Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Wish List 2012

Last week my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I gave him a blank look and told him I didn't know. My attention had been so focused on everybody else's wish list and Thanksgiving, that I hadn't given much thought about what I wanted. I'm sure over the months there have been some things that caught my eye, but I just couldn't think of them. Since it was late at night, I told the hubs to give me a day and I'd let him know. Here is what I came up with.

  1. DeedMapper Software- This is a software that will plat metes and bounds coordinates for you. You enter in the descriptions/measurements, the plat is made, and now you can place the plat on a map. I've been platting out coordinates myself, so it would be a luxury to just enter them into a program.
  2. Reunion Software- Several months ago an updated version of Reunion was released. It was a long time coming. I work on a Mac so family tree software (at least in the past) has been limited. At this point I've become used to how Reunion works, so I feel somewhat committed. 
  3. GRIP- I would love to go to the Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh this summer. The class that has caught my eye is one taught by Tom Jones. From what I hear Tom will be teaching a relatively new course called, Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard. As with all of Tom's classes I'm sure it will sell out quickly. Registration begins February 7, 2013.
  4. Salt Lake City trip- I haven't been to the genealogy mecca yet (Gasp!). This trip could be coordinated with SLIG, but I know I would sit in class the whole time thinking about what I could find. Therefore, this needs to be a research trip of its own.
  5. Label maker- This may seem a little silly or frivolous, but I want a label maker. I would love for the manilla files to have a uniform look. It would also be easier to read the file names when I pull out the drawer. What can I say.... I'm getting older and so is my eyesight. 
  6. Flash drives- More and more facilities have scanners for microfilm. Not only does this allow for images to be digitized right away, but it saves money for copies, and paper.
  7. Keyboard for my iPad- I would love to be able to take notes on my iPad when researching onsite, save them to Evernote, and then easily access them on my home computer. It would save time, which is a valuable commodity-- at least in this house.
  8. Only a Few Bones by John Colletta- I have been interested in this book for a long time and I've heard great things about it. John is a wonderful speaker/presenter. If you ever have the chance to see him, run, don't walk.
  9. and 10. Research trips- I would love to take some research trips to Colorado, Missouri, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. In some of these cases (especially Colorado) I've done as much research online as I can. I need to do onsite research.
I also need a new computer, but that is a rather high ticket item that I need to save for. I'm just hoping my computer can hang in there until the tax free weekend in August. My other suggestion to my husband was going to Samford in June, but he said that was a given (yay!) and to think of some other things. The above is my genealogy wish list so far. Of course there were a couple of non genealogy items as well. I certainly don't expect to get all of these things or even half, but it gives him some ideas.

So, I have to know, what is on your wish list??

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

May your stomachs be filled with good food, your life filled with happiness, and your home be filled with loving family and friends. Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Day Spent With the Sayre's

Yesterday the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society hosted their annual seminar. This year's presenters were Rick and Pamela Sayre. They make a great team and I'm always in awe of how tech savvy they are, maybe because it doesn't come that easily to me.

The morning sessions were Google Earth For Genealogists, Part I and II. I actually saw this presentation, or a portion of it, a couple years ago at Samford in an evening session. It is fabulous! In fact, I felt like I got more out of it the second time around. The first time, I just sat there blown away by what they were doing, this time I could focus more on how to do it. Rick and Pam demonstrated how to use Google Earth in your genealogy research. You can plat your ancestor's land then overlay the plat onto Google Earth. David Rumsey has also partnered with Google Earth, and made available some of his historical maps that can also be overlaid onto Google Earth. This can allow you to better view historic landmarks and get a feel of the atmosphere your ancestors lived in. They also showed how to tag places and attach photos or other pieces of information about your ancestor to that tagged place.

Pamela showed us one project she is working on with a Civil War ancestor. She has tagged all of the movements, on Google Earth, of his company during the Civil War. This allows her to visually track all of the states he moved around in over his term of service. "Isn't that more interesting that whipping out a pedigree chart or a tree to show your family?" she asked. No kidding!

The first session after lunch was Topographic and Other Maps for Genealogists presented by Rick Sayre. He demonstrated how topographic maps can help you locate cemeteries and churches. They can also help answer questions about why ancestors settled where they did. For example, a topographic map helps you to determine if the area was hilly, flat farmland, and what waterways are nearby. One website that Rick discussed was Ask About Ireland. This site has detailed historic maps and Griffiths Valuation. It's a free site and Rick demonstrated how the maps match up perfectly to the land structure in modern day Ireland.

Our last session was Newspapers and Periodicals presented by Pamela Boyer Sayre. Yes, looking through an historic newspaper can be time consuming, but they are so much fun! It is so easy to get side tracked by the gossip column, the ads, and obituaries of other people. Pamela pointed out that these items plus the headlines of the day, are pertinent to our research when creating our ancestors world. Just as our world is shaped by today's headlines. Some of the digitized newspaper sites mentioned I was familiar with, however it was a good reminder to check back with those sites. New stuff gets added. One site Pamela discussed that I was not familiar with was, the National Digital Newspaper Program. The site can help you locate newspapers in your state of interest. This is a site I will probably be spending my spare time on during the upcoming holiday week.

Aside from the wonderful topics covered, it was also a who's who of Samford instructors in the room. Not only were the Sayre's in attendance, but so was Elizabeth Shown Mills, Rachal Mills Lennon, and J. Mark Lowe (by the way his birthday is Nov. 25--we all sang). Overall, a fun day of learning and catching up with friends. Now time to get crackin' on my Google Earth projects and newspaper research!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I'm a DAR Gal!

It's official. Last week at our DAR meeting I was pinned. I now have a beautiful certificate saying that I'm a member, with a member number, my Revolutionary War ancestor, and a gold DAR pin.

To earn this achievement, I had to provide documentation connecting each generation until I reached the Revolutionary War ancestor. In truth I had to provide 6 generations worth of material, then I was able to hook onto another member's application for our common ancestor. That common ancestor was James Churchwell Luttrell. His parents were William and Elizabeth (Witt) Luttrell. My Revolutionary War ancestor was John Witt, Jr., who was Elizabeth's father.

By just following the Luttrell line and its branches, I have at least 3 supplementals to add. That means I have 3 other Revolutionary War ancestors. This doesn't even take into account my other lines of Gunter, Fry, Brumbaugh, Alderson, and the Whitsett side. I have my work cut out for me.

You may wonder why I want to do this? A simple answer is; preservation. This is just another way for me to publish my family history that is accessible for future generations. Yes, I could (and plan) to write a family history book someday. However, I have no way of telling where that would end up in the future, if it would be accessible to somebody living far away, or even if it will survive time. At the very least the DAR is a repository that will store this information, and a potential descendant will be able to order my application. This application will not only show the connections of each generation, but the evidence I used to make that connection. I think that is pretty cool stuff. 

Time to get busy on those other lines.