Saturday, July 25, 2009

Destined To Be A Genealogist

Until I was a teenager, I grew up in a hotel.  It was not as glamorous as you might suspect.  I made my own entertainment which eventually caught up with me.  As early as I can remember, I enjoyed watching Sherlock Holmes movies and anything with a mysterious theme.  They weren't on TV.  I paid 10 cents to go to the local movie theatre.  As if that wasn't enough, I read Nancy Drew books from cover to cover.  

I would imagine myself in the settings, sleuthing around, trying to solve the mystery.  I had a car, which in my imagination was a Woody (still love those old Woodies!).  My imagination also took me to other states, all of which I read about in history books.  As my mystery thrills continued, I made my own adventures.  I would leave hand written notes on pillows in the guest rooms, stating that I knew what they had done and would catch them.  Eventually one of the maids took my notes to my mother who put a firm halt to my escapades.  

When I was in my early teens the lure of mystery turned to my own family.  Who could I discover who had never been found?  I soon was studying American History, adding my own family and wondering about what they looked like, where they lived when historical events were unfolding.  

While in high school my mother, proud that I was no longer leaving messages for people, decided to put me in touch with a mentor.  She was a very kind lady who was also a great genealogist.  With each new problem, she presented a lesson in records and how to search them, as well as evaluate them.  I did the research and she did the guiding.  My love for solving mysteries grew and grew, only now it was focused on my ancestors and relatives.  

I've traded Nancy Drew books for a library of genealogy books and periodicals.  The Woody never was, but now I have Lil Red to get me around (and You Go Genealogy Girl #2) to all those wonderful places that I sleuth.  The only messages I leave are my own to-do reminders.  

Overall it's a great life and I'm glad that I experienced the old movies, books and even leaving messages for people.  Thanks to Mom I had a great instructor who got me even more interested in genealogy.  Maybe all along I was just destined to be a genealogist.  

Ruby -- You Go Genealogy Girl #1

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The wrap up and final day of the FAMILY HISTORY EXPO in Sheridan Wyoming was great fun. Both of us girls had a wonderful time and learned a lot of new good research tips and methods. From England to Scotland to Sweden, we took it all in and often wished we were really there-- in country to get our hands on the real thing! Alas, we are stuck in the west of the US, at least for now- but we never give up on finding those elusive ancestors. We are now armed with more and better tactical approaches to finding the records we need. Holly Hanson and all her group did a wonderful job with the Expo planning. As we could see, it went off flawlessly. The lectures and meals were are done on time and organized expertly! Many vendors had their wares, books etc displayed so of course we came home with great new books and CD's to study. Prizes were a daily event with drawings and both of us lucky You Go Genealogy Girls gleaned a couple of nice items to bring home. Overall the conference was awesome. New friends, good food, great lectures and fun. What more could two old "Grannies" from Nebraska want? Thanks to Holly and the girls, we loved it!!!! If you can possibly take in one of the Family History Expo's in your area, they are more than worth the time and effort- you will be glad you did.

Bet you are wondering who "Mickey" is? He is the unexpected find that we made on our trip home from Sheridan. Our travel plans had included some side travels on the way home in order to visit some cemeteries where we had family. What genealogist would make a travel itinerary and not find at least one cemetery to visit? Heaven forbid! We found three on the way home to Nebraska. Girl #1 had a brother buried in Gillette, Wyoming so that was our first stop. It is a beautiful cemetery on quite a rolling hill layout. We found her brother's grave which she had never been to before and of course we took pictures. Over to the right a few feet was one of the most unusual stones we have ever seen (Go Girl #1 has walked cemeteries in nearly every state over many years and this one surprised even her). There was "MICKEY MOUSE", in all his glory! A very interesting and beautiful tombstone right in the middle of the Gillette cemetery. Of course we took more photos and then set off towards home. We didn't even get to the front gate and Girl #1 said " I think Great Grandpa Willis Gardner's brother is buried here too." Not a cemetery listing in site and Sunday, there was no person at the caretakers house. We pulled out her laptop and sure enough she had the lots and plots listed for "Uncle Billy" so back on the hunt we went. To our amazement, there was "Uncle Billy" Gardner and his family nearly right next to " Mickey Mouse"--we had been so engrossed with him that we had not even noticed our ancestors' graves. More pictures for posterity. It was a good day!

Two more stops, two more cemeteries, Custer and Edgemont, South Dakota. Here we visited the father and sister of Go Girl #1 at their final resting places. A beautiful deer greeted us in the gorgeous and peaceful cemetery at Custer. New flowers were added to the sites and once again we headed towards home.

Any genealogical outing is good but this one proved to be a great success and was really fun. When do we get to go again? Hopefully very soon. Our heads are spinning already with plans. Those ancestors are waiting...........

You Go Geneaolgy Girl #2, Cheri

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another Day in a Genealogy Life

It's so rough.  We talked like teenagers until late last night about everything from ancestors to research techniques.  No ... not boyfriends!  The problem is that at our age we don't snap up in the morning as quickly as teenagers.  And, of course, there is no sleeping in when there's a full day of conference waiting us. 

We are heading in about 10 minutes to check out the lecture rooms.  Girl #2 is going to learn about hardware and software.  I am going to Germany.  Will learn from Baerbel Johnson how to avoid German mistakes.  She is a small lady who can't see over the podium, but full of an over-abundance of wisdom about German research.  

The Family History Expo has been a tremendous experience for us.  We have met so many interesting people who seem to eager to learn.  We are encouraging people to set up blogs, join Twitter and really get involved in social networking.  For many it is still a scary situation.  Maybe we can convince them that you all ... our readers ... don't bite.  

Ruby -- #1

Friday, July 17, 2009


The You Go Genealogy Girls made it through the first day of the FAMILY HISTORY EXPO conference in Sheridan, Wyoming. We had a great day! Our lectures were fun and informative and we made some new friends in the world of genealogy. We love to connect with others and learn what others are doing that is new in the field of research. Sheridan has been a neat town for us to visit.

Go Girl 1 was in the world of Scotland today while Girl 2 visited the Scandinavian lecture. We both have areas of research out of the US so it was fun and we picked up great new helpful tips. Both Arlene Eakle and Ruth Maness were good presenters and we enjoyed their offerings. A very nice luncheon was served at the conference and then we attended a couple other lectures. Tom Underhill even threw "chocolate kisses" to his audience. He did keep our attention while we learned about digital photography! In between the lecture schedule, Go Girl #1 kept busy blogging, tweeting, and making entries on Genealogy Wise. We (The You Go Genealogy Girls), are honored bloggers at the conference so we are also keeping updates going through out the day at the "blogger's bistro" that is set up here. It is new and fun! It was a busy day. Tomorrow we start with round two.

We had lots of compliments on our fancy new vests that Girl #2's daughter-in-law made for us, special for this occasion. She did a nice job on them and we really got noticed! Two old "Grannies" had an awesome day. Thanks Kim, for all the hard work and making us feel so special!

A fun day, new knowledge, nice compliments, and "chocolate kisses"--what more could we possibly want? The only thing better might be another new ancestor.

You Go Girl #2, Cheri

The Girls Blog in Wyoming

We have just attended the opening speech of the Family History Expo in Sheridan, WY.  Barry Ewell had a great opening lecture.  He was serious, funny and informative.  Some of his key points were: 

Ancestors want to be found.  (I might add you are lost not them!)
Every individual leaves a trail.  (I might add some are more fragrant than others!) 
Preparation saves time.  (I need all the time I can get!) 

One thing I learned from Barry is that genealogy is a travel experience.  Whether you physically go to a repository or are at your computer and on Internet, you are traveling with your ancestors.  You need to learn about every where they lived and the records created.  

We will keep you posted about more of our learning experiences and our brilliant comments that add to the experience.  

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Have Arrived

The girls have arrived in Sheridan, WY.  It was a fun trip here, as usual.  Girl #2's granddaughter came with us so she could visit her other grandmother here in Wyoming.  She is 11 years old and kept us entertained with questions and comments.  Going through little towns she would say that she blinked and we were past it.  Then giggle!  Brings back memories of when my own kids were little.  

Which brings to mind that genealogy is the game of memories.  Those memories may be your own (which you should write down) or those of relatives.  They unfold in stories, traditions and written accounts.  In course of collecting those memories, we add form and structure to the ancestors that appear as names on charts.  

It's early to bed and up early to get signed in for the Family History Expo.  A big day ahead of us and what fun it will be!  We'll chat with all of you tomorrow.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Watch Out Wyoming--Here We come!

The You Go Genealogy Girls are on the road again. We leave bright and early on Wednesday for Sheridan, Wyoming for the Family History Expo which will be held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center on July 17 and 18th. We are both so very excited! What a great chance to attend lectures and exercise our brains. We will also be lucky recipients of an award for our blog: The You Go Genealogy Girls.

The past 3 weeks have been extremely busy and even frustrating for us both so we are looking forward to a well deserved mini vacation "together". We need it just to get rested up from all the commotions of late.We will enjoy relaxation, fun and good friends. Go Girl #1 stepped off her porch a couple weeks ago and had a knee go out, she has been in therapy ever since. She missed the day long cemetery tour she was heading out for that day-- what a bummer! Go Girl #2 has had a house full of company for two weeks, has had a back sciatic problem flaring up and broke a back tooth in two and can't get in a dentist. All in all, we are just two old Grannies who are a mess. Never fear however, we will travel to get to the conference, even if it means by "cane"! Number 2 has her fancy new walking cane, I have my old curved wooden cane for emergency and my tubes of anbesol for the tooth ache. Sure hope we don't have a bad hair day while there!

Girl 1 came to Alliance today so that we could get an early start through Wyoming tomorrow. We spent some time today exploring the new uses for Twitter, Facebook, and the awesome new Genealogy Wise social site for Genealogists. This will really be grand as it grows and grows. We worked at getting connected to groups we have an interest in and looking around the site. It is fun as you can watch the interaction of the members growing by the minute. This looks to be a great new site for Genealogists. The You Go Girls are turning into real "social butterflies". (more like "social moths", I think) Oh well, we definitely like to be connected! If you have not looked at Genealogy Wise, be sure to check it out soon.

Our trip to and from Sheridan will include some family research too. What genealogist would travel and not take in an important site or cemetery? On the way back home we will visit family graves in Gillette, Wyoming; Edgemont, SD; and Custer, SD. This will provide a short beautiful ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota on the way home.

By the way, my brother Bill, and bother-in-law- to Go Girl #1 stopped for a visit today to wish us well on our trip. He was so kind and offered the use of a folding wheel chair for us to take along! Don't know who would be pushing and who would ride as we both think we deserve to ride so we respectfully declined THAT offer!

Watch for us in Wyoming starting today. We are the grannies with the sporty little red car and two very nice looking "canes". We will be filling up on jellybeans and pop while traveling North through Wyoming on Interstate 25 so "Watch Out Wyoming", the Genealogy Grannies are on the loose again!

Go Girl #2, Cheri

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A week of packing, therapy and genealogy

The Family History Expo at Sheridan, Wyoming is almost here.  I asked my granddaughter to get my suitcase off the shelf in my walk-in closet.  She is almost 11 and did so, but not without rolling her eyes, grinning and saying, "Gran is off again."  When it comes to genealogy nothing slows me down.  Not even a bum knee.  

I've been doing physical therapy for the knee and may end up having an MRI when I get back from Wyoming.  I will do as much as I can for that knee ... there are too many cemeteries to explore, conferences to attend and libraries and courthouses to visit.  I'm out and about, but don't have the strength and confidence I need to leave the cane at home. 

My usual routine is to pack and repack.  I have started packing and by Wednesday morning when I leave to retrieve Girl #2 from the peace and quiet of her "finally" empty house, I will probably have repacked a couple of times.  By Wednesday her house should be almost empty, down to one granddaughter and perhaps #2's husband and the two dogs.  Well, almost peace and quiet!  

This week I have also been exploring GenealogyWise on Internet.  If you haven't been there, now is the time to visit, sign up and join in.  It's a new social network just for genealogists.  I joined on Wednesday and it has been fascinating to see it grow.  My granddaughter was here Wednesday afternoon and we explored the membership roster and groups.  By evening it had more than doubled in both and my granddaughter was saying, "Wow, Gran, look at that thing grow."  

You still have time to register for the Family History Expo and meet #1 and #2.  Check out their web page and also the list of exhibitors.  Hope to meet you there.  Remember ... we are the ones with the jelly beans and of course, I'll have the floral cane.  

Ruby -- Girl #1

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


As many of you may know, this Grandma has been visiting my son's family of 10 in Topeka and then they followed us home and have been at our house in Nebraska for the last week! They plan to head home on the 12th of July. We all made a trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming last week before the 3th of July to visit my other son and Grandma. Since returning to Alliance we have had even more relatives visiting. Busy and exhausted!

On the trip to Cheyenne, we also visited with an Aunt from Amboy, Washington who brought with her about 200 old family photos and documents. I brought those home to scan and copy with the promise of a fast return to her possession. These were a trove of pictures we did not have so I could not pass up the opportunity, even though I knew we would be extremely busy all week.

I had to try hard to squeeze in some time with our very busy schedule to work on the project. One of my six year old twin granddaughters wanted to help me scan and since I was short on time I was initially reluctant to draft her into service. I figured she would soon lose interest and go back to play with all the other kids. We sneaked away and shut ourselves in the office room and I showed her what to do. Everything just went great and she was a very good little helper.
Lunch time came and then she was rearing to get back to work. Four hours later, nearly 5 1/2 total hours , we had done it all! Miss Taylyn was an awesome little helper. I was so surprised and pleased at her job. She loaded the scanner just perfect from one pile and took them out into another each time. She studied every picture, asked about clothes, hair styles, fancy wicker studio chairs, and why those people never did smile? She wanted to know who they all were and about the man whose ears were two different sizes. One relative in particular she singled out and said" he looks like that President, the one with the big black hat and hair on his face, like Daddy". That had me baffled at first but when I said "you mean Abe Lincoln", she said "yea, that one". We compared and sure enough...what do you think? Do you see our two "Abes"?

Grandma is thrilled that one of the family has shown even a tiny interest in genealogy, finally. Taylyn lasted 5 1/2 hours helping, great for a six year old. My "BUDDING" GENEALOGIST! Now if she will only bloom to take up this Grandma's interest someday. (You Go Genealogy Girl #3, maybe?).

Family will soon be gone home and You Go Genealogy Girl #1 and myself, You Go Genealogy Girl #2 will be headed for Sheridan, Wyoming for the Family History Expo and SOME MUCH NEEDED REST !!!!!

Yo Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wyoming Here I Come!

Monday morning I was walking out of the house to join my friend Sara (also a genealogist) on a trip to eastern Nebraska.  We had a full schedule of cemetery visits ... and yes, I was excited to be visiting cemeteries!  My excitement was soon dashed when I stepped down the last step on my porch and felt something pop in my right knee.  

A few hours later my friend and my daughter brought me back from ER with instructions to elevate, ice and relax.  This morning I visited my regular physician.  She has given me complete approval to go to the Family History Expo in Sheridan, Wyoming.  Yeah!  I begin physical therapy on Monday and continue my routine of more rest (not fun ... I'm an active person).  The only plus side of resting is that I can get caught up with my genealogical periodicals and also use my laptop to stay in touch with the world. 

Girl #2 and I are looking forward to the Family History Expo.  There are only two short weeks to get ready for it.  We invite you to check out the list of presenters.  It will be two days of total learning and excitement!  

Ruby -- Girl #1 


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