Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prisoner on Loose at Expo

There were interesting people at the Colorado Family History Expo. Probably the most interesting was a prisoner who was roaming the halls and exhibit hall and presenting lectures. He was not a prisoner, just dressed up like one, but he certainly caught the attention of everybody there.

Ron Arons is extremely knowledgeable about criminal records, to the extent he has written books on the subject. His two books are Wanted! US Criminal Records Sources & Research Methodology and The Jews of Sing-Sing. Ron asked me if I had black sheep in the family. Oh yes, and some who were in prison and some who should have been there. Then I realized I needed his book on how to research US criminal records. So I bought it!

It will be a good read plus a companion to enhance my genealogical research of the black sheep in my family. He covers prison records, court records, parole records, pardon records, execution information, investigative reports and police reports. If your ancestor is involved in any of those records, you need the book. You can find more information at his web page about both books.

Now decide if you really want to research those shady characters in your family or if you want to put them back in the closet. As for me, I've unlocked the door to let them out!

YGGG #1 - Ruby

Sunday, June 27, 2010

People at the Expo

Shortly after noon today I arrived home from Loveland, CO. The time went fast, but it was worth every minute. One of the great things about the Expo is getting to see familiar faces and make new friends. The Honor Bloggers had a specific area for blogging, but we could also blog and tweet in the classrooms, which many of us did.

We were easily identified by our beads, compliments of Thomas MacEntee. Of course, we had name tags and badges, again compliments of Thomas MacEntee ... the guy at Geneabloggers! Quite often we were asked to explain blogs, why they are fun and effective for genealogists. Tom did some lectures on social networking which were informative. As the Expo wound down I listened to people saying they might try creating a blog. So ... genealogists look for new genealogy blogs in the upcoming weeks and months.

My friend Leland Meitzler posed for a photograph by some of the books he was selling. Family Roots Publishing was a popular spot in the Expo. In fact, it was so popular you could hardly turn around without bumping into somebody.

In the group photograph you'll see some of the bloggers ... back row Gayle Gresham, yours truly YGGG #1, Tom MacEntee. Sitting is Lisa Alzo and Becky Jamison.

The guy in the blue shirt, with the smile is Michael John Neill of Illinois. He is a dynamic speaker who got a lot of enthusiasm going at the Expo. We had fun visiting about our recent trips to Salt Lake City to the Family History Library.

Behind the scenes were people who worked for months, weeks and days to make the Expo possible. Thanks to all for making it a memorable experience!

YGGG #1 - Ruby

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The Family History Expo Colorado has books and books and more books. The vendor room is fantastic! Genealogists collect books. Do we get around to reading them? Hope you do. I am going home with a few new ones.

Walking past the EasyFamilyHistory.com vending booth I spotted "Crash Course in Family History" Fourth Edition. Now who needs that if you are already doing genealogy? However, Paul Larsen has indeed written a very different book that will appeal not only to the beginning genealogist but to others who want to reference it for web pages, quotes and books.

Step One of the Crash Course is Identify Your Ancestors Using Family History. With a lot of colorful thumbnail pictures, quotes, web pages and sage advise, Larsen leads anybody interested in genealogy on the right path to identifying those ancestors.

Step Two is Add New Branches to Your Family Tree Using the Internet. Think you know everything about the Internet? I even picked up a few web pages that were unknowns to me when I browsed that section.

Step Three is Connect with the Lives and Stories of Your Ancestors. Do you appreciate your heritage or are you ashamed of it? Do you honor your ancestors or shut them up in the closet and throw the key away? Larsen takes you through timelines, applying history, plus a lot more.

I would highly recommend the book to beginners, even young adults and older children getting started on their ancestral quest. It would also make a great addition to a genealogical library. Consider it also for a nice door prize for a genealogy event of your local genealogical or historical society. Check it out!

YGGG #1 Ruby (still havin' fun in Loveland!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Howdy From The World Of Camping!

Well, here I am, just making a pit stop at home to check on the dog who does not travel with us. I had to check in and see what was going on with Go Girl #1. She has been calling me with updates on the Colorado Family History Expo and bragging about what I am missing! Sounds like a great time for all. Even though I do wish I was there, I am having fun just relaxing with Hubby at the Lake and enjoying the outdoors. I am also getting some reading done which has fallen way behind until now, so all is not lost. We have had a great time cooking out, having an adult beverage and enjoying the cool evenings around the lake. Don't forget me, You Go Girl #2,--I will be back home before long and getting ready myself to attend the Family History Expo in Kansas City the end of July. All is not lost as I have the best of both worlds!

Hope everyone at the Colorado Expo is having a great time AND learning lots of new things with the genealogy world! I look forward to meeting all the great presenters and making some new friends too......

You Go Girl #2, Cheri

A Learning Experience

Why attend a conference? Do you know everything you need to know? Doubt it. Even after years and years (telling my age?) I am learning. If I learn one thing from a speaker, it is a great experience. I always learn more than one thing!

You can also learn from other people. Maybe their ancestral path has crossed with yours. Or maybe they have used a certain state or county repository and can give you how-to tips. Just speaking my language ... GENEALOGY ... is worth the time and expense of attending a genealogical conference.

In my book the Family History Expos are the best! They aren't too big or too small. You get to know people who will smile and say hi in the halls. Then there is the opportunity to be stopped by someone you corresponded with 20-30 years ago. Yes, that happened to me this morning! What a great surprise. Wonder if our ancestors had anything to do with that!

YGGG #1 - Ruby (Hi, Cheri, you don't know what you are missing!)

Are we there yet?

I'm definitely in the right place. Driving to Loveland, CO yesterday I was like a little kid saying "Are we there yet?" Finally I arrived. It was a fun drive even though YGGG #2 was not with me. I think Lil' Red heaved a sigh of relief that all of #2's luggage was not on board!

Rubbing elbows with other genealogists is so much fun. Beau Sharbrough had a very interesting, humorous and yet meaningful opening address this morning. Did you ever stop and think about why you are doing genealogical research? If you have been it at as many years as I have, it's never time to quit. You will never have all the answers. But you keep trying. Beau reminded us that we are story tellers. Sometimes people don't want to hear our stories, but we keep telling them. I have found that young grandchildren are great sounding boards for hearing family history tales.

The Loveland CO Family History Expo is definitely the place to be. I am at the right place.

YGGG #1 - Ruby

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Learn?

Genealogy is a learning game. You will never know everything you need to know. Basics are important, but as your research progresses, so must your knowledge. This can be geography, history, law and more.

If you don't know legal terms, look them up. There's great places to check on Internet, or you can always refer to Black's Law Dictionary found in many libraries. Don't know the history of states or counties. There's plenty to find on Internet or in books such as the Redbook, American State, County and Town Sources, published by Ancestry. This too can be found in many libraries that have genealogical collections. If you already own it, read it! One of my favorite places for maps is The Newberry Library's Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

Do you want to travel, do genealogical research and learn all at the same time? Want to meet genealogists, make new friends and converse with the experts? Plan on attending a Family History Expo in 2010.

I am leaving tomorrow for the Colorado Family History Expo in Loveland, CO. Check this blog often as I will be an Honor Blogger. I'm pleased to report to you about the latest happenings at the Expo. There will be well known speakers and popular vendors, such as Family Insight, Ancestry.com, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, and Family Roots Publishing. If you are attending the Loveland Expo, be sure to stop by and say hi ... I will share my jelly beans!

YGGG #2 - Cheri is vacationing with Go Hubby. She is reading genealogy files while they camp and also making plans to attend the Family History Expo in Kansas City next month. We are going to be so well educated. We are also making genealogy memories in 2010.

YGGG #1 - Ruby

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On The Road Again

Isn't that a song or jingle about being on the road again? After a wonderful and productive trip to Salt Lake City, I was home a few days and received word that my sister had passed away. It was not unexpected, but still the finality of it hurts. I just returned home today from her funeral. The luggage came in, some was put away and some left out to repack in a few days.

Another exciting trip is on the agenda. This time it is to Loveland, CO to the Family History Expo. The Expo begins Friday, June 25th at the Embassy Suites Loveland Hotel & Conference Center. The two day conference will feature 89 presentations by excellent speakers and 28 vendors displaying their products. There are classes for beginners, experienced and advanced researchers, along with time to Ask-The-Pros.

There are eight honor bloggers for this Expo and I will be representing the You Go Genealogy Girls. YGGG#2 (Cheri) cannot attend the conference, but will be going to the Midwest Family History Expo in Kansas City, MO, Friday July 30th and Saturday July 31st.

For more information on the 2nd Annual Colorado Family History Expo 2010, check out their web page. There you will find a complete listing of speakers, topics plus information on the cost of the conference. You can register online from their web page.

Other Expos for 2010 besides Loveland and Kansas City, include Pleasanton, CA October 8-9; Salt Lake City Family History Library Research Retreat Oct 25-30 and Atlanta, GA November 12-13.

I am on a countdown for the Expo in Loveland. So much to do and so little time. Ancestors need my attention also. And I need some sleep!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We've Lost Our Census

Saturday, June 5th was our last night in Salt Lake City after a very busy and stressful two weeks of researching and a bit of fun. As we packed for the trip home, a beautiful fireworks display erupted over the city and was visible from our 9th floor room. We just knew it was in our honor; Utah was glad we had come or were thrilled that we were leaving- either way the show was surely in our honor! Little did the presenters know that we were totally exhausted, having spent a hard 130 hours plus at the Family History Library. Nerves were frazzled, stomachs upset, eyes almost gone blind, tempers flared, and the "girls" had vowed not to make the trip again. Next year girl #1 would fly to Salt Lake and girl #2 would bring hubby along and make the trip by motorcycle.(Where would I put all the junk and copies that I travel with?) Well, maybe the fireworks weren't for us after all but a beautiful thought and display just the same.

Sunday morning came and it was time to gather ourselves, all our stuff and trappings for the trip home. We had accumulated a three and a half foot tall stack of library copies, several hundred scanned to flash drive documents plus some new books and gifts for the family which we had purchased at the new Deseret Book Store. All in all we had added a couple hundred more pounds of freight to the mix. Girl one fretted and watched as I, girl two, got Lit'l Red stuffed full. We even had room left over according to my calculations and could have made another quick round at the copy machines in the library to fill in the voids! Two hours of hauling and packing the car and we were off and heading out of the parking garage. We would quickly head for State Street and then directly onto the interstate going east. Hitting the first stop light, we remarked there sure were a lot of unsavory looking people hanging around and laying around on the sidewalks- all on a Sunday morning. Turn right, more people. Once again we determined that we were surely being honored with a grand send off and goodbye. Our hopes were dashed as we realized we were not guests of honor but intruders in a staging area for the Utah Pride parade! We tried to hail a motorcycle cop for directions out of the barred area but were ignored as he sped on by, sadly we didn't even glean a second look. Girl #1 made the decision to turn left at that time, right into the area where all the horses and riders were staging their set ups for the parade. Lit'l Red was not on the welcome list there. Getting through the horses and riders and going around several more blocks finally brought us to the I-80 interchange and we were finally able to "get out of Dodge!" (Note to us: pack balloons, masking tape and an electric sign for next year, we don't want to miss the next opportunity to star in a parade and get some free advertising for the You Go Girls.)

The first exciting stop on the way home was a rest stop only a few miles down the road. All the excitement had precluded us from making very many miles. It was shaping up to be a long day indeed. The rest stop was not the usual fairly well kept up type, but one with an infestation of prairie dogs right under foot. They made us think of the occasional "winter" mouse that might move into the garage, but these were "mice" on steroids so we made it a short stop, not wanting to be wisked away, down into their burrows and lost to history! Back on the road again and finally and surely heading East. We talked and laughed for six hours across Wyoming. We even began to talk about next years trip back to the Family History Library. The moans, groans, aches, pains and flared tempers had already begun to disappear in anticipation of "next time". What could we do without and what we needed to add to our list besides those balloons for the next parade?

Breezing across Wyoming, girl #1, the driver, finally noticed that we were nearly running on empty. Rawlins, Wyoming was just ahead for another stop and much need gasoline fill up and should be just a few short miles ahead. We were to be in Cheyenne, Wyoming around 5 pm and it was now 3:15 pm. Rawlins was a lot further away from Cheyenne than that so we were running late. No Rawlins, no gas station on the horizon. We were now running on fumes and a strange sign appeared that said "Laramie, 26 miles." Okay, so we had missed Rawlins,Wyoming many miles back and it must have been during the 10 miles we were playing "Lit'l Red gets boxed in" with those three nasty semi trucks or during the strategy meeting for next years trip. Just ahead was a small sign that said we could get gas and sustenance if we would exit next- to the only gas station that would be available for miles. We were just hoping it would be open on that Sunday. It was, and we just made it in on our remaining gas fumes! As we pulled up to the pump, a good looking male walked by. Even with our poor eye sight from days of scanning micro film in the library for those ancestors, these Grannies still knew a good looking guy when we saw one. Inside the station while girl #1 was in the powder room that guy came over and introduced himself to me. As he turned to leave, I told him that he was very handsome, patted his behind and he shivered with delight! As we went out the door, he winked his big beautiful eyes, turned up his wrinkled face in a big grin, and "FROG", the Bulldog, was heard to say: "You Go Girls--- you made my day!"

We stayed overnight in Cheyenne, Wyoming and completed the trip on home to western Nebraska on Monday morning. After a meet and greet with hugs and kisses around from my own two dogs, we had anticipated a quiet day of relaxation after the nearly 1600 mile trip. Girl #1 was going to complete the trip on home to North Platte, Nebraska the next day after a short visit once again to the final resting place of her husband and my brother. Those plans of relaxation and early to bed did not work very well when storm clouds starting rolling into the western Nebraska area in the afternoon. We had remarked that morning as we drove from Cheyenne to Alliance that the sky was strange and the low fog bank that stretched for many miles ahead of us was unusual for our area. About 6:30 pm, the storm came up following watches all afternoon. Watches changed to Tornado warnings and city sirens began to blow. The Grannies roped up the dogs and headed to the basement in night clothes. Girl #1 hobbled back up the steps to retrieve her flash drive with info from Salt Lake, just in case, and she knew all her other important files were safe back home in North Platte. The storm hide-out under the steps was full of junk which I had to clean out hurriedly , the dogs wouldn't mind, and we just wanted to get to bed! City streets flooded up over the walk way and into my lawn, roads washed out and girl #1 worried that Lit'l Red would float down the street, when the water reached the underside of her car.We got 2 and 1/2 inches of rain in an hour that night plus more over the late evening. Finally, two and 1/2 hours later after three separate storms passed by, all prompting city tornado sirens, we were able to get settled in for the night. It must have been the anger from all our ancestors that we left behind this time in the Salt Lake Family History Library, still hidden away in the dark recesses of time. We brought many back home with us but sadly many were left behind until the next visit!

Today we are both glad to be home and anxious to sort out all our goodies and get started now with the hard work of sorting our treasures, papers, documents and maybe even a census or two. The real work of all the family mysteries has now begun. After taking the shuttle to the British Isles, the slow boat to Sweden, multiple side trips to the book floor, and hours living in the micro film room we are blessed with information. Girl #1 will be busy for all summer analyzing, sorting and entering her finds, I will not even get to start on mine until later as my husband has vacation coming up and we will be gone camping but at least I can read and study some of my finds. Neither of us got completely through our research notebooks so we have a good start for the next visit. Even if we lived in Salt Lake, the research and stories would never come to an end!

Now it is time for us to once again gather our senses, and think of packing again. Soon we will be off again to Loveland, Colorado for the Family History Expo on June 25and 26th. More genealogy and summer fun. The Grannies will be once again on the go. We hope to meet you there but if you can't attend, we'd love to have you join us as we report on the great classes and fun from Loveland!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Boo-Hoo Last Day

This is our last day at the Family History Library. Not forever, but for this trip in 2010. While we are tired to the bone, we still are enthused about our research. We will miss not being able to walk into a library and find film, fiche and books that may solve our genealogy problems.

We have met some nice people, both patrons and volunteers. After two weeks they know us and we know them. Then they will make friends with other people who frequent the library. One exciting thing was when I heard a genealogist on the elevator. Instantly I knew her southern accent and asked where she lived ... Arlington, Virginia. Nope, I was wrong and then she explained she grew up in northeast Tennessee. I was right on the mark and we discovered family connections.

Looking at my stash of copies, let alone hand written notes and saved files on the computer, I will be until Christmas getting everything sorted and properly entered. It will actually be like Christmas opening the boxes of papers I am taking home.

The next challenge will be repacking to attend the Family History Expo in Loveland, CO in a few weeks. Maybe I should not unpack!

YYGG #1 -- Ruby

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tired Genealogists

We are two tired genealogists. Either our age is showing or else we are going too fast at our research.

This afternoon YGGG#2 got sea-sick at the film reader and YGGG #1's knee began hurting. So, we helped each other out of the library and to the Plaza next door to our room. Once inside the room, we groaned, moaned and felt sorry for each other for about 45 minutes and then headed back to the library for more grueling challenges.

It has been interesting to see people coming into the library as first time users. I can't help but think that the recent TV series Who Do You Think You Are? has spurred some to want to discover their ancestry. As I watched some of them look in awe at the rows of file cabinets of microfilm or at the stacks of books, I wondered if they felt deceived by the program. It doesn't happen in one hour, or even one week or one year. It is an on-going process to locate ancestral information. And, sometimes you never do locate it. That's the sad part, but ooooh it's fun trying.

We are extremely tired this evening so it's time to shower and hit the bed. Tomorrow is another day! Stay tuned for more of our thoughts and happenings.

YGGG #1 -- Ruby


Find a Grave

Search 31.6 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: