Sunday, October 31, 2010

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: November 2010

"Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain."
~Alexander Pope

Thursday, November 4
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Junel Davidsen - "Courthouse Records in Cyberspace"

Saturday, November 6
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 - 1:00 PM - Research Class: "Soundex with Fewer False Hits" - Dr. Steve Morse
1:15 - 1:45 PM - Social time, book and drawing sales, snacks, coffee and tea
1:45 PM – Main Room - "From DNA to Genetic Genealogy: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask" - Dr. Steve Morse

Monday, November 8
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County
7:00 - 9:00 PM
"An Introduction to Polish-Jewish Genealogical Research," Warren Blatt, Managing Director, JewishGen
"Preserving Heirlooms for Future Generations," Phoebe Frank, JGSCV founding member.

Tuesday, November 9
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
CIG Members - Holiday Potluck; Sharing Session and Planning for 2011

Tuesday, November 16
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:45 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
Topic TBA

Saturday, November 20
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
9:30 AM - Special Interest Groups
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Cheryl Storton - "Embracing Your Feminine Side," A Case Study Combining Traditional Sources and mtDNA Testing

Saturday, November 20
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Gena Philibert Ortega - "I Love Libraries!: Using the Library for your Genealogy"

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Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar series.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SNGF: Your Hallowe'en Personality

Since I'm stuck at home with a cold and a sick daughter today, I had a chance to participate in "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun," hosted by Randy Seaver.

1) Go take the Hallowe'en Personality quiz at

2) Post it on your own blog, as a comment on this blog, or on your Facebook page.

3) Tell us if this is "right on" or not. Have fun with it!
You See Halloween as Fun

The scariest thing on Halloween is you! You definitely don't want any kids in costumes crossing your path - and you're willing to scare away any who do.

You definitely think of yourself as someone who has a dark side. And part of having that dark side means not showing it.

Your inner child is creative, patient, and whimsical.

You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.

You're logical, rational, and not easily effected. Not a lot scares you... especially when it comes to the paranormal.

You are a traditionalist with most aspects of your life. You like your Halloween costume to be basic, well made, and conventional enough to wear another year.

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I suppose this is pretty close to being right on, except that I'm not sure how one can "truly fear the dark side of humanity," and be "logical, rational, and not easily effected [sic]... not a lot scares you," at the same time. I don't consider myself a "misanthrope," although I have been called a cynic more than once.

And yes, I am a Halloween "traditionalist," and that applies to other aspects of my life, as well. Unfortunately, I usually spill something on my costume, which prevents me from wearing it again. Thank goodness my inner child likes to shop.

Thanks for the fun, Randy! Now... what's YOUR Hallowe'en Personality?

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, October 29, 2010

Best Bytes for the Week of October 29, 2010

First, I want to wish Jasia of Creative Gene a most happy 5th blogaversary! That's a long, long time in blogging years! If you haven't already done so, please be sure to read Creative Gene, 5 Years of Making My Way in the Genealogy Blogging Community, and make your pledge to participate in the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. Many thanks to Jasia for her support, encouragement, and for bringing the genealogy blogging community together way back in the day. P.S. Love the new look!

Around the Web:

Revolutionary War soldier first to be honored in Jackson County (MS) - His name was Matthew Carter, and he was a former soldier and North Carolinian who in 1811 trekked west with his family and settled on 640 acres in north Jackson County near Wade. Was he your ancestor?

I just this was a sweet story: Genealogy Gems: Attitude of Gratitude. Just goes to show you that we don't always know everything about our ancestors, even the ones we knew in person.

Are you a descendant of Louis XVI? Bloody Gourd May Contain Beheaded King’s DNA.

What we've all secretly feared is coming true: Audit shows records at National Archives at risk.

Need a job in the Portland, Maine area? LibraryThing is hiring: Are you bookish and social-media savvy?

If you live anywhere in or near the Florida Panhandle, you'll want to get your tickets for this one: Genealogy author, lecturer Elizabeth Mills coming to Pensacola. She will not be giving seminars on the proper placement of semicolons, but she may take your questions.

From the Blogs:

Bill West posted some lovely photos of autumn in New England in A THURSDAY ROADTRIP TO WORLD'S END. I was half expecting to see Captain Jack Sparrow in there somewhere... but that just goes to show you where my mind is (I keep reading "AT World's End").

Carolyn L. Barkley gives some great information for those researching the War of 1812 in The War of 1812 – Get Ready to Celebrate at

I loved Donna Pointkouski's Genealogical Smackdown: Colonials vs Immigrants, but I'll have to side with both camps on this one. And who is that cute baby, anyway?

Marian Pierre-Louis has some interesting points in The genealogy WORLD is on Twitter. Is it easier to make "international" friends on Twitter than on Facebook? Tell Marian what you think.

Have you been toying with the idea of buying an eReader? Me too. Valerie Craft reminds us that eReaders are for more than just reading books in My Family on My Kindle.

Got railroad ancestors? If so, don't miss Gena Ortega's Weekly Tip: Working on the Railroad on the Family History Expos blog.

If it's Hungarian research you're into, you'll want to read Nick Gombash's Best Hungarian Websites.

Leah, of The Internet Genealogist, has issued a challenge to the genealogy blogging community in Commons Photo Challenge.

Two posts by two different bloggers pointed out the value in not just researching your own, direct-line ancestors. Cheryl Rothwell reminds us of the importance of those genealogical "clusters" in Everyone May be Someone. And Renate found a beautiful, intriguing photo of... well, Somebody's Ancestor, in a Cracker Barrel restaurant, and is determined to find out who she is! You go, girl!

The AOTUS details some important changes coming to the National Archives in Open to Change. Are you in?

Don't forget: Scanfest is Coming this weekend!

Science, Technology, and Social Media:

For those of you who still think Twitter is silly, check out White House Press Secretary Fields 'First Question' From Twitter. Got a question? Go straight to the top with Twitter.

Seems those cave men might have been smarter than we thought - Stone Agers Sharpened Skills 55,000 Years Earlier Than Thought.

Could the Japanese really have invaded Alaska as a possible route to Canada and the United States during WWII? Find out in This Day in Tech - Oct. 29, 1942: Alaska Highway Built as Hedge Against Invasion. (And I now know where Dawson's Creek really is.)

He broke my heart when he got married, but he's still one of my favs: Oct. 28, 1955: Gates Open for Tech Titan. Happy birthday, Bill.

Haven't tried Dropbox yet? You're really missing out. DearMYRTLE gives an excellent explanation of what it's all about in OK - More about Dropbox. I couldn't have said it better myself... except that you should sign up HERE instead of DearMYRTLE's link (sorry MYRTLE, couldn't resist!). ;-)

While not directly related to genealogy, you can make yourself (and your family) a part of history by sending your name to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011. I've done several of these "send your name to [some place in space]" events over the years, and have collected the cool certificates for my daughter's scrapbook. I'm married to a rocket scientist, so this sort of thing passes for fun in my household.

The Last Byte:

"Green" funerals and burials are becoming more and more popular these days, offering environmentally-friendly burials for humans and pets. The cremated remains are buried, and instead of a traditional headstone the deceased receives a memorial tree. Companies like The Green Funeral will mark the tree's GPS, and include a QR code containing a person's epitaph, life story, photos, family tree, etc.

Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have nothing against cremation or the concept of "green burials," but as a genealogist, I'm rather attached to the idea of a headstone. Perhaps I'm just too old school on this. How do YOU feel about "green" funerals or burials?

(Hat tip to LaDonna G. on the APG Members' List for bringing up this interesting topic!)

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To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items, please visit my Google Profile. Do you share? Please let me know, if you do.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of others, such as Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, and Megan Smolenyak. So much to read out there, and so little time!

UPDATE: I found out yesterday that Greta Koehl is still doing a scaled down version of her Follow Friday/Friday Newsletter, so be sure to check out her picks, too.

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

Upcoming Event: Halloween Walking Tour of the Santa Barbara Cemetery

Resignation by Ettore Cadorin (Petry)
"It's Halloween and Dia de los Muertos and All Souls. The veil between the worlds thins, and its time once again, to recall, to visit, to glide through, the Santa Barbara Cemetery."

David Petry, author of the book The Best Last Place: A History of the Santa Barbara Cemetery,will be your guide through this fascinating place in Santa Barbara history.

Saturday, October 30, 2010, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
~ or ~
Sunday, October 31, 2010, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Read the rest of the story at The Graveyard Rabbit of the California Central Coast.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: "I Don't Think So, Mommy."

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"I Don't Think So, Mommy." Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, October 31, 2007, Santa Barbara Co., California.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Local Quilt Events to be Held This Weekend

Quilt from a previous display at the Museum.
If you're a local Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo County area quilter, you might be interested in the following events being held this weekend.

Contemporary Quilt Show
In conjunction with the Museum’s current exhibit "Quilting Through the Ages"

3-day event:
Friday, October 29, 12 noon–5 pm
Saturday, October 30, 10 am–4 pm**
Sunday, October 31, 11 am–4 pm
** Special Reception on Saturday, October 30 from 11 am–2 pm

To compliment its historic quilt exhibit "Quilting Through the Ages" that runs through the end of October and to acknowledge the fine works of today's "modern" quilters the Museum is presenting a special three-day display of contemporary quilts created by local Santa Ynez Valley residents.

Everyone is invited to come view the unique and creative quilts, visit with the exhibitors and check out the "car cozy", a one-of-a-kind quilt that was handmade especially to cover a car. For quilters there will be "fat quarters" of fabric for sale at the exhibit as well.

The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum is located at 3596 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez. For directions and more information, please visit their web site.

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If you like aprons, and feel the need to "tie one on" this weekend, you won't want to miss this one.

The Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara and Goleta has arranged for noted apron author, exhibitor, and designer, EllynAnne Geisel, to spend two days sharing her life-changing apron journey and talking about the apron's historical odyssey and the people, the aprons. and the stories she has collected along the way. She will present an evening program and four workshops on Friday, October 29, and Saturday, October 30.

EllynAnne curated and wrote Apron Chronicles, a traveling exhibit managed by The Women's Museum in Dallas. She is the author of the award-winning The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort,now in its sixth printing; a companion little gift book, Apronisms: Pocket Wisdom for Every Day,and a third book, The Kitchen Linens Book: Using, Sharing, and Cherishing the Fabrics of Our Daily Lives.She also creates vintage designs for her company, Apron Memories®. Her aprons have been featured in Vogue and worn by desperate housewife Bree Van DeKamp. She has been featured on CBS News Sunday Morning, and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

For more about EllynAnne and her apron journey, visit

More information about workshop times and tickets here.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, October 25, 2010

Alliance for American Quilts "New From Old" Auction

Genealogy and quilting seem to go hand-in-hand, so I wanted to share the following press release that I received this morning.

"New from Old" Auction Begins Tonight on eBay!

Don't miss our biggest annual fundraiser--an eBay auction of 16" x 16" quilts. Week one begins Monday, Oct. 25 at 9 pm Eastern. View all the quilts and bidding info here.

"New from Old" contest quilts--118 in all--will be auctioned this year in four 1-week groups, running through December 6. Please note: if you search anytime before or after the auction dates/times on, the quilts will not be viewable. See all of the auction dates here.

All quilts start at $50 and most will sell for under $100. Don't miss this chance to invest in a beautiful quilt and an important organization. The AAQ uses funds from the annual auction to coordinate projects that document, preserve and share the rich history of quilts and quiltmakers.

Please direct your questions and inquiries to or visit the Alliance for American Quilts.

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This is not related to the above article, but if you enjoy quilting, genealogy, and how the two go together, you should really check out Genea-Quilters. Contact one of the contributors on that site if you have a quilt story or something to share.

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Alliance for American Quilts, and did not/will not receive compensation for publishing this information. I receive their email newsletter and I like quilts. Period.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Surname Saturday: THOMPSON (TN)

Eliza Jane THOMPSON was born on December 26, 1825, in Greene Co., TN. She married William H. SWATZEL on August 15, 1845, also in Greene Co., TN, and they had 11 children together. Eliza died in 1863 (I think), and is buried in Hardin's Chapel Cemetery in Greeneville, TN.

Eliza's parents were Absolum Bartley THOMPSON and Sarah DODD. Absolum was born on January 17, 1805, and died on June 30, 1885, in Greene Co., TN. Sarah was born on June 10, 1810 in Greene Co, TN, and died March 31, 1889. Both are supposedly buried in Jackson Cemetery, Washington Co., TN.

Absolum and Sarah married on April 6, 1826 in Greene Co., TN. They had 14 children together, of which Eliza was the eldest.
  • Thomas Monroe - b: 10 Sep 1828 in Washington Co., TN.
  • Martha - b: 09 Mar 1831 in Greene Co., TN, d: 25 Mar 1893 in TN, M: to Barnet Babb 30 Dec 1847 in Greene Co., TN.
  • Manorca - B: 18 Nov 1834 in Washington Co., TN, D: 28 Sep 1844.
  • Bartley Rutherford - B: 06 Jun 1837 in Washington Co., TN, D: 21 Jan 1927.
  • Emiline - B: 24 Aug 1839 in Washington Co., TN, D: 27 Sep 1844.
  • Sarah - B: 09 Jul 1841 in Washington, TN, D: 27 Sep 1844.
  • Absolum - B: 11 Aug 1843 in Washington Co., TN, D: 13 Dec 1860.
  • George Riston - B: 17 Aug 1848 in Washington Co., TN, D: 1860.
  • Catherine - B: 16 Sep 1848 in Greene Co., TN.
  • William Richard - B: 02 Mar 1850 in Washington Co., TN.
  • Winfield Scott - B: 15 Jul 1853 in Washington Co., TN, D: 1924.
  • Lucy - B: 19 Sep 1856 in Washington Co., TN.
  • Hannah - B: 17 Dec 1858 in Washington Co, TN.
Absolum's parents were James T. THOMPSON and Mary REES. I have little information on these two, except that James was supposedly born before 1770, and Mary is supposed to have died after 1790. I know of no other children besides Absolum.

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If you think you might have information about this family, please feel free to leave me a comment below, or click on the pink "contact" button over to your left. I am happy to provide source information upon request.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, October 22, 2010

Best Bytes for the Week of October 22, 2010

Happy 4th Anniversary to our friends at GenealogyBank! I seriously love this site. Nothing like a story about how your great-great grandfather got drunk and nearly froze to death in the snow to really bring your ancestors to life!

Here are a few posts that I enjoyed this week:


A Letter to Linda from FamilyStories. I'll be scheduling my mammogram first thing on Monday morning.

Madame Blavatsky and the East River Ghost from The Virtual Dime Museum. Who doesn't like a good ghost story, especially at Halloween?

If you missed any of the extremely cool articles from The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian, you can catch up with a little Link Love.

Mary Mettler, member of the California Genealogical Society, would like some help with her Uncooperative Ancestor (who wouldn't?). Anyone out there have some clues about Oren PARKER?

Barbara Poole's Top Ten -- Hints from Life From The Roots. I did not know that about spinsters.

Two posts I enjoyed from Randy Seaver included Ancestry Labs and Person View - a first look! and Source Citation Mangling through GEDCOMs - Post 1. I can mangle sources all by myself, thank you very much; I don't need help from a GEDCOM.

Social Media and Technology

A World of Tweets from The Twitter Blog - It's fascinating (to me, anyway) to see how Twitter is used - and has become important - in other parts of the world. Why, the President of Chile himself tweeted about the miners' rescue last week, as well as his lunch with Gov. Schwarzenegger back in September.

Some good points about privacy issues were made by Lori E. at Family Trees May Contain Nuts in Privacy Issues Here and at Facebook. Don't be an oversharer!

I've seen several articles in the past couple of weeks about getting kids into blogging. While it's too early for my kid, yours might be interested. Check out's How to Get a Classroom of Kids Blogging in Under 5 Minutes! Safe environments in which kids can share are featured.

Did you know that you can "clip" portions of public domain Google Books to share in your genealogy on the Internet? I did, but the Ancestry Insider says it so well in Clip Feature of Google Books. Another great article from AI this week is We Want Tech and We Want It Now. I hope someone will let me know when that facial recognition software that identifies unlabeled photos becomes available.

The Last Byte

If you have time for nothing else this week, you won't want to miss these must-reads:

In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much The Entire Genealogy Establishment by Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon. Have your favorite beverage handy, and don't forget your sense of humor (it's a joke, folks).

If your ears were burning (like mine) during the FamilySearch Bloggers Day, you'll want to check out Geneabloggers' Latest News from the Family Search Bloggers Day. Posts from the various bloggers in attendance are added as they are posted. You'll feel just like you were there. Except you weren't.

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John Newmark of TransylvanianDutch mentioned today that he is taking a break from posting his weekly "best of" picks, as is Greta Koehl of Greta's Genealogy Blog. While we'll miss their great weekly recommendations, John pointed out that several genealogy bloggers share their favorites daily via Google Reader and Google Buzz. I'm also a Google Reader sharer (say that 3 times fast!), so if you'd like to see my picks - which include some of the above favs for this week - please visit my Google Profile. Do you share? Please let me know, if you do.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of others, such as Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, and Megan Smolenyak. So much to read out there, and so little time!

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

NARA to Pull Records at Archives II on Saturdays

The following press release has been posted on the web site of the National Archives:

National Archives Announces Pilot Program in Research Room at Archives II in MD
New Saturday records retrieval in Archives II Textual Research Room, November, 2010

Washington, DC…In response to user requests, for the month of November, 2010, the National Archives at College Park, MD (Archives II) will undertake a pilot program to provide archival records retrieval service for textual records on Saturdays. This pull service is only for records that have designated retrieval information, do not require screening for personal privacy and other sensitive information, and are housed in open, unclassified stack space. This pilot program is for the Textual Research Room at Archives II only.
Records will be retrieved for use in the Textual Research Room at the following "pull" times: 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

More information is available online:


The National Archives is the Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. Every subject relating to American history is covered in the nine billion records, the millions of photographs, maps and electronic records and the thousands of motion pictures and audio recordings that are available to the public at the 44 National Archives facilities nationwide.

The National Archives at College Park, MD, houses textual, microfilm, and special media records. Textual materials relate to military agencies from roughly the WWI and/or WWII periods and after, and a wide range of civilian agencies, including agriculture, commerce, education, the environment, foreign affairs, health and human services, housing, interior, law enforcement, labor, science and technology, transportation, and finance.

For more information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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If you've never been to Archives II, here's your chance. I had no idea that it even existed until this past summer, and now I'm completely in love with the place, especially the MAP ROOM (which apparently is not included in the Saturday pilot program).

Hat tip to C. Bettag for bringing this to the attention of the APG Members List.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday Fun: Waxing Poetic

Get your rhyme on! Bill West, author of West in New England, is sponsoring the Second Great American Local Poem And Song Genealogy Challenge:
In the mid to late 19th century every region of America boasted one or more poets whose works reflected local history and folklore. Chances are that our ancestors had read some of those poems during the course of their lives.

It is also very likely they had heard or sung a song that dealt with some aspect of their life, whether it was their job or something in the area they lived in.
You can read the rules and deadlines and fine print on Bill's Blog. You have until November 18, 2010 to submit your entry.

If you missed last year's challenge, you missed a good time. I encourage you to check out some local poetry/songs and share them with your readers. My entry last year was an excerpt from Part I of Bascomb Falls: A Family Portrait, a play written by my uncle, John Lee Swanay.

I'm still searching for this year's entry.

Bill, thanks for another round of poetic fun!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, October 21, 2010 & It's Official

We've all be waiting anxiously for news of what would happen to after the announcement of its acquisition by Well, I received this press release this morning, which gives a little bit of clarification.
Several weeks ago (as part of iArchives) agreed to be acquired by and that transaction has officially closed today. As we join forces with there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other's strengths and move even faster toward our goals. You may be curious about how this deal effects members of The plan is to continue to run the way we have always run — continuing to do what we believe is best for our customers, our business and our brand.

Now that the deal is officially closed we are excited to leverage some of's resources and expertise to take to the next level. It has been exciting to see grow over the past 4 years. started with only 5 million historical documents and today we have nearly 70 million searchable documents, over 1 million members, nearly 100,000 Footnote Pages, and over half million annotations added. We couldn't have done it without our members and the great team at and we are excited for's support in the next chapter.
Please address all inquiries and questions to

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Boys in Hats

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"Boys in Hats." Digital image. Undated. Original photograph privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Benton Co., Washington. 2010.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Family Finder Bundle Now Available For A Limited Time To New Customers

 I received the following announcement this morning from the folks at Family Tree DNA.

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We would like to inform you of a new limited-time offer available for new customers of Family Tree DNA!
  • Family Finder + Y-DNA12 Regular Price: $388 -- Introductory Price: $299
  • Family Finder + mtDNA Regular Price: $388 -- Introductory Price: $299
IMPORTANT: This pricing is only available for new customers and is available for a limited time.

This bundle will allow new customers to purchase the Family Finder test and get the Y-DNA12 or the mtDNA (HVR1) for just $10 more! Please note: we will only accept credit card payments for this bundle.

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The message did not say when "limited time" expires. And as they pointed out more than once, the offer is only available to new customers.

For more information about the Swanay/Swaney DNA Surname Project, please visit our public project page, or visit FamilyTree DNA. Please also feel free to contact me if you have questions about joining the project.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I Did Over Summer Vacation: Part 1 - Independence Day and the DAR

I was so fortunate this summer to be able to spend two whole weeks in Washington, DC (thanks to the kindness of my in-laws, who took care of my daughter while Hubs was at work). It's no secret that DC is one of my favorite places to visit, not for the politics, but for the wealth of history and genealogical resources. I'd be lying if I said wasn't jealous of people who can walk into the National Archives or the Library of Congress any ol' time they please.

This year, I was able to cross something off my Bucket List, and that was to participate in the Washington, DC, Independence Day Parade. I hadn't been in a parade since I played trombone in the high school band, and I seriously don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to do this. Not only am I in lousy shape physically, but DC was having a record-breaking heat wave that week. But I'd been saying for years that if the timing worked out, I wanted to do it at least once in my lifetime. Thankfully, there was so much excitement in the air that day that it must have been sheer adrenaline that carried me down the street without passing out or requiring medical attention. In fact, it actually turned out to be a fun experience... though I'm not sure it's something I want to do again.

Getting ready for the parade. Our group carried three giant versions of the United States flag. I helped carry the "Betsy Ross" flag; there was also a Bennington Flag and the Star-Spangled Banner.
Here's the Star-Spangled Banner in action. Just as an aside, one of the things I love about DC is being able to see historical buildings while going about your everyday business. Across the Mall there you can see the White House. Across from my street at home, I can see Walmart.
After the parade, we took some time to visit the National Museum of American History. Since it was one of the few buildings that was open - and admission was free - it was PACKED with people trying to escape the heat. Thankfully, the line moved pretty quickly.
Believe it or not, I had never seen the REAL Star-Spangled Banner before. On my last visit to the Museum, about 11 years ago, it was either in hiding or off limits. We couldn't even see the conservation efforts in progress at that time. As you can see here, there was a huge line to get into the exhibit, but it was well worth the wait to finally see this amazing piece of history. I couldn't take a photo of the actual flag because NO cameras were permitted (even with the flash off), and the security guard really took her job seriously. In fact, a few of us forgot that we were wearing little, blinky star pins, and got scolded for those. The exhibit is kept very dark, and no light whatsoever is allowed to come into the area (just a little warning for your next visit).
The historic Willard Hotel covers its entire front face with flags on Independence Day (I would not like to be the person who has to climb up the wall and place those flags). For the record, the hotel is really lovely, and the food's not bad, either, especially the crab cakes.
Plaque on the front wall of the Willard. Every time I look at it, I get this tacky thought that, "If only they'd had the crab cakes back then... who knows what agreements could have been reached." I know. I'm sorry.

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Newly-renovated portico of the DAR Building.
The DAR conference was busy and exciting, as usual. Some of the week's highlights included:
  • The DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award went to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association for their work in preserving and maintaining the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
  • The keynote speaker on National Defense Night was supposed to have been General David H. Petraeus; however, he was otherwise occupied that week. Lieutenant General John R. Allen, Acting Commander of the United States Central Command, graciously filled in, instead. He gave a remarkably good speech for one who filled in at the last minute.
  • The DAR Medal of Honor went to World War II veteran Lieutenant Colonel James Megellas, U.S. Army (Retired). He is said to be "the most-decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division," having received a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, and been nominated for the Medal of Honor.
And yes, Thomas, there were plenty of white gloves!

The best part of the week is always reconnecting with old friends and making new friends, many of whom I only get to see once a year. Oh, and then there's the DAR Library...

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Part 2 - Research Success in the DAR Library - Coming soon!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Final Thoughts on the California Family History Expo

Friday at the Expo - Part 1
Friday at the Expo - Part 2

By Saturday, I had been fighting a sinus infection for almost a week, but I was determined not to let my nose ruin my day (my apologies to the folks who had to sit next to me). A couple of Saturday's California Family History Expo workshops that I enjoyed were:

Nancy E. Loe (a.k.a. "Sassy Jane Genealogy") taught a workshop entitled "Think Like an Archivist: Finding Hidden Genealogical Materials in Libraries and Archives." If you're like my husband and think every document of genealogical value is to be found somewhere on the internet, then this is the workshop for you., Nancy... is a fellow Central Coaster, so it was nice to finally meet her in person (even if only to wave from the back row). She gave plenty of helpful tips not only for finding archived family documents online, but also for how to prepare oneself for research at an institution. I was never a Boy Scout, but I do believe in being prepared!

Gordon J. Clarke of FamilySearch talked about "Powerful Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch Record Search." He gave some great pointers and tricks for wading through the bazillion or so documents on FamilySearch. I was especially excited to learn that Google will eventually be crawling the site, and results will be available via Google and other search engines. Awesome news! Also, the new (beta) site is expected to replace the old site by December of this year, so be on the lookout.

The final session of the day was Holly T. Hansen's "Kiss Those Brick Walls Good-Bye! Research Success Stories," in which Holly shared some of her personal research stories about breaking down her own brick walls. Sadly, my own brick walls are still firmly intact, but hopefully I received some good tools this weekend for knocking them down! Following Holly's talk, it was time to say goodbye to the 2010 California Family History Expo (how did 2 days go by so quickly?).

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During Friday's Expo Shopping Expedition, I picked up several items, including a cute t-shirt for my daughter, and one for my husband that I didn't want to show in case he was reading my blog (he wasn't). So here is my daughter modeling the shirt I bought for my husband. I'm sure his census is (are?) around here somewhere, probably hiding with my marbles.

Never being one to pass up the books, I couldn't resist Leland Meitzler's Family Roots Publishing Co. display. I picked up a copy of Christine Rose's Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures,which I'd been meaning to do for quite some time, since it was highly recommended by my ProGen2 peers last year. I also ran across what I've been told is the LAST COPY EVER of Holly T. Hansen's The directory of North American railroads, associations, societies, archives, libraries, museums and their collections. I hadn't heard of this book before, and had not set out to purchase it, but you know how sometimes a book just calls to you? Well, this one was loudly blowing its whistle, so I grabbed it on my way to the cash register. I was later told by a disappointed Amy Coffin (whose son is quite the railroad aficionado) that not only was it the last copy in Leland's store, but the last copy ever, as the book is now out of print (sorry Amy!).

A couple of other books made their way into my bag: one is a family history book for children that Leland talked me into buying (not like it was hard), and the other is a book about creating... well, a book. I will write about both of these in some future posts.

I had to use all of my restraint to stay away from the folks at the Flip-Pal mobile scanner booth because I knew I would end up wanting one. Back in April, I bought a VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner,which I'd heard great things about. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to get the hang of this bad boy, which is a bit more difficult to use than I expected. As much as I would love to try out the Flip-Pal, I'm still determined to master the Magic Wand (although I'll probably change my mind eventually).

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On Saturday night, many of the Expo speakers, exhibitors, and bloggers attended a dinner party at Lisa Louise Cooke's house. Lisa is a delightful hostess, and has a beautiful home and a lovely family. It was so much fun to walk around and see photos of the many ancestors she talks about on her podcast (in fact, I was so inspired that I repeatedly promised to go home and paint my walls... the ones that are currently covered in Crayola murals, thanks to my daughter's budding artistic talents). I commented to Lisa's husband that I recognized some of the names on the walls, and he replied that he was surprised at how many of Lisa's listeners know more about his ancestors than he does!

I also had a chance to peek at Lisa's studio, where all the podcasting action takes place. I was amazed at how organized she is! Genealogy binders were neatly filed and labeled above her desk, and it looked like everything was in its proper place. I only dream of one day being so organized.

Dinner was delicious, and the amazing cake which Lisa made for dessert was... well... the icing on the cake of a wonderful day. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but you can see what it looked like by visiting Janet Hovorka's The Chart Chick, or Amy Coffin's We Tree Genealogy Blog. It was truly remarkable, especially knowing that Lisa made it herself.

And don't get me started on the quilt.

(Thank you for a most excellent evening, Lisa!)

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Although I love the learning, my favorite part of any genealogy conference is the people. I was happy to finally meet A.C. Ivory, (Find My Ancestor) in person - and to find out what "A.C." stands for - as well as to briefly meet Leah Allen (The Internet Genealogist), who was busy running from class to class. I had a chance to meet the adventurous Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions, who I'm certain must be the bravest woman in the world. Ron Arons is as funny and interesting in person as you'd expect, and will hopefully get to marketing those cute sheep toys very soon. And I had a wonderful chat with Gena Ortega (Gena's Genealogy); in addition to being a professional genealogist, Gena is a homeschool mom, and was able to give me some pointers on the ins and outs of homeschooling. I seriously don't know how she does it all!

It was also great to spend time with folks I'd met before but hadn't had much time to get to know, like Lisa Alzo (The Accidental Genealogist) and Denise Levenick (The Family Curator), a couple of very special and knowledgeable ladies. And of course, it was wonderful to reconnect with so many old friends again (you know who you are). Unfortunately, these events always seem so short, and there's just never enough time to visit, share, and get updated on everyone's busy lives.

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Many thanks to the producers of the California Family History Expo for putting on such a great show, and for inviting me to participate as a Blogger of Honor. You can read more "Blogger Re-Caps" of this event on the Family History Expos Blog. Until next time!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 9, 2010

California Family History Expo with Lisa Louise Cooke

Friday at the Expo - Part 1
Saturday at the Expo

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to catch Lisa Louise Cooke's presentation of "Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye: 8 Strategies You Need to Find Living Relatives." She gave some great suggestions for finding those cousins who might be out there with the answers to your brick walls.

Friday evening, Lisa hosted a live Genealogy Gems podcast (with a very yummy dessert!). One of the featured guests was Craig Manson, who writes "Geneablogie." Craig shared some of his experiences as a lawyer, blogger, and former radio personality (when you hear Craig's dulcet tones, you will agree that he should definitely consider doing radio again, or possibly starting his own podcast!). Lisa also talked to Craig about his experience writing for the online magazine, Shades of the Departed.

Bruce Buzbee of Roots Magic offered some great door prizes!

The final guest of the evening was Sheri Fenley of "The Educated Genealogist." Sheri talked about her experience as a genealogist, a mom, and also her column in Shades of the Departed, "The Year Was..."

If you haven't checked out Shades of the Departed yet, you'll want to do so as soon as possible. Extreme kudos to footnoteMaven, the magazine's brains and heart, and to everyone who works on this fantastic publication.

I want to thank Katherine Doyle, who was lucky enough to win one of Bruce's door prizes, a copy of the "Personal Historian" software. I mentioned to Katherine that I'd been wanting to purchase a copy for a few years, and since she is a Mac user and unable to run the software, she kindly gave it to me. (Yes, we discussed possible ways to run PC programs on a Mac, but she insisted.)

Day 1 of the Expo was tons of fun, and I'm looking forward to what Day 2 will bring!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Fun: California Family History Expo!

Friday at the Expo - Part 2
Saturday at the Expo

It's Friday, and what could be more FUN than opening day of the California Family History Expo?! The following are a few scenes from around the Exhibit Hall today.

Bloggers of Honor (BOH) A.C. Ivory and Sheri Fenley.

Amy Coffin teaches a mini-workshop, "Social Networking Open House."

Becky Wiseman and Thomas MacEntee.

Paula Hinkel talks to a group about the Southern California Genealogical Society.

BOH Katherine Doyle waves hello from the California Genealogical Society booth.

Ron Arons is a brave man who talks/writes about criminal ancestors, and is not afraid to wear horizontal stripes.

The Mayflower Society sent a couple of representatives.

Sheri Fenley picks up her charts from The Chart Chick, Janet Hovorka.

Either it's a big chart, or Sheri isn't very tall!

There's lots of SHOPPING to do!

I picked up this cute shirt for my daughter! I also got a shirt for my husband, but I won't show it here, on the off chance that he actually reads my blog (he doesn't).

The Exhibit Hall is buzzing with excited attendees who are enjoying a day of genealogy. Rumor has it that over over 800 people have registered to attend the Expo this weekend! I'm having a wonderful time visiting with old friends and meeting new ones - if you're at the Expo today, please stop by the Blogger tables and say hello!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal