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ImageDo you recognize the image above? If the answer is yes, then you know I’m going to talk about Twitter. If you don’t know what the bird represents, what a “tweet” is, or shudder when you hear people talk about “Twitter,” “Facebook,” or Social Media, then please stick around and keep reading. Perhaps I can alleviate your concerns!

The first thing everyone should know is that no matter how strict you set your privacy settings, you should act as if the whole world is reading. If you don’t want your parents, children, co-workers, spouse, boss, friends, or the world knowing your deepest, darkest secret (that you would otherwise post for “strangers” to read) – then just don’t post it. Things have a way of getting back to the people you are trying to hide something from (and yes, I just realized I ended a sentence with a preposition!) Second, if you don’t want someone judging you due to your political, religious, ethical, or moral opinions – then what are you doing posting them? I guarantee that not everyone on your friends list has the same opinion/belief that you do – even if you think they do – they just hide it better! Third, due to all the changes that social media makes day in and day out, you will at one time encounter urban legends (ten gazillion likes will NOT help that poor child get a new heart/liver/kidney and unfortunately the child has probably died in the few years since the posting has been making the rounds); your closest friend may have clicked “like” on something (Facebook) and it has shown up on your newsfeed – unfortunately whatever they “liked” has offended you in some way – do not, I repeat Do Not believe that your closest friend has done this intentionally. Sure, they could have remembered rule #1 (see above) but things happen. Just either click the little x so you don’t see similar things in your newsfeed, or just keep scrolling, or even contact your friend in person and explain that you were offended before you jump down their throat and decide that there is no way in the world they can ever be your friend again (what are you – 8 years old in elementary school?)

Now that we got that out of the way – there are those who post on Facebook all of the time but Twitter freaks them out. I guess it’s the 140 or less thing – whatever you “tweet” on Twitter, it must be 140 characters or less. Trust me – it can be done!  You may have to learn some “texting” or “tweeting” language, but it will become comfortable after awhile. I’ve been on twitter for awhile, tweeted sporadically up until about a month ago, and now I have made 180 tweets and have 33 followers – some are my friends/family and most are via geneablogging. Why, yes, I will probably tweet about this post when I’m done!

So how exactly does social media further genealogy research? Besides the networking angle, it can provide tips and tricks on better research strategies or even connecting distant cousins.  Recently, the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held in Burbank. The fact that I am not a member nor do I live anywhere in the vicinity of Burbank did not deter me from eavesdropping on the event. Unfortunately I didn’t participate in any webinars, but I did keep up via Twitter.  Below I’ve listed my favorite tweets (mainly because, these are hints that will help me!)

Tweets (or retweets) from Missy Corley:

  • Schedule time every 6 mos or so to organize your bookmarks.
  • When you’re stuck, re-examine the records you already have.
  • Unsubscribe from the email lists and newsletters you don’t read.
  • The CountyCheck feature in RMS is great!

Tweets (or retweets) from Amy Coffin:

  • Some free map sites: NYPL, David Rumsey, LOC, Perry Castaneda at UTexas
  • Don’t forget Cyndi’s List map page.
  • Arons is now playing with HistoryPin.com, and so should you.
  • Hovorka: new genealogists need seasoned genealogists too, for guidance, where to find info.
  • Hovorka is saying the same thing Witcher did at RootsTech 11 about getting them in the door, not cramming citations down them.
  • Hovorka: we need tools that foster mentoring and collaboration.
  • Hovorka: scholarizing is a brick wall to reaching new genealogists. #scgs12 Yes, it is. Preach on, sister.
  • Hmmm…mugshots.com, not your typical genealogy records set.
  • If you’re into frugal curating, @familycurator has a book coming out about it in a few months.

Tweets from Randy Seaver:

  • Thomas talked quite a bit about affiliate programs on geneablogs Made up to $200 in one month
  • Ancestry Insider says to write geneablogs for yourself. Ought to use images in every blog post.
  • Thomas says Wikimedia Commons has copyright free images available for use on blogs.

Tweets (or retweets) from Elyse Doerflinger:

  • Bubble.us is like a giant whiteboard and you can type anything down – get ideas out of your heard @drewsmithpa
  • (Original tweet by Amy Crow) That’s the key: “If I look at your citation, can I get back to the original?” – C Witcher (The comma doesn’t matter!)
  • (Original tweet by Tonia Kendrick) Be committed to ANAYLYZING your data. #Witcher

All of the tweets about Steve Luxenberg’s presentation on “Secrets” by Susan A. Kitchens!

Tweets from Tonia Kendrick:

  • NewsLibrary.com can be used a la carte – no subscription necessary. Contemporary content, not historical. @megansmolenyak
  • Create timelines whenever you can. #Witcher

I kept all spelling/hashtags/capitalization the same however, most of these tweets included the hashtag for the conference which I did not include above.

Social media allows distant cousins – who would never be able to meet any other way – to get to know each other better and share valuable genealogical data and information. It also gives family historians the ability to learn from each other. So use it – but use it with care!

If you would like to read more about the folks above:

Personally, I want to thank all those who tweeted from the Jamboree as well as the presenters and the sponsor!

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New Ambassador!

I was notified yesterday that . . . .

my request to be a 1940 Census Blog Ambassador was approved!

Have you registered yet?

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Posting from Kindle

That’s right! I am now able to post from my Kindle Fire! There is an app for that!

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*** Disclaimer: I am NOT an official Rootstech blogger.

*** Furthermore, I am NOT at Rootstech.

(I am not even near Salt Lake City, Utah, or a Family History Library)

BUT – I am reading blog posts from “official” Rootstech bloggers and others, like me, who are not there, but wish they were!

I am playing “Words with Friends” with Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist, who in turn is also playing WwF with Colleen McHugh of Genealogy Wise. And the madness continues . . .

I am scouring Facebook for photos – found some of Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog and footnoteMaven. Waiting to see a picture of Elyse in her tiara. Will Sheri post her tiara picture? Does Randy or Thomas have tiaras? Or Crowns?

If you are looking for the secret treasure clue – I do not have one on my blog because (in case you missed the beginning of this post) – I am NOT an official Rootstech blogger. 

Apparently, there will be no sleeping at Rootstech.  (see I am reading Facebook status updates – this just in from Elyse).  Can you imagine what 4000 sleep-deprived genealogists will look like on Sunday morning when everything is said and done?  Those are the pictures I want to see!

I can’t wait to see how the Genealogy Idol contest plays out. Will it be Elyse? Marian? Elizabeth? or Michael? Two from home and two at the conference. Will one of the judges be mean and nasty like Simon? Oops, sorry, he’s no longer on THAT show.  So if Steven Tyler shows up and I wasn’t informed, I will not be happy!  Will Thomas channel Bert Parks and sing: “There he/she is . . . Ms/Mr Genea-Idol . . . “

For the rest of us . . . I guess we”ll just sit at home, watch streaming video from the conference, read Facebook status updates and blog posts from official bloggers, play Words with Friends, and dream about attending the conference in person . . . one day.

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When I was a young girl, my mom mentioned something in passing about my Grandad’s brother.  What? A brother? I thought my grandfather was an only child. So I pressed her for some elaboration. The story she told (which had to have come from her dad or his parents) was that Letis Johnson was 13 years older than my grandfather, and that he was “crazy”.  My grandparents had to commit him several times to the Insane Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Sometimes Letis would come home for visits. One time he threw a brick through the chicken coop.  Another time he was so engraged he tried to cut off my grandfather’s ear. Grandad carried the scar the rest of his life.  Mom also mentioned that it was believed Letis had falled at some point in his infancy or early childhood, and it was thought the fall had caused some sort of brain problem.

As a young girl and teen, this story was fascinating. A loony great-uncle who died at the age of 28.  As a budding family historian over ten years ago, this was the type of information that needed to be delved into.  But as a mother – it was heartbreaking.  I wrote about this in Katie’s Story.

On the Friends of Allen County website (Friends of Allen County), I found information that showed that Letis had been admitted to the Fort Wayne State School (Home for Feeble Minded Youths) due to epilepsy (probably caused by the fall), and he died from pneumonia.  What makes this story even sadder, is that it happened decades before there were medicines to help with epileptic seizures. Today, Letis could be a functioning member of society.  I don’t know if he attended enough school to be considered educated.  I don’t know if he ever felt romantic love for someone.  I don’t know if he felt all alone when he was far away from his family.  And until two years ago, I didn’t even know what he looked like.  Then I found the pictures.  Suddenly I had a face to go with the name.

So the question I still go back to – was Letis really “mad” or just suffering from a medical condition?  Epileptic seizures have ocurred in many people throughout history – from Biblical times until now – sports figures, celebrities, and normal people trying to live their lives. How debilitating one must feel when a seizure strikes – especially in a time when others wondered what the person had “done” to be cursed with this illness. Did Katie and John (my great-grandparents) blame their son for having epilepsy? Themselves? The universe? Or did they just feel helpless?  They weren’t wealthy enough to travel to a “big” city to have a fancy medical doctor treat Letis – if there even was a treatment then.  All they could do to protect themselves, their younger son, and their home was to send him to a place where he would be treated, cared for, and kept from hurting himself or others.  My heart goes out to my great-grandparents because that type of decision must not have been made lightly.

So the Great-Uncle I didn’t know much about, has aided me in the way I look at the other members of his family.

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In between the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, the grandson’s school schedule getting back to normal, starting back to my class schedule on Wednesday, work, normal life, and wanting to reach through the phone to strangle doing my best to keep my cool with a customer service rep for our health spending account, I did manage to get some blog reading accomplished!  My happy dance this week was installing the Google Reader app on my kindle fire so that I have all my genea-blogs in one place!

I want to highlight a few outstanding (in my opinion) genea-blogs that I enjoyed in the past week.

First is Ginger Smith’s To Cite or Not to Cite? That’s not really the question! at Genealogy By Ginger’s Blog. This post was written on January 13 but I had not read it before publishing my Follow Friday post (I apologize, Ginger!)  She discusses footnotes and the mysterious disappearance of said footnotes – even when she tries really hard to include them!

Second, the wonderfully informative (tongue-in-cheek humor) post on The Sound of Music Effect from Donna Pointkouski at What’s Past is Prologue. As only she can, Donna explains the difference between “a true story” and “based on a true story”.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is much braver than I ever would be in her post, Sharing Memories – Week 3 – Hair! at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. I’ve had some of those “wild” hair-do’s as well!

Many of my fellow genea-bloggers were discussing SOPA and PIPA in the past few days and some blacked out their sites on Wednesday in protest (along with Wikipedia and other well known websites).

If you haven’t read the above posts that I mentioned, go check them out, leave a comment and add them to your “must reads”. And as always check out Randy Seaver’s “Best of . . .” on Sunday.

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These are the posts, authors and blogs that I recommend for the week January 7-13, 2012.  Please go visit, leave a comment, and put them on your favorites list!

Preparing for RootsTech 2012 by Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog. This will be her first time at RootsTech and the first time she will get to visit Salt Lake City and the Family History Library. Elyse writes about her anticipation!

Denise Levenick blogs about the treasures she found when she carefully examined items in a box in Lessons From the Archive #2: Maintain Order at The Family Curator. You may also know Denise as “Miss Penelope Dreadful”.

Is It April 2nd Yet? by Ruth of Ruth’s Genealogy explains what she plans to do on that date (or soon after). Don’t have it marked on your calendar yet? You should!

Greta Koehl seems to have some experience with the “Oh, Look it’s Shiny” disorder too. Her humorous post, How NOT to Jump Start Your Genealogy can be found at Greta’s Genealogy Blog.

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (no, that’s not a misprint!) did a Genealogy Round Up January 12 at Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s Roots World.

One of the new (to me) genealogy blogs I’m following now is Leaves & Branches by Melissa D. She is a fellow Buckeye and her research includes Brown County, Ohio (where my Johnson and Shields ancestors lived before traveling on to Rush County, Indiana).

And as always you can always check out Randy’s Seaver’s “Best of . . .” on Genea-Musings when he posts it on Sunday.

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At one time I had tons of genea-blogs that I bookmarked and read every day, but when my daily schedule became too busy, I stopped reading many of them. Not because I didn’t like them, because I did, and many still provided good advice or stories.  I just had to decide which ones were more important and could fit into my schedule.

Those I read on a daily basis include:

Genea-Musings because Randy always has good tips, a little humor thrown in at times, and writes consistently each and every day. I enjoy the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun that he posts each Saturday afternoon and the Best of . . . posts that he writes on Sunday.

Ruth’s Genealogy. It used to be Bluebonnet Country Genealogy but has undergone some changes lately. Please go visit Ruth and see what wonderful renovations she has made!

Kinexxions by Becky Wiseman. She has spent a good deal of time traveling the country, posting about her travels, as well as the research she was able to accomplish during her two (yes, TWO) trips to Salt Lake City in the last year!

Reflections from the Fence by Carol. I started reading this blog after Becky Wiseman posted on her blog about meeting up with Carol and her husband, “Man”, during her first visit to SLC. This couple has spent the better part of the year traveling out west, and Carol has written many posts about “The Trip” and inserted wonderful photos. Almost feels as if you are with them!

Blogs that I try to get to on a semi-monthly basis (a few times a month) include:

Jasia’s Creative Gene blog.

Donna Pointkouski’s What’s Past is Prologue. Donna always inserts her own brand of humor and insight!

Becky Jamison’s Grace and Glory.

footNote Maven’s footnoteMaven. Unfortunately, fM has had some personal issues to deal with for several months and she hasn’t posted as often as I’m sure she wanted to. I’m sure she would say that she’s doing what she wants to be doing now (except for getting over a recent auto accident). Many have sent prayers and good thoughts to fM and Mr. M, and we will continue to do so.

There are several more that I read on a consistent basis but I wanted to highlight those above. However, in my last post, I urged readers to go check out some blogs and posts, and I will be taking my own advice and try to read more frequently.

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Since I’m attempting to get back on a routine of posting consistently, I wanted to highlight some of the interesting blog posts I’ve read this week. Please check them out!

Jasia at Creative Gene has posted the Carnival of Genealogy, 113th edition (A Dickens Christmas). Ten geneabloggers contributed to the COG (including moi).

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings posted a series of articles about Finding Census Records at Archives.com – you can read them here, here, and here. These posts have some helpful tips about searching the UK Census records.

Miriam at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestorswelcomed in the New Year with her post 2012 – Out With the Old, In With the New!. For those who enjoyed reading her blog, she explains her partial absence over the last year aside from doing Scanfest posts. This is a truly moving story!

Judy at The Legal Genealogist posted Docking an Entail – you are now wondering what an “entail” is and why would you “dock” it, right? No? Then you must already know what it means! For those who don’t or who want to know, go read. Oh, just read her entire blog! It’s brand new that began on January 1, 2012! Welcome to the geneablogging community, Judy!

If I didn’t pick your post (or blog), please forgive me. I’m just now starting to get back to reading on a regular basis. These are the ones I happened to stumble upon this past week.

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A comment left on one of my posts mentions a family that I have never heard of and can’t begin to understand exactly why it was left. The commenter mentions a lady whose family they are searching for and goes on to describe relatives and children of this woman. Apparently someone looking for that particular family saw the comment (probably after googling the name) and left another comment – which is still unpublished and then another comment was left – also unpublished. I had responded to the original comment that I wasn’t related to that family and believed they had left comments on the wrong blog post.

After looking at all three of these comments, I have decided to write this blog post about them. Hopefully, those who are searching for the same people will be able to contact each other and get more information.

Here is the first comment that is published written by “Eliza” at email address – iceelizabethe@yahoo.com on September 8, 2009:

“I came across a posting for the family of Cassie Whittlesey.
No other information other than her husband’s name.
LDS church member from Spokane, Washington area.
Cassie Whittlesey father’s name was Asa Gore, and his father was Wm G. Gore. His first wife’s name was Casey Warren, also listed in the LDS church in Los Angelos Calif.
They were married April 6th, 1833 in ? MS. They had one daughter married a Traxler from Rankin Ms. Mary Gore Traxler. Wm G. Gore’s second wife was Elender maiden name Unknown. She was in fact a full blooded Cherokee.
She was not of the Hennigan family. She is other another group.
Wm G. Gore family is unknown also.
Cassie Whittlesey mother was Anna Slena Slaydon Gore.
The Slaydons were from the Indian Village of Leon Texas, in Cherokee County Texas. Asa Gore had 5 daughters and 2 sons. 3 daughters moved from La to Calif.
His son Willie Ethan Gore’s boat was shot and sunk in the Phillipines during WWII, and listed as MIA and a marker is listed placed in the Midway Islands for his patoon and him.
Would like to know what Elender Gore maiden name was, and no it was not Hennigan. This was another William and Ellen Gore family, whom this Ellen Gore was previously married to a Harrall man from GA.”

The next comment left was from Richard Davenport at email address – klingon1@sbcglobal.net on July 6, 2010:

“I am sitting next to the daughter of Cassie. Her name is Olga Bearden. She is 92 years old. I have a copy of her father’s death certificate and she has a large book of Whittlesey history. Please feel free to contact me and I can get you in contact with her by phone as she has no computer. She lives in Dallas, Texas.”

And the final comment was left by B. Alton Cooper at email address – roscoebeauregard@ymail.com on September 14, 2011:

“critical…I am a decendent of William G and Ellen Gore…I grew up in Bancroft LA, totally unknowing of these people, as my grandfather JESSE GORE, knew of him but no more..Only after searching for info on my grandmother Jessie (Wingate/Neely) Gore-Cooper, did I learn of these people, and was told as child of Cherokee blood…I was given the name Wah Wah at birth, to honor that…I can be reached at Roscoebeauregard@ymail.com, or at roscoebeauregard/facebook…I am deeply indebted to a distant cousin of Sarah Jane Gore/Bivens…who started her own quest for the hertiage…Two daughers married Franks, we have located their graves, and grew up with one family, without knowledge of the kinship (bivens communtiy)….also Warden (Susan), whose house I play at many times as a child, never knowing that farmstead was of a gore, a sister to my g/grandfather…thank you would like to discuss partiulars with you ….b alton cooper/roscoebeauregard to honor those I grew up about…thanks..”

If you are one of these commenters – or have information that could help them – please shoot them an email and help them out!  Unfortunately, I do not have any information and I am not related to any of these people (nor am I looking for them). Thanks!

UPDATE: I believe that these persons were searching for a woman named Mary Gore Traxler (let’s see how many more people find my blog now!) – and came across my blog because my Dad’s uncle – Clarence Wesley Amore married Mary Ann Traxler. Mary’s father was John Traxler and her mother was Mary Tunney.  So my Mary is NOT the Mary the others were searching. Whew! At least one mystery is solved!

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