So what are YOUR summer genealogy goals?  Do you have any major plans?


Conferences and Seminars, Oh My!

The brilliant Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers has encouraged us to write a blog post about genealogy conferences and seminars.

Here is the topic of discussion for today:

How do you decide which ones to attend? How far in advance do you start making plans? What do you look for when you take in a conference? Again, not only can you post about what you’d love to see at a genealogy conference, but let us know your frustrations and what needs to change.

How do you decide which ones to attend? If I had millions of dollars and an entirely free calendar, I would go to every genealogy conference and seminar that I could find.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality.  I can only afford to go to Southern California Genealogy Society’s Jamboree, since it is so close to home.  Since I went for the first time in 2009, I’ve been hooked.

How far in advance do you start making plans? I’ve decided I will go to Jamboree every year just because it is that awesome of a conference.  So generally, I start making plans for how I’m going to afford the registration, a place to stay, and food money months in advance.  This year, I have saved enough to stay in the Marriott and I am so excited to be staying in the center of the excitement.

What do you look for when you take in a conference?  I’m all about the people at the conference.  To me, Jamboree isn’t just a learning event, but it is like a family reunion.  I love seeing and meeting all the people I’ve been talking to online.  These are my people.  These people are my family.

Secondly, I look to the classes.  This year, I think I’m going to focus on classes about immigrant ancestors (I will get over my fear!), The Genealogical Proof Standard, and creatively breaking down brick walls.  I tend to get a lot of inspiration and “light bulb moments” at conferences or seminars.

What would you love to see at a genealogy conference: While I was not at RootsTech this year, I did see the pictures of the exhibit hall.  It looked amazing.  So many new tech toys to play around with.  I think massages would also be much-loved at conferences (particularly foot massages – by the third day you’re exhausted!).

Ok – honestly, I would just like to see more technology at these conferences.  Jamboree does a great job of this by including lots of classes on technology.

What are your frustrations and what needs to change? My biggest frustration is the high hotel fees.  I always grew up staying in cheap Motel 6s and once in a while, a Best Western.  The Burbank Marriott, where Jamboree is held, is beautiful.  But $159/night for the conference price is way high for my preferences.  Will I pay it?  Of course!  The Marriott is the most convenient and it is the center of the fun.  To me, the price is definitely worth it.

I live on my laptop and the internet.  A good Wi-Fi connection and plenty of electrical outlets are a must.

Since I am in the middle of studying for finals, I am desperately waiting for the fun of Jamboree.  Only 35 more days until it starts…!  Don’t forget to stay tuned for the news about a pajama party… did you honestly think I forgot about that suggestion I made last year?

Disclosures: First off, I think Paula Hinkle and Leo Myers, the conference planners for Jamboree, are the most awesome people on the planet.  They work HARD to make Jamboree as awesome as it is.  Secondly, I was a speaker for Jamboree last year and I will be on the Blogger’s panel again this year.  Thirdly, I’ve spoken at the Southern California Genealogy Society’s Lunch ‘n Learn program (for which I was paid for) and I had a blast.  The attendees were attentive, asked great questions, made fantastic comments, and Charlotte Bocage (the education coordinator) is the biggest sweetheart who gave me a “speaker’s goodie bag” with tissues and water.  She takes care of her speakers and attendees.  She is awesome.  Everyone at the Southern California Genealogy Society is awesome.  Attend Jamboree for yourself and you’ll understand why.


My Un-Mother’s Day Weekend

In honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I’ve decided to have an Un-Mother’s Day Weekend.  What is an Un-Mother’s Day Weekend you ask?

Over the last month or so, I’ve been tortured by all the commercials and advertising about Mother’s Day.  It has really made me cranky (above my typical crankiness towards the end of the semester) and it has really been a constant reminder that my mom isn’t around.  I’ve had the “Oh yes – thanks for the reminder.  You know, just in case I forgot!”.  And that isn’t a positive attitude to have.  So I’ve decided to change that – and have an Un-Mother’s Day Weekend.

Mom wasn’t a fan of Mother’s Day weekend.  She wasn’t interested in jewelry, make-up, perfume, flowers – or all the other girly stuff.  The only gift fitting for Mom was a book since she loved to read.  But gift buying got complicated because it was difficult to find a book Mom hadn’t read yet.  Mom would read everything she could get her hands on.  Since she often had sleeping problems, she would stay up reading into the wee morning hours.  Her constant reading gained her a lot of knowledge.  She could talk about politics, history, religion, philosophy, and art for hours.  She won people’s hearts over with her smarts.

But since Mom hated Mother’s Day, we never really did anything “special”.  We just treated it like a normal day.  We never went out because of the crowds and if we watched TV, it was always on something like the History Channel, A&E, or PBS.  Once in a while, we would enjoy an episode or two of Frasier or Will and Grace.  Our shows either made us laugh or they made us think – and we always had some sort of calorie-filled snack like candy or ice cream.

So my Un-Mother’s Day weekend will consist of just remembering my mom – for everything that she was.  Yes, my mom is gone.  But why do I have to sit here and feel sorry for myself?  It won’t do me any good.

And I can just hear Mom’s voice in the back of my head, “When one adventure ends, another one begins – so stop complaining before I give you something to complain about!”.  And we were Intrepid Explorers.

Mom would be fine with my Un-Mother’s Day Weekend.  She was a natural rebel and hated to follow the “beaten path”.  She pushed me to explore outside of my comfort zone, to stand up for what is right even when it isn’t easy to do so, to always ask questions and then ask some more questions, and to never be afraid of the next adventure on the horizon.