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There are some blogs and geneabloggers that I want to introduce to you. They aren’t new to me as I’ve been reading their columns for quite some time; however, I want to put them in the spotlight this week.

Marian Pierre-Louis

Marian is the author of several blogs: Marian’s Roots and Rambles, The Symbolic Past, and The New England House Historian. According to her “About Me” page: she “is a full-time House Historian and Professional Genealogist who focuses on New England research.” Marian “specializes in probate, deeds, New England town records and brick wall research.” She is the “Publicity Chairperson for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) and is actively involved with the New England chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Her Roots & Rambles blog was nominated to the Family Tree Magazine 2011 Top 40 Genealogy blogs contest.” Recently, she posted a question to others on her Facebook page that asked how others manage to attend genealogy conferences all of the time. Some 70 responses later – and after many requested that she blog about that subject – Marian did just that. How Do Y’all Manage to Go to Conferences All the Time? is the article she wrote. I suggest you head over there to read it and the comments she received. Perhaps you have your own suggestion. Marian’s twitter is @marianpl.

Carolyn Pointer

Carolyn is the author of Your Family Story. She writes her family’s stories and says, “I like to listen and write their stories down. Sometimes their stories are sad. Sometimes they’re happy. And sometimes they’re downright naughty [if I’m lucky].” Earlier this week (ok, yesterday!), Carolyn wrote A Baby Boy!. She was looking for someone and ended up receiving information about a baby she hadn’t known about.  She gives some links to helpful sites that she used to figure out what the Latin records meant. Carolyn also authors Pearl’s Day Books. Her twitter is @FamilyStories.

Jenna Mills

Jenna is the woman behind Desperately Seeking Surnames. She says that losing both of her parents in 2001 prompted her to start searching for her ancestors. Jenna says that, “While going through their belongings the questions started to pile up, who was this? who was that? etc. Ultimately, I decided I would try to get the answers to the question and find our ancestors. I have been working my way back in time ever since.” One thing I like about this blog is the banner for her title – it looks like she scrapbooked it!  Her Independence Day post is beautiful! You can find it at Happy Independence Day America. Jenna’s presence on twitter is @SeekingSurnames.

Lisa Alzo

Lisa is well known throughout the geneablogger world (as well as those who read genealogy publications and books)!  She speaks at conferences and has published many articles as well as several books. You can find out everything you want to know about Lisa at Lisa Alzo. Her genealogy blog is The Accidental Genealogist. Recently, Lisa’s written articles concerning her return trip to Slovakia: Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Preparing for the Trip; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Departure Day; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Day 1. Stay tuned – I’m sure Lisa has future articles that she will post concerning her trip. You can find her on twitter at @lisaalzo.

 

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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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