Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Off We Go to Kindergarten!

The cats are ready to go.

First day of school!

Already hard at work!

Many thanks to everyone who shared their kind comments about my post yesterday, All I Really Need to Know About Genealogy I Learned in Kindergarten. I so appreciate your words of advice for me, and words of congratulations for my daughter.

I thought I would share a few photos from our morning. I hung around the classroom for a couple of hours - just make sure my daughter got the hang of things - but I finally had to force myself to leave. She only gets these 2 days of school in a classroom (the other 3 are at home), so I want them to be hers, without me fluttering around as a helicopter parent.

To be honest, this mom is having A LOT of separation anxiety. Many tears have been shed today... all of them, mine. I didn't think it would be this hard; in fact, I thought I would be dancing a jig to have a few hours to myself each week. But I suppose it will get easier each day.

It will get easier, right?

*   *   *

To my dear, sweet, beautiful daughter: You have so much life ahead of you, and today is the first day of a great learning adventure. Enjoy each day, live each moment to the fullest. And never forget how much your Mommy loves you. Always.

*   *   *

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, August 29, 2011

All I Really Need to Know About Genealogy I Learned in Kindergarten

My daughter starts *Kindergarten tomorrow.

As you might imagine, our household is all abuzz with excitement: new backpack, new lunch box, new clothes, pencils, erasers, crayons, glue sticks. Everything is in readiness for The First Day of School.

This mom has mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’ll get a few hours to myself each week. My daughter has been with me pretty much 24/7 since she was born. I've loved being with her, but sometimes I'd really like to use the bathroom without having company.

But on the other hand, this marks the moment that my baby is no longer my baby.

That's hard to swallow.

Over the past few weeks, I couldn't help remembering my own time in Kindergarten, thinking about how my daughter's experience will be so different from mine.

And as I thought about the whole Kindergarten experience, I began to realize just how basic and important the lessons learned during that time are, and how they can apply to almost anything in life.

Even genealogy.

*   *   *


Share everything. Genealogy only works when you share. Keeping it to yourself won't help you.

Play fair. Don't take things from other people without giving credit where credit is due.

Don't hit people. Even if they're hogging the copier at the library.

Put things back where you found them. Unless there's a sign telling you to put them somewhere else.

Clean up your own mess. Those boxes and piles aren't going to organize themselves.

Don't take things that aren't yours. That tree you found on Ancestry.com, the Find A Grave memorial that's already been posted, a Geni.com public profile... Ask first. Most people will say yes if you ask nicely.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. If you swiped that photo off Find A Grave and posted it without asking or giving attribution, it's never too late to apologize. Unless you've already been reported for copyright infringement.

Wash your hands before you eat. And before you handle very old documents or artifacts. Actually, it's not a bad idea to wash them afterwards, too.

Flush. If you don't need it, get rid of it. Or scan it so it takes up less room.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. A cookie break is always a good idea. Period.

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. All genealogy all the time might be fun, but it makes Jill a dull girl. Do something different once in a while to refresh yourself and clear your head.

Take a nap every afternoon. Especially if you stayed up all night looking for ancestors.

When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Go to genealogy conferences, society meetings... get out in the world and meet other genealogists. They really are nice people, and they like to help. And have fun.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Never forget the wave of emotion that came over you when you stood at the door of your great-great-grandparents ancestral home. Or the excitement of finally finding your grandfather's grave after 20 years of searching. Or the thrill of meeting a new cousin... who happens to own the family Bible. These are the wondrous moments that fuel and feed us.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we. To put it bluntly, genealogy is the finding of dead people. We all know that. But don't forget that YOU will be named on a death certificate too, one day. Live a wonderful life worthy of remembering. And back up your data in a format that can be passed on to future generations.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK. LOOK EVERYWHERE. Not everything is on the internet. Look in libraries. Look in Family History Centers. Look in county courthouses. Look in cemeteries. And look at what you've already got multiple times. As your knowledge and awareness change, your interpretation will also change. You can see the same things with new eyes and maybe find answers that were right in front of you the whole time.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

And genealogy.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

*   *   *

* Yes, I am still homeschooling my daughter. She is only attending Kindergarten 2 days a week, and we homeschool the other 3. So I guess I really shouldn't be so maudlin about having my daughter go to school 2 days a week, right?

Fulghum, Robert. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 1986. The words in bold are his, not mine.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Surname Saturday: GROGAN (IRE > LA > OH > IN > IA)

I. William GROGAN was born on 2 Jan 1809 in Kerry County, Ireland. He died on 25 Mar 1905 at the age of 96 in Leon, Decatur Co, Iowa. He is buried in Catholic Cemetery, Woodland Twp, Iowa.

William married Bridget FOLEY on 2 Feb 1843 in Ireland. Bridget was born on 22 Feb 1822 in Kerry County, Ireland, and died on 9 Dec 1905 at the age of 83 in Woodland Twp, Decatur Co., Iowa.

William and Bridget had the following children:

A. John Grogan was born on 26 Jul 1841 in County Kerry, Ireland, and died on 25 Sep 1887 at the age of 46 in Woodland Twp, Decatur County, Iowa. He married Margaret Quilty.

B. Katherine "Kate" Grogan was born in 1847 in Ireland, and died in 1935 at the age of 88 in Fort Scott, KS.

C. Timothy "Tade" Grogan was born in 1850 in Ohio. He married Margaret Daughton 

D. Michael "Colonel" Grogan was born in 1852 in Indiana, and died on 12 Nov 1910 at the age of 58 in Woodland Twp, Decatur County, Iowa. He married Kathryn Sullivan c. 1872.

E. Thomas Grogan was born in 1853 in Indiana, and died in 1896 at the age of 43 in Woodland Twp, Decatur County, Iowa.

F. Mary Jane Grogan was born on 25 Dec 1856 in Illinois. She died on 14 Mar 1947 at the age of 90 in Geneva, Fillmore Co., Nebraska, and was buried  in Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, Fillmore Co., Nebraska.

Mary Jane married John McGraw on 5 Feb 1877 in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Woodland Twp., Decatur Co., Iowa. John McGraw, son of Patrick McGraw and Johanna Genan, was born in Jun 1845 in Clare, Ireland. He died on 17 Sep 1925 at the age of 80 in Geneva, Fillmore Co, Nebraska, and was buried on 19 Sep 1925 in Exeter Cemeter, Exeter, Nebraska. John was a Farmer.

G. Hannah "Bridget" Grogan was born on 22 Aug 1857 in Woodland Twp, Decatur County, Iowa. She died on 6 Aug 1942 at the age of 84 in Woodland Twp, Decatur County, Iowa. She married Peter Bradley on 31 Dec 1883.

H. Robert William Grogan was born on 28 Aug 1860 in Decatur County, Iowa, and died on 18 Jul 1863 at the age of 2.

*   *   *

Are you a Grogan cousin? If so, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, or click on the pink "contact" button on the left to send a private message. I am happy to provide source information upon request.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of August 26, 2011

What mysteries lurk in great-grandma's steamer trunk?

What's Happening?

You won't see my "feathers" this time! Ancestry.com's U.S. Yearbooks Collection Gets Major Upgrade/New Photo Sweepstakes on Facebook.

FindmyPast has a new look and a new pricing structure (hat tip to Chris Paton of Scottish GENES).

If you missed the GeneaBloggers Radio show this past Monday discussing the recent changes at Geni.com, you can catch up with the QandA Recap with Geni CEO Noah Tutak.

The August 2011 Scanfest will take place at AnceStories on Sunday, August 28, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM PDT.

Get your worship on: the deadline for submissions to the 109th Edition Carnival of Genealogy is September 1, 2011.

You still have time to participate in The Postcard Bonanza hosted at Are You My Cousin? Deadline for submissions is August 31, 2011.

Mark your calendars for Museum Day, September 24, 2011. Museums participating locally include El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park in Santa Barbara, the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art in Solvang, and the Wildling Art Museum in Los Olivos (hat tip to Diane Haddad, the Genealogy Insider).

UPDATED: Build an App for MyHeritage and Win $10,000 via TechCrunch

In the News

Hull History Centre marks International Slavery Remembrance Day - The Life of Venture Smith: Hull reveals the remarkable story of a self-freed slave.

Using GPS to preserve Iowa's historic sites - Kirkwood professor mapping Iowa’s pioneer cemeteries.

Finally found - Remains of WTC worker Ernest James, 40, ID'd ten years after 9/11.

What? Early Europeans may not have been farmers?? Blow for European origins theory.

At least he got his last meal - Ötzi the Iceman Murdered on a Full Stomach from Wired Science.

Here comes Irene - NASA Photo of Earth Captures Hurricane Irene from Space via PetaPixel.

Help Wanted

More like Help Given - Is Your Ancestor In My Ancestor's Pension File? from (Mis)Adventures Of A Genealogist by Cinamon Collins. Cinamon is offering scanned copies, if any of these names look familiar.

Do you have any Nimmo photos? Cathy at Is Meets Was is Seeking Photographs of a Nimmo.

Finally, Can You Help Return These WWI Dog Tags to the Family? posted here, at Little Bytes of Life.

From the Blogs

So glad I wasn't born earlier - The Outhouse from iowagirlmemories.

Trying to find out when an ancestor died? Find tips at When Did They Die? from Begin with 'Craft' by Valerie Craft.

What's the Diff? Mausoleums, Crypts, and Tombs (Oh My!) from A Grave Interest by Joy Neighbors.

Steve Danko is still on the road. Catch some of his fabulous photos at Steve's Genealogy Blog.

Don't miss out on that family photo op - 5 Tips for Creating Meaningful Family Photos from Roots and Rambles by Marian Pierre-Louis.

In case you missed it - Indirect Evidence to the Rescue... from Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog by Harold.

The Last Byte

Scared to open Great-Grandma Susie's hope chest? Be afraid... be very afraid!

Check out what Tina Lyons of Gen Wish List found on her recent genealogy trip here and here. (Almost makes me wish I'd saved that jar with my appendix in it for my daughter's kids to find one day!)

So, what's the strangest ancestor artifact that you've found or been the beneficiary of?

*   *   *

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

To subscribe to my Google Reader shared items, 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, Deb RuthJen, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Photo of "Funk Trunk" by Flickr user ViaMoi. Licensed under Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can You Help Return These WWI Dog Tags to the Family?

Janice Nickerson of Upper Canada Genealogy is trying to help her cousin reunite a set of WWI dog tags with descendants or relatives of the soldier. Here's what she knows:
The soldier's name was Victor Kaschytza, born on December 17, 1899, in a town called Myslowitz (now called Myslowice), which is a city in Silesia in Southern Poland, near Katowice. He was killed September 8, 1918 at Warville at the Somme.

He was a Wehrmann in the Royal Prussian Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 46. The number of the tag is: EBOR 62.3.K.4458 (there could be another number at the end but there's an indentation on the tag so it's hard to know for sure).

Any ideas? My cousin lives in Vancouver, Canada. Her husband's grandfather had these tags in his possession, but no one knows why.
If you can help Janice in this quest, please contact her. There may be a family out there who would love to have these tags returned.

*   *   *

Originally posted to the APG Members mailing list. Reposted with permission.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Surname Saturday: MCGRAW (IRE > PA > IL > IA)

Patrick McGraw was born in 1808 in County Clare, Ireland. He died on 25 Feb 1888 at the age of 80 probably in Ringgold Co., Iowa, and is buried in St. Edwards Catholic Cemetery, Afton, Union Co, Iowa.

Patrick married Johanna Genan, born in Feb 1821 in County Clare, Ireland. She died on 17 Sep 1901 at the age of 80, probably in Ringgold Co., Iowa. She is buried alongside her husband in St. Edwards Catholic Cemetery, Afton, Union Co, Iowa. 

Patrick and Johanna had the following children:

1. John McGraw, born in Jun 1845 in Clare, Ireland. He died on 17 Sep 1925 at the age of 80 in Geneva, Fillmore Co, Nebraska. He was buried on 19 Sep 1925 in Exeter Cemeter, Exeter, Nebraska. John was a Farmer.

John McGraw and Mary Jane Grogan were married on 5 Feb 1877 in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Woodland Twp., Decatur Co., Iowa. Mary Jane Grogan, daughter of William Grogan and Bridget Foley, was born on 25 Dec 1856 in Illinois. She died on 14 Mar 1947 at the age of 90 in Geneva, Fillmore Co., Nebraska. Mary is buried next to her husband in Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, Fillmore Co., Nebraska. 

John and Mary Jane  had the following children:

a. Johannah McGraw, born in 1878 in Iowa. She died in 1917 at the age of 39 in Nebraska. Johannah married Alexander Roy Buchanan, who died on 11 Nov 1918 at the age of 40 in Salmon, Lemhi Co., Idaho. 

b. William P. McGraw was born in Feb 1879 in Iowa. He is buried in Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, Fillmore Co., Nebraska. 

c. Kate McGraw was born in Apr 1881 in Iowa.

d. John McGraw, born in Feb 1885 in Nebraska.

e. Thomas McGrawborn on 1 Jul 1889 in Ohiowa, Fillmore Co, Nebraska. He died on 26 Dec 1982 at the age of 93 in Seward, Seward Co, Nebraska. Thomas is buried in Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, Fillmore Co., Nebraska.Thomas married Elizabeth "Bessie" Delaneydaughter of Dennis Daniel Delaney and Nellie Coyne/Coin. She was born on 15 Sep 1895 in Exeter, Nebraska, and died on 21 May 1977 at the age of 81 in Sioux City, Woodbury Co, Iowa. Bessie is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa. Thomas and Bessie had the following children:

i) Mary "Maura" McGrawborn on 9 May 1917 in Stanton, Fillmore Co, Nebraska. She died on 24 Feb 2004 at the age of 86 in Hemet, Riverside Co, California. Mary married George Marvin Dagleson of George Dames Dagle and Azelia Clementine Faivre, who was born on 12 Sep 1912 in Jefferson, Union Co, South Dakota. He died on 12 Aug 1951 at the age of 38 in Tacoma, Pierce Co, Washington, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce, Washington.

ii) Thomas R. McGraw, born on 19 Jan 1919 in Geneva, Fillmore Co., Nebraska, died on 26 Feb 1984.

iii) Deloris Katherine McGraw, born on 1 Jan 1921 in Geneva, Fillmore Co., Nebraska, died on 5 Sep 2008 at the age of 87 in Sioux City, Woodbury Co, Iowa.

iv) Robert McGraw, born on 18 Aug 1924 in Nebraska, died on 13 Aug 2000 at the age of 75 in Lincoln, Lancaster Co, Nebraska.

v) Myda G. McGraw, born on 23 Dec 1927 in Keystone, Keith Co, Nebraska, died on 27 Jan 2002 at the age of 74 in Sioux City, Woodbury Co, Iowa. 

f. James E. McGraw, born on 26 May 1893 in Nebraska, died on 5 Feb 1967 at the age of 73 in San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California. 

g. Emma W. McGraw, born on 3 Jun 1892 in Nebraska, died on 24 Apr 1980 at the age of 87.

h. Grace Helen McGraw, born on 13 Sep 1894 in Nebraska, died on 23 Oct 1955 at the age of 61.

2. Patrick McGraw, born in 1856 in County Clare, Ireland.

3. Michael McGraw, born in 1853 in Ireland.

4. Bridget McGraw, who became Sister Mary Amelia, Sisters of Charity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

5. James McGraw, born about 1854 in Ireland, died on 16 Jun 1928 at the age of 74.

6. Thomas McGraw

7. Martin McGraw

*   *   *

Are you a McGraw cousin? If so, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, or click on the pink "contact" button on the left to send a private message. I am happy to provide source information upon request.

Photo of Patrick and Johannah McGraw's tombstone by Find A Grave volunteer FLH.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 19, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of August 19, 2011

Digital Photography: So easy, a kid can do it.

After a busy summer hiatus, I'm getting back in the saddle with my weekly Best Bytes column. And wow, did I pick a crazy week to get started! Seriously, if there is one more announcement of CHANGE from any major genealogy company, I think I will have to go back to bed and pull the covers up to my chin!

So, what's going on? Check it out for yourself.

Federation of Genealogical Societies Debuts New Mobile App. Have you tried it yet?

The latest from Geni.com - Enhancements for Basic (Free) Users from The Geni Blog. The controversy stemmed from an announcement last week, Geni Pro Just Got a Whole Lot Better.

As a possible result, WikiTree Traffic Jumps 30%.

1940 Census To Be Free on Ancestry.com until the end of 2013. There won't be an index, so grab a cup of coffee and get settled for the long haul.

New focus on military records (but the old, non-military stuff will stay) - Footnote is now Fold3 (updated). While I like the name as a tribute to military veterans, it's kind of hard to get used to. Also, I'm sorry to hear that NARA's non-military records will no longer be part of the indexing project. After attending NIGR in 2010, I was looking forward to seeing some of NARA's lesser-known records come online. Sigh...

UPDATE: Read the post News: Footnote is now Fold3. Does that make sense to you? Me neither. And we're not alone from ArchivesNext by Kate T. She brings up some very interesting points about the footnote/fold3 change in focus.

In the News

Did you know there is a cemetery at Harvard University? Me neither. Hidden Spaces: The tiny cemetery

I can't imagine doing this, but to each his/her own: Cremation Portrait: Owner Has Photo Printed with Dead Dog’s Ashes

How much do family members really look alike? Genetic Portraits’ Comparing the Faces of Family Members

Thousands of Tennesseans’ Biographies Now Accessible with Internet Tool

Wired Magazine is looking for a few family photogs - Assignment Wired: Family

Help Wanted

Kathleen at the moore-mays.org blog says It’s time to research an Upgrade, and is looking for recommendations on a new printer/scanner.

Got vintage postcards? Check out Join Me For a Postcard Bonanza from Are You My Cousin? by Lisa.

Be part of a Small World Experiment (6 Degrees of Separation), brought to our attention by the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.

Kathleen Brandt asks, Are These 3 Photos of the Same Man? from a3Genealogy.

Jessica of Jessica's Genejournal is Looking For Hosts - Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy

Are you a descendant of a Homesteader? Descendants of Homesteaders Wanted for Oral History Project from Long Lost Relatives.net by Susan Petersen.

Janet the researcher says, I need help determining John A. Thompson's military service.

Share Your Home Movies with the Nebraska State Historical Society from Nebraska History Blog.

From the Blogs

World Photography Day is here, so check out the entries at Gallery Now Open for The Past is Present Photo Challenge from The Family Curator by Family Curator.

This one is primary. Wait, secondary... no... The 5 Most Misused Words and Phrases in Genealogy from Planting the Seeds by Michael Hait, CG(sm).

You have until August 28th - Deadline for 32nd edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy changed! from Jessica's Genejournal

New contest: Win a copy of A Different Kind of Web from ArchivesNext by Kate T.

Gorgeous photos of Pisa, Tuscany, Italy from Steve's Genealogy Blog by Steve Danko.

Unique family history presentations. from The Chart Chick by Janet Hovorka

If you think YOU'RE having a bad day, you need to read this - The Cascade Massacre from Blogging a Dead Horse by Dead Man Talking.

The Last Byte

Digital photography has certainly been a game-changer. We can now take thousands of photos without the expense of film and developing. But on the flip side, are we properly preserving our precious photos for future generations? Will photos of YOU make it to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or be lost forever? Be sure to read The Impermanence of Digital Photographs at PetaPixel. Be sure to read the article he refers to, Digital Photographs for a Lifetime, which comments on options for digital storage (it's an oldie, but still very relevant).

Personally, I love keeping everything in digital storage. I have a 2 TB external hard drive for local back-ups, as well as 3 smaller externals for various other purposes. I also back up to the "cloud" via Mozy (probably switching to Carbonite when my current account expires), and store several items on Dropbox. And while this keeps my house from unwanted clutter, I still can't help but wonder how these items will make it to my grandchildren (provided that I have any).

My husband and I argue about this all the time. He likes everything stored digitally, which I agree with, to a point. Unfortunately, he doesn't back up his data, so when his hard drive crashes, it's bye-bye photos (and genealogical research). Actually, I think his idea of a "back up" is to remove the non-working hard drive from the old computer, and hang onto it forever, just in case he can someday figure out how to get his data off. We have several of these old dinosaurs laying around.

As for me, I like to print things. Yeah, I know, we're going to have to move into a bigger house if I don't get the clutter under control. But hard copies of photos have endured for centuries. And I can no longer get anything off my old Mac 512K floppies, even with a disc drive.

So, she says PRINT, he says STORE DIGITALLY.

Which camp are you in? How do you store and save your digital photos?

*   *   *

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 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, Deb RuthJen, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Geni: On the Fence

I'm not a girl who makes hasty decisions. And I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, whenever possible (unless they disappoint me repeatedly, then forget it).

This morning, Noah Tutak posted A Message From Geni's CEO on the Geni Blog. Please read it for yourself, but what I took away from the post was a) Geni is sorry they sprung these changes on everyone, b) they are trying to respond to comments and concerns, c) the previously announced changes are staying, and d) they are moving ahead with their goal of a world tree. There are already 10 comments posted, most of them from still-unhappy people.

Several commenters to my post yesterday, Dear Geni: It's Not Me, It's You, mentioned a desire to close their Geni accounts and remove all their data. Apparently, this is not as easy as one might think. According to blogger Debbie Blanton McCoy, a friend of hers...
...tried to close his account and it said that he had to switch the ownership of the profiles that he had added to someone else before closing the account. He later closed it but it did not remove any of the people on his tree and it did switch the management of those people to someone else. So closing your account does not delete your tree. The information is still there for Pro users to take.
From what I've read and heard, any profiles that have become "public" cannot be removed. In the olden days, I believe that the default was public. In fact, I distinctly remember a very angry email from my father when he found his own Geni profile in a Google search. Geni now says that profiles back to your grandparents are defaulted to private... so that probably also means that everyone from that point on is defaulted to public. If you did not change this on any profiles initially, they are most likely now public, and up for grabs, as Debbie's friend discovered. I made most of mine private after Dad's email, thankfully.

A commenter on today's Geni blog post mentioned the same thing. He/she says the option was given to either "donate" the tree to the community or put someone else in charge. So it appears that it is not possible to entirely remove your data from Geni. Period.

I decided to log in this morning and see what I could and couldn't do.

  • Delete photos (hugely tedious, unless you delete the entire album at once)
  • Start a discussion
  • Edit my own profile
  • View my tree
  • View my husband's tree
  • Edit a profile 6 generations back
  • Remove somebody from a tree 6 generations back
  • Follow people in my own tree
  • Delete comments on my own profile
  • Merge duplicate profiles within my own tree
  • Search for names outside my own tree
  • View "public" profiles that *I* originally uploaded back in 2008 (still editable and viewable via Google - must be a glitch on Geni's part)
  • Edit a public profile
What else? If you find other things in Geni that you can or cannot do, please let me know, and I'll add them to the list.

Am I going to remove my tree (whatever I can remove of it) from Geni... take my ball and go home? I honestly haven't decided yet. Like I said, I don't like to make hasty decisions. Adding all those profiles took time. And work. Do I really want them gone?

Also, do we really know that the "world family tree" will be a bad thing? I mean, I've got my data backed up in at least 4 different places, so if a PRO user plays in my sandbox and makes a mess, have I really lost anything? Isn't it possible that the PRO user *might* know something I don't, and could potentially help me?

Maybe, but I think what this boils down to is CONTROL. Genealogists are control freaks. We have to be. Every, single, solitary detail is important. T's crossed, i's dotted, we work like crazy to make sure we get things right. And we don't like people messing with our stuff. Seriously. Like only children, we don't always play nice with others (I should know. I am one, and I gave birth to one.). Sure, we share when we want to, but hey, don't touch my stuff unless I say so!

And if you're like me, you hate surprises. Especially bad ones. Bad surprises are when people take stuff we want. This was a bad surprise to pretty much everyone outside the Geni-sphere. Surprise! You can't have that anymore = bad. Genealogists don't like bad surprises, people. Vendors, beware.

Geni says that the world tree was their goal since day 1. Perhaps, but I sure don't remember any of this being mentioned in 2007 when I signed up. In my defense, I had a 1 year-old at the time; critical thinking and memory skills do not go well with parenting a 1 year-old on most days. But I'm pretty sure that even with a 1 year-old hanging off my hip, I would have remembered hearing that one day day in the future, a for-pay option would be created, and he who pays would have the POWA. Over information that I uploaded to what I thought was MY tree.

Nah. Don't think so. Not even with a 1 year-old.

At this point, I'm still on the fence. I may just sit here until the dust settles and see how it all plays out.

So... what are your thoughts? Geni: Should we stay or should we go?

*   *   *

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o: Eight Years Today

Eight years ago today, I married my sweetie.

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

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

You might say that we eloped.

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

E hoomau maua kealoha.

*   *   *

Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o = Happy Anniversary.
E hoomau maua kealoha = May our love last forever.

UPDATE: In looking at the picture again, I wanted to mention that ALL the floral arrangements you see were handmade by my cousin, her daughters, and myself. We stayed up late the night before the wedding assembling the leis and the bridal bouquet. My cousin and I are both daughters of florists; I did NOT inherit any of that talent, but thankfully, my cousin did. She has made some beautiful leis and bouquets for various weddings and events.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Dear Geni: It's Not Me, It's You

It's not you, it's me.

We've all heard that old break-up line. And nobody believes it.

Well, this time, I know it's me.

It wasn't perfect, but we were good together.

I joined Geni.com back in 2007, after what I thought was an extremely cool demonstration of their product at the SCGS Jamboree. The free t-shirts weren't bad, either.

Note that this was back in the days when ALL accounts were free, and PRO user accounts were just a gleam in Geni's eye.

I was excited about the possibilities. I had visions of an involved online family, the sharing of stories, photos, discussions, wild discourse...

Didn't happen.

I'll admit that I was disappointed, although not entirely surprised. A few family members gave Geni a whirl, but either tired of it, or found its constant emails and reminders of birthdays and anniversaries to be annoying. Those with security clearances had serious privacy concerns, especially when they discovered their personal information popping up in search engines ("public" profiles were the default).

So even though my family didn't care for Geni.com, I hung around. Whenever I had time, I added newly-found ancestors, updated profiles, posted photos and discussions, hoping to engage someone...

To date, I have added 8,678 profiles.

8,678 profiles that I might just remove today. If I still can, that is.

Despite being tempted quite a few times, I have not yet signed on to become a Geni Pro user. I was given a free 1-year Geni Pro account at the SCGS Jamboree in June, but to be honest, I simply have not had a chance to give it a try. I didn't want to "start the clock" until I knew I would have time to give it a fair trial.

The subtle announcement last week on the Geni blog, Geni Pro Just Got a Whole Lot Better, flew completely under my radar. I saw the post title a few times on Twitter, but in my distracted thinking, I took it to mean that Geni Pro just got a whole lot better... which had absolutely nothing to do with me, as a Geni freebie user.

Boy, was I wrong.

You're don't love me for who I am.

This morning, I ran into DearMYRTLE's post, Geni.com didn't ask my opinion. (Geni didn't ask for my opinion, either, but I wouldn't expect them to.)

Apparently, changes are a-comin'. And not in a good way. At least, not for us feebie freeloaders.

Today, we announce the release of new permissions that are designed to accelerate the growth and improve the quality of the world family tree. Geni Pro subscribers now have full permission to add on to, edit, and merge profiles in the historical parts of the tree. Non-Pros can no longer add new profiles to the historical tree or merge profiles. By making these permissions more consistent, we ensure that anyone who can add a new profile to the historical tree can immediately merge it with any existing duplicates. These changes will benefit all of us as the world family tree continues to get bigger and better.

With this release, there are a few changes to the way search works as well. All users will continue to be able to find their close relatives, profiles they added, and profiles they follow. A Pro subscription is now required to searching through the 110+ million profiles on Geni to find new relatives to add to your tree.
(Emphasis added.)

Unless I upgrade to PRO status, I can now only search among the profiles I've added. Why do I need Geni for that? I can already do that on RootsMagic, without leaving my own hard drive. If the point of Geni.com is collaboration, didn't they just effectively take that away from me?

And how is this "historical tree" going to be any better than Ancestry.com's old "World Family Tree," or the one that Susie Enthusiasm posted after copying names and dates from Joe, who copied from Frank, who copied from Mary, who copied from Alice, and so on and so on... ?

For the rest of us (freebies),
View and edit permissions have not changed. You can continue to view your close relatives and the entire historical tree, and you can continue to edit your closer relatives and profiles that you've added.
Define "close relative?" Apparently this means that freebie users can only work on or add profiles up to their  3rd great-grandparents.
All users can continue to build a family tree of their close relatives for free, and invite their relatives to view and contribute to that tree.
I don't need to build a tree of "close relatives." I've been at this for 24 years. And see above for how my family felt about contributing to the Geni tree.
Pros do not have any additional privileges on private profiles.
Well, thank goodness for that. I'd hate to log in one day and find my birth date changed, or my kid put into a different family.

She means more to you than I do.

I'll admit that some of these PRO users get on my nerves. Hardly a day goes by that I don't get a request asking me to merge a profile or telling me that my data is all wrong. Ok, I don't claim that everything I've posted on Geni.com has been vetted by the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard). Some of the information was "inherited," meaning that I wound up with it via a stupid GEDCOM merge with someone else's data, and I haven't checked it out yet. After all, I don't have a ton of time to investigate my husband's uncle's 3rd-cousin's wife's brother. So I apologize if I've done your ancestor wrong.

What really irks me - and this is not especially relevant to the current post, but I feel the need to express myself while I'm on a rant roll - are the folks who want to merge a profile, and tell me all about their genealogical "credentials" and why they are qualified to make this decision. One guy sent me a many-paragraph laundry list of his genealogical "experience," which basically boiled down to... he's merged a lot of profiles at Geni.com. Color me impressed.

Apparently the PROs were tired of people like me not responding to their requests for a merge, so Geni.com has now given them free reign to merge at will.

Our relationship has become about money, hasn't it?

Apparently $ = genealogical quality now. By allowing PRO users to merge profiles, with no need to ask or consult, Geni is taking me and my 24 years of research out of the equation, and putting "quality" into the hands of people who pay.

Every company has the right to make a buck. I support that. However, I don't feel that Geni.com is making a wise move by taking features away from free accounts. Unless I decide to pay, my data is now relegated to the whim of an unknown PRO user. I don't like that. Wouldn't it make more sense to entice me with fabulous PRO features that I will want to pay for, instead of taking away what I've already got?

And again, how will this move make Geni's "historical tree" any more credible than what Susie Enthusiasm posted at Ancestry.com?

If you don't love me anymore, just tell me.

Every relationship needs give and take. We can't make it if you just take.

I was really on-board with Geni.com for 4 years, and happy to promote their product. But I sense that our relationship is about to change.

It's not me, Geni. It's you.

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Posts on this topic by other bloggers:

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings, "Geni Pro Just got a Whole Lot Better." But what about Geni Free?
Tamura Jones, "Geni Changes"
DearMYRTLE, "Geni.com didn't ask my opinion"
Diane Haddad at The Family Tree Insider, Geni Draws Fire For New User Permissions
Amy Coffin at We Tree, "Where Keggers and Social Genealogy Intersect"
Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers, GENI – STUCK ON STUPID
Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here, Geni. - OH NO YOU DIDN'T!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sharp Dressed Man

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"Sharp Dressed Man" Digital image. Undated. Original photograph privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Maui Co., Hawaii, 2011.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Upcoming Event at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society

NOTE: This event has been postponed. 
Please check back for the rescheduled date.

Hill-Carrillo Adobe, "Girl on Burro"
(from SBCGS event flyer)

On Thursday, August 18, 2011, the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society will host Viva los SBCGS Voluntarios! (Long live SBCGS Volunteers!).

The people who contribute their time and talents to Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society are the life blood - the "sangria" - of our all-volunteer organization. And this month, when we're normally "quiet," we're going to celebrate their contributions!

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Join us at the historic (ca ~1825) Hill-Carrillo Adobe,
15 E. Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara

Thursday, August 18th, from 1 - 4 p.m.

as we fete our volunteers in Fiesta style.
Light refreshments on the Hill-Carrillo Adobe patio

Don't miss a special slide presentation and talk on the history
of the historic Hill-Carrillo Adobe
by John C. Woodward, SBCGS Board member and SB adobe expert
Two presentations will be given: 2:00 and 3:15 PM

For more information about the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society or this event, please visit http://sbcgs.org.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Los Angeles City Firefighter Needs Assistance

Yesterday, Susan Bankhead shared on her blog, "Susan's Genealogy Blog" about a request from her son Tim, the Los Angeles City firefighter.

Her son wrote:
I am a firefighter in the City of Los Angeles and over the years of our existence a number of great men have lost their lives in the line of duty. We have a hall at our training center that has photos of them all with the exception of just a few. I am wondering how genealogy, record searches, and the internet can help us find a photo of these great men so that we may give them the honor they are due.
Susan would like to know "where you would start and what process you would use to find these fallen fire fighters."

To help out, please head over to "Susan's Genealogy Blog" and leave your advice in a comment.

I would like to point out that the The Los Angeles Times historical archives online at ProQuest contain digitized article images from December 4, 1881 to December 31, 1984. If anyone has access to this collection (I don't), perhaps a search would be in order. They note in the FAQs, however, that "certain photographs and articles" are omitted due to copyright concerns. Hopefully photos of firefighters who died in the line of duty would not be among those.

Thanks for any help (and peace of mind) you can give to these folks.

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Information from "Susan's Genealogy Blog" shared with permission.
Firefighter photo from Microsoft Clip Art, and is not Tim or any of the others mentioned in the article.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, August 8, 2011

CGS Announces "Ancestry Day in San Francisco 2011"

Ancestry Day in San Francisco
Daylong Event Features Genealogy Experts, Lectures and Consultations

Oakland, CA – August 8, 2011 – Ancestry.com and the California Genealogical Society (CGS) are partnering to present Ancestry Day in San Francisco 2011Saturday, November 5, 2011, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, located at 5 Embarcadero Center on the waterfront near the historic Ferry Building.

This full-day event will help you start or hone your genealogical skills. Explore the world of genealogy, listen to engaging lectures, meet with expert staff and learn about the incredible resources available at Ancestry.com and at the California Genealogical Society Library.

The day will include
  • More than a dozen family history lectures
  • Ancestry.com experts on-hand to answer your questions
  • One-on-one consultations with genealogists
  • Beginner’s classes where your family and friends can learn the basics
Registration is open. The "early bird" price (through October 5, 2011) is $42 for the all-day event. To learn more about the classes and consultation offerings, visit Ancestry Day in San Francisco 2011 at http://ancestry.com/ancestryday-sanfrancisco.

About Ancestry.com
With more than five billion historical records and in excess of 20 million family trees, Ancestry.com is the world's largest genealogical database. Have you explored what Ancestry.com has to offer? Visit Ancestry.com.

About CGS:
The California Genealogical Society, founded in San Francisco in 1898, maintains a library in Oakland, gathers and preserves vital records, and offers research services and online databases. CGS disseminates information through publications, meetings, seminars, workshops and its website: CaliforniaAncestors.org.

For additional information about this event, please contact Kathryn M. Doyle, CGS Communications Director.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 5, 2011

Great News from Family Tree DNA!

I received the following terrific news from Family Tree DNA this morning in my inbox. I've been hoping they would do something like this eventually... and now they have!

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Dear Project Administrator,

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new feature we hope will benefit your projects: Y-DNA "Third Party" uploads.

This will allow for the upload of 33 and 46-marker Y-DNA test results from Ancestry, GeneTree and Sorensen's SMGF. This was a natural development since the necessary tools were created to import the DNA Heritage database after they ceased operations. While the DNA Heritage transfer is free of charge as a result of that acquisition, we will be charging a nominal fee of $19 per person to import third party results into Family Tree DNA. This $19 fee will be credited to customers who order upgrades or add-ons.

For an additional $39, customers who transfer their third party results will also have additional markers tested so that they can receive matches to Family Tree DNA's 25 or 37-marker level, ancestral origins, and other features of the personal page.

Please forward the following link to those who may be interested in ordering the Third Party transfer:


What do you get when you transfer third party results?

The $19 fee will provide the customer with a Family Tree DNA personal page which will allow them to join Family Tree DNA projects freely. This means results will be available to the administrator and included on the project's public page for comparison with other project members.

The $58 fee ($19 transfer fee + $39 for the added markers to Family Tree DNA's 25 or 37-marker level) will include the same features provided to Family Tree DNA customers in their personal pages.

For any additional questions related to Third Party transfer, please refer to our FAQ section for help.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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For information about the Swanay/Swaney/Sweaney DNA Surname Project, please visit our public project page, or FamilyTree DNA. Please also feel free to contact me if you have questions. If you would like to transfer your results from another testing company, come on over!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Local Reenactors to be Featured on National TV

Morgan's Riflemen

Southern California reenactors Morgan's Riflemen will be featured in an upcoming episode of the Monday-night TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles. The episode "Rebel Without a Pause" is scheduled to air on 15 August 2011 at 10:00 p.m.

Apparently, you'll know Morgan's when you see them. As the friend who sent me this information pointed out, "The 'dead' fellow is not ours. Nor are the Redcoats. We are the 'backwoods scum.'"

What could be more fun than dressing up as "backwoods scum" with a giant rifle on national TV?

About Morgan's Riflemen

Morgan's Riflemen of California are dedicated to preserving the memory and lifestyle of Revolutionary War Rangers and the Riflemen of Daniel Morgan, through living history.

Starting in 2002, a small group of living history rangers began camping and participating in events and decided to model the riflemen that served under Daniel Morgan. Some of the riflemen are Sons of the American Revolution, though this is not required; all of the men love family and country. They are family oriented and, at most events, spouses, children and dogs are present. The Distaff women are a great support and enjoy their own activites and always cook amazing meals.

Morgan's Riflemen engage in living history events and scouts in the Southern California area. They actualy camp, dress, cook and shoot in they ways of 1770's colonials and the Revolutionary War ranger backwoodsmen. Although not "reenactors," the riflemen do participate in local timeline events and show the public how our forefathers lived in these formative years of our nation. To participate, recruits must qualify with period correct gear, skills and sharp shooting.

For more information about Morgan's Riflemen, please visit their web site at http://www.morgansriflemen.com or contact mtnmantim@hotmail.com.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Guy and Dolls

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"Guy and Dolls" Digital image. Undated. Original photograph privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Benton Co., Washington. 2011.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

23andMe Offers "Friends and Family Coupon"

These days, who doesn't like a good coupon, right? Well, I received the following coupon offer this morning from DNA testing company 23andMe. It says to "share it with as many people as you like," so here I am, sharing with you!

I tested with 23andMe about a year ago, when they offered their amazing "DNA Day" sale of $99. I can't really say I've found anything new or exciting, but it was interesting to see what they thought of my health. It is comforting to know that I have a lower-than-average risk of developing Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, although I have an elevated risk of developing narcolepsy (I think that last one is caused by being a mom).

If you're interested in giving 23andMe's $50 Off deal a try, please feel free. Be sure to quote the coupon code below,  redeem by August 9, 2011.


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Friends and Family Coupon

Hello Elizabeth,

Want to prove that your parents are to blame for your sleeping-in gene? Or are you simply curious if your best friend is in fact a distant relative, which may explain your mutual love for jellybeans and basset hounds? 23andMe allows you to compare your DNA with friends and family so that you can make fun and interesting discoveries together.

Get your friends and family on board with this $50 coupon. Share it with as many people as you like, but remember that this coupon expires in 7 days (August 9, 2011).

Have fun!

The 23andMe Team

To use this coupon, visit our online store and add an order to your cart. Click "I have a discount code" and enter the code below.

$50 Off

Coupon code: WD8FFC
Share with your friends!
(Valid for new customers only) 

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal