Friday, March 29, 2013

Tika & Genealogy Food

Mixing up a big bowl of "genealogy food" for supper..... and what is "genealogy food," you ask? Simple. It's something you can eat out of a bowl with a spoon that won't slop in the keyboard as you continue to work at your computer while you eat!

And what does Tika think about this? She gets to lick the bowl so she's a happy dogger.  Think I'll do some FamilySearch Indexing while I enjoy my bowl of "genealogy food."  What is your favorite genealogy food?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tika & RootsTech & Conference Tags

Tika told me these lanyards and tags and buttons could not be hung in her house but they were okay for my office!  I really enjoy coming home from a conference and hanging up my conference "jewelry" (you wear it around your neck, right?) from the ceiling. Every time I look at them, I'm reliving the experience. And seeing the little stick-on flags helps me remember to learn more about that topic. My very favorite little sticky strip is an orange one reading DESCENDANT..... see it near the bottom on the left? Yep, that's me.

What do YOU do with your conference jewelry??

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tika & Story Telling

Tika was in the car to welcome me with doggy kisses when hubby came to the airport to fetch me home from RootsTech.  Over the next few days, she was more eager to just sit in my lap or beside me than she was to listen to my reports about the conference.

But when I was explaining that nearly one-third of the emphasis of this year's RootsTech was on getting our family stories preserved, she listened and agreed. One speaker told how 1/3 of the people living on Earth today have no documentation that they lived..... and that percentage would surely increase when thinking of all the ancestors who lived in Earth. The only way to make these people, these ancestors, "real" is to document their stories. And a great many of the vendors offered products to do just that.

Tika whispered in my ear (during a doggy kiss) that all you really, really need to get started is a spiral notebook and a pencil. Or the simple WORD on your computer.

I hope you will be inspired to get your story, and the stories of your family, preserved for your great-grandchildren to read, enjoy and perhaps learn from. At least they will know you lived on Earth.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tika & The Civil War

Tika listened intently as I read her the story from our paper:  On March 8th, and more than 150 years after the USS Monitor sank off the coast of North Carolina during the Civil War, two unknown crewmen found in the ironclad's turret when it was raised a decade ago were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The newspaper story continued:  Researchers were unable to positively identify the remains, though they tried to reconstructing the sailors' faces from their skulls and comparing DNA from the skeletons with living relatives of the ship's crew and their families. Medical and Navy records narrowed the possibilities to six people. Relatives of some of the men who died attended the ceremony.

A marker with the names of all 16 men who died on board the Monitor will be placed at the gravesite. 

Tika and I agreed that this was a totally warm-fuzzy, heart-warming story. Stories like this are the only reason she and I read the paper every morning. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tika & Time Lines

Tika squirmed and stretched in the spring sun and even yawned when I was attempting to teach her about using timelines in family history. "But they are so important," I said. Another yawn. "Why?" she finally said. So I explained, using her short little life as an example:

A timeline is a way to establishing an accurate depiction of an ancestor's past. By employing a timeline, we see where they lived, when they lived there, and by deduction we might can learn why they were living there. Also using a timeline helps us "plug in" dates to organize the life of that ancestor to give you clues and ideas of where to look next for what record.  So here is Tika's example:

Age..............Date............... ....... Event.................................Source

0                  1 8 Sep 2008      She was born                           Her papers
6wk               21 Oct 2008      Placed at NW Pet Shop           Her papers
6wk               23 Oct 2008      Adopted by Donna!                  Pet store receipt
6mo                3 Mar 2009      Visit the vet for spaying             Vet receipt
1                          Jul 2010      "Sister" dog, Dolly, adopted       Her papers
2                   17 Aug 2010      Visit the vet for eating bad bones  Vet receipt
3                         Sep 2011      Stayed with Gramma Kay          Our travel diary
4                        Mar 2012       Stayed with Gramma Kay          Our travel diary
4 1/2                   Feb 2013      Visit the vet for teeth cleaning      Vet receipt

Yes, this is quite simplistic but hopefully you get the idea. There are dozens of ideas on the hows and whys of keeping timelines but this simple formula has always worked well for me.

When I work on a timeline for an ancestor I always include every date/place/fact for everybody in the family for everybody can be placed in a family and we go through life with our families. I believe in using timelines!

By the end of the lesson, Tika was fast asleep in the spring sun.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tika Learns More About Google

Tika listened intently as I explained the new things I learned about using Google. I was just home from our local genealogical society meeting where our speaker taught us more about using Google in our genealogy. Mike McKinnon, president of our Washington State Genealogical Society, was the presenter and here are some of the things he taught us........ which I came home and shared with Tika:

1.  In doing any Google search, especially "Images," you might want to click the "Safe Searches" button (near upper right) so you don't get results that you do not want or want to see.

2.  If you do an image search, say for Mount Rainier, you will get the standard snowy-peak pictures. But if you filter your search by color, you will get entirely different results. Like "green" and you'll get Mount Rainier  forests and grasses and flowers.  If you choose "red" you'll get Mount Rainier sunsets.

3.  Bestest idea:  upload to Google your own old family photo and ask Google to find a match. This is especially valuable for unidentified photos! (And your photo is NOT automatically included in Google images, Mike said.)

There was more, but Mike said just to "play around, click around, with Google and learn how to maximize your use of it."  Good advice and Tika agrees.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tika Is Watching

Tika is ever watchful for many things. Elephants, mostly. She keeps our yard barked-clear of elephants. Especially the big pink ones. But she also barks away anything that moves..... the UPS man, the airlines flying overhead in their landing pattern, the wild turkeys that occasionally wander into our yard. She is a good watchdog from her protected perch on a snowy driveway safely tethered on a leash.

Are we as watchful in our day-to-day lives? It's so easy to get caught up in the humdrum-of-the-days and lose site of The Big Picture and really Get Anything Done. Bet you know whereof I speak.

One thing I watch for is to watch-to-attend-and-so-to-learn. Our local society is having a wonderful spring seminar tomorrow (  and the end of April is a FamilySearch Symposium ( . Both of these events will be great opportunities for learning something new or some new technique for doing genealogy. I watch for these events!

Tika is a great little teacher...... she teaches by example.