Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oooops! There are two of me at the conference.

PictureArrived at Kalahari this afternoon around 3:30pm. I parked in the parking lot close to the entrance, went inside and checked in. After I found my room and got my bearings in this mammoth resort, I went back to my get my car. 
I then chose to go "up the hill" to the main entrance to unload my car. It was amazingly easy. There are plenty of luggage carts right inside the entrance. I parked my car in one of the many temporary parking spaces, unloaded my stuff onto the cart and took it to my room. Then I returned the cart, jumped back in my car, and parked in the parking lot area near the convention center. I much prefer this instead of watching my clothes, computer, and research disappear into an unknown room in a hotel while I take off in the other direction to check in. 

If you are staying in one of the nearby hotels, plan on parking way in the back of the resort property by the convention center. And don't worry about going hungry! There is so much food here. And if you look at candy and ice cream as a major food group -- you are absolutely in the right place.

The first time I was in the conference area I found it to be slightly confusing. And then everything else got extremely confusing. I picked up my conference packet and sat down in a nearby chair to check the contents. (This is something you should always do.) For some strange reason I had a lot of tickets for events I didn't register for. And then I noticed I was missing things. So I took my packet back and, yes, there was a mistake. So I got my correct packet and returned to my room. 

As I was unpacking, there was a knock at my door. I opened the door to a very nice security guard who told me I was in the wrong room. Ok. Wrong packet and now wrong room. Hmmmmmm!!

To be honest, it didn't take me long to figure out what was wrong. Several years ago when I visited the OGS Library in Bellville I picked up a pen to enter my name on the sign in list. Much to my surprise, I was already signed in. Yup, there was my name!! That was the day I met the other member of OGS that has the same name as me.

So now we are both at the same conference together. This should be interesting. Can't wait to see what happens when they start calling the names of the winners of the door prizes and raffle tickets!!  

See! No matter how seasoned you are. . . No matter how many conferences you have attended. . . . .There is always something new!

Monday, April 28, 2014

What's nearby?

PictureFor those of you going to the OGS Conference at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio, I have put together a list of nearby places that you might like to visit in case of an emergency. Forgot something, need batteries, just want to grab a burger or a shake.

First of all, Cedar Point is not that far away. It isn't open yet but it could be an excuse to travel to the shores of Lake Erie to see that beautiful blue water. Lake Erie is a rather treacherous lake because it is so shallow. To me shallow is 2 feet. It's a little bit more on Lake Erie but it is well known by local boaters as the lake where the weather can change in an instant. 

If you are staying at Kalahari, there are several good restaurants and lounges that serve everything from steaks to pizza. Each room has a refrigerator and a microwave if you need to be a little frugal. You can have breakfast and lunch in your room and then splurge on dinner. If you are looking for groceries Kroger, Meijer, and Walmart are only a few minutes away.

If you are staying in one of the nearby hotels you will find a number of restaurants nearby. Appleby's, Chili's, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, McDonald's, Wendy's, and Steak and Shake are just a few. 

If you need supplies you will find Staples and Best Buy. Also, the Sandusky Mall is about 3 miles north on Milan Rd. Here you will find Target, Penney's, Macy's, and Elder-Beerman plus your usual mall stores.

Everything is north of Kalahari on Milan Road with the exception of Kroger which is to the west on Perkins Road (crosses Milan).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gettin' Ready For The Conference

It is that time again. That week before the conference when I start to make lists. 

And then I remembered something. Last year I made a master list so I would never have to create another conference list. Ever!!!

NOW if I could just find the list I would be all set!!

Fortunately, I remembered that I saved it in Publisher on my computer. Once again technology has saved me. Packing will now be a breeze!

Going to Kalahari. This will be the first time I have ever packed a bathing suit for a genealogy conference. And the first time I have ever scheduled time for water park research!!!

I am so glad I did this master list last year. I would recommend that all of you do this. I am going to share a few of the things on my list that probably sound absurd but, trust me, someday you will thank me.

Light bulbs. You know the old fashioned kind so you can see to read. Unfortunately these are becoming extinct and some of the hotels now have lamps that won't let you change the light bulbs. So I have a reading lamp I take with me just in case I need it and I keep it in the car. 

Xtra fold up bags. These are tote bags that fold into a flat little square that can be packed in your suitcase. Sometimes you need them -- sometimes you don't. Just depends on how crazy you go in the exhibit hall and how many door prizes you win. The totes are there in case you need them.

Extension cords. They don't take up much room and sometimes you can be so glad you had the good sense to throw one into your suitcase.

Every charger you own. Only kidding!!  But take inventory before you leave home. 

Passwords. Never leave home without 'em.

Business cards. Even if it only has your name and contact info along with the family names you are researching, it's a business card. I think they used to be called calling cards in the olden days.

Self-stick address labels. These have your name, address, phone number, and email address. You can attach these to all of the entry forms you will come across in the exhibit hall where they are having a drawing for something you can't live without. Saves time and avoids writer's cramp. And who knows you may win something!!

Fitbit. Yeah, you're gonna walk a lot!!

Batteries. Might save you a trip to the store.

Prescriptions. Dont' forget your meds.

See you at Kalahari!

Plan a Road Trip!!

My Aunt Daisy made sure that her family knew the importance of family history. When I was a little girl I looked at my aunt as someone who had been alive forever and personally knew all of her ancestors. She had an attic and a barn full of really neat stuff and it all belonged to my ancestors.

The greatest thing about my aunt was that she took time to make sure that all of her family knew the story of their ancestors. She didn't just do a lot of research and pass it on to whoever wanted to read it. No! She made sure that everyone in her family wanted to absorb it. And treasure it. And make it a part of their lives. And they did.

She did not worry about what repository she was going to donate her research to when she passed away. She knew that she had laid the foundation of genealogy within her family and it would carry on from there. Granted some of the larger items in the attic and barn went to museums, but the smaller items were distributed among the family members. And because they knew their family history, these pieces of jewelry, silverware, linens, dinnerware had meaning for the person who now was allowed the privilege of owning them. It was a privilege for me to own a pin from the Civil War era that belonged to my great, great grandmother. I knew who she was. She had sons who fought for the Union in the Civil War. But she was born in Kentucky and also had family in the Confederacy.

So how do you keep your research from being stored in the stacks of a local library? You show your family their roots.

Last week my granddaughter and I visited Germany. We never left my kitchen. We did it all online. Who's idea was it? It was Chrisi's. She asked me what Tennessee was like and I told her to just "Google" Nashville. After she took a tour of Nashville, she decided that since she has strong German roots on both sides of her family, she wanted to see Germany. So we did. Online!

Of course, Chrisi has already been exposed to her roots in Kentucky and southern Ohio. She and her older sister, Tabi, have "walked the ground" where their ancestors have walked. They have stood on the banks of the Ohio River. The river their ancestors crossed when they left Kentucky and came to Ohio.

I am seeing so many lectures lately about "what to do with your research". Let's quit worrying about that and get those grandkids, nieces and nephews out there in those cemeteries, at those old homesteads, in the small towns, on the banks of the rivers where our ancestors "wrote" our family stories. 

Summer is almost here. School is almost out. Plan a road trip with the kids!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Conference Option!

Ah, the NGS Conference. So far and yet so near. 

Why? Live streaming! The best of both worlds.

If you're like me this year and just can't make it to Virginia for the NGS 2014 Conference, you have the opportunity to virtually attend a part of the conference curled up on your couch, in your pj's, with a big bowl of popcorn.

Ten topics will be covered and they are separated into two tracks which can be bundled at a reduced rate. Track One: Records and Research Techniques.  Track Two: Virginia Resources and Migration Patterns.

The two tracks will be available live from the conference. They will also continue to be available for viewing for three months after the conference ends.

Cost for members is $65 per track (non-members -$80).
Bundled, the cost for members is $115 (non-members - $145).

The cost of a basic NGS Membership is $65. (You might want to add this to your wish list for Christmas and birthday presents.)

The deadline for registration is 30 April 2014. You will also receive an electronic version of the NGS 2014 Conference Syllabus. (It never hurts to have access to a NGS conference syllabus!)

I recommend that you look at the subject matter that is offered to make sure it something that will benefit your research. I see this as a good thing for those who cannot travel to the event, but it does take away that interaction and communication between family researchers that benefits us all.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Go West Young Genealogist!!

 As land became scarce along the Atlantic seaboard people began to move Westward! My ancestors on my dad's side of the family ventured into what is now West Virginia and down the Ohio River into Kentucky. Some headed west thru the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. Eventually they crossed the beautiful river into southwestern Ohio. And they stayed there.

My mom's side of the family left Germany and crossed the Atlantic. From there they ventured into Pennsylvania and New York. I am not yet sure how they got to northwestern Ohio, But eventually they settled in the Great Black Swamp. And they stayed there.

So I don't have people who moved to the wild, wild west. I wish I did. My family just stayed in Ohio and Kentucky. Granted, they did make the first trip westward. But once they got there they said "this looks good, let's settle here. We can drain the swamp. And we can live on them thar hills."

So I don't have cowboys, varmints, outlaws, cattle rustlers. No western ancestors. And I envy those who do have. I look at the people who settled the west as enduring unbelievable hardships and conditions. Just settling an unknown territory. I just can't imagine what it would be like to leave a comfortable home in Philadelphia and head west all alone. I confess. I watch Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman every night.  

But wait! Maybe I am not giving my ancestors the credit they deserve. My great, great grandfather was a sheriff in the 1800's in Clermont County. Sadly, just not the same as Marshall Wyatt Earp in the 1800's in Tombstone.

Nope! None of my ancestors,  Gone to Texas.

But maybe you are luckier than me. Maybe you have some Civil War vets that went to Texas; ancestors on the orphan trains between 1854 and 1929; perhaps a Mexican War ancestor. Are you wondering if there are Germans in Texas? Is there a rumor in your family about a cousin who fought at The Alamo? Perhaps you know you have ancestors there and need to find their land records. Or maybe you just want to know how they got to Texas in the first place. And, we all know, you just can not pass up the chance to hear J. Mark Lowe talk about Davy Crockett.

You know what I would do if I were you? I reckon I would head to San Antonio, Texas, for the 2014 FGS Conference. (August 27-30, 2014) I have been to several of the FGS Conferences and I highly recommend them. There is much to learn, much to do, and much to see. Always well organized and fun. For more information go to

You won't regret it!