Category Archives: Blogging

Reminder: It’s Data Backup Day!

I just wanted to remind everyone that today is Data Backup Day!

Make sure that you backup all of you genealogy files, pictures, documents, etc. Preferably, have more than one place to store you backups – or even send a copy to a relative in another state, just in case something were to happen to your home.

Good luck, and hopefully you’ll never have to use your backup!

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Saturday Night Fun Provided By Genea-Musings

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings posted an awesome fun challenge. Here are the rules in order to play along:

1.) Go to your My Pictures folder (or the equivalent) and pick out the 6th item in that folder. Then pick out the 6th item in that folder, and so forth, until you get to an actual picture.

2) Post that picture to your blog with an explanation of what the picture depicts, including place and date.

So here is my picture:

This picture was taken at Juliana’s Wedding last November. My boyfriend, Billy, is holding his newest baby cousin, Gabriel, for the first time. He had been too nervous and scared to hold the baby until tonight, because newborns are so fragile. By the time of the wedding, Gabriel was about a month old.

Multiple people had already tried to get the baby to sleep with no success. Then Billy held the baby, and sure enough, he got him to sleep. This picture just warms my heart.

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Anyone Going To The Southern C.A Genealogy Jamboree?

I am trying to save enough money to be able to go to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree for 2009 that will be held in Burbank, California on June 26 – 28.  (Get more information on their blog)

I am really excited to be going and so excited to meet new people and people who I know online. But I have to admit, I am still a little nervous to be going to my very first genealogy conference by myself.  I’ll will most likely be able to stay with family overnight, which will cut down on expenses.  
But, I am nervous about being by myself for some of the time in Burbank, which is not an area I know very well.  I guess I just don’t do a lot of stuff far away from home by myself.
Is there anyone else out there who is as nervous as I am?  I know I shouldn’t be nervous, because I am going to meet so many wonderful people.  But I guess I just can’t help it.  My fears will melt away once I get there.
So is anyone else planning on going to the Jamboree?
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Wow – Grandma Doerflinger Was An Amazing Woman

Today, my mom and I were watching a show about the amazing heroic things that people have done.  My mom and I started discussing some of the heroic things we’ve seen and heard about.

“It is ordinary people that seem to do some of the most heroic things.  It is like how Grandma Doerflinger lifted a car because there was a man trapped underneath it,” she said.
“Excuse me?” I said in disbelief.
“You’ve never heard that story?” she asked.  Then she started telling me the story.
It was 1940 in Santa Monica, California.  My grandma was home alone with her three children, all under the age of five.  Her husband was working at McDouglas Airplane Factory.  A family friend as over, fixing the car.
My grandma had just gotten the twins (my uncles) down for a nap when she decided to offer some lemonade to the family friend who was working on the car.  When she approached him, he was adjusting the cinderblocks that was lifting the car from the ground.  After some small talk, he slipped himself underneath the car and continued his work.  She turned to return to the house when the cinderblocks slipped and the car came crashing back down on top of the man working on the car.
My grandmother screamed for him, but when he didn’t answer she began screaming wildly.  An older gentleman who was walking by the house ran over to my grandmother to aid her.  She then bent down and lifted the car while the older gentleman pulled the family friend out from under the car.
The story goes that for two weeks my grandmother had to stay in bed.  She couldn’t move and had severely pulled about every muscle in her body.
The family friend was lucky to survive and only suffered from some broken ribs and a concussion.
I honestly find this to be a rather heroic act and something that she certainly didn’t have to do.  It was such a selfless act and it gave me an insight into the grandma I never knew.
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"I’m An American!!"

I was talking to my aunt today about my latest genealogical finds.  It included discovering that one of my ancestors was born in France or Italy.  My aunt made a joke that I must be Italian, because I talk so loud and I move my arms so much.

Then my little cousin, Audrie, looks up and goes, “You’re Italian?”. 
“I just might be,” I said.  Then she went quiet and my aunt and I continued our conversation, talking about how we are mostlikely English and how I am Welsh.
Then Audrie looked up and goes “What is Welsh?”.  So I explained to her that Welsh people are people that come from a country called Wales.  She looks up at me and goes “People don’t come from Whales and they can’t breathe underwater.”
“No, baby, I’m talking about a country that is called Wales.  It is next to England.  I’m not talking about the animal.”  She gave me a nodd but she still looked skeptical.
Then, we somehow got on the topic that America is made of people of lots of races and cultures.  She looks up and goes “No…everyone is the same,”. 
“Baby, the cool thing about America is that everyone comes from different places.  Like you, you’re Mexican and English.”  That seemed to make her extremely angry.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she screamed.  “I’m an American!!!” she said and then she stormed off.
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My Switch To Binders

Many of you know that I have been a fan of using binders to organize all of your paper files.  However, after lots of thought and reading DearMyrtle’s Organization Checklist for January, I have decided to make the switch.

The switch will not be happening all at once – I don’t get my school grant money until next month, so money is very tight right now.  While I have most of the supplies I am going to need for using binders, I need more.  I have a lot of page protectors, oversized dividers, and a few more binders to buy.
But I am so excited to make the switch.  I will still be storing the binders in my filing cabinet until I can find a cheap bookcase at a yard sale.  But the minor setbacks are not enough for me to keep using file folders.
And honestly, I’ve been considering the switch for a while.  For some individuals, I have to much information for a single file folder and for some surnames I have way too many file folders in the hanging file folder.
I can’t wait to tell you guys how it goes!  Wish me luck!
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Heritage Scrapbooking

As you accumulate lots of pictures in your genealogy hunt, you might want to consider tuning in your creative side in order to show those pictures off: Make a heritage scrapbook.

First rule: Never use the original pictures when scrapbooking because that can damage the originals.  Instead, make copies of the originals, and use those copies for scrapbooking.
So, just like any other scrapbooking projects, you are going to need some supplies.  If you are just started to get acquainted with your crafty scrapbooking side, then you might want to consider starting smaller by creating a shadow box.  You can find all of the supplies that you could ever need at my amazon store.  
If you have already done some heritage scrapbooking, I would love to see some of those pages.  Please, send me the pictures of those pages to GenealogistElyse@gmail.com – I might show them on here (with your permission of course).  So send those pictures in!
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Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on becoming the 44th president of the United States.  You’ve worked very hard and sacrificed so much to get to where you are today, and you’ve earned this position.
Let me say a huge “Thank You”.  You’ve inspired this nation and brought it together like I never imagined possible.  You’ve united us, gave us a common purpose, and given all of us hope.  You’ve provided a much need vision of promise, happiness, and prosperity.  You’ve filled our hearts with hope, faith, and determination to not only survive this economic crisis and dark age that has settled upon us, but to take this challenge as a chance to rise above to reach success.
And it isn’t just you who is so amazing, but your wife also.  I’ve seen her speak at some universities, even before you announced you were running for president, and she is so intelligent.  She speaks to the average person with such eloquence and strength.  She carries herself with such confidence and she looks so comfortable in her skin – and that confidence is contagious.
Your daughters are beautiful and even if they don’t completely understand what their lives will entail in the White House, I know that they are so proud of you.  They are sacrificing a normal life just so that you may lead our country to greatness.  When they are older, they may understand that you are not only a great father, but a brilliant man.
I also want to thank you for your hard work throughout your lifetime, which gave you the chance to run for president in the first place.  Because of your dedication to this country and the law, you understood the complicated problems that have presented themselves the last few years.  You are evidence that ANYONE in this country can become ANYTHING they want, as long as they work hard for it.  You are the prime example of the American Dream.  There are children all over our country (and all over the world) who are saying to themselves that they want to someday become president, and you have given them the hope that it is really possible.
I know that you have America’s best interest at heart and I am confident that you will be able to make the difficult decisions that must be made.  I know that there are some who will criticize everything you do, but don’t let them get to you.  Every president will have critics, but I want you to know that for every critic there is, there are a 1000 people who are shouting your praise.
I know that this job will not be easy and that our country’s problems will not be solved overnight.  It will be a long and tedious road to fix this mess because it took a long time for the mess to be created in the first place.  But I know that you are the man who will be able to make the difficult decisions.  I know that you are the man who will bring back prosperity and unity to this nation.  I know that you are the man who will unite the world, extend a hand to any country who wishes to stand strong with us, bring peace to the people of the world, and inspire us like we have never been inspired before.  I trust that you will listen to the needs of the people and that their voices will matter to you – because you were once a regular person.
I believe in you, Mr. President Obama.  Because “Yes We Can” will turn into “Yes We Did” by the time you leave office.
Sincerely,
A hopeful citizen,
Elyse
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The Movie Defiance And How I Almost Converted To Judaism

I’ve been dieing to see the movie Defiance for an incredibly long time because the WWII era has always been a period in history that I’ve found incredibly interesting.  I was so excited that my mom took me to go see this film this morning.

For those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, it is about four Jewish brothers who run away into the forest to hide from the Nazis.  They then welcome more Jews to come and live with them in the forest.  As their numbers grow, they begin to create a community in the forest and attempt to live their lives as full as they can.  And by the way, this is a true story and is based on a book that was written from interviews of survivors.  But just a warning, it is a hugely heavy movie (which shouldn’t need to be said) and I highly recommend you bring along a box of tissues – you’ll need it.
This movie has a special meaning to me.  When I was in fourth grade, I began looking for religion.  My parents never raised me with a particular religion, choosing instead to let me choose whatever religion I wished.  Well, after learning about WWII and the Holocaust, I became curious about Judaism.  I started reading every book on Judaism that I could get my hands on.  I read every book on Judaism that was in my school library, so my mom took me to the local library.  I continued to read and eventually, I had to have my mom read the books and explain them to me.  It wasn’t long until I really began to follow the beliefs of this religion.
When my mom realized how serious I was about this religion, she took me to meet a rabbi.  The more I talked to him, the more I wanted to convert to Judaism.  She continued to take me to meet and speak with more people who were Jewish.
Finally, I insisted that she let me convert.  After a long discussion, she decided that she would find a few kosher recipes, and she said that if I was really devoted, then I would have no problem eating strictly kosher.  Turns out…eating kosher was a lot more difficult than I thought.
And it turns out that Judaism was not right for me.  I eventually became comfortable with not identifying with any particular religion, but to instead develop my own spirituality that has been influenced from a large number of religions.
Nonetheless, please, go see the movie Defiance.  It is such a wonderful, moving, and inspirational movie.  It warms your heart to see such selflessness and true love through an era of darkness.
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How Music Defines A Generation

Some people say that music defines a generation.  Think of the era of jazz where teenagers went to secret underground parties to dance.  Look at the era of the forties, where music was centered around patriotism and bringing our troops home.  We could go to the sixties – where the hippie movement created a sexual revolution, a wave of drug use, and a call for peace.  Some even argue that the era of classic rock through the sixties and seventies is the only true music.  And we could talk about the seventies with disco and the eighties with…well, as my mom puts it, “We all dressed horribly, drugs were rampant, and the music was horrible,” (Not to offend anyone who likes the music of disco and the eighties.

And then we can go to an era that I lived through: The nineties.  Between the boy bands, the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears – well, that era kept the screaming pre-teen girls like me very busy with an obsession.
I always knew that music had a big impact in my life and in the lives of my family members.  But I never realized how involved certain relatives of mine were in music.  And this morning, I received a glimpse into the life of my Auntie Shirley, a self proclaimed “wild child of sorts”.  
Born as the fourth child of William Harney and Ethel Weston Harney in 1920, Shirley was the black sheep of her family.  While all the other girls of the family were polite, ladylike, and trained in playing classical and religious songs on the piano, Shirley was out wrestling the boy next door for making fun of her dress.
In the forties, Shirley hung out in small clubs singing and dancing with the soldiers who were getting ready to go to war.  When Seattle threw a parade after WWII ended, Shirley was one of the pretty girls riding in the back of a car, singing patriotic songs and blowing kisses to the soldiers.  At one point, she even jumped out of the car and started swing dancing in the middle of the street with a soldier who “couldn’t take his eyes off” of her.  With a chuckle, she explained the fury her father expressed after multiple soldiers came over asking for permission to take her on a date.
Even when I was a kid, my Auntie Shirley knew how help me find my voice.  By the time I knew her, she was blind, but that didn’t hold her back.  Despite her lack of sight, she knew her way around downtown Seattle and would take me to these wonderful old buildings, telling me about what what cool “hole in the wall” joints they used to be.  I used to love listening to her and picturing what it was like for her to be dancing down the streets.  
But it was when we reached a church that she attended that she really shocked me: She told me that I was going to sing in front of all the old ladies who came together to play bingo every week.  I was terrified, and as I tried to sing, my voice was quiet with nervousness and cracked right as I felt the tears coming to my eyes.  That is when she told me sit next to her on the piano bench and began playing this quick, fun song.  She then started singing and told me to sing along.  Within minutes, I felt empowered and could sing on my own.  I was this nine year old kid, singing and dancing with all these old ladies and having a blast.  I gained so much confidence that day, and I bonded with my Auntie Shirley more than ever..
So maybe music is what defines a generation – or maybe it is the generation that defines a generation.  (I’ll leave this philosophical thought with you…)
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