Category Archives: Blogging

Blog Action Day – Poverty

As a kid growing up, I would never say that my family was in the poverty level, but we were definitely far from rich. We lived (and still live) like most American families: paycheck to paycheck.

Despite the fact that we still live that way, my parents have both taught me that life is always harder for someone else. “While the grass may be greener on the other side, you still need to be grateful that you even have grass because there is always someone out there who only has mud”

But my mom was smart and she taught me that no matter how hard things might of felt, there were always people who had it harder. As a kid, we always supported one family and made sure that thier Christmas was a good one. We would go out and buy a ton of food for their meal and get them toys for the kids. We would give them gift certificates so they could buy clothes or anything that they needed. And of course, we would buy them a huge tree – with a ton of ornaments.

As a toddler, this was certainly not easy for me to understand. We would walk into Toys R Us to buy toys for a little boy that we were sponsoring, and I would always suggest that he wanted a “Barbie” or an “Easy Bake Oven”. But after a few years, it began to sink in and my mom had to start keeping me to a budget so that we could have a Christmas too.

Poverty is such a big deal in our world – and we must find a way to eliminate it. There are so many people who are in desperate need of help. The littlest things can make the biggest difference. You don’t even have to have money to help, all you need to give is your time. Whether it is working at a soup kitchen, buying a few extra cans at the grocery store to donate to the food bank, or tutoring homeless kids so that they can learn to read…it all makes a difference. The smallest things make the biggest difference.

Thats why I believe in the Pay It Foward theory: When someone does something good for you – then do something good for 3 other people. It’ll make you feel good that you helped someone, and hopefully they’ll do the same.

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I Wonder – Did My Ancestors Feel This Much Frustration Before They Voted?

As the election draws nearer, the fierce fight for the White House is heating up to a point of unbearable heat. Both sides are attacking eachother and the media is overanalyzing every single word that is said. Honestly – with our world in the condition it is in, can we really afford this sort of chaos right before the election?

While I am honored that I am able to vote for the first time ever in a presidential election – especially one as historic as this one – I can’t help but get a huge headache every time I think about it.

Gosh – is there anyway I can elect someone who isn’t a politician? Because both sides seem to have a flip-flopper and in an age where information is so easily spread, the media is going insane. Everything is dissected, words are switched around or taken out of context, and even some of the voters are saying horrific things! It’s enough to make my head want to explose

In the wake of all of this, I can’t help but wonder if my ancestors felt such pressure when they voted too. I wonder if they knew how important of an impact thier vote would make.

Like – look at our history…Can you imagine voting right before the Civil War? Or how about right before World War II as Nazi Germany was beginning to take hold.

Our votes and America’s stance in the world does matter…by punching a hole next to the name of the candidate we want – we are making a huge decision that will affect not only our country, but the entire world.

I can’t help but wonder if my ancestors felt the same way.

I also wonder if their moms made as much of a big deal about my first time voting as mine is…
She’s bringing a camera and we are going first thing in the morning so that she can be with me on voting day before she has to go to work. I can’t really complain, because I know I will be so excited to show my grandkids those pictures one day, and tell them about how I voted in the first election that brough either a black man or a woman VP to the White House.

Note: I understand that this is not a political blog, and I really tried to tie the topic into genealogy. I hope that I didn’t offend anyone by what I said – but I do stand by my words. Sometimes, you just have to speak your mind.

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My New Heart Award

I feel so blessed this morning thanks to Linda in Lancaster (Find her blog, From Axer to Ziegler at http://stienstradl.wordpress.com/). She gave me the “New Heart Award”.

I’ll admit that I have never heard of this before – but I certainly think its a great way to honor our fellow bloggers. It is good to feel like someone is reading this crazy blog of mine.

So, the rules (as far as I can tell) are that I have to give the award to 7 other blogs, and leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know that I have given the award to them.

So the 7 blogs that I believe deserve this award are:

  • DearMyrtle’s Genealogy Blog: This blog is honestly one of my favorites. Not only is Pat Richley (DearMyrtle) one of the sweetest people I know on facebook, she is also incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to genealogy. She knows what she is talking about. (http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/)
  • 24/7 Family History Circle: I am not a huge fan of Ancestry.com, but Juliana Smith sure knows how to write an interesting and helpful article. I love the tips she gives because they are practical and creative. I highly suggest reading her weekly planner! (http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle)
  • Rainy Day Genealogy Readings: This is such an interesting blog. Great, well-written articles on genealogy. A great, must read! (http://rainydayreadings.blogspot.com/)
  • I Find Dead People: The title says it all! (http://www.ifinddeadpeople.com/)
  • Writing Your Memories: A great blog full of wonderful tips about how to begin writing your own memories. She makes writing so much less painful! (http://writingyourmemories.blogspot.com/)
  • The Baca/Douglass Genealogy and Family History Blog: Not only is the author a kind, helpful person on Facebook to anyone who has genealogy related questions, but he also knows how to keep his own genealogy interesting – even to those who aren’t related to him. (http://nmgenealogy.blogspot.com/)
  • GeneaNet Genealogy Blogs – GeneaSofts: A great read. Lots of information about genealogy software. Definitely a useful blog! (http://genealogyblog.geneanet.org/)

Alright everyone – Thank you so much for honoring me with this award! I hope you check the above blogs out because they really are great reads. Good luck, and happy ancestor hunting!

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My GBG Badges!

I have decided to post the badges that I won from the Genea-Blogger Games here since they take too much space up on the sidebar.

I won the Bronze Badge in “Back Up Your Genealogy” and in “Organize Your Genealogy”.

I won the Platinum Badge in “Genealogical Acts of Kindness”.

I won the Diamond Badge in “Cite Your Sources”.

It was wonderful doing those games and congrats to everyone who participated! I can’t wait until we do those again – hopefully it won’t be in four more years!

This was a really fun and creative activity and I very much enjoyed getting to know everyone.

And now I must get to bed and prepare for school tommorrow…hopefully I’ll be able to get a few posts in.

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School has Started!

As of yesterday, another semester of school has started for me. There is no doubt that my schedule will now be filled with due dates for papers and exams to study for. I will probably be worried about my grant money coming in on time and stressed out over the bureaucracy of college. And of course, I will no doubt be living like a zombie as I try to fit more hours into the day (I already am exhausted!).

But with school comes the memory of how I first began thinking about genealogy…

My seventh grade teacher gets the award for sparking my interest in genealogy. As we were learning about World War II, the class was given a project to interview a veteran of World War II. He told us hat if there was no one in our families that we could interview, then we would have to go out into nursing homes and retirement homes to find one.

While I had at first thought my grandfather was too young to have been in World War II, after talking to my dad, I discovered that my grandfather was perfect for the assignment.

I nervously got on the phone and called my grandpa in Tennessee, whom I never really talked to often. We had always exchanged letters and pictures, but we had never really talked on the phone (I am still not sure why) His deep, scratchy voice and southern accent was certainly something I had to get used to and it took me a while before I was able to understand him.

While I don’t remember exactly what I asked him or the stories that he told me, I do remember feeling more connected to history than I had ever felt before. After I had completed my assignment, we continued to talk about where he lived. He told me old ghost stories from the area and told me that I would have to come visit him. He told me about how the people in the area still made moonshine and had small family farms (Which was certainly a shock for me. As he would say “You glitz and glamour types wouldn’t understand none”).

After that, I began to wonder what other things in history my family had contributed too. I thought of all the prestigious things such as being the descendant of the Queen of England, being related to a president, or proudly serving in the Revolutionary War.

Soon after, I became bit by the genealogy bug…and the rest is history.

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The Final Genea-Bloggers Tallies

Since I have work tommorrow morning, I won’t be able to post my final tallie for the Genea-Blogger Games.
I wish I would’ve had more time to work on these tasks, because they were rather fun to do. I also haven’t had the chance to post every little thing on this blog in the last few days because I’ve been so busy (mainly with source citations). So, without further ado, here are my final tallies:

Citations: 42
Organization: 1
Acts of Kindness: 5
Back-ups: 1

Congrats to everyone who participated and thank you to all of our cheerleaders! Thanks for letting me participate in such a fun challenge!

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Citations, Citations, Citations

Wow – I just made SO many citations for this family. I went through my large stack of papers to seeing if I had the information recorded on my gedcom. Sure enough, I didn’t have everything, so I began creating the sources and filling in the gaps.

Needless to say I put into my gedcom 28 sources and my fingers are KILLING me. lol. I can already see needing wrist braces because of carpal tunnel.

So overall, that brings my Citations to: 33
Organization: 1
Acts of Kindness: 5
Back ups: 1

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The Funny Names, Words and Phrases of My Family.

I was on Facebook today, and I noticed that someone mentioned a challenge to post some of the funny names, words, and phrases that are used in your family. Since my family practically has their own language, it seems fitting that I do the challenge.

My family uses a million different words, nickname, and funny phrases. Since there are so many, I am mainly just going to list a few of them with a little explanation.

  • When I was little, I called my uncle (Who was about 20 years older than my mom) “Unca Oowee”. I picked it up when I heard my cousin Vicky say it…no one knows why Vicky chose the name.
  • The nicknames for the kids of my generation are: Booters (Myself), Poopsala, Peeps, and Mermaid.
  • In the Seattle area of Washington State, there are a lot of cities named after Indian words. If you aren’t from the area, it can definitely become a challenge to pronounce the words. When my uncles were kids and they first read the signs that showed the names of the towns, here is what they came up with: “Fif-ee” (Fife), “Sattle” (Seattle), “Snow-qua-mie” (Snoqualamie – I even think I am spelling that wrong).
  • My grandparents on my mom’s side raised their children as Catholic. Well, as a kid my mom used to play “First Holy Communion”. Someone would pretend to be the priest and they would place Nilla Wafers into everyone’s mouth. So whenever we eat Nilla Wafers, we call them Communion Wafers.
  • And of course, there are the funny words that are said around Christmas time when everyone is getting ready to eat breakfast: “Toes-a-rellie” (Toast is ready!), “Es-a-peas” (Eggs Please), “Ca-fee” (Coffee), “Sannie-uz-ear” (Santa was here), “Tank You” (Thank you)

So there you go. (We’re a little bizarre aren’t we?) I tried to spell the words out phonetically as best as I could – hopefully you got the main idea.

This is a really fun prompt idea if you are going to be compiling interesting little stories to go along with your family tree. (I really suggest doing something like this. It’ll make all those dates and places come alive!)

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Genea-Bloggers Games Updates

Alrighty so for the weekend I’ve had a pretty lousy cold and I’ve been out of it for a bit. However, the cold did give me time to do some work for the games on and offline that I haven’t recorded here. So, it is five in the morning and my stupid cough won’t go away, but I will do my genealogy anyway.

Alright so I joined 3 blog networks this weekend (Genealogy Roots Blog, Forensic Genealogy, GeneaNet Genealogy Blog – GeneaSofts). All of these blogs are really rather interesting and I am happy that I joined them.

I also went on my computer and began backing up a lot of the genealogy related files that I have saved. I back all the articles and pictures onto a flashdrive and I upload my gedcom onto multiple genealogy websites to store it. It felt good to do that because I realized that I had strayed from my routine of backing up twice a week.

I also went through and deleted some of the old backups. Creating back ups twice every week makes the backups clog everything on your flashdrive. So, I deleted some of the old ones but I always keep atleast 3 of the last back ups (That way, if one doesn’t work, hopefully the other will).

I am very proud of myself because I also created 5 new citations on my brand new tree that I’ve been making. I’m making a brand new tree because I felt that my other one (which I’ve used from the start) lacked citations, logic in some places, and overall truth. So I’ve been rebuilding my family tree from scratch in an attempt to preserve the truth of my work.

Oh and not to forget, I commented on Amy’s Genealogy Blog (Which apparently for some reason I forgot to subscribe to…opps! I’ll have to get on that!)

Wow – it has been a jam-packed weekend. But lets tally that up:
1.) Genealogical Acts of Kindness: 4
2.) Organization: 1
3.) Back ups: 1
4.) Cite Your Sources: 5

We’ll see – look what a cup of hot chocolate and waking up at 5 A.M. will do to you! You’ll get ahead on all your genealogy to-do items.

By the way everyone, last night I finished my video series on the U.S. Federal Census. The only video I will add to this is a video describing where you can find the census, where you can find forms to help you record what you find, etc. It’ll be a really basic video, whenever I get around to creating it. As you’ll notice, the last 6 videos or so are short. The reason for that is because I want to eventually upload this series onto RootsTelevision.com but they have a requirement for the videos to be a lot shorter than what is allowed on Youtube. The goal is to redo all those U.S. Census videos before school starts at the end of this month so that I can upload the entire series to RootsTelevision. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on this one.

Alrighty, my cat is begging me to get back into bed. That cat of mine loves to snuggle.

Good luck on the games everyone!

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My Favorite Memories of Stores

I saw a challenge on Facebook the other day: It asked people to write about their favorite memories of stores and to explain the influence that those stores made on their lives. To anyone who isn’t a genealogist, this topic probably sounds odd (especially if you aren’t a huge fan of shopping in the first place). However, to us genealogists, this journal entry makes a ton of sense. Imagine your descendants 100 years from now finding this entry that you wrote; Imagine their excitement to have a journal entry like this that serves as a great door to their time period?

So, without further wait, here is my journal entry on my favorite stores and their impact on my life:

As a kid of about 8 years old, I lived in a suburb of Seattle, WA known as Kent. I lived on a small dead-end street about 5 blocks from a larger street with a Fred Meyers on it.

For those of you not familiar with the store – it is a large store, someone similar to a WalMart or Target that sells groceries and department store items.

My friends and I practically lived on our bikes at the time and we were allowed to go out on our bikes and ride around the neighborhood. We had walkie talkies that we carried with us so our parents could talk to us should they need to, but we were rarely home. We spent our time outside.
While I was the cautious child, my best friend Erin was not. She was a dare devil and always up for adventure. Whenever our sweet tooth called but our parents denied, we would search the house for nickels, dimes, quarters…going through couches, washing machines, even our parents’ underwear drawers in hope of finding some cash. We would grab our money, get on our bikes and sneak down to Fred Meyers.

We would stroll our way down the candy isle, devising a plan to get the most candy for the little money we had. Picking candy up, counting out our change, making last minute decisions, prioritizing our sugary selections.

When we finally got to the cash register, candy and a zip lock bag full of change, the wonderful brunette that ran the cash register would smile at us.
“Stocking up I see,” she would always say.
“Yep, gotta have our Twix and Butterfingers,” we would say. She would patiently ring us up, help us count our change and tell us to hurry home before we became caught.

She was so kind to us. When we would go there with our parents for the grocery shopping she would never say a word. She would always just give us a good wink. It was like our little secret.

As I got older I went to Fred Meyers less and less. Soon, I realized that the wonderful brunette who had contributed to my candy consumption as a child had moved on and left Fred Meyers.

So that is my story about Fred Meyers and the wonderful memories it has given me. I only wish that I could go back in time and listen to my ancestors talk about the general store or the local grocery store… It is the little things like this that make genealogy so worth while.

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