Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Dying Art of Letter Writing

The Art of Letter Writing is quickly being replaced by digitial communications through social media, texting, emails, etc.  The ability to hold, read, and re-read letters from the past, is a wonderful thing to be able to pass down to your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Digitizing the letters is a great way to share the letters with everyone, but the actual act of writing letters is quickly being lost.

I was visiting with a family member this weekend about letters they have saved from parents and grandparents demonstrating the beautiful handwriting.  Way back when, before the times of computers, Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, and all the other myriad of ways to instantly communicate, these letters were frequently out of date by the time they were received by the the recipient, but they frequently conveyed the depth of the love one had to another.  It reminded me of the time when I was dating my husband and we were attending different schools.  We would frequently write to each others, sometimes 2-3 times in one week.  We would also call on the telephone, but this way of communciation had to be limited due to the expense and being poor college students.  I always looked forwared to receiving letters in the mail from my husband (then boyfriend) and also my parents.  It was the highlight of my day to receive them.  I have saved those letters and have enjoyed reading through them from time to time even now.  They bring back many fond memories.

The video below demonstrates the importance of these letters.  Now that we live in the time where there is instant communcation, I am grateful for the opportunity to see and talk with my children and grandchildren live.  We are blessed with many great ways to communicate; however,  I still enjoy the letters that I have saved over the years from my parents, husband, grandmother, etc.  They are a treasure.  I hope you enjoy video and maybe think about the letters you have saved.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

History of Hallowe'en

You might wonder why I'm writing about the Halloween holiday in a genealogy blog? Well, I have found that while researching our ancestors, it is important to understand the context of their lives in relation to history. This part of the year has several holidays coming up and Hallowe'en is just the beginning.  I was at the store yesterday looking for some Halloween decorations, and low and behold, the store already had their Christmas decorations out and the Hallowe'en decoration selection was getting slim.  I attached this video for your enjoyment to learn about the history of Hallowe'en.  I didn't know it was originally a Celtic holiday, did you?  Watch and learn.  Have fun!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day.  Here is a beautiful video by FamilySearch about Mother's and the importance of recording history.  You can now upload pictures and stories to FamilySearch.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Genealogy on a Mac

I wanted to share with you all my thoughts about the availability genealogy programs for the mac.  My PC died in September of 2013 and as a result I have decided to try and do my genealogy strictly on a Mac.  This has provided many challenges including deciding on a program to use and importing the data from a PC to a Mac based environment.  Needless to say, I am still working through the change and have not been very happy with the options.

The Mac programs that I have tried included:
Ancestral Quest (Using Cross Over)
MacFamily Tree

First of all, I attempted to use Cross Over and run Ancestral Quest. I really like Ancestral Quest in the PC environment and was hoping that Cross Over would be the solution to my dilema. The program ran in Cross Over, but I had problems with the program running smoothly and allowing for me to sync with FamilySearch.  Ancestral Quest frequently froze using Cross Over resulting in having to close the program or restart my system.  I have not tried to use RootsMagic in crossover, so this may be an option for those that have RootsMagic.  I would recommend you try the free trial of Cross Over to see if it will work for you.

I also downloaded the trial versions of Heredis and Reunion.  Both of these Mac programs have been developed nicely, however, they do not sync to FamilySearch.  For many people, this may not be a concern, but for me, I wanted to be able to move my data freely between FamilySearch and my Family file on my computer, therefore, I chose to stick with MacFamily Tree.

I decided to try and learn how to use MacFamily Tree, as I had already purchased the program when I first got my MacBook Pro, but really hadn't spent much time working with it seriously as I was still using my PC for the bulwark of my genealogy research, before my PC crashed. At first I found the updated version to be a little tricky to work with as I was not familiar with the program.  There are many intuitive aspects to this program that I liked; however, I wasn't sure about the FamilySearch aspect of this program. I must qualify this statement with the caveat that I usually try to figure out the program without going to the manual.  I finally caved and went to the manual on how to have MacFamily Tree work with FamilySearch and have found it works well and I have used it several times and like it's functionality.

Another nice feature of MacFamily Tree is it allows for one to geocode the important events in a person's life.  The one drawback that I have found with this, is the fact that names of places and their locations have changed over the years as have the boundaries in which a location may be found. This is the result of changing of country, state, county, and city boundaries and therefore, the accuracy of the locations are not rock solid as the program uses current names, places, and boundaries, which have changed throughout years past.

The bottom line: There are many wonderful Mac genealogy programs for one to choose from, however, the only Mac based program that will sync with FamilySearch is MacFamily Tree.  MacFamily Tree also provides a mobile app that you can use, however, I have not attempted to use it at this point, as I have spent that past little while teaching myself the MacFamily Tree program.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honoring Those Who Served

This past summer, I had the honor and privilege of meeting my cousin, Gilchrist Booth and his lovely wife, Grace, while taking my daughter to school in Utah. My mother had told me a great deal about her cousin Gil, and I finally had the amazing opportunity to visit with him with my brother. He and his wife are delightful, and so very wise. My cousin Gil, was a member of the 743 Tank Battalion, Company B. He shared with me his written memories of his experiences while serving our country and I cherish this written record.  As I read through his history, he brought light to things that I would have never considered as being challenges while serving.  This could be from my lack of knowledge regarding the workings of a tank.  He spoke about how loud it was inside the tank when shells would be fired; I had never thought about that aspect. He shared with us many things about his service and expressed his profound sadness in seeing how the people in the concentration camps had been treated.  Before we left to go home, my dear cousin Gil shared with me his written memoirs of his military service. Having read his memoirs has touched me deeply and helped me to better understand and appreciate the opportunities and freedoms I enjoy.  I am grateful to Gil for writing down and sharing some of his memories.

This year, my cousin Gil was honored for his service with others in Utah. Thank you cousin Gil for your honorable service!

 I would encourage all to take the time to visit with your family members ask them about their lives.  We all can learn a great deal from those we love if we will but take the time.  I hope that you will come away from reading this post realizing the need to document and/or write down the history of those we love and those who have served in a selfless way to preserve freedom and a cause which is greater than the individual, no matter what country they are serving.  I honor everyone who has helped to keep our freedom and express my deepest gratitude to them and their families.  Thank you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In commemoration of all those who have served in the military and laid down their lives for their country, I have decided to revisit the Commonwealth Graves Commission site. This site is user friendly with the search box on the home page. I am grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed that I might live in peace and freedom. If you would like to search for your ancestors who might have served in the First World War from 4 August 1913 to 31 August 1921 and the Second World War from 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947, click this link Commonwealth Graves Commissionand you will be directed to their site. Please note this site also has many classroom learning activities, events, and even resources for Boy Scouts.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Treasure Trove Of Information

 I recently found a "Treasure Trove" of information that is available for those researching their ancestors in Australia. This website is user friendly with a search box on the home page. This site allows you to research in digitized newspaper, journals, diaries, and photographs to name a few. Please note the site also provides links to other sites that may have information regarding your query; some of them require payment and others are free to use. From the home page you can select the collection you would like to research within to narrow your search. Thus far, I have noted researching the newspaper collection is free. If you would like to research your Australian ancestors in the newspaper collection, click Trove digitized newspapers. If you prefer to perform a general search click Trove National Libary of Australia Home.