Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'll Be Dreaming Genealogy ..If The Bears Don't Get Me !

Tomorrow is the day that Go Hubby and Go Genealogy Girl #2 are leaving for our annual vacation to the mountains. Yippee! We travel to the high mountains of Wyoming just for camping, resting, reading, hiking, picture taking and fun with our son, Daniel who lives in Cheyenne, Wy., and his girl friend, Jamie. It is a tradition for us to take a long camping trip together each year. Up until 2 years ago we always camped with a large tent and loved it (still miss it), but alas as we have gotten older; the easier, dryer, camper trailer with a nice bed seems to rest our bones better. Son still tents and we do all our cooking outdoors so we get plenty of the back to nature "feel".

No computer, no cell phone service where we go so maybe I can get caught up on some reading and study of records. All week long I have been busy going through records on Genline and looking for those lost ancestors. What a thrilling find! I have one set of my husbands 5th Great Grandparents back to the late 1700s. Those along with my work from the Family History Library will be my study materials this week. I have packed a large box of materials to take along. A lawn chair in the sun, an adult beverage, my sweet guard dog by my side and dreams of those Swedish ancestors! What more could a soul want? The country where we go is gorgeous, we see elk and moose on a daily basis. The moose are even a little too close on occasion and have to be watched carefully as they can be mean and nasty! Bears also frequent our area so I must not set to daydreaming too much---there are still lots of relatives to be found when I get back home. I wouldn't want my future family genealogists to find me in the records as "bear bait".

You Go Genealogy Girl #2-- Cheri

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Genealogy With Food

Last night my local genealogy society members met for their summer potluck.  You Go Girl #2 missed a good one.  There were about 30 people in attendance.  We had to set up more tables and chairs, plus another table to hold the food.  There's no doubt about it ... genealogists love to look for ancestors, share ideas and EAT.  They are also good cooks. 

I had to hurry home and call You Go Girl #2 to share my excitement.  This was a good kick-off for our fall meeting schedule which begins September 19th. They asked questions about my summer events and what You Go Girl #2 and I have been doing.  I briefly told them about our trip to Salt Lake City and the fact #2 took too much baggage.  Then came the exciting news about the Family History Expo we attended in Sheridan, WY in July.  I encouraged them to attend a Family History Expo in 2010.  

They asked why we always take jelly beans on our trips.  This all started on a trip to eastern Nebraska and Kansas.  We were about an hour from our destination of Lincoln, Nebraska when #2 pulled out a bag of gourmet jelly beans.  Yummy!  She broke into that bag and it was let the jelly beans roll time.  We were so high on sugar by the time we reached Lincoln that we were goofy grannies.  Have you ever seen goofy grannies giggling and acting like teenagers?  From there on out, we never travel without our jelly beans.  Except we do try to keep our intake in moderation.  

You Go Genealogy Girl #2 explains it like this.  I think you'll enjoy knowing exactly why we like jelly beans and share them with others. 

"Jelly beans are like our family members.  Some are sweet and some are more sour.  Some of our 'beans' may be white and some may be black, some may have freckles while others may not. Each precious one is an unexpected individual and we love each one for who and what they are. When they are all together, they can become quite a mixed bag!  Whether during sad times or happy times, all those gorgeous 'beans' make these genealogist Grannies very happy indeed. They are the fuel of life ... maybe the sugar of life."  

And now you know the whole story.  When you eat a jelly bean, think of your ancestors and think about us ... The You Go Genealogy Girls. 

You Go Girl #1 -- Ruby 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Have Bike, Will Travel !

The long blacktop road rolled through the beautiful Wildcat Hills of Western Nebraska, leading "Biker Grannie" (AKA You Go Girl #2) and "Go Hubby" to the peaceful Hillcrest cemetery in Lagrange, Goshen Co., Wyoming.

When new information comes to light, it usually signals the plans for a research trip by the two You Go Genealogy Girls. As you know we usually travel via Li'l Red to the next site at hand. This day was unusual, however, as" You Go Genealogy Girl #2" was on a day trip with "Go Hubby". Camera in hand, we were headed by motorcycle to investigate the Hillcrest cemetery in Lagrange. YGGG#1 is temporarily out of commission awaiting some knee surgery so Girl#2 managed to talk Hubby into being chauffeur for the day. After all, these are all "his" relatives so it is only fair that he is put to work occasionally. He usually just stays home , working hard at his job so that the two You Go Girls can go play.

Last week it came to light that we had several relatives in the Hillcrest Cemetery at Lagrange, Wyoming. I could hardly wait to get over there to investigate. We have passed this small cemetery many times as we have been on our way to Cheyenne, Wyoming. I have always admired the pretty whitewashed wood fence that adorns the main entry by the highway. My husband and I have remarked often that we should take time to at least drive through as the cemetery has seemed to have had a strange pull on us. It seems that we have always been in a hurry, coming and going. In May The Go Girls even whizzed on by in a rush to get to Salt Lake City, again remarking that it would be a place that we should stop and visit.

To my wonder, we found that several of our Troyer and McComsey relatives were buried there when we recently acquired some information from newly found relatives. Willis Troyer, who was my husband's great-great uncle is one of those that we found there along with his wife, Ida and many of his extended family. Willis was the brother of my husband's great-great Grandmother "Lizzie" Troyer Smith. He was an early settler, blacksmith, and cowboy around Lagrange and the Goshen Hole area of Wyoming. You can read my story of this early settler, Willis Troyer, on my personal blog, THOSE OLD MEMORIES, " Willis Troyer, Cowboy and early Settler"

The Hillcrest cemetery is a gorgeous, peaceful little cemetery. It has a low canopy of cedars and pine trees which were planted many years ago and lovingly reared and cared for which shades the many grave sites within. Two long, pew style benches adorn a central area and provide a place for reflection, prayer and quiet thoughts. The picture above, although not one of our relatives, shows the serene atmosphere of peace in this little community cemetery.

I know that You Go Genealogy Girl #1 must really be jealous that this trip was made without her. She would have loved it, but alas, a "Biker Babe"--oops, "Biker Grannie", she ain't! Do not fear...the You Go Genealogy Girls will definitely be back on the road together real soon, heading to another great research destination........perhaps we will even visit Willis Troyer again!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2 -Cheri AKA "Biker Grannie"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Old Genealogist and The Old Editor

The other morning I looked closely at myself in the mirror and saw new wrinkles around the eyes.  My knee needs repaired which will be done toward the end of this month.  Picking up my cane to walk across the bathroom floor, I mumbled, "You are just an old genealogist."  

In September of 1983, I went to the local newspaper office to visit with the editor about writing a genealogy-history column.  It was something I had my heart set on doing.  In preparation I had memorized my speech about why it was needed and why I was the one to do it.  In my mind I had a goal and my mission was to accomplish it.  All I had to do was persuade the editor.  My positive approach resulted in him staring at the ceiling and then the wall, back at the ceiling, all in deep contemplation.  This lasted for what seemed like an hour.  Finally he swung his chair around and said, "Okay."  That's it?  Okay?  We worked out the details for my monthly column and I know as I was leaving he thought if I wrote it for a couple months, at least I had tried.  

Once home my family said, "You are going to do what?"  Then it hit me.  Can I do it?  I love to write, but can I come up with something that readers will enjoy every month?  Yes, I could do it if I tried.  If I quit trying, I would stop writing it. 

The column, "Heritage Lines," began on 21 September 1983 and I ceased writing it in June of 1996 when I moved to Iowa.  That's thirteen years of "yes I can do it."  There was something special about every column I wrote.  Not only did I learn something every month, but I put my skills to use and was stimulated to keep researching.  

Last week when I arrived at physical therapy, I discovered the editor, now lovingly called "The Old Editor" slowly gliding on the treadmill.  He is much older, frail and stooped over.  But, he's not giving up.  As I was on a bicycle type machine, he encouraged me by saying, "Faster, faster."  I could also sense he meant, "You can do it, don't give up."  

The wrinkles and bum knee are not stopping me.  I can do it and I'm not giving up.  Are you giving up on your research?  I hope not.  We all have a lifetime, whether short or long, to set many goals and work to accomplish them.  The Old Editor and the Old Genealogist both say ... "Faster, faster.  You can do it."  

You Go Girl #1 -- Ruby 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sooooo Many Pictures !

Pictures are taking over my world! Large headaches seem to manifest as I work with the piles of photos, old albums and orphan collections.

For most of this past week I have trying to scan, file, organize. and print many more old photos. That is my biggest area of interest as it pertains to the genealogy world so I spend as much time as I can on them. With well over 15,ooo photos in my library (nearly 50G) and many more to be scanned, it becomes a daunting task at times. I also scrapbook digitally so I have 126G of digital PNG files that I deal with too.

There are some wonderful side affects to all these photos though. I am the lucky one in the family who has managed to gather together a wonderful collection that pertains to my family and I am currently working on getting more photos of my husbands family. Go Girl #1 has accumulated hundreds of pictures of our ancestors from our mutual side of the family-which have been added to the trove of photos that I inherited from my parents and grandparents. They had 16 photo albums full of photos, several hundred loose pics and 2500 old slides. The latter, I have slowly been going through, scanning and converting those to digital photos. My mother-in-law has been contacting all the relatives on her side of the family and rounding up photos that they may have to share. All those come my way to add to our library. We have become almost obsessed with locating old family pictures from that side of the family. As time has gone on and family has grown farther and farther apart, those photos, especially the old ones, have gotten spread out far and wide. Often those kinds of pictures get disposed of because nobody any longer knows who is in the shots. We are striving to gather them and get them all labeled while people are still with us who can identify many of the old ones. Already we have several hundred with no names that will probably never be known. My hope is to make compilations of them all for all the family who would like them. Everyone shares and benefits.

Pictures, as many of you know, can take many hours to organize. What ever system works for you is the one to use. Picasa by Google is excellent and so is Heritage Collector Suite which is geared towards the family genealogist. If you have the Vista operating system, it also offers a fairly good way to organize and tag photos just by themselves within folders. The most important thing is to take some time and do some sort of organizing. One day will allow for a lot of simple organization. One simple way that my cousin, Patty, uses is to number her pictures within each file and name the file folder. She then files the original pictures within a file of the same name in her file cabinet or box. Simple and effective. Every time I want to borrow an original, she quickly locates it by this method. I have many hours ahead of me to go back and do the same but I think it is super simple, especially for easy retrieval of originals. I intend to make CDs of each" file folder" to include in each of my "original" storage file folders or boxes.

In short--organize--the sooner , the better. All the genealogy facts in the world mean so much more if you can put a face on those ancestors--quickly if need be! Attach photos to your software genealogy program if you have not already (but-remember not to change those photo locations or titles if you do this or they will not connect later). Don't procrastinate any longer with those old photos that you want your family to enjoy in the future, Clean out the boxes and albums today--Grandpa Fred wants to see the light of day and to be shared with all the other family, not just the select few who may see his picture in an old dusty album someday!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2--Cheri


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