Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Games: Conclusion and Final Tally

This was a rough week for me, as I was sidelined for several days with the flu (courtesy of my 2-year old).

But despite the fever clouding my brain, I did manage to complete a few more tasks.

2. Back Up Your Data!

Tasks completed = 1 (task A)

My husband and I prepared a plan for backing up our digital files and storing our hard copies. Or rather, I prepared the plan and told my husband about it, while he said, "uh huh," and pretended to listen to me. Typical.

For the record, rain and rain-related weather events are not a big concern here; however, mold and mildew are, as well as paper-eating bugs like earwigs and silverfish. We're (read: I'm) looking into ways to keep our data safe from these nasties. Any suggestions?

3. Organize Your Research!

Tasks completed = 1, maybe 2 (task B and maybe E)

I scanned 20 photos last week, and yesterday added tags and descriptions and organized them into folders.

The reason I say "maybe 2" is because I'm unclear as to whether or not the tasks in this category can be repeated. On Tuesday, I reported that I had scanned the above-mentioned photos, as part of task E. On Thursday, I merged a GEDCOM sent to me by a newly-found 4th cousin, thus adding over 2.500 names to my database. I suppose this could be viewed as cheating, but I did have to manually merge 162 names, so it's not like I got off that easy.

I think I will need a judge's ruling as to whether or not this counts as completing 2 tasks (task E twice) or if it still counts as only 1 task. Either way, I win, with the addition of so many names and a new cousin!

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Tasks completed = 1 (task D)

I answered a query regarding a family that once lived in my area.

This is clearly my best area of "competition," since I have now completed all 6 tasks.


My final medal counts stands at the following:

Category 1: 1 task completed = Bronze Medal
Category 2: 2 tasks completed = Silver Medal
Category 3: 2 (maybe 3) tasks completed = at least Silver Medal
Category 4: 3 tasks completed = Gold Medal
Category 5: 6 tasks completed = Platinum Medal

About the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Games
Opening Ceremonies (a.k.a. "Who's Playing?")
My Goals for "The Games"

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, I am officially "middle-aged." I won't tell you exactly how old that is, but suffice it to say that I plan to live to at least 90.

It's been a wild ride, and I can't wait to see what the next "half" will bring!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 22, 2008

Slavic Folklore for Kids: The Little Einsteins

My daughter loves to watch Disney's "The Little Einsteins." She's probably seen every episode at least a dozen times, which means I've seen them about that many times, as well.

This particular episode, "Rocket's Firebird Rescue," features music from Igor Stravinsky's ballet, "The Firebird." The story involves a magical Firebird who spreads its special music power around the world. The Firebird is hated by an evil ogre named Kashchei, who captures and imprisons the Firebird. The Little Einsteins find one of the Firebird's feathers and set out on an adventure to free her and return music to the world.

Who knew that the cartoon my daughter was enjoying is loaded with icons of her Slavic heritage?

The story of "Rocket's Firebird Rescue" is loosely based on a well-known Russian folk tale, "The Firebird":

The story of the firebird comes in many different forms. Some folk tales say that the firebird is a mystical bird that flies around a king’s castle and at night swoops down and eats all the king's golden apples. Others say that the firebird is just a bird that flies around giving hope to those who need it. Some additions to that legend say that when the firebird flies around his eyes sparkle and pearls fall from his beak. The pearls would then fall to the peasants, giving them something to trade for goods or services.

In the most common version of the legend, a Tsar commands his three sons to capture the firebird that keeps flying down from above and eating his apples. The golden apples are in the Tsar’s orchard and give youth and strength to all who eat them. The sons end up barely missing the bird, but they catch one of his feathers that glows in the night. (Wikipedia)
Almost all of the versions of the Firebird tale seem to have one main theme: a Firebird's feather is found, spurring the feather-finder on a difficult quest. Although the finder thinks the feather will bring him/her happiness, the quest typically involves increasingly difficult tasks, frequently bringing great sadness and grief.

Thankfully, the Little Einsteins don't encounter sadness and grief, but they do run into some complications, courtesy of the evil ogre, Kashchei. Also part of Russian/Slavic folklore, Kashchei (spelled a variety of ways) is typically an evil person with an ugly appearance who is extremely difficult to kill:
His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the egg is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei's forehead), Koschei will die. (Wikipedia)
A tad creepy for a children's show. In the Disney version, Kashchei is cleverly portrayed by a series of Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, which apparently represent the various incarnations of Kashchei's soul.

Kashchei attempts to thwart the Einsteins' efforts to free the Firebird by sending a variety of enchanted creatures their way - mosquitoes, bears, bats, spiders - all of which are nesting dolls emerging from inside the main Kashchei doll. Using music, the Einsteins are able to defeat the creatures and continue on their quest.

The Little Einsteins follow the feather to a variety of well-known Russian locales. In Moscow, they whiz past the famous spires of St. Basil's Cathedral. In Siberia, they meet a baby Baikal seal, or Nerpa, the only freshwater seal in the world (to which my daughter always says, "Awwwwww, cute!"). At one point, the Einsteins wind up in a painting by Russian Expressionist, Wassily Kandinsky, where they must perform ballet moves with geometric shapes in order to proceed.

I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that in typical Disney fashion, everyone lives happily ever after.

"Mission completion!"


Illustration of the "Firebird" by Ivan Bilibin (1899).

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

A Little Friday Humor: Revolutionary New Recipe

During the Revolutionary War, there was a small encampment of Patriot soldiers in the woods.

Before they went to bed one night, they tied some chickens - which they had been saving for a special meal - to the trees around the campground.

Sure enough, some British soldiers were stumbling through the woods that night and frightened the chickens. The chickens' squawks and clucks woke the Patriots, who were able to defeat and capture the entire group of British soldiers.

A few nights later, the cook prepared the chickens for dinner. The soldiers said, "This is really good! What do you call it?"

The chef said that in honor of these special chickens who had saved the Patriots' lives, he called it Chicken Catch-a-Tory.

This "groaner" was sent to my by my friend Romaine V.
Flickr photo by Debbi in California.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SCGS DNA Interest Group to Meet

This just in from the Southern California Genealogical Society:

Interpreting Your Sorenson Results
Saturday, August 30, 2008
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Presenters: Doug Miller and Alice Fairhurst
DNA Interest Team and SCGS DNA Project

Last August many of our members chose to participate in the research project of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. We will review how to make use of the testing information.

Individualized help will be available after the formal presentation for those:
  • who want to order DNA tests
  • who have received DNA results and need help:
    • managing their personal page or
    • interpreting their results
A drawing will be held for a $30.00 discount certificate for ordering a DNA test.
Brown bag or join us for pizza ($5.00).

For additional information, please contact Alice Fairhurst.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wordless Wednesday: Helping Mommy with the Evidence

"Helping Mommy with the Evidence." Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O’Neal, August 13, 2008. Privately held by Elizabeth O’Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara Co., California. 2008.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FTDNA Offers Sizzling Summer Sale!

As the Group Administrator for the Swanay/Swaney DNA Surname Project, I am pleased to tell you about the "Sizzling Summer Sale" being offered by FamilyTree DNA:

  • Y-DNA12 orders include a FREE mtDNA test (Y-DNA12+mtDNA promotion price of $99; normally $189)

  • Y-DNA25 orders include a FREE mtDNA test (Y-DNA25+mtDNA promotion price of $148; normally $238)

  • Y-DNA37 orders price REDUCED to $119 (normally $189)

  • Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus orders price REDUCED to $189 (normally $339)

  • Y-DNA67 orders price REDUCED to $218 (normally $269)

  • Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus orders price REDUCED to $288 (normally $409)

  • mtDNAplus orders REDUCED to $149 (normally $189)
This promotion goes into effect immediately and will be available until August 31st September 30th, 11:59 PM CST.
These prices are valid when you purchase a kit through a group project. For more information about the Swanay/Swaney DNA Surname Project, please visit our public project page, or visit FamilyTree DNA.

Hat Tip to Lisa at A Light that Shines Again for jogging my memory to post this!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

The Mystery of Baby Samuel

Have you ever been “haunted” by a grave you’ve encountered? Have you felt driven to find out who that person was and what happened to him/her?

I have. In fact, you could say that I still am.

Back on July 23rd, I posted a photo for Wordless Wednesday of my daughter standing over a headstone. The photo was taken at the Santa Barbara Cemetery one afternoon when my husband and I stopped by to take photos for some Find A Grave requests.

The Santa Barbara Cemetery is fairly large, so when we arrived I went into the office to ask for the location of several graves. I was given a map, along with approximate locations of the graves, and we drove across the cemetery to begin our search.

When we got out of the van, my daughter raced across the lawn and stopped at a headstone. She was being rather cute, leaning over the stone, hugging the stone, laughing and gently patting the stone... almost as if she had found a new friend. It was a bit peculiar for her, but since she lingered for such a long time, I was able to snap several photos of her, which I always enjoy doing.

Strangely, she did not want to leave that particular stone.

I began walking after my husband, who was looking for the graves we’d come to find, and I called back to my daughter to hurry up. She’s usually pretty good about coming when she’s called (unusual for a toddler, I know), but for some reason, she refused to leave that headstone. I had to go back and take her by the hand to get her to come with me. She turned to look back at the stone several times. Odd, but I didn’t really give it much thought…

…until the next day when I began editing photos, that is.

As I was editing what I thought was just a cute photo of my daughter, it took a few moments for my brain to register the fact that the stone belonging to Samuel K. Swartz, Jr., the stone my daughter was so affectionately playing with at the cemetery, belonged to a baby.

Now, I typically don’t like photographing headstones of babies. Even before my daughter was born, I tried to steer clear of the “baby sections” of cemeteries. Tiny headstones, headstones with sleeping babies or little lambs on them… these still send me running in the opposite direction.

But what really made my hair stand on end was when I realized that Baby Samuel’s birth date was the same as my daughter’s… exactly 77 years before she was born!

(Also somewhat creepy was the fact that his death date was the day after my birth date – a few years earlier, of course.)

My daughter can’t read yet, so I know she wasn’t drawn to Baby Samuel’s grave because she saw her birth date. She’s been to many cemeteries in her two, short years, and this headstone wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary. There were no flowers or toys on the grave, so there was nothing unusual to attract her attention.

So why was she drawn to this particular headstone?

I had to find out more about Baby Samuel. How did he die? Who were his parents, and what happened to them? Did he have any surviving siblings?

My husband thought I was crazy, and maybe I was. But I knew that I wouldn’t rest until I had some answers.

I examined my photo again. Were there any clues on Baby Samuel's headstone? What did that symbol - the flower in the pentagon - mean? I consulted a few books and web sites but was unable to come up with an answer.

So, later that night, I began searching for whatever I could find online.

First, I checked the transcriptions for the Santa Barbara Cemetery, posted by the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. There are 9 Swartz’s, including Baby Samuel, listed in the online Cemetery transcriptions for 1860-2007. Could any of these have been his parents?

Maybe, but things just weren’t adding up. Baby Samuel is a “Junior.” Wouldn’t that imply that his father would be Samuel Swartz, Sr.? There are no other Samuels, Senior or otherwise, listed in the cemetery.

Also, although some of the dates could have worked, none of the other Swartz’s were/are buried in the same section of the cemetery as Baby Samuel. Wouldn’t a parent want to be buried near his/her child, if possible? I know, I know; the section could have filled up, the parents could have lived elsewhere… there could be many reasons why a parent might not be buried next to a child.

Still... none of these names seemed right. Call it a gut feeling, but it seemed to me that Baby Samuel was all alone in that cemetery.

So I looked for more online resources. I couldn’t use a census, since Baby Samuel was born and died in 1929: too late for the 1920 census and too early for the 1930 census. The California Death Index was out, since it only contains records for 1940-1997. I tried the database at Vitalsearch, but besides being almost impossible to read, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. [NOTE: For some reason, the Vitalsearch U.S. databases have been offline for several days. Anyone know why?]

A search of the California Birth Index, 1905-1995, revealed a record for a male baby, "Swartz," born June 1, 1929, in the County of San Francisco, mother's maiden name of Neilsen. Could this possibly be Baby Samuel?

After mulling it over for a few days, I decided to try to get Baby Samuel’s death certificate from our local office of the County of Santa Barbara.

California is somewhat paranoid about releasing this sort of information, although it’s not as much of a pain difficult as in some other states. However, not being related to Baby Samuel in any way, I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to obtain even an informational certificate. But I was going to try.

I filled out the paperwork, walked into the County office, and presented my request. The Clerk was a bit surprised that I wanted such an old certificate, and one for a 2 ½ month old baby, at that. At least twice she asked me, “Now, how are you related?” I explained my strange story to her, and told her that I wanted this certificate for genealogical purposes. For some reason, that seemed to satisfy her. I guess I seemed believable enough: a stressed-out mother pushing a toddler in a stroller must not look like an identity thief.

I was told that they would have to see if they could find the certificate, and that they would call me in a few days with the result of the search. Sure enough, a few days later the phone rang, and I was told that the certificate was available.

Dragging my daughter to the County office once again, I paid my fee (which was a bit higher than was stated on the request form), and went home with a few more answers to my questions about Baby Samuel.

Answers and More Questions

First off, Baby Samuel’s cause of death was “acute bronchial pneumonia” with a contributory factor of “Spasmophilia – convulsions” (at least, I think that's correct; the arrows make it a bit confusing). A quick Google search revealed that spasmophilia is “a morbid tendency to convulsions, and to tonic spasms, such as those observed in tetany, infantile spasms, or spasmus nutans.”

Horrible to think of a tiny baby suffering like that. I was not at all sure that I wanted this information, but since I was already involved, I might as well keep going.

According to the death certificate, Baby Samuel’s parents were Sam K. Swartz, born in Pennsylvania, and Ingar Nielson, born in Denmark. The family’s residence was listed as San Francisco. Baby Samuel was born in San Francisco, but had resided at his place of death (Santa Barbara) for 14 days.

Why was the Swartz family in Santa Barbara? Were they on vacation? Visiting relatives? Was Baby Samuel sick before they left San Francisco? Perhaps they came to Santa Barbara seeking medical care?

Great. More questions. I decided to head over to to look for answers.

I ran a search for Sam K. Swartz, born in Pennsylvania. In the 1930 census, I found Sam (age 47) living in San Francisco with wife Ingar A. (age 47), and “daughter” Irene (age 9). Also living in the household was a lodger, a 65-year old widow named Jennie Murphy.

Something immediately struck me as odd: Both Sam and Ingar list their “age at first marriage” as 43. That would mean that they married – roughly – in 1926, and in 1930 they would only have been married for 4 years. Since Irene’s age was given as 9, could she have been a child from a previous marriage? Or perhaps born out of wedlock?

Click to Enlarge

I thought so, at first… until I noticed that Irene was listed as having been born in California, with her father born in Tennessee and her mother in California. If that was true, then either Sam and Ingar were not Irene’s biological parents, or the enumerator goofed.

Upon investigating the California Birth Index, 1905-1995, I found an Irene A. Swartz, born November 29, 1920, in the County of San Francisco. Her mother's maiden name was Neilsen - same as Ingar's. So, it's possible that the enumerator goofed, and Irene was indeed Ingar's daughter (prior to her marriage to Sam), but this wasn't proof. It didn't explain why the 1930 census listed Irene's mother as having been born in California, when one line above, Ingar is listed as born in Denmark. Perhaps Irene was the daughter of a sibling of Ingar's? One who was born in the U.S.?

Coincidentally, Jennie Murphy lists her father as having been born in Tennessee. Could Jennie somehow be related to Irene? Or to the Neilsen family?

For the heck of it, I decided to search for Ingar in the 1920 census. I found a 36-year old Inger Neilsen living in San Francisco with her brother, Andrew C. Neilsen. The age was right, as was the fact that both were from Denmark. Andrew immigrated to the U.S. in 1913, with Inger following in 1917. Both were single, living with lodger Charles Laussen.

Could Andrew have married after the 1920 census was taken, and could he have been Irene's father? Perhaps he died before the 1930 census, and Irene was taken in by Sam and Ingar?

Based on their ages in the 1930 census, Sam and Ingar would have been born in approximately 1883. They couldn’t possibly still be alive, so I began searching for their death dates.

According to the California Death Index, 1940-1997, Sam was born on March 5, 1883, and died on November 18, 1969, in San Francisco. His mother’s maiden name is listed as “Zz” (a typo, maybe?). Ingar is listed as having been born on July 25, 1883, and died on May 27, 1973, also in San Francisco. Her mother’s maiden name is not listed. I also found Sam in the Social Security Death Index, with the same information.

For the record, I found a Sam Swartz in the 1920 Census, living in a house full of “roomers” in San Francisco. The age is right (36), as is the state of birth for Sam and his parents, so it could possibly be the correct Sam. He was working as a “Salesman Commercial.”

A Google search, as well as a search of Find A Grave, did not reveal where Sam and Ingar are buried, nor was I able to find an obituary for either. I can only assume that they’re buried somewhere in San Francisco, but without requesting their death certificates, I will probably never know.

So… now what?

I really don’t know how much further I should pursue this. After all, I’m not related to the Swartz’s, and no one has asked me to trace this family. For my own peace of mind, I felt that I owed it to myself, my daughter, and Baby Samuel to try to get a few answers… which I’ve done.

But despite the answers, I still have some questions:
  • Where are Sam and Ingar buried?

  • What happened to Irene?

  • Are any of the 8 other Swartz’s buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery in some way related?

  • Are there any living relatives in Santa Barbara? Or San Francisco?

  • Why was the family in Santa Barbara, and how did Baby Samuel get sick?
But the biggest question, for me, is:
Why was my daughter drawn to Baby Samuel’s grave in the first place?
I will probably never know the answer to that one.

Samuel K. Swartz, Jr.
Born: June 1, 1929
Died: August 24, 1929

Rest in peace, little lamb.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal



California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. “California Birth Index, 1905-1995.” Database., : 2008.

California Department of Health Services. “California Death Index, 1940-1997.” Database., : 2008.

California. San Francisco County. 1930 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. : 2008. From National Archives microfilm publication T626, roll 203.

California. San Francisco County. 1920 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. : 2008. From National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 138.

California. Santa Barbara County. Death Certificates. Santa Barbara County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor’s Office, Lompoc.

Carmak, Sharon DeBartolo. Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002.

“Samuel K. Swartz, Jr.’s Headstone at Santa Barbara Cemetery.” Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O’Neal, July 19, 2008. Privately held by Elizabeth O’Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara Co., California. 2008.

“Santa Barbara Cemetery, 1860-2007.” Database. Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. : 2008.

United States. Social Security Administration. “Social Security Death Index.” Database., : 2008.

The Games: What Day is This?

Sadly, I've completely lost track of what day we're on.

But I think I can at least track my progress - not that much has changed since my last post, so it should be easy!

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

Tasks completed = 1 (10 citations)

I wound up citing 9 sources for my previous post, The Mystery of Baby Samuel. For good measure, I added 1 more to my database, for a total of 10 citations completed, to date.

3. Organize Your Research!

Tasks completed = 1 (task E)

Yesterday, I needed to scan a photo, so I threw another 19 on the scanner for the heck of it.

4. Write, Write, Write!

Tasks completed = 1 (task C)

I prepared several posts in draft mode and scheduled to publish at a later date.

So... if I'm not mistaken, here is my current medal count:

Category 1: 1 task completed = Bronze Medal
Category 2: 1 task completed = Bronze Medal
Category 3: 1 task completed = Bronze Medal
Category 4: 3 tasks completed = Gold Medal
Category 5: 5 tasks completed = Platinum Medal


About the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Games
Opening Ceremonies (a.k.a. "Who's Playing?")
My Goals for "The Games"

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, August 18, 2008

Changing Your Blogger Password

In my previous article, Don't Be Blog Gone: Tips for Keeping Your Blog Backed-Up and Secure, I alluded to the fact that it's a good idea to change your blog's password periodically, and that I was going to do this myself.

Well, doing this turned out not to be as easy as I thought it would be. I "assumed" (and I've got to quit doing that) that there would be a "change password" link on my Blogger Dashboard. After searching the "Help" feature, I found this:

Please note that Gmail users will not see the option to change their login name [and password]. Only accounts with a non-Gmail address can change this.
It seems that if you've got a Gmail account linked to your Blogger blog, you will have to make the change to your password by logging into your main Google account at Under "Personal Information" you will see the link to change your password, as well as some other items that might need updating.

Be sure to make your new password as "strong" as possible. Avoid using children's names, pets' names, your social security number, or anything that could be easily identifiable with you. For tips on creating strong passwords, see:

Still can't think of a strong password? Try these password generators:

Use these password generators, and not only will a hacker never guess your password, but neither will you!

Protect yourself and your blog. A weak password is like having Barney Fife protect you: he might think nothing gets by him, but we all know better.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Don't Be Blog Gone: Tips for Keeping Your Blog Backed-Up and Secure

We all know the feeling: you turn on your computer and are quickly greeted by the Blue Screen of Death. There's that moment of confusion, which turns to horror, the sinking feeling in your stomach, the nausea, the panic...

It's ugly, and no one wants to experience it ever again. I'm getting the heebies just thinking about it!

In the past few days, I've come across several blogs that were "accidentally" blocked, with blog owners locked out, or else hacked by someone seeking to destroy the work of another blogger. In one case, this was done ON PURPOSE by a rival blogger. Most recently, this happened to fellow genea-blogger, Steve Danko.

We all know the importance of backing up the images, data, and music files on our personal computers. Why is it never discussed that we should also back up our blogs?

I'll tell you why I haven't thought about it before. I "assumed" that this was being done by Blogger. I "assumed" that they had some sort of redundancy built into their server system to prevent the loss of any data. However, it appears that this is just not the case.

Having been a web site designer for over 10 years, I really should have known better. Nobody backs up my web sites but me. Why would I expect anyone else to back up my blogs?

So I did a little investigating and found a few simple ways to keep your blog safely backed up. Since I'm a Blogger user, most of these tips are geared toward other Blogger users. However, there are a few suggestions that can work across platforms.

Back up each post after you make it with Blogger's BlogSend feature.
I compose many of my longer posts in my word processor, but after I copy and paste them into Blogger, I frequently make changes. I'm much too lazy to go back and save these changes into my original word processor file, so I wind up without a back up of my published article. BlogSend will automatically send each of your blog posts to a single email address immediately after you publish. (If I'm not mistaken, WP also offers a similar feature.)

This really is a no-brainer, and you can't go wrong by turning on this feature. The only down-side is that if you go back and edit your post later, BlogSend will not send you a new email. However, if you have the Email This Post feature turned on, you can go to your post and email the republished version to yourself.

Subscribe to your own feed via email.
I "burn" my feed with Feedburner, and I offer their email subscription service on my blogs. I have signed up to receive my own feeds via email, just because I wanted to see what they looked like. Later, I realized that I had a back-up of each blog post. Again, like BlogSend, the down-side is that if you edit your posts later, you won't get an updated email.

Create a single file of all your posts.
If you like taking risks and messing with your HTML code, you're gonna love this one! While Blogger does not offer a download or export feature, they do provide you with a convoluted, super-complicated process by which you can delete your entire template (after you back it up, of course), replace it with come complicated code, and republish your blog as a single file.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like fun to me, either, and I'm pretty comfortable working with HTML. It might be an ok, one-time back-up, but no one in his/her right mind is going to want to do this on a regular basis.

For WordPress users: Il Filosofo has created a plug-in that will automatically back up your blog's database to your email. You'll want to have an extra large email box to use this feature, depending on the size of your blog's database.

Download your site to your computer.
There are a variety of ways to do this. If you FTP your blog, you can use your ftp client to reverse the process and ftp your pages and graphics back to your computer.

Several third-party back-up tools out there are worth trying. HTTrack Website Copier is a free tool for Windows users, which will back up and mirror your entire site. WebGrabber is a similar program for Mac users. There's also a Firefox add-on called DownThemAll which looks similar to the other two. I have not tried any of these yet, but I plan to give HTTrack a try very soon.

Automate it and forget it.
Here's one I really like: BlogBackupOnline will automatically back up your blog every day, and you don't have to lift a finger! Ok, you have to sign up for a free account, but after that, no fingers need lifting. Their "Freemium" account gives you 50 MB of storage, which is roughly the equivalent of 50,000 posts of 1,000 characters each. I'm sure that's more blogging than I could ever do in this lifetime!

If your blog is deleted, or you want to transfer to a different platform, you simply select the "Restore" feature, and your blog will be automatically transferred to the new platform. You can also download a file of your blog to your computer.

The down-side - and yes, there always is one - is that the Freemium account does not back up pictures or videos... a real bummer for most of us. To get this feature, you will have to sign up for a paid account:
BlogBackupOnline is designed to backup and restore your content. This includes posts, comments, categories, and tags.

BlogBackupOnline does not backup user accounts, the database, or posts not publicly available.

BlogBackupOnline can backup pictures and video linked from your blog. This feature is available for paid accounts.
So far, I have not decided that my images are worth the extra cash to upgrade my account, but I may change my mind later.

Don't forget to back up your template.
It's a good idea to periodically back up your template, especially if you have spent time customizing a Blogger (or other) template. In the Blogger Layout view, you can click on "Edit HTML," and select "Download Full Template." If you prefer, you can also copy your entire template code and paste it into a text editor like Notepad or Wordpad (depending on the file size).

If you keep a series of these files by date, you'll have several restore points, should you need them. If you log into your blog one day and find that your template looks nothing like you left it, you would simply copy and paste your template code back into Blogger, and republish. Keep in mind that this only backs up your template, not your posts or images.

Comments count, too!
If you moderate your comments, you already get an email whenever anyone leaves a comment on a post. If you don't moderate comments, you can have Blogger automatically send you an email when a comment is posted. This feature is found under the "Settings" tab; select "Comments" and scroll to the bottom for "Comment Notification Email."

If you use Haloscan - a somewhat cumbersome comments platform - your comments are already backed up. Lucky you!

Send a copy away.
Remember, as an additional safeguard, you will want to save an additional copy of your files to an online back-up service like Mozy or Carbonite, a Yahoo! Briefcase, or even a CD or flash drive that you keep somewhere off site. This way, if disaster should strike your house, it doesn't have to strike your backed-up files, too.

Food for thought.
"How I'd Hack Your Weak Passwords"
"Did Your WordPress Site Get Hacked?"
"9 Easy Ways to Secure Your WordPress Blog"

If you have a suggestion for an additional way to keep blogs backed-up and secure, I would be happy to publish them here or in a follow-up post. Please send to littlebytesoflife (at) gmail (dot) com or leave them in the comments here. Thank you!

I'm off to change my password now!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o, Sweetheart!

"Aloha No Au Ia 'Oe," (Hana, Maui, Hawai'i). August 16, 2003. Digital Image. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara, California, 2008.

Five years ago today, I married my sweetie.

It was a beautiful, Hawaiian summer day. There was a light rain in the morning, which was good. The Hawaiian people consider it to be good luck if it rains on your wedding day.

We were married among a small gathering of family on the porch of a lovely, private plantation house in Hana, Maui.

It was quiet and calm and perfect.

Over the past five years, we've encountered the typical highs and lows of marriage... as well as a few that were unexpected. But we're still together, still strong, still in love, and we've been blessed with a sweet, wonderful daughter.

E hoomau maua kealoha.


Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o = Happy Anniversary.
Aloha No Au Ia 'Oe = I truly love you.
E hoomau maua kealoha = May our love last forever.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 15, 2008

Who Needs Ruby Slippers When You've Got Strawberries?

Watching my 2-year old daughter learn to communicate verbally is a daily reminder for me of just how difficult language acquisition really is. My husband and I have taught her some cutsey words like “num num” for food, and “poopy” for… well, you know. And I call her a variety of nicknames like “Monkey,” “Punkin’ Pie,” and “Peanut” (to which, ironically, she’s allergic). But eventually, we’ll have to teach her the correct words, including her name.

Which reminds me of that old Steve Martin skit in which he suggests that parents teach their children all the wrong words for stuff. On the first day of school, the kid will ask his teacher something like, “May I mambo dogface in the banana patch?”

I was a child of the '70s and '80s, and was greatly influenced by "Valspeak," the language of the southern California "Valley Girls" (or Vals, for short). It wasn't unusual to hear me say, "Like, oh my God!" or "I'm sooo shure," as I flipped my hair (with wings, of course). Lots of things were (and still are) "totally bogus," "rad," or "bitchin'." I liked "dudes," "hunks," and even some "nerds," but never "dweebs" or "dorks."

I'm sure that my parents were, like, totally thrilled by my language.

I really don't remember the rest of my family using many words or phrases that were known just to us. But here are a few that I do remember:

“Haste makes waste every time."
My mother would say this when she was getting ready to go somewhere. I assumed it meant that rushing around at the last minute caused her to make mistakes and be late (which she always was).

“I have the poorlies.”
My grandmother would say this when she was feeling ill. When she was extra tired, she would say that “her get up and go got up and went.”

“The Whittakers”
Apparently, there was a family my grandparents knew who either had a lot of junk in their yard or drove around with it on their car. Every time we saw a house with a junky yard or a car piled high with everything they owned (like "The Beverly Hillbillies"), my father would say, “Look, there’s the Whittakers!” I never did find out who the Wittakers were, but their name was synonymous with a whole lotta junk. Whoever they were, I do hope they eventually resolved their storage issue.

Not Your “Auntie Blattablatt”
When we were kids, my cousin – who is like a sister to me – was unable to say my name, and instead called me “Blatablatt.” To this day, she still calls me this and has taught her kids to call me “Auntie Blatablatt.” She finds this to be hilarious. I find it annoying. I’m thinking of a name for her right now that also begins with a “B”… but this is a family blog, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The “Strawberry Slippers”
You know how kids – especially 'tweens and teens – like their privacy. If anybody walked in the room when cuz and I were talking on the phone about something “private,” we would immediately bring up “those red, strawberry slippers.” I think the origin of this phrase started one day when she was actually wearing a pair of red slippers with strawberries on them, but I can't quite remember. Whatever the origin, the strawberry slippers became code for “somebody’s listening!” We got a lot of use out of it when we were kids, but we also find it handy today when one of our kids – or husbands – walks in the room while we’re talking. (Hopefully they’re not reading this now, or we’ll have to find another code phrase!)

Just For Fun ~ A Few California-isms:

We call our major roads "freeways," not highways or motorways, and we refer to them by number. "Take the 101 to the 405 to the 73..."

We refer to the length of a trip in time, rather than in miles. "How far is it to Santa Barbara?" "Oh about an hour. An hour and a half when there's traffic."

We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Never supper.

Women carry a "purse" or a "handbag." Not a "pocketbook."

We go to "El lay (L.A. - Los Angeles)," "Ess Eff (S.F. - San Francisco)," and even "Slow (SLO - San Luis Obispo)." But not once in my life have I called it "The O.C. (Orange County)" And I grew up there. Must not have been "a native" (someone born in Calfornia) who came up with that one.

So, I'm gonna, like, go veg out now, you know? Whatever!


Written for the 54th Edition, Carnival of Genealogy: The Family Language.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Games - Days 4 and 5

After finally resolving my problems with FrontPage (such a ridiculously stupid fix), and making the web site edits I needed to do (some of them), I was able to get a few more tasks accomplished:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

Tasks completed = 66% of the requirements for a bronze medal (6 of 10 sources)

As I was "sourcing" an article I've been researching and writing for several days, I realized that after about 20 years of genealogy research, I still have no idea how to write a proper source citation! Thank goodnes I had recently received my brand-new copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace!

I spent most of Tuesday evening brushing up on my "sourcing" skills, and Wednesday night I was able to properly cite 6 sources for my article. I still need to come up with 4 in order to qualify for the bronze, but I'm sure that won't be a problem, since we still have over a week to go.

4. Write, Write, Write!

Tasks completed = 1 (task E)

I have volunteered to host the November Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy for Jessica at Jessica's Genejournal. So get ready, folks! Don't make me nag you. You know I'm good at it, being a toddler-mommy and all. And sorry, no, I don't know the topic yet, so I can't give you a head start. ;-)

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Tasks completed = 1 (task F)

I have applied for membership in the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

I'm also working on an application for membership in the Orkney Family History Society (at my father's urging), although I'm still trying to figure out how to pay the membership fee. Is that pounds? Euros? I thought VISA was accepted everywhere??

Oh, and I've got that application for the Daughters of 1812 still sitting on my desktop. So many lineage societies, so little time...


So let me put my not-so-great math skills to work here and figure out my totals. As Winnie the Pooh says, "Think, think, think!"

Category 1: 66% of one task completed = 2/3 of a Bronze Medal
Category 2: 1 task completed = Bronze Medal
Category 3: 0 tasks completed = rotten egg
Category 4: 2 tasks completed = Silver Medal
Category 5: 5 tasks completed = Platinum Medal

My Goals for "The Games"

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

4th Edition of "Smile For The Camera" is Posted

The 4th Edition of Smile for the Camera ~ A Carnival of Images has been posted at Shades of the Departed.

A record 40 participants shared their very favorite, to-die-for photos... although some had an interesting take on just selecting ONE photo (Colleen!)!

My entry is here: Worth More Than 1,000 Words, a photo of my beautiful, sleeping angel when she was 2 weeks old.

Please drop by footnoteMaven's to check out these terrific posts!

Oh, and while you're there, you'll want to read up on the requirements for submissions for the 5th Edition, "A Crowning Glory." Pull out those crazy hair, hat, and headgear photos, and have them ready for submission by September 10th, 2008.

Hmmm... a photo of my mother's 60's beehive is coming to mind now...


"Aces" graphic courtesy of footnoteMaven.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: First Trip to the Beach

"Beach Baby in Pink," (Jalama Beach, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, August 7, 2008.

"Getting My Feet Wet," (Jalama Beach, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, August 7, 2008.

"Enjoying the View," (Jalama Beach, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, August 7, 2008.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Little Bytes of Life" Selected by Alltop? Seriously?

Alltop. I don't know how I got there either.

For the past week or so, I've noticed in my SiteMeter stats that a some visitors were coming to Little Bytes of Life not via the traditional route: by Googling "Blackthorn walking stick," "favorite Slovak dish," "momsense," "ankleversary" (weird), or by accidentally stumbling across it from a link on another blog.

A few visitors were coming over from a site called Alltop.

I had visited Alltop before. One of my Twitter buddies announced a few months ago - very excitedly - that her site had been selected as one of Alltop's top military sites. I could see why she was excited: some really terrific and eclectic sites were (are) listed on Alltop.

Here's how Alltop describes itself:

You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points—they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In other words, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation” by providing “aggregation without aggravation.”
I'm all for less aggravation.

Yesterday, footnoteMaven announced that Alltop has recently added a category for genealogy. I am so honored to say that Little Bytes of Life has been included as one of the top sites for genealogy.

My first reaction was - and still is - "Seriously? Should someone go back and check his math?"

But I think I'll just accept the compliment and say THANK YOU.

Thanks to footnoteMaven for the heads-up, and to Alltop for considering my little blog worthy of inclusion... although I still think they should check their math.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

The Games - Day 3: The Agony

On Sunday morning, I sat down to make what should have been a quick fix to a web site I authored/maintain. At most, it should have taken me 5 minutes to finish because I had already done the work, and all I needed to do was upload the page. Maybe 2 minutes.

I opened my web authoring software (FrontPage 2003, for those of you who need a good laugh), checked the page, and then closed the page. At that point, for reasons still unknown to me, everything started going wonky.

I can now no longer open the folder containing an entire section of this web site - the largest section that I work on most often, of course. When I try to open the folder, FP just hangs, saying it's "retrieving folder contents," and then it returns an error message saying FP is busy. On rare occasions it will open the folder, but then it will hang again when I try to open a file.

So what does this have to do with the Games? I'll tell you.

I spent yesterday on my computer, creating restore points, uninstalling FrontPage, reinstalling FrontPage, rebooting, reinstalling my entire Office package that was inadvertantly removed along with FrontPage, rebooting, trying to restore (3 times) and being told that nothing had changed (huh?), rebooting each time, cursing MicroSoft, cursing Symantek for causing my computer to take 30 minutes to reboot (thanks to Norton Internet Security), soothing a cranky toddler who was being ignored by Mommy, testing FP and finding that NONE of this helped... AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

You get the picture. Many hours were wasted. Tears were not involved, but a lot of R-rated language was.

What's the status now? I put a temporary patch on the problem and then gave up. Sometimes a little time and space away from a problem will help me solve it. Adult beverages also help (but none were consumed).

Any suggestions from you web gurus out there? I'm considering an upgrade to Expression Web (since FP is no longer supported by MicroSoft)... would that help? (And while I would LOVE to switch to Dreamweaver, I simply can't afford it. I don't earn any money doing volunteer work, and I don't think my husband will approve the expense.)

So, back to the games. Here's what I accomplished - in the midst of my software nightmare - yesterday:

4. Write, Write, Write!

Tasks completed = 1/2? 1/3? (task C)

Last night, I spent some time writing up an article that I had been researching for a couple of weeks. I still have some polishing to do before I schedule it to publish.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Tasks completed = 1 (task E)

For about the past 4+ years, the DAR has been busy digitizing and indexing member applications and "supplementals" (subsequent applications for different ancestors submitted after one becomes a DAR member). The purpose of the Descendant's Project is that the DAR genealogists can have this information available at their fingertips rather than have to dig through files of old applications (which they used to do). Some of this information is now available to DAR members in a special research section of the DAR web site.

I have already entered about 150+ applications over the past few years (and have earned my pin!) but have been on a hiatus for a while. Each participant is asked to enter a set of 10 applications in 10 days, roughly 1 per day. Depending on one's typing speed and the clarity of the digitized image, it can take anywhere from 15 min. to 1 hour per application. Not a lot to ask, especially when the work can be done from home in your pajamas!

If any of you DAR members out there are interested in participating in this terrific project, and you don't know who to contact to get involved, please let me know. More help is always needed!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, August 10, 2008

GeneaBlogger Games: Days 1 and 2


Sadly, Day 1 was a bust for me. I was mostly out of commission due to pulling a few muscles in my back and shoulder on Thursday. I spent the majority of Saturday flat on my back on a heating pad.

In between muscle relaxants and sleep, I thought about participating. That should count for something, right?


Day 2 was slow getting out of the gate, but I finally did get going. Here are my stats for Day 2:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources

Tasks completed = 0.

Admittedly, not my favorite area of participation. My brand-new copy of Evidence Explained is sitting on the floor next to my bed just begging to have its spine cracked. Maybe tomorrow.

2. Back Up Your Data

Tasks completed = 1 (task C)

I spent most of the afternoon backing up files onto my two external drives.

My poor, ailing laptop is in desperate need of a trip to the spa, the main reason being that it overheats to the point of causing 2nd degree burns on your legs, and the cheap, plastic casing around the monitor has split down the side, and monitor guts are spilling out. So my purpose in getting everything backed up isn't just for genealogy or the GB Games; I've got to get this baby out the door before the warranty expires!

Additionally, I have an account with Mozy, the online back-up service, but I have never been successful in getting my initial back-up finished. The main reason is that it's a mind-numbingly slow process, and if I let my computer run for the 2.5 weeks that Mozy estimates it will take to complete the back-up, my computer will probably melt into a puddle of metal and plastic. But I'm working on it.

Tomorrow I plan to purchase a box of DVDs so I can make recovery disks.

3. Organize Your Research

Tasks completed = 0

Prior to backing up, I moved, deleted, and organized quite a few files between 3 different hard drives. Unfortunately, none of this falls into any of the categories for this event.

4. Write, Write, Write

Tasks completed = 1 (task B)

I submitted an entry for the 4th Edition, Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images blog carnival.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness

Tasks completed = 3 (tasks A, B, and C)

I left a comment on Melody's The Research Journal, a blog that I stumbled across today.

I also joined the Facebook blog networks of I Dream of Genea(logy), Forensic Genealogy Blog, iPentimento, Shades of the Departed, and DNA - Genealem's Genetic Genealogy.

Finally, I invited two genealogist friends of mine to join Facebook. They haven't taken me up on the invitation - yet. Do they actually have to sign up in order for me to qualify in this event? Perhaps I need to be more pushy?

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Worth More than 1,000 Words

"My Sleeping Angel," (Lompoc, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, June 14, 2006.

If my house was on fire, and I could only save one photograph, this would be the one for which I would risk life and limb to resuce.

My beautiful daughter was exactly 2 weeks old, and she was tuckered out from taking her very first bath. I needed a photo for her birth announcements and thought this the perfect time to try to snap some shots. After a little image editing, the above photo was the end result.

This photo has become so special and personal to me that I was, at first, reluctant to share it in this forum. I haven't yet talked about my struggle with infertility here on my blog, but I suppose that I will someday since I know there are many women out there who suffer with the same condition that I do.

But for now, suffice it to say that it was very difficult for me to get - and stay - pregnant, and seeing our daughter born perfect and healthy was nothing short of a miracle to us.

She's two years old now... but she'll always be the sweet angel in this picture to me.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the Games Begin (Playgroup Not Required)!

Call me crazy, but I've decided to participate in the Facebook Genea-Blogger Group Games.

Crazy because I've got a busy toddler to care for, a household to run, too many volunteer projects in progress... and I'm barely keeping my head above water! But since my husband and I have been discussing the possibility of me pursuing certification as a genealogist - something I've wanted to do for about a decade - this event seems like good practice.

It will be an extra-busy couple of weeks, but I'm going to give it a go!

These are the categories in which I plan to participate:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! We all know how important our research is - but it is only worth the evidence that supports it! Have you ever looked at an entry in your database and wondered, "Where did that come from?" or "How can that be?" All events can and should be backed up by linking them to sources and evidence using a consistent and clear citation format.

I'm usually pretty good about doing this because I've wasted a lot of time in the not-so-distant past wondering "where did I get that information?" I try to always make a note whenever I add something new. However, I did get GEDCOMS from other family members that were annotated in the "old" PAF-way, and I need to go back and bring them up-to-date. Plus, I have several documents in a PILE on my desk that I've refused to file until I get a chance to properly enter them in my database. This is as good a time as any, I suppose.

2. Back Up Your Data! Backup data to choice of formats (flash drives, CDs, DVDs, online) or storing hard copies properly (safety deposit box, safe, etc.).

A. Prepare a comprehensive backup plan for your digital research files and a security plan for your hard copies and photos

B. Secure your hard copies and photos in waterproof containers

C. Backup all your data using a flash drive, an external drive, CDs, DVDs, or an online resource

D. Have all your hard copies and photos scanned and secure them either in a fire-proof safe or offsite in a safety-deposit box/secure environment

E. All your data is backed up digitally and secured physically and you can recover from any disaster while losing only one month or less worth of research
I bought a box of gold CD's on which I had planned to back up my digital photographs. This worked well until I got to the batch of photos taken with our 10.1 MP Canon 40D DSLR Camera. The CD's filled up much too quickly, so I do need to order a box or two of gold DVDs. They're not cheap, but I think our family photos are worth it.

I also still have TONS of photos to scan (mine, and others I've collected), none of which are being properly stored. Shame on me, I know.

I am pretty good about backing up, though. I have 2 external drives, one of which I use for backing up all my new data at least once a week. I have an account at Mozy, but have not had the 2-3 weeks to let my computer run (and possibly burn itself up) while backing up. But... as I've seen from watching my husband's computers fail time after time... you can never back up TOO MUCH.

3. Organize Your Research! So you have plenty of research - that's okay if you can find what you need when you need it, right? Take time to review your collection of documents and photos, both hard copy and digital, and work to organize those items for easy access.

A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc.; archival-quality where appropriate.

B. Organize at least 20 digital files into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.

C. Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, scrapbooks, collages, protective holders, boxes, etc.

D. Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.

E. Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents.

F. Create a master list of your files and notify your family members of where it is stored.
Again, I'm reasonably well-organized, research-wise... except for my photos. Since we got the Canon, the software that automatically downloads our photos does a nice job organizing, so I've gone to that system will my other cameras. Past downloads are still a mess, though. And don't even get me started on the hard copies. All I can say is: I'll try.

4. Write, Write, Write! Do you find birth dates, death dates and all the data boring if there's no narrative behind it? Don't you find the stories about ancestors more attractive than cut and dried census data? It takes time to be able to write about your family history and the more you write and the more often you write, the easier it is to bring your family to life for others to see.

A. Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog – you may not have done this since you started the blog and it is a great way to have new readers learn more about your site.

B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival. See the AnceStories post "August Is..." for a list of these carnivals and their submission URLs and deadlines.

C. Prepare several posts in draft mode (if possible with your blog platform) and pre-publish.

D. Write a brief biographical sketch on one of your ancestors.

E. Sign up to host a future carnival.
I've been meaning to update my blog for a long time, so now I have a good reason to git 'er done. I do plan to participate in one or two carnivals, but I'm not sure about hosting one - I have enough trouble finding time just to participate. And pre-posting... we'll see.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog.

B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks.

C. Invite other genealogists to join Facebook.

D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. See AnceStories "Random Acts of Kindness Week" posts for ideas for this item and Item E.

E. Participate in an indexing project.

F. Join a genealogical, historical,heritage or lineage society.
This will probably be the easiest category for me because I've already got a few irons in the fire. I'm a "dormant" member of a DAR indexing project, so this will be a good excuse to "reactivate." I'm also working on applications for a couple of lineage societies, as well as a local historical society and a genealogical society. And I've got a couple of "Random Acts" in the works. So I'm hoping to be inspired - and make the time - to get these projects going!

Now... if there was only a category for Toddler Wrangling... I'd be a shoo-in!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal


Thanks to footnoteMaven for the lovely 2008 Games graphic.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

DAR Announces Genealogy Workshop

Members of the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will be holding a Genealogy Workshop on Sunday, August 10, 2008, at 2:00 p.m., in Santa Maria.

If you are a prospective member and have questions about the DAR in general, and specifically about the paperwork you will need to fill out in order to join the organization, this would be a great time to come say hello and "get your feet wet!"

To RSVP, or for more information, please contact the Captain Henry Sweetser Chapter DAR.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Last One... Oh, Never Mind

It's getting pretty stinky around here, me being that rotten egg and all.

I also missed the 53rd Edition, Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by the incomparable Jasia at Creative Gene.

If I get my act together, I hope to participate in the 54th Edition:

The topic for the next edition of the COG is, The Family Language...Does your family use words and phrases that no one else knows or understands? Where did they come from? Did you ever try to explain your "family language" to outsiders? Tell a story about your family-coined words, phrases, or nicknames. This topic was chosen by Donna Pointkouski who will be hosting the next edition of the COG at What's Past is Prologue. Thanks Donna! The deadline for submissions is August 15th.
My family definitely had its own language. But since this is a "family" blog, I probably can't repeat some of it here!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Last One to the Genea-Blogger Picnic is a Rotten Egg!

And that would be me.

That's right: the Genea-Bloggers held a picnic, and I missed it.

It's hard to be on time for stuff when you travel with a toddler. How one small person needs so much stuff still boggles my mind.

But YOU won't want to miss it. Grab your picnic blanket and basket and head out to Bill's place, West in New England, for a wonderful time!

Do watch out for those wheelbarrow races.


PHOTO SOURCE: Photo of George D. Dagle and Unknown Man. Undated photo. Original image in possession of Elizabeth O'Neal.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wordless Wednesday: Note to Family - Bury Me HERE

"Ocean View Eternity" (Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, July 19, 2008.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal


I was tagged twice with the Blogging BFF Award, and I didn't even realize it until today!

I'll offer up the excuse that I truly thought my head was going to explode last week. I had a killer migraine that lasted 4 - that's right, FOUR - days. Apparently, the prescription medication I have is no better than Excedrin Migraine, so it's back to the doctor for me to get something stronger!

But I do want to properly thank the ladies who tagged me:

First was Amy Crow of Amy's Genealogy Blog. I found Amy's blog through the Facebook Genea-Blogger's Group, and her blog is such a treat! If you like cemeteries, you'll love Amy's Tombstone Tuesday feature, in which she highlights some beautiful and unusual finds from the cemeteries she visits. Amy also participates in the unusual hobby of Waymarking - I think I'm going to have to brush off my TomTom and give it a try!

Today on Facebook, I discovered that Virginia Travis of Valeehill Genealogy Blog was also sweet enough to tag me. Virginia is one of my Twitter buddies, and I enjoy reading her updates about her daughter, her dog Lizzie, interesting weather events, and her current merging project on Geni. I have no idea how Virginia gets so much accomplished during the day when I'm lucky if I find the time to take a shower!

So, now it's my turn to pass on the award, and here are the rules:

Only five people are allowed to receive the award.
Four of them must be followers of your blog.
One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
You must link back to whoever gave you the award.

It was certainly difficult to pick only five, since there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who I count among my Blogger BFF's, but rules are rules. Plus, it was a challenge to try to find bloggers who hadn't already been tagged. But, here goes:

I had the pleasure of meeting Craig and Steve at the SCGS Jamboree back in June, and two nicer people you couldn't meet!

Katherine and Cindy are a couple of my DAR buddies. I've known Katherine for several years - we used to Page together, back when I was young enough to do so (I feel so old now). I (virtually) met Cindy though another DAR connection, and she is one of those people you meet and wonder if you were separated at birth because you have so much in common!

I found Julie through the Facebook Blog Networks - thank you for stopping by, Julie!

And thank you to all of you who stop by my little blog. When I first started blogging, I had no idea that anyone, including my own family, would ever read it. I just needed a "grown-up" outlet where I could use words other than "num num" and "poopy" during the day. I never dreamed that I would wind up in such a terrific community of bloggers who never fail to inspire and motivate me!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O'Neal