Monday, May 30, 2011

LAST CALL for ProGen Peeps Attending the SCGS Jamboree!

Denise Spurlock has only received about 15 RSVPs from ProGen Study Group members, alumnae, coordinators and mentors (past and present) who are planning to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS)'s "Jamboree" next month.

Surely there are more of you.

If you haven't already done so, and you would like a pretty, red ribbon that says "PROGEN" to wear on your Jamboree name badge, please contact Denise directly at by JUNE 1, 2011.

If you are attending the Saturday evening banquet and would like to sit with the ProGen group, please indicate that when you RSVP.

Ribbons will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. We don't want anyone to be sad and ribbon-less.

Both Denise and I will be attending the Family History Writer's Conference on Thursday, June 9th, so we will be happy to give you your ribbon at that time, if you're there.

If you're not there... well, we'll work something out. I'll try to post my likely schedule, and you can look for me. It's a big place, so try somewhere near the chocolate (there's going to be chocolate, right?).

SLIGHT CHANGE OF PLANS: If you will be attending the Jamboree on Saturday, June 11th, please plan to meet-up at the Popcorn Social in the Convention Center West Foyer at about 6:15 p.m.-ish. The group photo will be taken at 6:30 p.m. so everyone has time to either continue chatting or head to the banquet.

For more information about ProGen Study Groups, or to be put on the waiting list for the next group, please visit

If you have questions about this gathering or suggestions for making it better, please contact me or Denise directly. I'm so looking forward to meeting you all!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: June 2011

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." 
~James Dent

Thursday, June 2
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Gary Carlsen - "Free Genealogy Research On the Internet"

Saturday, June 4
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 PM "Resolving Conflicting Evidence" with Cafi Cohen
1:45 PM Ron Arons - "Putting the Flesh on the Bones"

Sunday, June 5
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County
1:30 - 3:30 PM
Ron Arons - "Wrongful [Jewish] Wraskals of the West"

Tuesday, June 14
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Garl Satterthwaite - "Google Maps"

Saturday, June 18
Monterey County Genealogical Society
Family History Class at the Monterey Public Library
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Junel Davidsen - "Finding Family History Sources Online"

Saturday, June 18
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
Michel Nellis & Karen Ramsdel - "Santa Barbara's Fallen WWII Aviators"

Saturday, June 18
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Toby Scott - "Using Your Computer to Better Organize Information"

Tuesday, June 21
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools
Bill Hurley - "Find A Grave Web Site"
6:45 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting - TBA

Saturday, June 25
Monterey County Genealogical Society
Family History Class at the Monterey Public Library
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Gary Carlsen - "Finding Your Ancestors 1850-1930"

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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

Presidential Proclamation: Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2011

For over two centuries, brave men and women have laid down their lives in defense of our great Nation. These heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice so we may uphold the ideals we all cherish. On this Memorial Day, we honor the generations of Americans who have fought and died to defend our freedom.

Today, all who wear the uniform of the United States carry with them the proud legacies of those who have made our Nation great, from the patriots who fought at Lexington and Concord to the troops who stormed the beaches at Normandy. Ordinary men and women of extraordinary courage have, since our earliest days, answered the call of duty with valor and unwavering devotion. From Gettysburg to Kandahar, America's sons and daughters have served with honor and distinction, securing our liberties and laying a foundation for lasting peace.

On this solemn day in which Americans unite in remembrance of our country's fallen, we also pray for our military personnel and their families, our veterans, and all who have lost loved ones. As a grateful Nation, we forever carry the selfless sacrifice of our fallen heroes in our hearts, and we share the task of caring for those they left behind.

In his second Inaugural Address, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln called on our embattled Nation "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." On this Memorial Day, and every day, we bear a heavy burden of responsibility to uphold the founding principles so many died defending. I call on all Americans to come together to honor the men and women who gave their lives so that we may live free, and to strive for a just and lasting peace in our world.

In honor of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106 579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

I request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Reprinted from The White House: Proclamantions.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Honoring Those Who Served: Flag "Planting" at the Santa Maria Cemetery

Each year on the Saturday before Memorial Day, I force take my daughter to the Santa Maria Cemetery to help the local VFW put flags on the graves of veterans. We typically go with other members of the local Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) group, but this year, everyone else seemed to have plans, so it was just the two of us.

This was our 4th consecutive year of helping out. My job was to poke a hole in the ground with a screwdriver - and I now have a nice, big bruise on the palm of my right hand. Daughter's job was to put the flag in the hole. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially for a 4 (almost 5) year-old.

We've learned from our previous visits that the ground is often muddy and wet... hence the pink rain boots. It is also cold and damp on most Central Coast mornings - even in the summer - so dressing in layers is a good idea.

We (I) read out loud the name, rank, and service of each veteran to whom we gave a flag. My daughter can only read very basic words now, but she was able to pick out many of the veterans graves all by herself (they all look pretty much the same).

Surprisingly, there were not as many volunteers from the community out this year. In the past, we've arrived at 8:00 a.m., or shortly afterwards, and there were so many people helping that the job was almost complete. We worked for over an hour this time, putting out at least 60 flags, and finally stopped when my daughter's attention span was maxed... and my hand was too sore to poke any more holes.

Note to self: next year, wear thick gloves.

We had some great mommy-daughter bonding time, and enjoyed honoring our veterans. My daughter kept jumping up and down telling me how much fun she was having.

I'm very proud of my little girl, who thinks honoring our servicemembers is a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, May 27, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of May 27, 2011

Memorial Day weekend gives us a chance to pause and remember those who sacrificed to keep this country free. If you're wondering what Memorial Day is all about, Joy Neighbors from A Grave Interest wrote a very informative post entitled The Reason for Memorial Day.

Fun Stuff (and Holiday Sales)

Surprisingly, I haven't heard of many sales or freebies going on this weekend in the genealogy community. Have I missed something? I sure do hate to miss a good sale!

Here's Your Chance to Get Your Ancestor's Handwriting Analyzed at the Live Genealogy Gems Podcast at Jamboree! One lucky podcast audience member will have the opportunity to have their ancestor’s handwriting analyzed during the show by Paula Sassi!

Genealogical Publishing Company is offering 25% off from today through 11:59 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 30, 2011. Get the scoop at Angela's Adventures in Genealogy Education: Genealogy Books 25% off for Memorial Day. If you're planning to sign up for the ProGen Study Group, this would be a great time to purchase the text!

UPDATE #1: Shortly after I posted this, I received an email from WorldVitalRecords about a sale on subscriptions to FamilyLink. Offer ends May 30, 2011.

UPDATE #2: While surfing Find A Grave, I noticed an ad about a sale at Blurb. Save 20% on purchases of at least $12.95 until December 31, 2011.

Help Wanted

Leslie Albrecht Huber of The Journey Takers Blog asks for Advice for Burn Out? How do you cope with it? How do you prevent it? (I would love to know this, myself.)

Kevin Harwell of Cousin, Once Removed asks Where Should I Go from Here? Sounds like he's got a plan, but might find some distractions on his next research trip.

Lori E of Family Trees May Contain Nuts (I love that title!) asks for help with A VERY IMPORTANT DEADLINE. Read how you can help get all the living WWII veterans to their memorial site in Washington DC.

In the News

Not sure I would want to be the kid posing as Bin Laden: Students bring history, nature to life

Congratulations, Sarah B!  Genealogy Society High School Youth Award. (Wouldn't it be great to see more awards like this go to young people?)

I can't help but wonder... why is this cemetery only open for ONE HOUR A YEAR: Opened briefly to the public, New Milford cemetery offers a glimpse of borough's history.

I understand why people want this done, but... when is it ok to change history? El Dorado leaders OK removing historic headstones with racial slur. Also along these lines, you may want to read the thoughtful post by Craig Manson at GeneaBlogie: Smallpox, History, Genealogy, and Context.

If you've got some extra cash, or if you've always wanted to live in a haunted house, here's your chance: HOUSE OF THE DAY: A $2 Million Estate Haunted By A Revolutionary War Captain.

And you thought your family was dysfunctional: After 92 years, millionaire miser’s heirs finally split $100M.

UPDATE: I just read this story and had to include it: Korean War POW Finally Buried After 60 Years. May he finally rest in peace.

From the Blogs

This weekend, many folks will probably be taking genealogy trips and trekking to cemeteries. Get some good "graving" tips from Carolyn L. Barkley in Leave That Shaving Cream at Home Taking Care of Gravestones.

If you like the game "6 Degrees of Separation," you'll love Abe Lincking from Nolichucky Roots by Susan.

This seems to be the season for natural disasters. Denise Barrett Olson of Moultrie Creek Gazette asks What’s your plan? (and offers suggestions, in case you don't have one).

Susan Petersen from Long Lost asks Are You Making Full Use of Find A Grave? Keep checking... you never know what you might find!

For a giggle (or a cringe), read The Test for Death! and ANTIDOTES FOR POISONS! by Jen from Genealogy Geeks. I sure wouldn't want to have been checked for chloroform poisoning!

Mark Tucker of ThinkGenealogy has challenged genealogy bloggers to post photos of ancestors having summer fun. Read Ancestor Summer Fun for details.

Shelley from A Sense of Family shares some cool tools in My Favorite Genealogy Calculators - Tech Tuesday.

The Last Byte

Isn't this what we all hope for when posting that orphan photo? For a fabulous warm fuzzy that you won't want to miss, check out The Overstuffed Baby Comes Full Circle! at footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed. For more background on the story, read Shades and The OverStuffed Baby Make A Connection.

And if you don't feel warm and fuzzy enough yet, get yer genea-cheerleading from Randy Seaver in GeneaBlogging Works! at Genea-Musings.

Gimme a B! Gimmie an L! Gimme an O! Gimme a G! What's that spell? BLOG! Rah, rah, rah! Blog, blog, blog! Yaaaaaay, blog!

(I was never a cheerleader. Can you tell?)

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If I missed a good story, please share in the comments!

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn't have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, May 21, 2011

SNGF: Wordle Time

I haven't played with Wordle before, but enjoyed having an excuse to give it a try (even though my husband is asleep in the next room and my daughter is still up, 35 minutes after bedtime).

Above are some of my family surnames. I tried just about every layout, font, and color combination possible before I finally settled on this one.

A little tip for those of you trying Wordle for the first time: if you are using random text, type or save your surnames/text into a document. If you hit "create" or the back button after you start making your Wordle, you risk losing all of your text. Unfortunately, I had to type mine twice before I figured this out (DUH) and saved to a document. Probably for the best because I forgot several names the first time.

For what it's worth, I copied the image using  Ctrl + Alt + Print Screen and pasted it into Photoshop Elements, cropped, then saved as a JPEG.

Now... to get my kid to bed!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Best Bytes for the Week of May 20, 2011

Still hanging around.

Well, it's just after 5:00 p.m. PDT, and I'm still here. I'm guessing you are too, or you wouldn't be reading this. Hopefully the fact that we're both still hanging around is a good thing, so, I offer the following for your reading enjoyment. After all, you didn't have any plans for tonight, did you?

In the News

May 20, 1873: The Pants That Changed the World

How the universe has grown: 5.3 billion mobile devices. That's billion. With a "b." Amazing. Infographic: A Look At The Size And Shape Of The Geosocial Universe In 2011.

Scientists Fight University of California to Study Rare Ancient Skeletons

Living history becomes part of school curriculum

Trade-In Your Used Cameras at Amazon for Gift Cards

Help Wanted

Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog is Calling all artists [to enter the] International Jewish Genealogy Month poster contest. Deadline for entry is June 15, 2011.

D. Lee at A Patient Genealogist wonders how much faith to put in Rootsweb Family Trees. See Wanting Wednesday: Is this a tangent?

Debi Austen at Who Knew? is about to embark on her first genealogy Research Trip, and needs some packing and pre-trip shopping advice.

Blaine Bettinger of The Genetic Genealogist has dedicated his DNA to the public domain. See My Genome Online – A Challenge To You to participate in the challenge.

Heather Kuhn Roelker from Leaves for Trees is doing some research for a friend and asks: Mexican Genealogy Research...where are the records?

Jessica from Jessica's Genejournal has announced an Update to the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. The deadline for submissions is June 17, 2011. wants your opinion: Jamboree: Focus Group Announcement.

The AOTUS asks: Are you in? YOU, the People: Citizen Archivists and Digital Engagement at The Text Message.

From the Blogs

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has been writing an interesting series about New Family Search Family Tree. There are 6 posts so far, but knowing Randy, there will be more. Follow them all here.

Also at Genea-Musings, Randy alerted California genealogists to the proposed legislation regarding California Vital Records. Get your wallets out, folks.

How do you decide on which genealogy sites and services to spend your hard-earned cash? Deborah Large Fox of Irish Genealogy: Help! The Faery Folk Hid My Ancestors! offers some GUIDELINES FOR BEING A SMART GENEALOGY CONSUMER.

I thought this was a great family photo: Getting Ready for a Wedding -- Hopfengartner's (1908) posted at Family History Tracing by David.

Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames asks: Musings On A Monday Lack of Courtesy or Lack of Common Sense? In other words, is lifting/borrowing/coping documents and photos from one tree to add to one's own - without contacting the tree owner first - a lack of courtesy or a lack of common sense? (I say both.)

Where did they go? Follow the Epidemics, Plagues, and Scares from a3Genealogy by Kathleen Brandt.

Coolest ancestors of the week: I come from a long line of wizards... from Genealogy Geeks by Jen.

Blurb users: You Gotta See This + 20% Off Blurb Code, good until May 31st (from eighteen25).

For your weekly warm fuzzy: My Daughter’s View of the NGS 2011 Conference in Charleston from Climbing My Family Tree.

The Last Byte

This story really has nothing to do with genealogy or family history... yet. But it will someday, for one student's family. A 7-Year-Old’s "Space Life" Wins The 2011 Doodle 4 Google Contest.

Congratulations, Matteo, and may you go on to do many more things to make your family proud!

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If I missed a good story, please share in the comments!

*   *   *

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn't have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Are You Still Here?

I didn't finish my "Best Bytes" article yesterday because, frankly, I didn't think anyone would still be here today.

Ok, not really, but it sounded like a good excuse.

In reality, my husband was home yesterday, which made it impossible for me to write. After an optometrist appointment, a little retail therapy, and some mommy quiet time, it was time for dinner. I thought I could write during the Geneabloggers Radio broadcast, but that turned out to be a bad idea because I wound up listening and following the chat instead of writing (which was a lot more fun anyway).

So... I have my picks ready and will hopefully get them posted by tonight. I thank you for your patience.

Unless, of course, you're not still here.

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Ironically, at 7:30 a.m. PDT, the web site Judgement Day 2011 was down, so I got a little worried. Checked again about 5 minutes later, and it was working, but oddly enough, was displaying an ad from Coincidence? I think not.

Uh oh, 7:43 a.m. and it's down again. I wonder what that means? Should I be worried?

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Good News from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress made the following announcement this afternoon regarding Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers:

Last week, the Library of Congress updated the Chronicling America Web site with more than 230,000 additional newspaper pages in various titles. The site now provides access to more than 3.7 million searchable newspaper pages from 506 newspaper titles, published in 22 states and the District of Columbia between 1860 and 1922 .

Chronicling America is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.... Read more about it!

Nice to hear, on a day when Google announced the demise of their Newspaper Digitization Project.

Additionally, they are working on a new look for the web site, and are giving users a chance to try the beta version. Frankly, I like it. Give it a try, and see what you think!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Google Ends Newspaper Digitization Project (Which Makes Me Sad)

I so love online newspapers.

Repositories such as GenealogyBank, NewspaperArchive, Colorado Historic Newspapers, Google News Archives, and even ProQuest (when I can get it) have provided me with so many interesting and titillating tidbits about the lives of ancestors past that I could never have found without their help.

But one of those repositories is about to bite the dust. As John Reid at Anglo-Celtic Connections pointed out this morning, Google is ending their newspaper digitization project.


Apparently what has already been posted will remain, but you can expect nothing new from Google in this department, as they are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.

According to Mashable, "Although Google will no longer process any more papers, publishers can continue to add material to their individual archives via sitemaps. They are also welcome to pursue alternative partnerships to get the content Google has scanned for them online elsewhere."

The Boston Phoenix speculates that "Google may have ended the project because it simply wasn't worth the effort. 'The process may have turned out to be harder than Google anticipated. Or it may have turned out that the resulting pages drew far fewer eyeballs than anyone expected.'"

I can't help but wonder how many eyeballs are enough.

So much for "bringing history online, one newspaper at a time."

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On a slightly different note, if you like Google Books, you may wish to follow the status of the Google Book Settlement copyright class action lawsuit. It would be tragic if Google Books went away.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, May 16, 2011

How I Survived a Weekend Without Blogger

Kicking it old school, courtesy of Blogger.

Blogger actually did me a favor when it went all wonky last week. Not that I've been a hugely prolific poster lately, but I am a hugely prolific reader of posts, as I try to keep up with everyone else in order to write my Best Bytes articles on Fridays.

So how did I spend my Blogger-free weekend? Let me see...
  • Got some retail therapy (but not nearly enough).
  • Went to my DAR chapter meeting where they held an extremely successful fundraiser for my daughter's C.A.R. society (which they sponsor). These ladies really know how to get 'er DONE!
  • Read a book. I'm currently reading Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, Second Edition (which I purchased and downloaded to my NOOKcolor from Google Books because it was not available as a Nook Book). It might be an oldie, but it's still a goodie, and packed with tons of useful information.
  • Cleaned my daughter's room. Seriously, it looked like a toy store exploded in there. Plus, "cleaning my house" had fallen way down on my to-do list, and I really don't need a visit from the health department.
  • Slept (but not nearly enough).
  • Went to 1/2-price Frappuccino Happy Hour at Starbucks (twice), which unfortunately ended yesterday. Thanks to the enabling of footnoteMaven, I am now fully addicted to Cake Pops, delightful little morsels of pure joy (those were on sale, too: buy 1, get another for $1.00).
  • Sat in my car and had Mommy Quiet Time while enjoying my Starbuck's booty and reading my NOOK.
  • Did some genealogy research for a friend.
  • Got more retail therapy.
Most important: spent time with my family. But not nearly enough.

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I did notice this morning that one of my posts still had not emerged from the Black Hole. Since all of my posts and comments are emailed to me, it was very easy to repost: I just emailed it back to Blogger.

To enable the email post function, go into your Blogger blog settings and click on "Email & Mobile." Put your email address in the box under "Email Notifications" to receive copies of your posts by email.

To enable posting via email, put a secret word in the box under "Posting Options," select one of the top 2 radio buttons, and click "Save Settings." I have my emailed posts set to "Save emails as draft posts," since I like to give my posts a final once-over before hitting the Publish button. But if you like living on the edge, you can have yours set to publish immediately.

To have your comments emailed to you, select "Comments" from the Settings menu. If your comments are moderated, then you are already getting them emailed to you. If they are not moderated, or if you prefer not to have them moderated, you can just put your email address in the "Comment Notification Email" box at the bottom of the page. Don't forget to save your settings.

About 3 years ago, I wrote a post about how to keep your blog backed up. Some of the information is still valid, but I recently discovered that the automated back-up service is no longer viable. Plus, I've read some unpleasant reviews about them (which I will not post here), so perhaps it's for the best.

Another service called BlogBackupr (which claims to be loved by none other than Bill Gates himself), also offers free back-ups for your blog. I have not tried them yet, but I have read some good reviews of their service.

How did you spend your Blogger-free weekend? And how do you back up your blog?

The Fine Print: I am an affiliate of This means that if you purchase anything from them by clicking on my ad links, I will make a teensy amount of cash. And it would be hugely appreciated.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

ProGen Meet-Up at SCGS Jamboree

This article was originally posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Since it has not yet emerged from the Blogger Black Hole, I have decided to republish, since it was of a time-sensitive nature.

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Are you a member or alumni of the ProGen Study Group? Are you attending the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS)'s "Jamboree" next month?

If so, let's get acquainted!

Due to the general busy-ness of the Jamboree, no special gathering of ProGen'ers is being scheduled. The current plan is to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night, about 30 minutes before the banquet (location TBD) so we can say hello and get everyone together in a group photo.

RSVPs are being collected by Denise Spurlock, so please respond to her directly at If you are attending the Saturday evening banquet and would like to sit with the ProGen group, please indicate that when you RSVP.

Ribbons identifying you as a ProGen member will be available so we can be easily identifiable.

For more information about ProGen Study Groups, or to be put on the waiting list for the next group, please visit

If you have questions about this gathering or suggestions for making it better, please contact me or Denise directly. I'm so looking forward to meeting you all!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of May 13, 2011

So I've been a little reluctant to post this today, afraid that it would go into the Blogger Black Hole, where sad, little blog posts unlucky enough to be published on Wednesday vanish into the ether. Although Blogger claims that nearly all posts have been restored, I'm still waiting for my post about the ProGen meet-up at Jamboree to magically reappear.

[taps fingers impatiently]

But in the spirit of peace, cooperation, and the understanding that every free product will have it's occasional hiccup, I offer this lovely poem: Bad Haiku Friday: Be Nice to Blogger from Twinfatuation by Cheryl Lage.

Well said, Cheryl.

In the News

Digging down to family roots: Internet's easy access has pumped new life into ancestor research.

Would you by a Kindle that was pre-loaded with ads? Target Now Has the Kindle (And You Can Win One!) here.

A great eco-solution? Or downright creepy? THIS AWESOME URN WILL TURN YOU INTO A TREE AFTER YOU DIE.

You know you watched it. We all did. Nearing 100 Million Views, Decorah Eagles Become The Most-Watched Live Stream Ever.

Only in California (and 2 other states): State to double crime searches using family DNA.


Help Wanted

Know of any endangered or forgotten Historic Family Cemeteries in Virginia? Preservation Virginia would like to know about them (via TCasteel of Tangled Trees).

How do you balance your "real" life with your genealogy life (I don't)? Nancy at Family Tree Firsts has realized there are So Many Trees, So Little Time, and would like some time management advice (there's a ProGen lesson for that).

Does this place look familiar? (Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Fancy Fur from Climbing My Family Tree by Jen.

Where do you put them? Conference Papers (add 'em to the piling system) from Geniaus.

Debbie from Mascot Manor Genealogy is considering teaching a class in Family History for Children and would like to know what you would put in your syllabus.

Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist is working on A Most Curious Case, and well... you'll just have to read it for yourself to believe it.

Help Given: If you want to write a book on archives, libraries, cultural heritage organizations, or information science, Kate T. at ArchivesNext can help you with that.

From the Blogs

Having NGS Conference withdrawals? Follow the NGS Conference 2011 Posts Compendium at Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver. Publishes First Digital Versions of War of 1812 Pension Application Files Adds Web Search from Genealogy Insider by Diane

Lots of news this week about the National Jukebox from the Library of Congress. Susan Kitchens of Family Oral History Using Digital Tools did a nice write up at National Jukebox at the Library of Congress.

Several interesting posts about images and metadata: Metadata, Image Files and Migration from The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum, which is in response to Adding source information to image files - Tuesday's Tip by Heather Roelker at Leaves for Trees. Also Photo Metadata from Moultrie Creek Gazette by Denise Barrett Olson.

Top 3 Reasons to View the Actual Vital Record from Amanda's Athenæum by Amanda E. Perrine.

A truly awesome place: Wait There’s More! Researching at "Archives II" from by By: Carolyn L. Barkley.

It pays to check out those collateral ancestors: Researching Sisters Leads to Finding Great Great Grandmother from Journey to the Past by Brenda Leyndyke.

Just for fun: The Nerd State of Blissful Library Addiction from GeekDad. If you're interested, I'm from the Air Pollution state.

The Last Byte

This week, my favorite story was again about young people doing good things. This time, they're learning about their ancestors, and developing a sense of pride in their heritage.

Several Berkeley Technical High School teens are taking classes at the Family History Center in Oakland, California, as part of the Family Journeys Ancestry project started during Black History Month in February.

As one teen in the program discovered, "You don't just come from any old thing. You come from a rich history."

A seasoned genealogist couldn't have said it better.

For your weekly warm fuzzy, read Genealogy search expands East Bay teens' worlds.

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If I missed a good story, please share... er... once Blogger brings comments back online.

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To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn't have the time or space to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, May 6, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of May 6, 2011

Wow, was this a big news week, or what? First we have the Royal Wedding, then America's Most Wanted is... well, no longer wanted, if you know what I mean. It's hard to top what's happened this week with anything new. But despite all the excitement, here are a few items that caught my eye:

Freebies and Goodies

Legacy Family Tree has announced a contest at its new Facebook page where contestants could win one of five special Legacy Family Tree software/webinar bundles and even a new netbook computer. Deadline is TODAY, so don't dawdle!

You Could Win a Year of Family Tree Magazine and a Geni Pro Account! Contest ends on May 8, 2011.

Help Wanted

Robert Baca of The Baca/Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog is Looking for a Spanish translator to help him with a couple of documents.

Nancy at My Ancestors and Me asks: Do You Search Systematically Or ...?

Susan Petersen at Long Lost asks: Could You Walk Away From Genealogy? No, but I've known a few people who have.

Michael John Neill is seeking input on the "Daily Genealogy Transcriber" from users and followers of his blog.

DNA: Do you hold the Gift of Life? from Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog by SCHELLY TALALAY DARDASHTI

In Elusive events, Geniaus wants to know: How do other Australian Genealogists find events?

In the News

Hard to believe it's still there: Activists want N-word gone from Calif. gravestones and follow up Prison Industry Authority offers to replace offensive gravestone markers.

We want to see more: Google to Send Hordes of Photographers into Businesses for Street View Photos.

Ever wanted to travel back in time to your favorite city and imagine how it actually existed hundreds of years ago? Mapping the New Age of Augmented Travel.

In case you missed it: Facebook Group Helps Photographs Scattered by Tornado Find Their Owners

Trove of historic records of Holocaust goes online

Historic Philadelphia Graveyard A Magnet For Genealogy Researchers

Outside looking in at historic cemetery in Exeter Township

From the Blogs

Get your TECH on at the Carnival of Genealogy, 105th Edition at Creative Gene!

Stories such as this were not uncommon in East Tennessee during the Civil War: My House Divided - Civil War Saturday by by Susan at Nolichucky Roots.

Are you getting the most Twitter bang for your tweet? See Publishing with Twitter from Moultrie Creek Gazette by Denise Barrett Olson.

Sad, but interesting: Separate But Equal? WWI Draft Registrations from Into the LIGHT by Renate.

Two from GeneaBlogie by Craig Manson: Research Note: A Bit of Info about SSDI and Research Note: The SSDI (Part II).

Using Autsomal DNA Testing to Identify An Adoptee's Roots from The Genetic Genealogist by Blaine Bettinger.

George Washington's Beer Recipe from Minnesota Family Historian by MNFamilyHistorian

Like trains? Like maps? Then this one's for you: Railway Maps of the World Now Available from The Map Room by Jonathan Crowe.

I dream of moments like this: A Tale of Two Photos from Family Archaeologist by Linda Gartz.

The Last Byte

Despite all the big news this week, this one stuck with me for some reason: Claude Stanley Choules dies at 110; last known World War I combat veteran. Not only do I find it amazing that he lived to the ripe, old age of 110, but after serving in two major wars, he still considered himself a pacifist. "He didn't believe in war," his daughter is quoted as having said. Perhaps serving in two wars is the reason.

Did I miss any good stories this week?

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To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items (which are some great stories that I just didn't have time to post here), please visit my Google Profile.

Be sure to check out the weekly picks of Randy Seaver, Diane Haddad, Megan Smolenyak, Susan Petersen, Greta Koehl, Donna Pointkouski, Lynn Palermo, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Mom

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"Mom." Digital image. Undated, but probably c. mid-1950s. Original photograph privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara Co., California. 2011.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: May 2011

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
~Elizabeth Stone

Sunday, May 1
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County
1:30 - 3:30 PM
Werner Frank - "The First Massive Jewish Deportation: To Camp de Gurs in 1940"

Saturday, May 7
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 PM "Genealogical Q & A" with Julia George
1:45 PM What We Learned in Salt Lake City AND at the Salt Lake City Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) by SLOCGS members

Thursday, May 5
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Cath Madden Trindle - "Canadian Research Online"

Tuesday, May 10
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Delores Pedersen - "What's New in Online Genealogy"

Tuesday, May 17
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools
Gail Ireland - "Let Your Computer Sort Your Files Effectively and Efficiently"
6:45 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
Bonnie Raskins - "A Tale of Three Orphans"

Saturday, May 21
Monterey County Genealogical Society
Family History Class at the Monterey Public Library
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Serita Sue Woodburn - "Finding Your Roots"

Saturday, May 21
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
Gabrielle Burton - "Finding Tamsen Donner"

Saturday, May 21
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Dr. Ernst F. (Fred) Tonsing - "The 'J' of Lydia J. Challiss: Stories of Two Countries and One Scary Lady"

Saturday, May 28
Monterey County Genealogical Society
Family History Class at the Monterey Public Library
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Caroline Miller - "Finding Your Research Style"

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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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Favorite Tech-du-Jour

I’m not sure that I was a particularly good girl last year, but Santa Claus brought me exactly what I wanted for Christmas anyway.

Last fall, I took a look around our house and realized that we were being overtaken by books. And it was entirely my fault.

All three bookcases were bulging at the seams (with the topmost shelves hiding things we didn't want our daughter to get hold of). Books that didn’t fit in the bookcases were stacked not-so-neatly on the floor next to the bookcases. More piles of books from my teaching days were on their way from banished garage boxes back into "the stacks," since I was now using them to homeschool my daughter.

Add to these the piles of books on their way OUT of the house – some destined for Goodwill, others awaiting mailing to United Through Reading – and it looked like a library threw up in our house.

Since we couldn't move to a bigger house to accommodate my book-hoarding problem, another solution was necessary.

I had long balked at buying an e-reader. For one thing, I loved the "aesthetics" of books: the way they smelled, the way they felt in my hands, the thrill of opening them up to find the information I needed. And despite my being the family gadgetaholic, I wasn't sure I could wrap my brain around the idea of reading books on a little, electronic screen.

But unless we found a way to defy the laws of physics, it was going to get ugly(er) around here.

I decided that an e-reader was the way to go after all. But which one to buy?

I queried my friends and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter, and the overwhelming response was to go with the Kindle. Kindle owners are pretty much in love with their Kindles, and that seemed good enough to me. So I headed over to Staples to try one out for myself.

After about 30 minutes of staring at and testing the sample-Kindle, I finally realized that the Kindle was not the e-reader for me after all. The e-ink display really was amazing, and I could see why people loved it... but I didn’t think I could look at that dark-gray-on-light-gray-screen for long without my eyes going buggy.

Plus, I wanted color. I needed color. Not only would this e-reader be for me, but it would also have to work for my daughter. And what fun would Go, Dog. Go! be in gray-on-gray?

I decided to hold out for the NOOKcolor.

The NOOKcolor had recently been released, to surprisingly positive reviews. Nearly everyone who tried it seemed to like it, and most thought that with the Android operating system, bigger and better things – like apps – would soon be coming. In fact, some predicted that the NOOKcolor would eventually perform like a lower-functioning tablet computer. (I used that argument when my husband Santa Claus balked at the NOOK's higher cost.)

Now, I’m not typically an early adopter; I like to let the bugs get worked out of a new tech product before I buy one for myself. But after doing the research, I knew I didn’t want to wait on the NOOKcolor.

Thankfully, I have not been disappointed. In fact, I now wonder how I ever got along before without my NOOK.

What I Love About my NOOKcolor

A library in my pocket. I never know what I'll want to read, especially on long airplane trips. Sometimes I'm tired and distracted, and prefer light reading, like a magazine. Other times, I want to dig into something heavier, like a novel, a textbook, or the latest NGSQ. I would typically travel with several different books, magazines, textbooks – everything I might possibly want to read during a boring, cross-country flight – which makes for a heavy carry-on. So on my most recent trip to Washington, DC, I loaded up my NOOKcolor with all of these items in digital format, including current issues of APGQ, NGS Magazine, some back issues of NGSQ (all downloadable from their respective web sites), and the recent issues of Casefile Clues that I hadn't had time to read yet. Oh, and I added several kids' books since I was traveling with my daughter (if you've ever traveled across country with a 4 year-old, you will appreciate what a lifesaver this was).

Kids "Read to Me" books. These are seriously wonderful. My daughter loves the "Read to Me" books, which have pleasant narration and sound effects, and make her feel like an independent reader. I love them too, since they get me off the hook from reading Olivia or Are You My Mother? one more time. And now that NOOK Apps have been released with the recent operating system upgrade, several beloved Dr. Seuss books are now available as "Read to Me" apps, and are less expensive than regular e-books. Unfortunately, these books mean giving my NOOK over to my daughter for a while, but I’m mostly coping with the withdrawals.

Video. Did I mention the NOOKcolor plays multimedia files (AAC, MP3, MP4, Flash)? My iPod is already loaded up with music, podcasts, and video (mostly movies for my daughter), but I decided to add a few genealogy-related videos to the NOOK to try out on my recent trip. Let me tell you, the bigger screen was a blessing to my near-sighted eyes.

Magazines, Newspapers, and Periodicals. Oh My! Not only can you load magazines and newsletters from your fave genealogy associations, but you can also subscribe to some big time magazines and newspapers, like National Geographic, PC Magazine, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. You don't even have to get up out of your chair to get them, as they will be regularly delivered right to your NOOKcolor. And they look fantastic. My daughter has her own subscription to National Geographic Little Kids, and while it does require someone to read the text to her (no "Read to Me" magazines, she enjoys looking a the pictures of animals all by herself. What really sold me on e-magazines was when I discovered that I could enlarge a single column to any size I wanted. Actually being able to see the text makes the reading experience much more enjoyable.

No nightlight required. I like to read in bed at night. In the dark. Since the NOOKcolor doesn't use an e-ink display, you can still see it in the dark, even without one of those annoying book lights (that always fall off). I'll usually set the NOOK's screen color to gray and turn down the brightness so it doesn't feel like the sun is shining in my eyes. I know; I said I hated gray displays, but sometimes they do serve a purpose.

Read books across e-platforms. The NOOKcolor can support several digital formats, including the ever-popular EPUB, as well as PDF, DOC, TXT, and PPT, to name a few. This makes Google Books and possibly your local library, your friend, as you'll be able to download and/or borrow e-books from these places. I’ve found lots of wonderful, FREE, genealogy-related Google Books – some of them impossibly obscure – and have manually added them to my NOOK library. (This could really be a post all by itself, but I wanted to mention it here.)

What Could Be Improved

Needs a slim down. At 15.8 ounces (nearly 1 lb), the NOOKcolor is a bit on the heavy side. I understand that the extra weight is necessary to accommodate the LCD color display, but depending on how you're sitting, sometimes your arm just gets plain tired. Taking it out of the case helps a bit, but still... I hope the next incarnation loses a little weight.

No 3G. The NOOKcolor has wi-fi only, which can be a huge pain if you don't have access. We do have wi-fi at home, but the security settings are so high (thank you, rocket scientist husband) that the NOOK can't find it unless I set it to "broadcast." Thankfully, the NOOKcolor does pretty well at places like Starbuck's, McDonald's, and other establishments that offer free wi-fi to patrons, but in some places, you'll need to check your browser for a log-in/check-in screen, if it doesn't pop up automatically (like many smartphones). Hopefully the next version will have 3G (yes, like the Kindle). Absent a wi-fi connection, you can manually "side load" items via your computer, but that takes all the fun - and instant gratification - out of it.

Fingerprints. The NOOKcolor screen is a fingerprint magnet, especially when my daughter gets hold of it. I did finally spring for the $16.95 Screen Protector Kit (an anti-glare version is now available), which included 2 pieces of clear film and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Let's just say the cloth has received quite a workout.

Can't always get what I want. Ok, I'll say it: Amazon has a bigger selection of books for the Kindle than Barnes and Noble has for the NOOK. And there are several books I would love to read on my NOOK that are only available in Kindle format, which unfortunately is not compatible with the NOOK (are you reading this, Megan Smolenyak?). But I'm waiting impatiently (and repeatedly clicking the "Tell the publisher you want this in NOOKbook format" link), hoping more books will become available, either via B&N, Google Books, or some other compatible format.

A library in my pocket!

Final Thoughts

Am I happy with Santa's Christmas present? Absolutely. I have already read more books since the beginning of this year than I have since my daughter was born almost 5 years ago. In fact, if it weren't for the cost, I would probably replace a good portion of my "real" books with e-books, as I now find reading with my NOOK to be more convenient and enjoyable than reading "real" books.

While I still don’t have a lot of time to read, I'm now prepared for those stolen moments when I can squeeze in a couple pages of that new genealogy book or an article in NGSQ. I just toss my NOOKcolor in my bag when I go out, and I've got everything I need at the touch of a button.

And I love, love, love the way e-books don’t clutter up my house.

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Written for the 105th Edition Carnival of Genealogy: "Favorite Current Technology."

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal