Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Goal is Reviewed and Plans for 2012 Underway

No that is not a typo, I had one goal (singular) for 2011 as posted here, about the search for my Great Grandmother Mary, I followed up on the search in these subsequent posts:

  1. Mary, Mary Makes Me Contrary
  2. Mary AND Her Daughter Make Me Contrary
  3. Resources and Timelines in the Hunt for Martha/Mary
  4. Amherst, Nebraska 1907 Via Google Earth
  5. October is Family History Month
First of all, let me say that knowing myself I am very impressed that I wrote a total of six blog posts around a single topic. That's just not the way I work. :) 

Did I accomplish and finish my goal? Technically no, BUT I'm am thissssssssssss close! The documents I've accumulated in researching Mary this year have the elements I need. I am now at the point of needing to formally construct a research plan (yes Kathleen I WILL do that) in order to prove the relationship. I am doing that a little backwards and after-the-fact, and we all know the "genealogy police" would scold me severely for doing so but c'est la vie it is what it is.

In thinking about my 2012 genealogy research goals, I obviously had to include the completion of my search for Mary/Martha. I did however decide to include two more goals related to genealogy. I think lists of three look developed without being overwhelming.
  1. Create a research plan and prove my relationship to Mary Smith Evingham
  2. Attend one local genealogy society or event each quarter in 2012
  3. Post more comments to other bloggers on their blog itself not on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
I feel comfortable with these goals as well as excited. Being able to complete the story of Mary and move onto another family line will be welcome. As for item number two, my county does not have a genealogy society, they do have a historical society and while I'm a member I don't attend their meetings (it would take another series of 6 blog posts to cover the reasons). Also, two neighboring counties have very active societies and I am looking forward to attending their events.

Finally, I plan to make a concerted effort (I actually started this yesterday) to post my comments on the blog comment section of the post. I have been terribly lazy in only making a short comment here and there when I see the blog post on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Somewhat in my defense I'm usually reading the blog posts on my phone and it is easier to forward, like and plus something with a quick note. I find it difficult to comment from my phone on many blogs that have word verification requirements. Still, those are excuses not reasons and I hope to increase my comments on the actual blog by 50% in 2012.

The year 2011 has been exciting for genealogy! So many new record sets are now online and we have techo gadgets galore. Blogging continues to be something I have a love-hate relationship with. I do not consider myself a writer but I do love this world-wide communication method. Without Desperately Seeking Surnames, my cousin Betty in North Carolina would never have found me! Hi Betty!! :) Without Desperately Seeking Surnames I would not have all the great genealogy friends I have now, nor would I appreciate what bloggers have to provide to the world of genealogy.

Wishing all my readers a happy and healthy 2012! Cheers!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rootstech 2012 No Publicity is Bad Publicity

If anyone in the genealogy community, or any non-genea friend or follower on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, had never heard of Rootstech...they have now!

Wow, the posts and tweets were blowing up the feeds these last 48 hours. One thing is for sure...WE LOVE BOOKS!! As genealogists we can't imagine a world without a heavy, thick, musty smelling book to guide us to our ancestors. We love turning the pages and anticipating what gem we are going to find on the next page.

I will be disappointed if there are no book vendors at Rootstech 2012. By the last day of the conference I will have talked myself into and out of buying another book on finding my German ancestors at least a dozen times. I will have called my husband and told him just how cool this book is over and over until he finally says "just buy the damn book!"

My disappointment will grow when I see there are no craft vendors in the exhibit hall. I love using scrapbook pages to tell my family stories and I enjoy seeing how other crafters tell their family stories through their chosen design medium. I gain new ideas from them and usually find some little trinket that I can't live without.

The absence of these vendors will be noticed and they will be missed. Will their absence ruin the entire conference experience? No. From last year's reviews this conference will be amazing with fantastic speakers and a great learning and networking environment. Will the absence of these vendors move me to cancel my plans to attend? Absolutely not.

The exhibit management for Rootstech made a decision to limit the exhibit hall vendors to "technology related products and services" and have chosen to "purposefully not accept applications from book publishers or arts and craft dealers". These statements are published here:  Rootstech 2012 Exhibitor. While I find this decision to be a poor one, it is stated on the exhibitor application, the application that every potential exhibitor must complete.

Entering into a contract to exhibit at a trade show is like any other contract. You don't do the work until the contract is signed. Why did vendors proceed as if they had a contract, when in fact they didn't especially when there were very specific statements stating their particular type of product or service was not going to be accepted?

The word that has been tossed around these last 48 hours is "courted". Rootstech is said to have "courted" these very vendors that their exhibitor application says they are not going to accept. Who was doing the courting? Apparently somebody that was out of the loop on what management had planned for the exhibit hall. Was that all a misunderstanding? Did the vendors misinterpret the overtures from exhibit management?

Sadly all of this "hullabaloo" (love that word) leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many. The "shiny" Rootstech conference is a little duller these days. Rootstech has made a brief statement that they will "revisit" the issue...however that statement was a bit tardy in this day and age...especially for a technology conference.

As with any issue people are passionate about things are often said in the heat of the moment. I understand peoples desire to voice their opinion...that's why we blog right? It is disconcerting though when people feel they must attack people or beliefs. Let's stick to the issues.

I hope event management and the vendors in question are able to work something out. If not, those vendors need to jump into this spotlight quickly and make the most of it. People love to rally round the underdog. Have a "We've Been Banned From Rootstech" sale! Design "WE LOVE BOOKS" t-shirts we can all buy and wear to the conference. We can #occupyrootstech peacefully, yet still get our message across clearly.

Take those lemons and make some lemonade folks!!  See ya in Salt Lake!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Family History Scrapbook Sunday - Marriages

The next set of pages for the family history album are marriage pages. Our class instructions from Jessica Sprague were to create four pages. I wish I was lucky enough to have marriage photos for my grandparents and great grandparents but I"m not. I created a page for myself and my parents.

Be sure to check The Scrappy Genealogist for all the details of the Family History Scrapbook Sunday blogging prompts.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Musings On A Munday Some People are Just Really Nice

While working on my Evingham/Smith/Gilpin lines in Buffalo County Nebraska I've spent a lot of time on the USGenWeb Project for Buffalo County, Nebraska. The county coordinator for the site is Mona Houser and she has been amazingly helpful to me. The site contains a wealth of information and Mona always responds to me quickly. You can tell she truly enjoys participating in the GenWeb Project and goes above and beyond to help! She not only looks up what I ask for, she looked in other books index to see if there was anything else I might want and there was. Thank you Mona I really appreciate all of your help!

On this same site was a link to the Fort Kearney Genealogical Society. I knew they had access to marriage books for the 1800's in Buffalo County, that were indexed on the Buffalo County site. I sent an email to the address listed on the site and requested two marriage records, one from 1885 and one from 1887. When I hadn't received any type of reply after three weeks I thought that this must be one of those small societies that only check their email once a month, so I settled into wait.  Then about four weeks after I sent the email I received an envelope from June (I won't use her last name as it's not published on their site) with copies of both of the marriage records I requested! Of course I was very excited but what had me dancing was one of the marriage records showed the mother's maiden name and we all know how valuable that little tidbit is!

I printed a copy of my original email and wrote a note on the back thanking June and letting her know how much I appreciated her help. The next week I received a thank you note in the mail from June. SHE was thanking ME for my note. She said that she was glad to know that something she had done as a volunteer had helped someone else and that made her feel like she was doing something worthwhile.

How cute is that?? How nice is that? How many times does that happen?

Some people are just really nice.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family History Scrapbook Sunday

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

I'm a week late in posting my pedigree pages for the Family History Album Class! I should be posting the assignment for week 3, but life and my JOB got in the way :). Maybe, hopefully I will catch up but I'm not making any promises because the holidays and more out-of-town travel is in the near future.

Jennifer at The Scrappy Genealogist organized a group of Geneabloggers who want to incorporate digital scrapbooking into telling their family story.  Jessica Sprague offers self-paced, online classes in various topics surrounding digital scrapbooking. It is her Family History Album Class that is our guide for this project. And here are my pedigree pages for Week 2 of the class.

Be sure to visit the sites of the others taking this class and see how they apply what they have learned to their Family History Album.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NGS Video Becoming a Genealogist

Don't read the title of the video and make the assumption that this is a "how to" video. It's not that at all. It is a wonderful story and you will be glad you watched.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Some Gave All

Image background contains a letter from David Emery to his father and step-mother (my grandmother) shortly less than one year before he was killed in action during WW II.

David is buried at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family History Album Class Title Page

Jennifer at The Scrappy Genealogist organized a group of Geneabloggers who want to incorporate digital scrapbooking into telling their family story.  Jessica Sprague offers self-paced, online classes in various topics surrounding digital scrapbooking. It is her Family History Album Class that is our guide for this project.

Week 1 of the class covered gathering and organizing the documents and photos that we would like to feature in our album. Our first assignment was to complete the Title Page which I am sharing below.

Included in our class fee were digital downloads of background papers and embellishments. Jessica provided a title page template for our use, then we were instructed to use the the papers and embellishments provided to make the page our own.

The biggest challenge in this assignment for me was working with a layered template in Photoshop Elements. I've been using MyMemories for my digital scrapbooking and truly appreciate how easy it is to use after working with Elements on this page. I am hopeful that by the end of this class I will know my way around Elements and feel comfortable using it regularly.

Be sure to visit the sites of the others taking this class and see how they apply what they have learned to their Family History Album.

Weekly Updates from GHLL

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of November 7 - November 13, 2011.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Events in Genealogy

Genealogy Calendar of Events for November 2011

       (We encourage you to submit your event)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Image created with My Memories digital scrapbooking software. It was easy and fun! Save $10 on the My Memories Suite by using my discount code: STMMMS53057 at check out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday BAUDERMANN

Posted by Picasa

Photo courtesy Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana. Taken at Calvary Cemetery Chicago, Illionis.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday BAUDERMANN

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Photo courtesy of Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana. Taken at Calvary Cemetery Chicago, Illinois.

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Have A Winner

My Memories Digital Software Suite v2 is a winner in my book. I was hesitant at first about hosting a contest but now, I am so glad I did! The software is everything they say it is and more. Can you create scrapbook layouts in a snap? Yes! Can you download FREE templates and embellishments to jazz up your designs? Yes! Can you create t-shirt transfers? Yes! The limit is your imagination.

I spent time looking through their site (I've added a lot of their kits to my wish list), and watching the tutorials. I also joined their My Memories Community and have been reading the forum posts. There are some VERY creative people out there that love to share with others what they have done. If you think of My Memories as only a digital scrapbooking will be missing out on all of the possibilities.

So, who was the lucky winner of my contest?  Who is the lucky person that gets to explore and expand their digital scrapbooking horizons? Who is the going to be able to design their own blog header to fit their personality exactly? Did I mention you can design your blog header with My Memories? No? Well you can!  So, Terri O'Connell what awesomeness are you going to create with the free download of My Memories Suite v2 that you just WON?!? :) Terri I hope you enjoy getting to know My Memories as much as I have, Congratulations!

For those who did not win, do not despair, I have something for you too...if you use my code STMMMS53057 during check out on the My Memories site, you will save $10 off the price of the software. That means you can purchase the software for $29.95, regularly $39.95. That's not all, you will also get a $10 gift certificate to use towards any purchases you make from their online store!

Thank you to everyone that participated in my contest, and thank you My Memories for allowing me to demo your amazing digital scrapbooking software! I love it!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saving Memories of the Little Gobblins is Easy

Do you have little Gobblins around your house this year? Adorable grand kids, nieces or nephews that will be trick or treating you? My Memories makes it easy, fun and affordable to capture those fun times and share them.

I created this page in less than 10 minutes and that includes editing and cropping the photo which you can do right in the My Memories software. It was also free! The background was a free download being offered for Halloween and the spiders I added were also from a free download. My Memories is very generous with their customers and offer multiple free layouts with the software plus free downloads throughout the year from their Facebook page and email newsletter.

I told you about the contest I am hosting here. The contest ends on October 10th, 2011. If you would like a chance to win the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite just leave a comment on my original contest post and you will be entered. If you don't win the My Memories software, you can use my discount code (STMMMS53057) to receive $10 off your purchase on their site.

Good luck and have fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Events in Genealogy

Genealogy Calendar of Events for October 2011

       (We encourage you to submit your event)

October is Family History Month

It's Family History month and I plan on spending it trying to make sense of all this!

In previous posts and for my 2011 Genealogy Goal I told the story of Una/Viola and Mary/Martha, my grandmother and great-grandmother who were proving to be very elusive to me. When I set my ONE goal for the year, to find Mary, I felt that I was being a little lazy. I don't feel lazy about this any more.

I finally have some promising evidence that is pulling the pieces together and a family is starting to form. Actually, at this point I'm in information overload mode! I have 28 pages of probate records, from Illinois, including documents from two of the heirs contesting the will. The best part...the papers list the daughter's married names! I also have two sets of marriage registers, from Nebraska, that list the father and the mother with a maiden name. All of these pieces are allowing me to tie two generations together. I am waiting on additional documents before I feel comfortable enough to unveil my family, but I'm certain I have them.

This journey to find these women and their family has brought several points home for me. We get fixated on what we THINK we know and where we THINK a person should be based on one piece of information we have or one story we were told. That doesn't help and we need to keep an open mind:
  • Families did move around, but seldom was it random and seldom was it solo. There was a reason, a person or a thing that motivated them.
  • Just because a person was born in Ohio then married and died in Illinois doesn't mean she didn't live in Nebraska at some point in her life.
  • If you find someone that fits your person, in every way, don't automatically dismiss them because you think they couldn't have possibly lived in California. Check it out further.
  • Sometimes you have to eliminate families from the picture before you can move on.
  • And most of intuition knows more than you think it does!
I am looking forward to the month of October and discovering more of my family history, particularly on this line. Stay tuned, if the remaining documents I am waiting for confirm what I've found I will have Una/Viola Mary/Martha's story ready for the holidays.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway


A representative with My Memories, the company that offers My Memories Suite v2 Digital Scrapbooking software, recently contacted me about their product. I have been asked to review My Memories, blog my review of the software and host a giveaway of the newest version of their product. In addition to the giveaway I can also offer a discount to anyone who uses my promotion code.

Scrapbooking software...a giveaway, and a discount?? I love it and I love the software! I began traditional scrapbooking about 12 years ago and I do like the look and feel of the paper and textures in that method. However, there are times when I need something quick, different and easy to share. My Memories does just that with their ready made templates and slick user interface. You select a template, select a folder of photos from your computer and the software will drop your photos into place and you are really is that simple.

For those of you who are more "particular" about your scrapbooking pages (I am one of you) do not worry, My Memories has something (actually hundreds of somethings) for you as well.  There are options to add embellishments, shapes, text and backgrounds. The software comes with dozens of templates and design options pre-loaded. With so many choices of colors, brads, ribbons and texture the possibilities are endless.

If you can't find what you are looking for with the free templates provided, there are a multitude of digital scrapbooking kits available for purchase (Use Code STMMMS53057 to save $10 on your software order) on the My Memories site, as well as additional free downloads.

For my trial run of the software I chose to work with the kits and design options provided with the software. I love the look of photobooks to document vacations so I selected that option when I began my design. I have selected one page to illustrate for you the various options in designing your pages. You can see in the slideshow below the progression from a blank template to using the basic design option to adding a few embellishments and keepsake items.  The only limit is your imagination (and your time). Once I finish all my pages and order my book, I will be sure to post a picture of the final product!


Do you think this is something you would like to try?  I know you will like it and I want you to be able to try it for free! In addition to the $10 off your software purchase at My Memories (don't forget to use my promo code STMMMS530570) you have a chance to win a copy of the software...FREE!  It's simple, here's how:

Giveaway Rules: visit and have a look around. There are beautiful scrapbook kits, tutorials, a blog and a gallery full of inspiring ideas. Then just jump back here and leave a comment on this post letting me know which scrapbook kit you liked the most.  It's that easy!  The contest ends October 10, 2011, so get your comment in by then. Be sure I have your email address or some method to contact you, should you be the lucky winner!

If you share my contest post on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ you will receive additional entries into the contest.  Make sure you include me on any posts so I can track your entries.  @seekingsurnames on Twitter and Jenna Mills on Facebook and Google+.

BUT WAIT...there's more!!  (Yes, I've watched too many infomercials!)

My Memories are a great group of people and they love giving away cool stuff..FREE! For more chances to win great items all you have to do is:
Follow their blog:
Like on Facebook-
Follow on Twitter-!/MyMemoriesSuite

Good luck to everyone in the contest and I hope you enjoy using your discount with my promo code!

Disclaimer: I was contacted by My Memories to review and post my opinions of their product on my blog. I was given two digital downloads of their My Memories Suite, one to use in my review and one to giveaway in this contest. I will receive a small commission each time my promo code is used for a purchase on

Monday, September 19, 2011

Musings on a Munday A Very Techy Conference

Thanks to the special offered during the FGS 2011 conference, I was able to register for RootsTech 2012 at a very discounted rate.  I have my hotel room and my roomies all set.  Looking forward to a very "techy" genealogy conference!


Sorry folks I deleted the video is was Auto Play only!  This coming from a "tech" conference??

If you want to see the video, with lots of our Geneafriends go to the Rootstech site.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Your Family History via Genealogy Gems

Lisa Louise Cooke is a favorite of mine in many categories. Podcasts! I'm an avid listener of all three of Lisa's podcasts. Lectures! I was fortunate enough to attend four of Lisa's lectures at the Midwest Family History Expo this summer. Author! I purchased The Genealogist's Google Toolbox and am looking forward to her next book. Videos! I knew Lisa had a YouTube channel as well, but had not watched any of the videos. I am correcting that situation starting now. The videos are informative and full of great tips for the newbie and great reminders for those more advanced users. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Events in Genealogy

Genealogy Calendar of Events for September 2011

       (List is a work in progress, please submit your event)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Getting Ready for the 1940 Census - Video 4

The National Archives has made available a series of videos for the 1940 census.                      This is video 4 Census of Agriculture.

Watch Video 3 here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Events in Genealogy

Genealogy Calendar of Events for September 2011

       (List is a work in progress, please submit your event)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting Ready for the 1940 Census - Video 3

The National Archives has made available a series of videos for the 1940 Census.                       This is Video 3 Census of Housing.

Watch Video 2 here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Ready for the 1940 Census - Video 2

The National Archives has made available a series of videos for the 1940 census.                         This is Video 2 Census of Population.

Watch Video 1 here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Events in Genealogy

Genealogy Calendar of Events for August 2011
       (List is a work in progress, please submit your event)