Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

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A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween.

~Erma Bombeck

Wishing you a safe and happy Halloween!

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Vintage greeting card from Smarter Babies and Kids Blog.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: No Wonder Monday Seems Twice as Long as the Other Days

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"Manic Monday." Digital image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal on October 26, 2011. Yes, this is a real calendar that I bought in a store.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: South Dakota State Archives

If you're a South Dakota researcher, you might find what you're looking for at the South Dakota State Archives web site.

Or, you might find something that will lead you to what you're looking for, like I did.

If you click on the link, For Genealogists, you'll find several links to South Dakota databases, including a Newspapers Surname Index, a Biographical File Index, and an 1885 Civil War Veterans Database.

But my favorite (so far) is the General Federation of Women's Clubs Pioneer Daughters Collection, which preserves the stories of female pioneers of South Dakota (searchable by married and maiden name). If you find a familiar name, you can request the file via email, and they will send it to you quickly by regular mail. The price has gone up slightly since I made my request, but is still not bad.

I found this site several months ago, and on a lark, requested the GFWC - PDC file of Mrs. Adelor LaFleur (Sarah Montagne) of Union County. To my knowledge, I did not have an Adelor LaFleur in my ancestry, but I do have quite a few LaFleurs from that same area.

In the file of Mrs. LaFleur were a couple of biographical newspaper articles about her and husband Adelor. They were a cute, little, old couple back in 1950, who, both at the age of 84, loved reading and fishing.

It was nothing earth-shattering, but it was still something that made me go, "Hmmmm." What confused me was that Adelor was said to have been born in Massachusetts, which did not jive with the migration of my LaFleur family from Canada to South Dakota.

Or so I thought.

Long story short, I was completely wrong on my LaFleur ancestry (it happens), and attached the wrong parents to my great-great grandmother Mederese LaFleur (I can thank the 1925 Iowa Census for clearing up my mess).

And what do you know? It turns out that Adelor was Mederese's younger brother!

Noodling around on I found a census with the whole (correct) family living in... Massachusetts. And guess who the only child born there was? That's right, it was Adelor. All the other kids were born in Canada.

Although no parent or sibling names are given in the articles about Adelor and Sarah LaFleur, the fact that Adelor's birth place and year of birth are given helped me to confirm that this was the correct family.

Oh, and you know what other cool thing I found on this web site? A guy with the last name of LaFleur currently sits on the board of the Union County Historical Society. Yeah, he'll be getting an email from me soon.

So... that's my roundabout way of recommending that you check out the South Dakota State Archives. You just never know what you might find!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of October 22, 2011

What's Hot

Although not hot in the classic sense, this has been making big news in the genealogy community: beloved web site Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) has gone down - and will stay down - indefinitely. I first heard about it from Vermont Genealogy, RAOGK is Down Indefinitely. Dick Eastman has also posted about this news at Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness (RAOGK) will be Offline for Some Time. Be sure to read the comments for suggestions on how to help in other areas. Also, check out the RAOGK Facebook Page where folks have also been offering assistance.

Serious Threat to VA Vital Records Access -- Your HELP is Needed NOW!

You still have time to go RootsTech on the cheap: RootsTech Conference Discount Oct 27-29 ONLY from SCGSGenealogical Society Blog. Hurry, deadline is October 29, 2011.

National Archives Joins iTunes U Community.

National Genealogical Society Seeks Nominations for the 2012 Genealogy Hall of Fame. Deadline for nominations is January 31, 2012.

Cool Stuff

Video: 10 Years of Fires on Earth Seen From Space from Wired Science.

Looking for creative gift ideas? Check out Christmas is Coming! from From Helen V Smith's Keyboard by Helen V Smith.

Another possible gift idea? Write an Ancestor's Story For an Original Piece of Artwork from Remember by Betsy Cross. No deadline is given, but the winner will be announced on October 31, 2011, so get your story in before then!

I don't, but I might: DO YOU TATTOO? WEARING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY from Irish Genealogy: Help! The Faery Folk Hid My Ancestors! by Deborah Large Fox.

In case you missed it: Jennifer Shoer at The Scrappy Genealogist invited several geneamommybloggers to share their secrets in her series: How She Does It - Secrets from a Geneamommyblogger. Six moms - and a dad! - bared their souls, telling how they juggle family, work, genealogy, blogging, personal hygiene, and life in general.

In the News

Safer Down Syndrome Test Hits Market Monday

Gone but not forgotten: Latter-day Saints clean up neglected black cemetery

New Irish DNA atlas will uncover makeup of Irish

Help Wanted

Who is she: Another Baby Doll is Looking for a Name from The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum.

He's a cutie, but who is this Mystery Little Boy (from Nutfield Genealogy by Heather Rojo)?

Here's another: Unidentified Photograph - Can You Help? from Are You My Cousin? by Lisa.

Calling all people who can read old handwriting: 1789 document from Bridgwater concerning John Chubb needs transcribing (from Bridgwater Gene Pool by Ursula Martin).

"The Rideau Township Historical Society, located just south of Ottawa, has announced that they are still collecting information and photos of barns in the former township of Rideau before they all disappear." See Barns Appreciation Project from Genealogy Canada by Elizabeth Lapointe for details.

Decisions, decisions: D Lee from A Patient Genealogist needs help selecting the most useful class at an upcoming genealogy conference. See Thankful Thursday to offer your advice.

If you like working at home in your PJs, here are a couple of volunteer projects that you might enjoy: The San Joaquin County Obituary Indexing Project Is A Go! from The Educated Genealogist by Sheri, and Volunteer Opportunity: Civil Cases Project from the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society.

From the Blogs

What set you on your genealogy journey? The Moment You Knew from The Armchair Genealogist by Lynn Palermo.

A Window into Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Car from Nebraska History Blog by lmooney.

Public Libraries Are Free; So, Does That Mean They Don't Cost Anybody Anything? from Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror by Mel Wolfgang.

Do those Captcha codes make you nuts when you try to comment on a blog? Yeah, me, too, and we're not alone: Easy & Fast is the Name of the Comment Game from For Your Family Story by Caroline Pointer.

Genealogy and the Brand New You - Part Deux from Family Cherished by Valerie.

Good Source for World War I Overseas Research from a3Genealogy by Kathleen Brandt.

Mine was "Lamb Chop," and I did it in my bedroom and my car: Reminiscing - Before Twitter from Ancestors Live Here by Leslie Ann.

Fave photo of the week: Wordless Wednesday - the Lamb family from Blundering Blindly Backwards by RAH. I've seen some scared-looking new dads before, but this guy takes the cake!

The Last Byte

Last Tuesday, I made an out-of-the-blue decision to schedule a mammogram. This was a big deal for me because two medical procedures that I never, ever wanted to have again were a mammogram and a colonoscopy. Eewww.

I'll try to write more about my experience next week, but for now, suffice it to say that the mammogram wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered it being 13 years ago (yes, I put it off for a while).

So ladies, in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I encourage you to schedule a screening for yourself. Your family needs you to be alive and healthy so you can take care of them... and carry on the family history research.

And if you still think you need a reason to do this, I invite you to read this post by Jim's Girl: Wisdom Wednesday: Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Why I am Taking a Blogging Break.

I dare you not to have the phone in your hand as soon as you finish reading it.

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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 PetersenLynn Palermo, Deb RuthJen, John Newmark, and the Follow Friday posts listed on Geneabloggers. Happy reading!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Steals & Deals: Avery Binders on Sale at Staples

If you use binders to organize your genealogy stuff, and you shop at Staples, you might be interested to know that Avery Heavy Duty Binders and Avery Dividers are 50% off this week. You can grab the coupon here. The offer is only valid in-store and expires on October 22, 2011.

If you don't need binders or dividers, but need other stuff from Staples, grab this coupon for $5 off your in-store purchase of $25 or more (also expires October 22, 2011). I used it yesterday on my iPhone.

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For the record, Staples turned me down as an affiliate, so there's nothing in it for me if you shop there (although my husband thinks we should buy stock in Avery). Just sharing a good deal.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Keeping it Real

Like Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon, I, too, have a secret: I'm addicted to The Real Housewives. Except, the only Housewives I care about are the ones from Orange County.

See, I grew up in the O.C., and I actually used to see women like that - out in the wild - and they never ceased to amaze me. How did they do it all, and look so perfect all the time? Perfect bodies, perfect children. Not a broken nail or a hair out of place. I was a broke, 20-something college student, and I thought I looked like one of Michael Jackson's Thriller zombies compared to these women. Plus, I had absolutely nothing together.

20 years later, I still don't have it together, and I'm secretly thrilled to know that the Real Housewives of the O.C. don't either. Hell, their lives are a hot mess compared to mine.

So when my daughter woke me up this morning at 5:00 a.m. to tell me she was wet... and I realized that it was entirely my fault (I'd forgotten the all-important Pull-up last night. Sigh.), I tried to put things in perspective. At least my husband didn't secretly lose his job, neglect to tell me, and now the foreclosure guy is knocking on my door (and my kid is answering). And he hadn't previously slept with all the women in my neighborhood before hooking up with me.

So hey, things could be worse, right?

When Jen of The Scrappy Genealogist asked me to be a guest blogger for her "How She Does It - Secrets from a Geneamommyblogger" series, I was a bit surprised. I mean, I am the least together person I know. Do I really want other people to know that?

But you know what I learned from reading this series? The same thing I learned from The Real Housewives: nobody really has it all together. We're all just doing the best we can.

You can read about how not-together I am here on Jen's blog.

It's not Real Housewives... but at least it's Real.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Take Care of Your Ta-Tas

Today is a school day for my daughter, which means I have to ditch the sweats and slippers and put on some real clothes to go out in public. I grabbed the new Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt I bought at Walmart last week, stared at it in the mirror for a few seconds, and finally decided that it's time.

It's hard not to know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Heck, even the macho men of the National Football League are sporting pink this month.

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't had a mammogram since 1998. That's right; it's been 13 years. And I'm no spring chicken, either, so I'm supposed to be having these done every year.

Let's face it, girls: mammograms are no picnic.

It's not because I'm worried. Ok, I'm a little worried, but then, who isn't? Thankfully, there's no history of breast cancer in my family (that I know of), and I've never had any problems myself.

However, I have been on a bunch of bizarre hormonal treatments for endometriosis over the past 20 years, and I didn't have a child until well after age 35. So yeah, I guess always there's a chance.

As with most moms, I tend to put myself last on the list. And when I get a free moment, the very last thing I want to do is go to the doctor.

I've been carrying around a mammogram referral from my GYN for, oh... about 5, 6, 8 months? There's no date on it, so I have no idea. But it's been a long time, judging from the fading of the paper.

So this morning, I decided that I needed to stop looking at a t-shirt and take care of myself. I dug out that faded paper, and called to schedule an appointment for next this Friday. I am in no way looking forward to it, but at least I can say I've done it.

So this Tuesday's Tip is for you geneamoms out there: take care of yourself (for a change) today. Your family needs you to be in good health so you can take care of them. Let's support each other as geneamommies to get our annual mammograms!

Oh, and the lab I called is offering a $99 dollar special in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so check around to see where you can get a good deal. Most insurance companies and Medicare cover mammograms; however, if you are without these resources, there are alternatives.

For more information, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lompoc Valley Historical Society to Preserve Local Newspapers

From the front page of today's Lompoc Record:
The Lompoc Valley Historical Society has begun a campaign to preserve seven volumes of local newspapers that date from the late 1800s to 1932.

Over 9,400 pages of the Lompoc Journal and the Lompoc Review, which are no longer in publication, are being stored in the Lompoc Public Library at 501 E. North Ave. The society wants to transfer the pages to microfilm, then have them digitized to be accessible on the Internet.

"Most people don’t know they exist," said Historical Society President Karen Paaske.

Paaske said that the pages of the old papers are easy to tear and she estimated that they may survive only 10 to 15 years — if no one uses them.
Yikes - what good are they if no one uses them?

You can read the rest of the article here.

For more information contact the Lompoc Valley Historical Society at 805-735-4626. Any size contribution will be appreciated. Checks should be sent to the Lompoc Valley Historical Society at PO Box 88, Lompoc, CA 93436.

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, October 14, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of October 14, 2011

What's Hot

The National Genealogical Society Announces New Director: Teresa Koch-Bostic

FGS 2011 Election Results

Want to go to SLIG? Like to blog? SLIG is Having a Blogging Contest. Details from Adventures in Genealogy Education by Angela. Hurry because the deadline is midnight, October 15, 2011!

Finally, Bill West of WEST IN NEW ENGLAND is hosting THE THIRD ANNUAL GREAT GENEALOGY POETRY CHALLENGE. Get your poems to Bill by November 20, 2011 for publication on Thanksgiving day!

In the News

Unearthed Ontario tombstone has connection to Gen. Robert E. Lee

Anne Frank's Relative Recalls Family History

Sons of American Revolution honor black woman for heroics during War for Independence

Flooded Vt. town struggles to ID cemetery remains

DNA sequenced of woman who lived to 115

Black Death's DNA Decoded Using Teeth From London's 'Plague Pits' Also, Scientists Solve Puzzle of Black Death’s DNA.

Help Wanted

It must be the time of year for family reunion planning. Rosanna Ward of Rosanna's Genealogical Thoughts is Planning a Family Reunion from afar. She's got some great ideas, but is she missing anything? Also, Lisa asks for your input in A Reunion - Is It Time? from Are You My Cousin?

Post your genealogical links to the Wiki from Genealogy's Star by James Tanner

Can you help figure out What Year Was This? (from Valerie Craft at Begin with 'Craft.')

Will the real Franz please stand up? David from Family History Tracing says, I need help comparing two pictures.

"When choosing a genealogy education program, what factors are most important to you?" Sarah B. wants to know in her Reader Poll - Genealogy Education.

From the Blogs

Someday, my daughter's descendants will thank me. Or hate me. What's in a Name? Avoiding a Future Brick Wall from FamilyHistory4u by Sharn White.

Don't Wait Until You Are Dead from by Michael John Neill.

Mining with Family Tree Maker from Genealogy's Star by James Tanner.

Caution: put your coffee down before reading this. Top Scariest Things in Genealogy from Family Cherished by Valerie.

Favorite photo of the week: Friday Funny...Very Ladylike from They Came To Montana by Jennie.

Caroline Gurney of Caro's Family Chronicles has been doing an interesting series on research in London. Start with Lost in London - 1: Why is London such a problem?

Another series worth checking out is Cheryl Cayemberg's Peshtigo fire series. Start with Peshtigo - The Worst Fire in American History from Have You Seen My Roots?

Awesome Maps from The Ancestry Insider.

Objects in the Mirror Are Not Authoritative: The "Indirect Citation" from Barbara J. Mathews, CG, The Demanding Genealogist.

My Dears, Don’t Miss These 20 Fabulous Articles on Interviewing! from Dan Curtis ~ Professional Personal Historian.

The Last Byte

Who says kids aren't interested in history and genealogy?

"Katelyn, a junior at Hemet West Valley High School who is in the Navy Junior ROTC program, was presented a small piece of wood that came from one of the most famous ships in Naval history that just so happened to be captained by one of her ancestors."

Read more at HEMET: Fragment links teen’s family history to Navy.

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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!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Year Four: Happy Blogaversary to Me!

Four years ago today, I published my first blog post. It was, shall we say, NOT my best work.

I started this blog with the assumption that I would be a "mommy-blogger." After all, everyone who was anyone was a mommy-blogger back in the day. And I was a mommy... with a blog... so... there you go.

I now, however, consider myself to be a geneamommyblogger.

I'd been reading blogs for a year or so before I decided to give it whirl myself. And back in the day, there were only a handful of people blogging about genealogy. Somehow, I stumbled across Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings one day, and he had links to a few others who were blogging about genealogy.

I stopped reading mommy blogs - for the most part - and started reading genealogy blogs.

I'd found my people.

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It's hard to believe how much life has changed in four short years.

My daughter looked like this when I started blogging. She now looks like this.

I looked like this (and yes, I'd had a little wine). I now look 4 years more tired, so we don't need to go there.

My husband and I have now been married twice as long as we were in 2007. He still hates it when I talk about him on my blog. I try not to, but sometimes I can't help myself.

In 2007, I was recovering from a fall down the stairs, which included surgery, a plate and 8 screws, a cast, a wheelchair, lots of meds, and 4 months of physical therapy.

In 2009, I recovered from herniated discs in my lower back and neck. This included x-rays, two MRIs, a CT scan with a myelogram, lots of meds, and another 5 months of physical therapy. I thought the pain in my right arm would kill me. 

In 2011... no major physical traumas, thank goodness! I still battle the disc pain, and I'm still too chicken to have the plate in my ankle removed. But I'm not in a wheelchair, cast, or crutches, I'm off the meds, I can type again, and I haven't seen a physical therapist in 2 years (no offense to physical therapists).

Things continue to change. And overall, life is good.

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I'm so thankful that I've had this blog. It's given me a place to sharea place to learna place to cry, a place to laugh, and a place to remember.

And I'm thankful to you for coming along for the ride. Knowing and sharing with you has made this journey so much more special.

It has truly been an amazing four years!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jour de l’Action de grâce.

(My ancestors hailed from Quebec.)

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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, October 7, 2011

Best Bytes for the Week of October 7, 2011

What's Hot

FamilySearch adds new records for Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Spain and the U.S.

Which type of tree best represents your family history? Find out what 13 bloggers said at the Carnival of Genealogy 110th Edition at Creative Gene.

Wanna Win an iPad 2? Yeah, so do I (probably the only way I'll ever get one!).

If you need a little help, Fold3 is offering The New Training Center to get you started.

New National Archives at St. Louis Holds “Star Quality” Records

Chronicling America Now Has More Than 4.1 Million Pages Available

Marisa Tomei, Martin Sheen & Blair Underwood to Guest Next on NBC's WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

Something Cool

Time to get your spooky on: It Is Time For My Annual Halloween Video! from The Educated Genealogist by Sheri.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with genealogy, but I thought it was hilarious: Men Photographed in Stereotypical Pin-Up Poses from PetaPixel. Believe me, they're not bringing sexy back.

In the News

Tombstone identify [sic] case cracked

Revolutionary War battlefield of Saratoga to be excavated

Jacksonville woman finds family again through genealogy website

Finally, someone's not trying to make our jobs more difficult: GENEALOGY TODAY: States considering easing access to vital records.

Help Wanted

Was "Hon." used in the same way as "Esq.?" Denise Spurlock of Denise's Life in the Past Lane asks, Is This Man My Grandfather?

Attendance was good, but not that good. Who hasn't thought that at a genealogical society meeting/conference? Debbie Roberge of the Maine Genealogical Society asks your input in Why or Why Don't You Attend A Conference?

Michelle Goodrum of The Turning of Generations asks how you use your smartphone for genealogy in Stepping into the Next Generation MIchelle also asks, Can You Identify this Baby Doll?

Kim von Aspern-Parker of Le Maison Duchamp needs a name. No, not for her, silly - for her business. See Naming Contest for details.

Have Indiana Ancestors? If so, consider contributing to the "Once a Hoosier" and "Always a Hoosier" projects. Details at Blog of a Genealogist in Training by N. LaRue.

Do you read "Luxembourgish?" If so, Julie Cahill Tarr could use your help - Can Anyone Translate? from GenBlog.

From the Blogs

Who doesn't love a good blogger meet-up? Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots share her recent experience of Meeting Bloggers I've Not Met Before (One of these days, Barbara!).

Is this an awesome photo, or what? See Wordless Wednesday ~ Grandfathers by Elizabeth of From Maine to Kentucky.

If you're in Canada - or even if you're not - check out Twelve Months of Genealogy – October for some cemetery fun (from The Passionate Genealogist by Ruth Blair).

But... is there a vaccine? Scientists Discover Virus Responsible for Genea-Skankery from Clue Wagon by Kerry Scott.

How do you evaluate the evidence? Take a look at how Bill West does it in A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN at West in New England.

Why you should read the whole census form: 1910 Census Enumerator, Which John Brenner? from Stardust 'n' Roots by GeneaPopPop.

In Which I Stop the Madness, and Start the Research Logging from Rainy Day Genealogy Readings by Jennifer.

"Redactio Ad Absurdum"? Can't Tell You: It's Classified from Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror by Mel Wolfgang.

I can't even remember what I had for breakfast this morning. Is It Important to Recall Memories Accurately? from ArchivesInfo by MELISSA MANNON.

The Last Byte

I don't know about you, but I was particularly saddened by the news of Steve Jobs' death this week. It just seems so tragic that such a creative genius was taken so early in life. I can't help but wonder what else he might have invented if he'd lived a bit longer.

His Macintosh computers especially impacted my life. If it hadn't been for Mac, I don't think I would have overcome my fear of computers, or learned programming and web design web. Oh, I suppose I eventually would have sat down to learn the rudimentaries, but to truly conquer a computer, you cannot be afraid. And before Mac, I was afraid.

While I no longer have an Apple computer on my desk, we do have two iPhones and 2 iPods in our house. And I'm still trying to talk Santa into bringing me an iPad for Christmas.

As President Obama pointed out in his statement on Jobs' passing, "...there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented."

I first learned of his passing in a tweet from KFI640.

On my iPhone.

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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!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How I Learned to Love a Mac

The year was 1984...

As an undergrad in college, I was forced to take an introduction to computer programming class in order to graduate. It was not part of my major, and I thought the whole idea to be a complete waste of time. But for some reason, the school thought we should "broaden our horizons" and study a bunch of stuff that was outside our major. Hmmph.

I fought it tooth and nail, but eventually the school won. I found myself in a summer session of "Introduction to BASIC."

Many of you probably know that BASIC is a very, er... basic computer programming language. I was told it was the easiest to learn, and would be an "easy A." Not so much.

In fact, there are not enough hateful words to express how much I hated that class. All that IF... THEN... ELSE... DO... LOOP... GOTO made no sense to me. I was way too busy for such nonsense, and BASIC was competing for study time with a very difficult class in Soviet politics that was pretty much killing me. Besides, that computer lab was creepy.

For my efforts, I was awarded a D+. I vowed never to touch a computer again.

In the meantime, my father had purchased a silly, little thing called an Apple computer. It was kind of cute, in a way, and not at all as intimidating as the monsters I'd used in college. I gave it a try.

It was mostly painless, and kind of fun. When no one was looking, I discovered a liking for role-playing games like Zork (No graphics!).

I graduated college with a fairly useless degree in Social Science and - surprise! - couldn't find a job. I was told by every temp agency I visited that I HAD to learn how to use a computer.

So... I spent several hours at the temp agency learning how to use a computer. I actually found employment soon afterwards because I was one of the few people who knew how to use those new-fangled Microsoft Office programs.

A few years later, I bought my very first computer: an Apple Macintosh 512K, much like the one you see below. I think I bought it used for about $200 off a guy I worked with. It was a good deal, at the time (hey, even used computers were expensive back then).

Mine actually had two 256K diskette drives (no hard drive), so it was really smokin' in terms of storage space. But back in the day, we didn't need tons of storage. Remember kids, there were no digital cameras, scanners, streaming videos... and you could fit an entire Microsoft Word program on about 2-3 diskettes (don't ask me why I know this).

Now that I think of it, the version of Word I was running on my 512K fit on ONE diskette, and my files went on the other diskette. Now that's small!

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In the office where I was working, we eventually dumped our dinosaur PCs (which I hated) and purchased a  shiny batch of Mac IIsi's... a dramatic improvement over what I was using at home. This one actually had a hard drive (hard drives were the size of bricks back then)!

Thanks to my work with Apple computers, I discovered that I was actually pretty good with them. Although not technically part of the company's "tech support" team, I became a go-to person for users in other offices, as well as my own. When someone couldn't figure out how to do something, they typically called me first... probably because my answers were easier to understand than tech support's.

I grew to love working with "my Macs."

Quite a leap from that D+ in college.

I eventually decided to go back to school and learn programming in the early 90s. Reluctantly, I made the decision to switch from Mac to a PC. Why? Oh... probably because the programming software we were using at the time was written for PCs, and if I wanted to use them on a Mac I would have to run emulator software (which wasn't very reliable back then), and it would just be a big hassle. Besides, I was on a seriously limited budget, and PCs were cheaper anyway.

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Long story short: I've been a PC girl ever since. On my desk today sits a Gateway desktop computer with a 1 TB internal hard drive. No diskette drives.

But I still think of myself as having Apple roots.

And I still thank that cute, little Mac for helping me overcome my loathing fear of computers.

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R.I.P Steve Jobs. Thank you for the amazing things you brought to the world. You will be missed.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Start Looking

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chronicling America Now Has More Than 4.1 Million Pages Available

Last week, the Library of Congress updated the Chronicling America Web site with more than 190,000 additional newspaper pages in various titles. The site now provides access to more than 4.1 million searchable newspaper pages from 581 newspaper titles, published in 25 states and the District of Columbia between 1836 and 1922.

To learn more about what newspapers have been added or updated, subscribe to the Recent Additions RSS feed available from anywhere in Chronicling America (click on the orange Subscribe button).

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!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: October 2011

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from."  ~Alex Haley

Saturday, October 1
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 PM Research Class "Two Sides of Interviewing" with Jean Wilcox Hibben
1:00 PM Business Meeting
1:15 PM Social time; book and drawing sales, snacks, coffee and tea
1:45 PM Jean Wilcox Hibben - "Using German Records and Applying Similar Techniques to Research of Other Locations"
Other SLOCGS Classes & Workshops

Thursday, October 6
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Jim Robeson - "Using the Website"

Monday, October 10
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Crista Cowan - "Finding Your Jewish Ancestors on"

Tuesday, October 11
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Pat Harmon - "Cemetery Searching"

Saturday & Sunday, October 22-23
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Saturday
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Sunday
Celebrate Family History Month - Open House at the Sahyun Library

Saturday, September 17
Ventura County Genealogical Society
8:00 AM – 3:30 PM
33rd Annual Seminar featuring Karen Clifford

Tuesday, October 18
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools - Discussion: "Ashes to Ashes"
6:45 - 8:45 PM - Miriam Sprankling - "History of the Conejo Valley"

October 1 - 31
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
Celebrate Family History Month Workshops & Classes

How will YOU celebrate Family History Month?

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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