Category Archives: Blogging

Pardon The Chaos…

Lately, I’ve been bored with the look of my blog. After my recent inspiration from the Jamboree, I’ve been wanting to rejuvenate my research as well as my blog. So I set out on the internet in hopes of finding a new layout.

I’ve been experimenting with different layouts, so this blog might be in a bit of chaos over the next week or so. The content will always remain here but the layout might change and might look weird as I try to change the look.
There are a TON of free blogger layouts out there. Some of them are nice, some are just plain ugly, and some are just plain strange. I’ve been going through site after site in an attempt to find a layout that was just right.
Then I realized I didn’t know what kind of layout I even wanted. So I stopped searching and starting listing the qualities that I wanted in my new layout:
  • 2 column
  • colorful – preferably green
  • scrapbook-like
  • historic-looking
Besides those four ideas, I really have nothing. Let me tell you – there aren’t genealogy related blogger templates out there (at least ones that are free and easy to find!).
I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any….
Thank you for dealing with the chaos over the next couple of days.

A Busy Genealogist’s Plan

Let’s face it – while we would all love to spend most of our day doing genealogy or genealogy related activities, this just isn’t possible for the majority of us.  We have family and work responsibilities along with a long to-do list of errands to run and tasks to complete.  Most of the time, you oly have ten to thirty minutes a day (if that!) to squeeze in some genealogy.  To make matters worse, you spend the little time you do have for genealogy figuring out what to do next!

But it isn’t like this topic isn’t discussed often.  Nearly every major genealogy blog and magazine has dedicated at least one articule to this topic.  We’ve all read the columns, and yet, the problem remains the same.
So what is a busy genealogist to do?
Make a plan in the form of a “quick” to-do list.  In other words, make a list of things that you can do in a short amount of time so that you are making progress (even if it is small) and you feel like your research is going somewhere.  If you have this list handy, then whenever you get ten or twenty extra minutes, you can complete a task.
What exactly do you put on this list?

The list should be personalized to suit your needs, but the general idea can remain the same.  I have included some general ideas for you here that can easily be personalized for your research.
  • Scan ten photos.
  • Learn about where you can locate a specific record that you need.
  • File ten papers.
  • Print an updated family group sheet/pedigree chart/research plan/etc.
  • Create a research plan for a particular ancestor or couple
  • Read a genealogy blog to learn about something new.
By having a plan like this, you can ensure that you will make progress in your research without having to devote a large chunk of time.

Planning For June’s Jamboree

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted…school has started and is keeping me incredibly busy.  I have been having genealogy withdrawls and I must admit that I can’t wait until I have more time for it.

But I’ve been planning for the Jamboree Genealogy Conference in Burbank, CA.  The lecture schedule has been released and I’ve been planning away on where I’ll be for every hour.
I’ve also decided to create little business cards with my email, blog, family website, and some of my major surnames and locations on there….okay maybe not all that information since I don’t think it’ll fit.  But I’ll certainly make an effort.  I can then pass the cards out and network with other genealogists hopefully.
I am so excited for this genealogy conference, partly because it is my very first conference but mostly because I can meet people and have an awesome learning experience.  I am so excited to network and meet other genealogists!

My Data Backup Day Plan

Losing your genealogy to some sort of disaster (computer crash, fire, flood, etc) is devasting. It is important to put preventative measures into place NOW – because your genealogy could be wiped out at any minute.

That is why I signed up for Mozy. Mozy is a free backup service that downloads onto your computer, and then backups the files of your choosing onto an online server. I currently use the free version, which provides 2GB of space (but there are paid versions that offer a lot more space). Since I only backup my genealogy related files (and a select few other files that are important to me), I don’t go over the 2GB of space. I have set my Mozy to backup my files whenever my computer is idle for 30 minutes. Having my files backup on a regular basis help give me peace of mind.

I also use a flash drive to save my genealogy files, and also keep them portable. If I need to leave quickly – I can just stick the tiny flash drive into my pocket. Plus – it makes my genealogy portable, and I can easily show pictures, reports, and files to my family members without having to bring my computer along.

When it comes to my physical genealogy and family history related materials, I am in a bit more trouble. If I had to leave my house in a disaster, it would be difficult to take all of my geeI have all of my genealogy and family history stuff in boxes right now…and it would definitely take me a few trips to put all of the boxes into the car. These originals are priceless to me, and even if I had a picture/scan of each thing (which I am working on), it wouldn’t be the same.


I’ve Been Nominated For The "Kreative Blogger Award"

Wow – a TON of wonderful people have just nominated me for the Kreative Blogger Award! Thank you so incredibly much!

I know the rules say that I am supposed to tag 5 people…but most of the blogs that I read on a regular basis have already been tagged! So…I am not going to tag anyone (oh well!).

Thanks again everyone!


GenealogyBank Adds New Features (Quick Tip)

I highly suggest that you head over to to check out some of their new features (like searching multiple states and cities). These are some long overdue features – and I really think that it will make searching a lot easier on their site.

I would love to hear what you guys think!


A Love Story Told On Napkins

As I was going through my grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary Album the other night, my mom and I got to talking about them. She told me the stories she’s heard from when they first began dating.

My grandparents both lived in Seattle in the late 1920s and early 1930s. My grandparents met through the catholic church that they both attended.

Margaret Harney (my grandmother) was nearly ten years younger than Max Doerflinger (my grandfather), but that didn’t stop Max from trying to get her to go on a date with him. After a few months of resisting, Margaret finally agreed to one date. She was 16 and he was 24.

However, one date quickly turned into two, then three, and soon, Margaret found herself out with Max nearly every weekend. He would take her to underground clubs (which they called speak-easies) every weekend so that they could dance.

But the courtship turned to more intensity as Max began falling more in love with Margaret. He began writing her love poems on the napkins during dinner at the clubs. He began bringing her flowers and new ribbons for her “gorgious blonde curls”.

She saved every single napkin that he wrote on and saved every ribbon he ever bought her. She even pressed the flowers he gave her in a book and kept all of this stuff in a medium sized box with two bronze doves kissing eachother, which he made.

After my grandparents died, the box was given to my aunt, Diane. Unfortunately, no one knew that Diane would soon be diagnosed with schizophrenia…and now the napkins are gone.

So while I’ve never seen these napkins, I know about the love that my grandparents shared during their “honeymoon stage”.


Making Progress On Organization

My switch to binders has been going pretty well thus far.  I’ve been following DearMyrtle’s Organization Checklists (I’m moving a bit slower than the checklists say, but still) and I’ve made some pretty heavy progress.

First thing I did was buy a ton of acid free page protectors.  Then I put all of my notes and papers into the page protectors.  That way, it just needed sorting and to be put into the appropriate binder.
Anything that was from my non-sourced days was placed into a regular, cheap page protector and a stickynote with the word “Guide Only” placed on it.
I also bought oversized divider tabs so that every surname can have its own divider.  Right now, I use two dividers per surname: one for all of my direct line ancestors with that surname and one for all of my indirect ancestors.
I am about half way done with having everything in their binders, but I ran out of binders and page protectors (Wow – way quicker than I expected).  I’ll have to wait until Thursday to get some more supplies and continue on.
I have been going through each page to make sure that everything is in my Legacy program and completely sourced.  It feels good to know that I am getting up to date on everything.
By the way, you can buy all of the supplies you need in my genealogy store for organization, research, and things that will make life easier when doing genealogy.

Food Brings Family Together

Food has always been an important part of my family.  Between the dinner parties and teaching children how to cook – we are food people.

Christmas morning was always fun and full of food.  After presents were open, my mom would take me and my two cousins into the kitchen to cook breakfast for everyone.  We would make the entire fixings of eggs, hash browns, bacon, pancakes, and toast, we were also responsible for making fresh squeezed orange juice and pouring the coffee.  There was always a huge mess, lots of laughs, and sometimes some burnt breakfast, but it was always so much fun.  It was nice to be given a chance to cook for our parents for a change.
July is the month with all of the birthdays and family get togethers in my family.  During our annual ping pong tournament, we have an ice cream bar.  That ice cream bar was full of different types of ice cream, syrups, toppings, and candy.  It was a cavity in a bowl – but delicious!
My cousin Joanie (who was old enough to be my grandmother) used to throw a huge family party every July.  There were so many kids (all of whom were hungry) and Joanie used to fill her entire dinning room table of snacks that our parents would never let us have.  Between sodas and all of the appetizers (mozerella sticks, taquitos, nachos), to the desserts (cookies, brownies, cakes, candies – you name it) – us kids had a lot to eat.  Plus, she always had the Costco size of everything and we used to have to travel all over the house to get it for her (There wasn’t enough room in the fridge so some of it is in the garage.  The pantry was full so it was in the box in the closet, etc.).  Her house was the house that every kid wanted to be in because of all of the treats.
Then there is the bad food in the family… I love to listen to the stories of the old family dinners every Sunday at my grandparents’ house.  My grandmother was known for overcooking nearly everything she made and for making sure that everyone ate what was put in front of them.  Her food was notorious for being disgusting and family members went to desperate measures to avoid it.
It was well known to everyone (but my grandmother) that my grandfather was even in on avoiding the food – he used to say that a family friend was having some sort of house emergency (the toilet overflowed, the sink is leaking, the fridge stopped working, etc) so he could leave. In reality, he was buying hot dogs from a fast food place for everyone.  Then, in small groups of two or three, everyone would make an excuse to go outside.  They would eat down the block, behind the garage, in the car – anywhere my grandmother couldn’t see them.
Either way, food has always been something that brought us together – whether to sneak food, cook it, or enjoy it.

Carnival Of Genealogy – 65th Edition: My Happy Dance

The topic for the 65th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is to describe your happy dance.

The last time I had my happy dance was last Thursday. A woman who descends from my Keppler line (which is a very difficult line for me) found my cousin Joan’s email address on the web. So, she emailed Joan, who tried to forward the email to me, but said my email address didn’t work. So she forwarded the email to my Uncle Larry, who then forwarded the email to me.

Once I finally read the email I was estatic. She described meeting “Uncle Max and Aunt Marie” (my great-grandparents) once as a child…my heart began racing. Then the email went on to describe the immigration record she found (which I’ve been desperately searching for but haven’t been able to find). Finally, I couldn’t contain myself and I bursted out in what I can only describe as a girl-ish squeel.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend was in the kitchen making breakfast. “You okay?”

But I didn’t have a chance to respond. The more I read the email the more excited I got. I continued my girl-ish squeel but added some quick arm movements in there too.

“Should I call an ambulance?” he finally yelled out.

I finally finished the email, jumped from my chair and began cheering happily. I had finally found a Keppler cousin – after years of hard work I had finally found someone who was also descended from the Kepplers AND to add the delicious cherry to the top of already enormous ice cream sundae: SHE HAD INFORMATION. And she was more than willing to share and had so many wonderful questions about the Doerflingers. Finally…I had been dreaming of this day for years.

So I ran into the kitchen screaming with joy and jumped right into my boyfriend’s arms. I was so happy and excited and squeeling for joy.

I can’t wait for my cousin to send me copies of the stuff she has. I’ve been waiting for ages to finally find someone who knew about and cared about the Kepplers. She has information on things that I didn’t even know about. And, she has lots of genealogists in the family: Herself (who is learning and the newbie), her daughter (waiting for an email response), and her cousin (who has the family bible I never knew about).

Personally, it doesn’t take much to make me do the genealogy happy dance. I love every detail in genealogy, no matter how small.