Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday-Video Killed the Radio Star

A lot of memories are made involving music. Music Monday is a time to share a song and the memory you associate with it. This week I'm jumping into the 80's. The 80's were such a transitional decade in technology. Suddenly people had more than a handful of television channels to chose from.

In 1981 MTV launched and the first video that aired was Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles. This video and music captures the 80's not only in sound, but in style as well. Music videos also turned marketing in the music industry on its ear. Suddenly bands not only had to have good music, but a "look" as well.

At any rate, as a kid I loved going over to friends' houses that had MTV and cable. I grew up on a farm in New Jersey a mile off the main road. We couldn't get cable. They still can't. I was still stuck with the handful of channels to chose from. In hindsight that was probably not such a bad thing, but at the time I felt like I was missing out.

I first heard this song on the radio and when I finally saw the video I was mesmerized. I couldn't wait to see it again. It certainly is not a great music video, it was just different for the time. Since then music videos have evolved and are the stepping stone in many directors careers. I don't think The Buggles ever released another hit song, however they will forever be remembered... at least by me. Anytime I hear this song I immediately think back to 1981 and the first time I saw this video.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Were Your Ancestors In the Circus?

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

It seems this week's theme for me has been the circus. For a couple of months I've anxiously been awaiting my turn for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern to become available from the library. This past week I finally picked it up and I've enjoyed reading it every moment. We also went to the Ringling Bros. Circus today. It comes to town every year and we always go. There are many parts that I enjoy, but easily my favorite part is watching my children and their reactions.

However I got to wondering, if one had ancestors in the circus how would you go about researching them? So I've done a search and came up with Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.  In September 2011 they added a center with exhibits focusing on circus performers. There is also a Circus Historical Society with a  site that has all sorts of information. There is even a blog about circus research called Hey Rube Circus. The site that seemed the most promising was Circus World Library and Research Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This seems like a really cool place that would be neat to visit even if you don't have circus performer ancestors. If you do have ancestors that performed in the circus there is an online library catalog to explore.

I'm sure the back stage world of a circus is just as fascinating as the center ring. If you have ancestors that were in the circus it would be a wonderful story to tell. I bet the research would be fun too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday-Etta James

A lot of memories are made involving music. Music Monday is a time to share a song and the memory you associate with it. This week in light of the passing of Etta James, I've chosen At Last.

Before I met my husband I had a lot of dating disasters. No, really... I did. In fact, I had reached the point of acceptance that I would be the wacky school teacher on the block, who drove the beater car, and instead of a house full of cats I would have dogs. Then I met my husband. We spoke on the phone a few times before actually setting up a date. The conversations had been really good so the first date seemed promising. It turned out to be awkward. Where the conversation was easy and flowed over the phone, it was strained on the date. Later I found out he was so nervous, he didn't know what to say.

Needless to say, the second date was much better and led to many more dates. We got engaged a year later, and married a year after that. At our wedding for our first dance we chose At Last by Etta James. I know a lot of couples pick this song... it just says it all.

Etta James was a special lady who provided a lot of special moments through her music. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SLIG Envy and Inferential Evidence

Are you wishing you could attend SLIG this week? Me too. Instead I spent 5 hours researching at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) on Saturday. By the time I left I had a headache, was hungry, and my eyes felt fatigued from looking at a lot of microfilm. I was also frustrated.

I'm working out a problem in a burn county (meaning the courthouse burned down) right now and am not finding the answers I need. Perhaps there were records that existed at one time that would have quickly provided some answers. If they did exist, it seems they went up in flames when the courthouse did. In fact, some of the microfilm I looked at this weekend was clearly taken of records that had suffered fire damage. The edges were burned and in some cases it looked like the flames started to eat toward the middle of the page.

I have a couple other sources to investigate, but finding a direct answer to my problem does not look very promising. This work I'm doing is a perfect example of having to use inferential evidence. What is that you wonder? Basically, it's using circumstantial evidence to build a case to prove your point or a relationship.

When I think of inferential evidence I immediately think of Tom Jones. Last year I was in Tom's class at IGHR and he was also an instructor in the Boston University course that I took. Tom has written several articles using inferential evidence to prove relationships. In fact, he has an excellent article on discussing this topic.

Incidentally, Tom is at SLIG this week teaching Course 9: Advanced Genealogical Methods. So while you and I may not be attending SLIG or Tom's class, we can maybe take a few moments, read Tom's article and pretend that we are there. I know it's a stretch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wayward Technology and IGHR Registration

Yesterday was registration for IGHR. It was an unexpectedly stressful experience. On Monday night we had some trouble with our internet and I chalked it up to the storms passing through the area. Tuesday morning arrived and the internet was still going in and out. After a call to our internet provider all seemed to be working okay.

10:00 a.m. CST rolled around and it was time to register for Course 4: Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis. I quickly clicked the registration link, filled out all of my information, and clicked "Next" on the last page for registration to be complete. Nothing happened. I clicked "Next" again. And again. The internet had frozen up on me. Cue primal scream of frustration, followed quickly by swearing like a sailor (don't worry the kids were at school), and I grabbed my iPhone. Fortunately I had the foresight of saving the IGHR website on my phone. I once again quickly navigated through the registration process, which by the way was not an easy thing to do on such a small screen. The end result... I made it into Course 4, the time was 10:10 a.m., and I was oddly tired.

Since my internet was useless for research I decided to make some calls. I needed to find out about some church records so my first phone call was to the Hamilton County Baptist Association. A very nice lady was helping me with all sorts of questions, when suddenly the line went dead. I called back apologizing profusely. My next call was to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library. I was having a hard time viewing what the Special Collections department had through their website.  My purpose was to find out if they had materials that would make a trip worthwhile. During the phone call both my land line and cell phone were ringing with incoming calls, which incidentally neither rang again for the rest of the day. Classic.

The rest of the day included tornado sirens going off (no tornado appeared), driving through sheets of rain with my pre-schooler (nerve wracking), and a visit from the internet provider at 7:00 p.m. to fix our internet connection. It was just one of those days.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Music Monday- Memories With Music

Okay, so I'm starting a new topic for Mondays. I have so many memories associated with so many different songs. The emotions range from happy, content, sadness, love, and joy. I don't think I'm alone in this. How many times have you heard people say, "Oh! This song came out when I was in..." or "My (fill in the relative) used to sing or dance to this song when or while..." Music, like the sense of smell can bring powerful memories or emotion.

This weekend I walked into a store and heard "Who Loves You" by Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons. I immediately thought of my mom and riding around in her blue Nova (a car that almost killed me, but that's another story) when I was a kid. The song was released in 1975 and is a quintessential 70's song. I actually lingered in the store to hear the whole song and I left smiling. I've posted the video below for you to enjoy and it is truly a highlight of a 70's recording session (and style). 

So what memories do you have associated with music?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Registration For IGHR At Samford

Tuesday, January 17th is the big day! Registration begins for IGHR at Samford University at 10:00 am CST. Classes are opening up in a staggered fashion to prevent the system from crashing. Here are the schedule of classes and the time registration opens up for them:

10:00 a.m. CST

Course 1: Techniques and Technology
Course 4: Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis

10:30 a.m. CST

Course 3: Research in the South, Part I
Course 5: Writing and Publishing for Genealogists

11:00 a.m. CST

Course 2: Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies
Course 7: Virginia's Land & Military Conflicts
Course 9: Military Records Research III: 1821-1919

11:30 a.m. CST

Course 6: Advanced Library Research: Law Libraries & Government Documents
Course 8: Researching African-American Ancestors
Course 10: Tracing Your English Ancestors

If you want to see detailed descriptions of each course then check out the IGHR website. I know I've said this before in other posts, but this institute is an incredible learning opportunity. The courses are taught by instructors that are at the top of the genealogy field and the networking/socializing that takes place is wonderful. Genealogy is a field that is a constant learning curve and to be able to speak to other genealogists from around the country is a wonderful treat.

Last year at IGHR I was enrolled in Course 5: Writing and Publishing for Genealogist taught by Tom Jones. It was a humbling experience and I learned a tremendous amount. This year I'm hoping to get into Course 4: Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Both Tom and Elizabeth's classes fill up in about 15 minutes. The pressure is on. I'm trying to figure out what my second choice would be. Hopefully I won't have to decide.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Friday- What's Past Is Prologue

I would rate myself as average or below when it comes to the amount of television that I watch. There are a few shows that I enjoy and make a point of catching, one of them being ABC's Castle. Donna at What's Past is Prologue did a very interesting comparison between the show Castle and genealogy research.

In the show the detectives use a murder board to highlight and focus on the victim, suspects, and any other persons of interest. Donna points out how this concept can be useful to your research as a genealogist. I would agree. I'm a visual person and in the past have used timelines, but I like the idea of expanding upon that. Until your research is arranged in an ancestor board (a.k.a murder board) or timeline you may not spot what you have overlooked. Sometimes a visual organization can point out a gaping hole in your research or give you an idea of some records to look into.

Anyway, Donna goes into a lot of detail in her blog post and I found it very entertaining. Meanwhile, I wonder what my husband would think if I turned a wall of our office into an ancestor board?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cahaba Prison

I've often thought that in senior year of high school there should be a history class that is centered around genealogical research of ones family. Think of how much history kids would learn and how it would stick with them. I always learn so many interesting bits and pieces of history because of my research, that I would not have known of otherwise.

For example, while following a lead about a couple Tennessee men who were taken to an Alabama prison during the time of the Civil War, I discovered Cahaba Prison. Cahaba Prison, also known as Castle Morgan, is located in Old Cahawba, Alabama (I'm not sure why there is a spelling difference). It had been an unfinished cotton warehouse that the Confederate government turned into a prison. Although there were only 432 bunks, it would eventually house more than 3,000 men by 1865. A staggering number crammed into a small space. You can imagine that the living and hygiene conditions were horrendous. Surprisingly the death rate was only 2%, which compared to other prisons this was very low.

There is also an archaeological site in Old Cahawba, which incidentally is where Alabama's first state capitol was built. After massive flooding in 1865 the county seat was moved to nearby Selma. Today you can visit Old Cahawba and the various surviving buildings of this ghost town. There are guided tours for a fee or self guided tours available.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Reflections So Far

We are now four days into 2012 and I can finally reflect a little. Today my kids had their first day back at school and I spent the day at the Tennessee State Library and Archives doing some research for a client. I'm sad to say I hit one dead end after another. Very frustrating. After looking at miles of microfilm, countless books, vertical files, and various websites I still can't find the evidence/proof I need. So it's back to square one to reevaluate. Argh.

Meanwhile, my house is in post holiday disarray, especially my office. I walk in the office, shudder and walk back out. I plan to attack it on Friday. I've been working on a master plan of organization, but it will take several days to complete and probably a trip to Target for office supplies.

As far as 2012 resolutions? I don't do New Year's resolutions. I do goal setting around the time of my birthday in June. I have found that I naturally reflect more on the past year and what I want to achieve with my life for the following year and sometimes beyond. Somehow it always feels forced to come up with goals in my holiday fogged brain on January 1st. So I'll let you know in June what my goals are.

I do know that after being consumed with the holidays for the past month (or more), I'm ready to get my genealogy groove back on. I have a big ProGen assignment due at the end of this month, IGHR at Samford to register for on the 17th of this month, my DAR application to work on, and all sorts of genealogy related reading to do. So far January 2012 is looking pretty busy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year-2012!

I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was filled with joy and good times. For myself it has been a very busy month with the past two weeks a whirlwind of activity. Wednesday will mark the day that our house gets back on a routine and I can get back to genealogy. Yay!!

I wish you all great discoveries for 2012!