Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Favorite Things

The lyrics to the song "My Favorite Things" are so fitting for a genealogist. We could rewrite it and end each stanza with "These are a few of my favorite things."

Do you have favorite things in your genealogy or your research? Having started my genealogy before computers, aka B.C., I can honestly say my computers hit the top of the list of my favorite things. Years ago I was at a library conference where a young man told us how every book would be cataloged centrally and available universally. He also stated we would be able to search home computers for information about anything in the world. What a vision he had! There were some laughs and exclamations of doubt. But, I believed him and kept waiting. Here we are with home computers, mobile computers and Internet, which is at the top of my list also.

For various period of time I have my favorite ancestors. They are all very special to research and I enjoy spending time investigating them. Because they can't talk to me, I talk to them and try to discover where and how they lived. When I discover photographs of them, I am taken on a journey back in time. We are so different and yet so alike.

I still marvel at how my scanner copies photographs. I can make changes to them, adjust the colors, saturation and density, plus print them out or attach them to my genealogy software. One of my favorite scanners is the hand held one I can put in my purse or computer carrying case. I'm telling my age, but I can remember the delight of owning a Brownie camera. Now I use a digital camera and see the photographs in an instant. I prefer this day and age, so I would have to say my scanners and digital camera ranks high on the list of my favorite things.

The other day some genealogy friends were engaged in a conversation about books ... genealogy books, historical fiction and non-fiction. One of my favorites is Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. We all know the Mayflower story, but he takes it deeper and a step beyond. Another New England story is told in Killed Strangely the Death of Rebecca Cornell by Elaine Forman Crane. Rebecca was supposedly killed by her son, Thomas Cornell. It makes for entertaining reading and is also a good example of the court system in New England.

While in Virginia for Christmas two years ago I read The Lee Girls by Mary P. Coulling. It was a perfect book for a perfect setting, about the daughters of General Robert E. Lee. I was staying north of Lexington, Virginia and could imagine the Lee family, the pre-Civil War era and during the war. This book is definitely one of my favorites.

A year ago at Christmas time I read Someone's Daughter by Sylvia Pettem. This is an account of the search to identify a missing woman. She was found murdered in 1954 near Boulder, Colorado. The author takes the reader on a twist and turn narration of a fifty year search. It is poignant and heart breaking, but also brings to mind that we all have relatives who have disappeared.

Each time I purchase a genealogy book, it becomes my favorite. Some I refer to more often than ours, such as Ancestry's Redbook and The Source. They definitely top the list of favorites, but occasionally another book will sneak into the list.

I'm thankful for the genealogists who care, share and help others. There are so many of you who have become my favorite genealogy people. Let's all start singing ... "These are a few of my favorite things."

YGGG #1 .... Ruby


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed my book, "Someone's Daughter." Please go to my website to read the epilogue -- the breaking news that told of Jane Doe's identity just when the book was at the printer's! The epilogue will be in subsequent editions. Best wishes, Silvia Pettem

  2. I will go to your web site. However, I did read a newspaper article about it in the North Platte Telegraph. Amazing research that you did.




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