Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Look At The Past

In 1976 genealogy research was much different from what it is today. There were no computers. Research involved a lot of travel time to libraries, courthouses, and repositories. Correspondence was the original “Google.”

The typical office of a 1976 genealogist was a dining room. It consisted of a typewriter placed at the end of a dining room table. Several consoles and sidebars were covered with stacks of papers - as was the dining room table. Envelopes and stamps were the tools of the family researcher. It took weeks to receive answers to inquiries sent to courthouses in search of information about birth, marriage, and death records. You really needed to know exactly where to look. And if you were lucky, you found what you needed.

Back then genealogical societies were a necessary part of the research process. The biggest advantage of belonging to a local organization was the chance of connecting to a cousin who had information about your family - those very important dates that everyone needed -birth, marriage, death. And if you were lucky you might even get the surnames of a few female ancestors.

What a difference 40 years makes. Now we Google our ancestor and a myriad of information pops up on our computer screens. We join and for a small fee our ancestor's vital records appear in a matter of minutes.

Back in 1976, we needed each other. We needed to get together once a month to exchange ideas, information, find relatives, share our experiences with the hope that it would add to our research. I am amazed at how far we have come today and how much we have lost.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Great Wolf Lodge! My, how genealogy conferences have changed since the first one I attended over ten years ago. From a hotel with a few conference rooms to a huge water park. From being able to get away by yourself for a couple of days to taking the whole family with you to a genealogy conference.

No Way! . . . . . . .Yes, Way!!!

This year the Ohio Genealogical Society will once again hold its annual conference at a water park -- Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. Mason is northeast of Cincinnati, Ohio on I-71. So, mom and dad can attend the conference while the kids can slip, slide, and splash to their hearts content in the lagoon. What more could you ask for?

Two years ago I attended the conference that was held at Kalahari Water Park in Sandusky, Ohio. It was different! I am a grandmother and no, I did not bring all 13 grandkids with me. However, my daughter and her son were able to come up to the lodge on the weekend and use the water park passes that came with the room. 

When I first arrived at Kalahari, I noticed that there were several buses in the parking lot and I soon learned that these were "senior proms". Fortunately everything was soundproof and it was fun watching the teenagers all dressed up for their prom dates. 

Everything went well until Friday! That was the morning that I turned the corner into the hall that went to the lobby and found herds of kids stampeding toward me. Far be it from me to deny children access to a genealogical conference. I am totally in favor of anything it takes to get our grandchildren interested in the wonderful world of family research. Just don't run over me in the process. 

Unfortunately these kids were not racing toward the past. They were coming back from breakfast for a little down time before some water park time. But I am ok with that. They are exposed to the family history experience.

The OGS Conference this year will be at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. 
28-30 April 2016
Pre -Conference Workshops will be on 27 April 2016

Rooms at the lodge are $144/night (plus taxes)
     Free Wi-Fi and parking.
     For reservations, call 866-954-9653 (group code - 1604 Ohio)


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas shopping can be fun!

Merry Christmas to all 

This year I decided to change my shopping. Basically I needed to save money. In order to do that I would have to cut back on the amount I was going to spend on each member of my family. Normally I would spend $25 per person.

I decided to change that to $10 per person with some wiggle room of $5. I figured if I found something really great that I knew someone would love, that extra give or take $5 wouldn't matter. Believe it or not I found many of the gifts at Kroger! Books, hats, gloves, Starbucks' mugs & ornaments, cars to name a few

However, there was an unintended consequence. Christmas shopping this year was fun! I didn't have to make sure everything was equal. It was sorta equal. I didn't set out with a list and my credit card. I would see something awesome and buy it. Everything just fell into place and before I knew it my shopping was done. No stress. No worry. No tearing my hair out trying to figure out what to get. 

It has worked for me and now I hope it works for them. We will see on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Elf

I woke up this morning and realized it was December 1. I was so excited. I felt young and alive and Christmasy. Santa Claus is coming to town! I curled up in my covers and pillows and thought about all the wonderful things that are going to happen between now and the new year. Crank up the Christmas carols. Turn on the lights. Trim the tree. Bake the cookies. Shop til you drop. DIET. BUDGET. ORGANIZE.  CLEAN. DECORATE. 


And then I heard something out in the living room; no, maybe the dining room. Mice!! Or one really loud rat. 

By this time Winston had to go outside. So I opened the sliding glass doors and released him to his wild side. I turned and there she was. A tiny elf. Sitting in the middle of my dining room table surrounded by genealogy papers and research. 

She just looked at me and said" Are you ready? it is Christmas and we have some presents to deliver." I had no idea what she meant, but I had a feeling that I was about to find out.

She politely introduced herself and said she is called by the name of Geni. She said she knows my family and she knows if they have been naughty or nice. 

Oh Deer!! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hit the Brakes! Slow Down! Time For Me!!

Here it is almost the end of October already. Soon it will be Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then a New Year. Where did 2015 go? It just went flying by. Ladies' group met tonight! The discussion was all about how much we hurry through life and how much we miss. Everyone agreed that the years when our kids were growing up was the most rushed. We also decided that we probably didn't know what we missed. School activities, football games, chauffeuring kids to the mall, sport practices, band practice. Scurrying here, rushing there. No time to stop and smell the roses.

That is how I feel after this year. Tons of genealogy related activities! The keyword here is "related." Chairman of the Board for a year is about to come to an end. Board meetings, chapter meetings, online meetings, decisions, decisions, decisions!

A new charter chapter of the US Daughters of 1812 was created. Joined a local historical society. Attended a seminar on chapter management. Stepped outside of my comfort zone more than a few times. Lots of work, but worth every minute.

It has been a fun year, but it is time to get back to working on my own family research. Only a couple of months til the deadline for applications to OGS lineage societies. 

The Ohio Genealogical Society has a number of lineage societies for their members. They include First Families of Ohio, Century Families of Ohio, Settlers and Builders of Ohio, and Civil War Families of Ohio. Induction of new members takes place at banquets for each group at the annual conference. For more information about this see

This year's conference will be held 28-30 April 2016, at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. I had better get started. I have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Went Wrong?

I seem to be losing that sense of my family's history that has always been so important to me. All of a sudden it has become big business.

Now it is all about meetings, number of members, boards, newsletters, blogs, professional web sites, lineage societies, and celebrity family trees on cable tv.

Whatever happened to finding your ancestors in a country cemetery in Kentucky. 

That is genealogy!

I have looked back at some of my posts from the holidays a year ago. Posts about my family. My crazy cousins. Family traditions. People who aren't here any more but are still in our thoughts as we approach the holidays. 

That is genealogy!

They didn't make us who we are today but they put us in the places we needed to be.

That is genealogy!

And we will put our children where they need to be.

That is genealogy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hey, What's All This DNA Stuff About Anyway?!

The Lucas County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society will present a program about DNA and Genealogy on Saturday, September 19, 2015. The group meets at 2pm in the Huntington Room on the first floor of the Toledo/Lucas County Public Library, 325 Michigan St., Toledo, Ohio. Meetings are open to the public.

Don Hengen will answer the question, "What's This DNA Stuff All About?"

This is a program for those who have already had their testing done, as well as those who know nothing at all about the subject. This will be an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with this new aspect of family research. For years genealogy was a slow tedious process of writing letters, traveling miles to courthouses that hopefully had not had a fire, and searching miles of microfilm in search of an ancestor record. And let's not forget all those cemeteries. Then the computer was born and everything changed.

Well, not everything. You still need to visit courthouses, libraries, cemeteries . . . . but you can also search for your ancestors online in the middle of the night. (If those 4x great grandparents only knew what you are doing right now. No candlelight? No quill pen? You are staring at this screen where words magically appear! and you're waiting for something called "a pizza" to be delivered.) Yes, things have most definitely changed.

And now they have changed even more. DNA has arrived. If you want to find out how this has changed the way we do family research, be sure to attend this meeting on the third Saturday of September. 

All levels of experience are welcome at the chapter's meetings - Beginners, Intermediate, Experienced.