Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feeling the American Spirit

I just wanted to wave hello to anyone who has dropped in because of the article in the current issue of the DAR's American Spirit magazine. I was excited to be interviewed a few months ago for the article, "Finding Family on Facebook," by Lena Anthony, in which "DAR members share stories of how they've connected with relatives and found missing links in their family history using social media tools." Well, I'm still looking for many of those "missing links," but I can say that social media has helped me find quite a few leads. And cousins. 

Oh, and I apologize for the mess here. I'm in the process of making some major changes, which will hopefully become live in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, please make yourself comfortable, and feel free to look around. Maybe we're cousins?

For more information about American Spirit magazine, please visit I hope you enjoyed the article, and if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a note. :-)

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Pepper Gets A Bath

My beloved Lab/Retreiver mix Reilly passed away at the age of 14 1/2 years last December, which led us to adopt two new little terriers, which I'm sure you will be seeing here fairly soon (you may have already seen them on Facebook). 

So all this has led me to think about my first dog, Pepper. He was a good boy (aren't they all?) who let me wheel him around in a stroller and dress him up in doll clothes. Here he is getting a bath, c. July 1977. Yep, that's me, and my shirt really does say, "Shake Your Booty." It was the 70s... what can I say?

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Original photograph dated July 1977, privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, Santa Barbara Co., California, 2014.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, April 25, 2014

Reports of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

I did not fall off the edge of the earth (although, it kind of feels like it sometimes). I have not been trapped under a heavy object, and to the best of my knowledge, I do not have a debilitating disease.

So... where have I been?

Loaded question. I guess the short story would be that I hit a wall. And not the brick variety that genealogists run into more often than we like. I'm talking about the type of real life wall that smacks you down, mentally and physically. You know... just when you think things are moving along nicely, and then... POW! Actually, it was not really an all-at-once wall; more like a few bricks here, a few bricks there. Pretty soon, you're covered in bricks, thinking, "What the h*ll happened?"

You can skip this part if you don't want me to bore you with the rambly details and lady part stuff.

I don't remember the exact date, but I do remember the first event that winded me. I had written a rather glib post about getting your annual mammogram, casually mentioning that I had been blowing mine off since 1998. I mean, no one in my family had ever had breast cancer (that I knew of), so I had nothing to fear, right? You can imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox and found The Letter. The Letter said that my results were "inconclusive," and that I needed to come back for a repeat mammogram and an ultrasound. To say that I was stunned would be an understatement. Did I mention that no one in my family had ever had breast cancer? And I had my DNA health results from 23andMe, and they said I did not have the BRCA gene. So I was fine. Right?

As the tech doing my follow-up mammogram said, "That just means you'll be more surprised if you have it." She really wasn't being rude, but she sounded as if she'd heard excuses like mine dozens of times before.

Apparently nothing seriously ugly showed up in either test, and they just wanted to be thorough and check out "a suspicious-looking spot." (insert temporary sigh of relief here)

So next came The Vicious Cycle of Infections: cold - sinus infection - cold - sinus infection - ear infection - cold - sinus infection - double ear infection - bronchitis... you get the picture. At one point, I had an acute sinus infection, two ear infections, and walking pneumonia. And it's really hard to think - much less write - with a head full of puss. Anyway, the doctor threatened to put me in the hospital, but I refused. Thankfully my stubbornness didn't kill me, and I eventually got myself to an ENT who has helped me break the Vicious Cycle: Almost 1 year infection free!

But what is most bizarre about all of this is that all those crazy infections may have saved my life. Every visit to the doctor always started in the same way ("I'm back! Did you miss me?"). The nurse would take my blood pressure. Now, I've never paid much attention to this procedure, since my blood pressure has always been about as low as a dead person's. But at every visit, it was a little bit higher, and a little bit higher, until finally the nurse got a scared look on her face and stammered that she was sure the machine had malfunctioned. She took it again, this time with a straight face, but didn't say much. The doctor came in a few minutes later and said we needed to have The Talk. I agreed that yes, I realized that I needed to take action about all these sinus infections. No, he said. He meant about my blood pressure.

(Insert bricks here)

My mother had been diagnosed with malignant hypertension many years earlier, and we had made lots and lots visits to the ER where doctors tried desperately to get her blood pressure down to a non-walking-stroke level. Her father also had HBP, and died at the ripe, young age of 38. But that could never happen to me, right?


I was told to immediately start on HBP meds, start exercising, and lose 30 pounds. Ok, and if I did all this, could I go eventually off the meds?

Probably not. "You've got bad genes," the doctor informed me.

He doesn't know the half of it.

The moral of this story...

I'm not sure if there really is a moral, or even a point, to be honest. But I'm down 25 lbs, taking my meds like a good girl, and possibly training for an upcoming breast cancer walk (still deciding on that one). I'm in better shape than I've been in in about a decade, and I feel like I can finally think straight again. Oh, and I'm taking a ballet class, which I haven't done in 30-cough-cough years. :-)

I'll talk about genealogy next time, I promise.

So... long time no chat. How YOU doin'?

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Image from Meme Something.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, March 28, 2013

NGS Call for Papers for the 2014 Family History Conference

ARLINGTON, VA, 27 March 2013: Speakers as well as organizations interested in sponsoring lectures or tracks are invited to submit lecture proposals by 1 April 2013 for the NGS 2014 Family History Conference, Virginia: The First Frontier, to be held 7–10 May 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. Building on the records and history that draw so many back to their roots in the Old Dominion, we will explore the origins of those who settled within Virginia’s borders whether they came by land or sea.

Among the topics being considered are lectures on the history, records, repositories, and ethnic and religious groups of Virginia and neighboring states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee with special emphasis on migrations into, within, and out of the region down the Carolina and Great Wagon Roads, over the Appalachian Mountains, and across the south to Texas and beyond. Other regional topics of interest include the origins of the early settlers, land and military records (especially the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil wars). Proposals are also solicited for the broader genealogical categories including federal records, the law as it relates to genealogy, methodology, analysis and problem solving, and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps in genealogical research.

Interested individuals and organizations should follow published guidelines at the NGS website,

Speakers may submit up to eight proposals electronically through the NGS website,, no later than 1 April 2013.

Organizations wishing to sponsor a lecture or track of lectures should review the details and sponsor requirements at The deadline to submit sponsored lectures is also 1 April 2013.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FHISO 2013 Open Call for Papers

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA—Friday, March 22, 2013—Family History Information Standards Organisation, FHISO, has announced its 2013 Call for Papers Initiative (, signaling the commencement of open standards development work.

Members of the international genealogy and family history community are invited to submit written proposals as contributions to the FHISO standards development process.

"Modern standards development work is dynamic and deliberate," said Robert Burkhead, FHISO Technical Standing Committee Coordinator and Acting Chair. "The result will be inclusive; it will be effective. It begins here. It begins with you and your participation."

"For the first time, the proposals will be published to the benefit of all stakeholders making up the international community," said Tony Proctor (UK), FHISO Organiser. "Collectively, the proposals will give rise to comments, member working groups and project teams. The information standards developed from this process will better support how we work and how well we work together."

FHISO is a community-driven organisation established for the purpose of developing genealogy and family history information standards on a modern platform that is
  • Open
  • Multi-stakeholder
  • International
  • Self-governing
  • Balanced
The FHISO work platforms have been developed. A submissions platform for the Call for Papers is available ( As volunteers process the submissions, each will be posted for public viewing and commenting. A dynamic new platform to support working groups and project teams will follow.

It begins here. It begins with you. Become a member of FHISO today (

FHISO General Enquiries; Membership –; FHISO Media Relations - Anthony C. Proctor (

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

RootsMagic Online Treasure Hunt

If you missed last year's RootsMagic Treasure Hunt, here's your chance to play!

RootsMagic has partnered with 15 of the best and brightest genealogy bloggers, some of whom will be reporting at the RootsTech conference. Each blogger will place one of 15 clue words on their website

From Thursday, March 21 through Wednesday, March 27, 2013, visit for a complete list of the blogs where the 15 clue words can be found. Visit each blog, collect all 15 clue words, and you could win software, prizes, or an iPad!

Enter at RootsTech or at Home

Once you've collected the clues there are two ways to enter. The first is at the RootsTech conference itself. Pick up an entry card at the RootsMagic booth (#401) in the Exhibit Hall. Write the clue words on the back of the card and return it to the RootsMagic booth in the Exhibit Hall by Saturday, March 23 at 1:20 pm. At that time, we will hold the prize drawings. You must be present to win.

We didn't want those who aren't able to attend RootsTech in person to feel left out so we're holding a second drawing and giving away more prizes including a second iPad. To enter this drawing, visit anytime between Thursday, March 21 and midnight MST on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Fill out the online form to be entered into the second drawing. You may enter both drawings but one entry per person, per drawing. Winners will be picked at random and notified via e-mail by Friday, March 29, 2013.

Remember, the treasure hunt doesn't begin until this Thursday. Good luck!

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, March 18, 2013

NGS Early Bird Registration Discount Ends Tomorrow!

ARLINGTON, VA, 18 March 2013: The NGS 2013 Family History Conference will be held 8–11 May 2013 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (LVH), Las Vegas, Nevada. The early bird registration discount ends tomorrow, Tuesday, 19 March 2013. In addition to enjoying a $35 discount, only early birds have the opportunity to order a printed syllabus. (Everyone will receive a syllabus on flash drive.) NGS members get even deeper discounts, so this is a great time to join.

Space is still available for most breakfasts and luncheons, the NGS Banquet, and Tuesday bus tours. The BCG Education Fund Workshop is sold out. To be placed on the wait list, e-mail the NGS conference registrar, Courtney Holmes, at

All full-conference registrants will be entered in a drawing to win a seven-night stay at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square, courtesy of the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. The prize will also include a free spot on one the Ancestor Seekers Salt Lake City research trips. Be sure to attend the opening session to find out if you are the winner. The winner must be present at the opening session to claim the prize.

To register online, visit the NGS website at and complete the registration form.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal