Monday, November 21, 2016

21 Day Family History Challenge

So in December 2015, I was invited by an old friend to participate in a challenge that was issued by Wendy Watson Nelson during her April 2015 BYU Women's Conference address.  If you haven't read the address, you must!! It's long, but super insightful and I LOVE it, I've read it and shared it many times.

When I first read the talk and was invited to the challenge I kind of shrugged it off, "why did I need to do this, I already have a testimony of family history work", BUT something nagged me and I decided to do it.  Let's add to this that the girl who invited me, chose to start the challenge the first week of December, so as a busy mom, that was reason enough to say no, but I decided to bite the bullet.  The next 21 days were filled with discovery, excitement, joy, lots of prayer, and some amazing experiences for both me and those who I was praying for.  I learned more about the power in family history and temple work that week than I had in the previous 4 or 5 years I'd been doing it.  Changed my life, as cliche as it might sound!

So...I did my 21 days, had these awesome experiences then went back into normal life, a year and a half later I found myself in a bit of rut with family history.  The problem was not that I wasn't doing any family history, I was recently called to be an Assistant Director at our local FamilySearch family history center, and was helping others with family history all the time. I was just never doing my own, and I recognized the funk that it had left me in.  I really think once you've experienced the joy & peace that attends doing family history work, you crave it and ache for it when you haven't gotten to experience it in a while.

So with my BYU classes looming around the corner, 21 days out to be exact, I decided to start the challenge again.  It was a WONDERFUL experience yet again, and with the class in my foresight's I felt like I kept getting tons of insight into what ideas I could turn around and share.  This time it also inspired me to make family history a part of my daily life for the long haul, not just for the 21 days, I got to experience how easy it actually is to do this, and more importantly how worth it is.

So my 21 Day report:
21 Days Challenge---
Here's to starting again. I'm going to be dedicated about writing in my journal because I really want to take this seriously this time.  I'm starting the 21 day Family History Challenge again in preparation for my next set of classes I'll be teaching at BYU.

Day 1 -- Eric and I just spent over an hour tagging, sorting, and deleting extra pictures.  It was fun to see what we've been doing the last few months in a nut shell. It's been a crazy summer and fall.  We really do have wonderful kiddos, they make our life so much more meaningful.  I feel very blessed to have my wonderful hubby, he makes my life fun and interesting.  Without him life would just be meh!  I truly love him so much, I'm grateful every day for all he does for me, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to reflect with him.  We are blessed!

Day 2----
Tonight was delightful! I was going online to download the indexing app, because somehow I've never put it on this computer. Weird!! But anyway, I went to to download the Indexing app, and stumbled upon a couple cool things, 1 was a #52stories outline they've come up with for writing your own personal history, definitely something I'll use later this week. 2 was just on the newer version of the site, when you log in it has a feed of recent happenings on your tree.  My "cousin" who I've been working with a bit on getting some of her mother's work digitized has been doing a TON of uploading.  It was SO wonderful to sift through the photos that she had uploaded of my grandfather, his childhood and his mother and even her parents.  Unveiling those types of "memories" is seriously one of my favorite parts of Family History, my heart is changed and filled every time I get that experience.  It makes me so grateful for those who came before who had the preservation bug, what a gift!  I also indexed but only 2 records before I got sucked into the show Eric and I are watching.
Until tomorrow then...

Day 3--
Very tired, so this will be quick. I stayed up too late watching shows with hubby, so I had to slip in a batch of indexing at the end of the night.  Alabama Marriages, they were pretty easy.  I'll be more creative tomorrow.

Day 4--
Today was slightly frustrating in the Family History department.  I actually allotted time today to devote to family history, I even invited a couple friends over, but it almost seems like every time I sit down with that intention, I can't seem to focus in on a purpose.  So I sat there, I read some family history articles, I looked through some uploads, I peeked at my tree and viewed some hints, I attached a couple records from "record hints", but I can't say that I felt like I actually accomplished anything. :( Oh well, hopefully it'll open some doors for some future research.  It was at least fun to hang with some of my friends while sifting mindlessly through stuff.
Happy researching!

Day 5 & 6--
Last night I couldn't get my phone to pull Journey up so I never typed.  I did some record hints through Ancestry last night while I was watching TV with hubby.  Today I'm digging in since it's the weekend.  I just applied to do "zoning" a newer feature with FamilySearch that has you selecting and submitting sections of newspaper to be available for indexing.  Kind of a nice twist to indexing, or a good alternative, a little more mindless. :)  Then I downloaded the #52Stories

Day 7--
Whoa what a weekend!!  Major success!
Saturday I went up to my sister's house for her daughter's baptism.  It just so happens that my "cousin" (my mom's 1st cousin) lives just a couple exits down the freeway from my sister, so I coordinated staying the day at my sisters and heading to my cousin's to do some family history.  She  inherited loads of boxes of Family History albums that her mom put together.  Her mother was a huge genealogist and saved everything.  So we have gotten together on several occasions to work our way through the stuff.  This time I brought my mom and my sister, in hopes that having them assist in the process might be the "hook, line, & sinker" that I've been looking for for them.
We ended up taking the babies, so it didn't go quite as smoothly as I was hoping, but it eventually got rolling, and they both got to experience a little bit of the process.  We were there for a few hours, and got some stuff uploaded, etc...
That day my mom kept bringing up that she couldn't really decide if it was all worth it.  She kept saying we spent a lot of time and didn't really find anything.  You could tell she was troubled about whether that really was an effective use of time.  So after assuring her several times that it was, she had kind of dropped it and moved on.  Then that evening when we were getting ready for bed, she checked her email to discover an email from FamilySearch that indicated that she had a relative with temple work that was ready to do.  I immediately pointed out that this was her evidence form Heavenly Father that her time was in fact NOT wasted that day.  :)  I got super excited, but we got interrupted so it got put on the back burner.  Then...

Day 8 --
My mom was excited and got to work first thing, she even came and woke me up because she needed help knowing what to do next.  So I came up with her and we worked on this family all morning.  We were able to attach several records, and work through the process, experiencing several of the issues that can arise so she got a one-on-one tutoring session working through each of these.  We verified birth, and that they all lived to be 8, and had tons of success, it was hard to stop because we just kept finding more information.
The best part though, not sure exactly what did it but my dad got wrapped up in it too.  He got an email from FamilySearch stating that he had a relative with a record to attach, so we got him going on it and he ended up attaching 3 or 4 records from beginning to end.  It was AWESOME.  I had to take a couple quick pictures because I was so excited that they were both working on their family history.  That is success for the whole challenge if you asked me. ;)

Day 9 ---
Last night I realized it was the end of a long Monday and I hadn't done anything for the challenge yet, so I decided to hop onto memories while laying in bed before going to sleep.  I went to my Great Grandmother Almeda Atkinson Chatterton, who happened to have a recently uploaded Biography written by her first hand.  It was pretty long and it took a while, but I was enjoying myself so much I didn't even notice.  It was so fun to learn more about her, I had no idea what their life was like.  They used to ride a horse to their house when they were first married, the road wasn't good enough to take a car, so they'd park the car at the end of the road and ride the horse the rest of the way up the canyon.  WHAT?!?? That's just my GREAT GRANDMOTHER, not someone several generations back.  She also said really sweet things about her son my grandfather, Willis A Chatterton, which just made me proud.  I love him, though he died when I was only 2, ever since I started researching his wife, Thelma Gilbert Chatterton, I have fallen in love with him via associated research.  I am so incredibly grateful for the time and sacrifices that were put in to getting personal histories written.  I got to read 2 this week, and both experiences were priceless.

Day 10--
I'll write more later, but I thought I'd document that first thing this morning I called my mother and told her that she was causing me not to sleep, because the family we'd found and worked on on Sunday we hadn't reserved their temple work because she wanted to find more information first.  This morning I told her for my sanity she needed to reserve them then we could finish more research later. :) So she reserved her first 8 or 9 names officially! Yay!

Day 10, 11, 12, & 13 --
So obviously I did Journaling on Day 10, so check.

Day 11 --
I finally gained access to do the Zoning website, so I tried it on Wednesday.  Eric was watching game 7 of the World Series so it seemed like a good time to try it out.  The "Cubbies" pulled it off, which also counts as family history or at least the history part, because it was the first time they'd won in 108 years. WHOA!!  It was a pretty good game too, extra innings, and exciting plays to close it out.  Zoning was pretty neat too, it took a while, but it was my first time, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it a little better as I go.  It was fun to see the types of stuff in the paper.  I'll have to try it again soon and see if I can get a more systematic approach.

Day 12 --
Last night I rolled into bed and was about asleep around 11:30PM when I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten to do any family history.  I was SO close to just writing it off and just skipping a day, but I had that nagging thought that no, I needed to do this.  So I grabbed out my list of ideas to do during this challenge that I keep on my phone via Google Keep, and viola "record hints" jumped right out, easy, quick and asleep....BUT I jumped into Ancestry to see if I could just attach a record quick, AND thanks to a shaky leaf, I now have a whole new family that I just found.  I got the marriage record for the couple, and 3 census' verifying the families existence.  I obviously have some additional research to do but I was so excited to find some new family and likely get some new temple work because I haven't had a chance to get any recently.  SO EXCITED!!

Day 13 --
Today was much anticipated.  I met my "cousin" at BYU today, she was kind enough to travel all this way.  She brought her big book of genealogy that is in reference to the family that I've been working on for pretty much the whole time I've been doing family history.  We used the book scanner and scanned 2 of them, the Crunckhorn & Mitchell lines that my great aunt Emmeline Chatterton McKay had put together.  It was a great experience, my cousin and I both really enjoyed just chatting and getting all that info copied was super! I'm starting to sound old, yikes!!  Anyway it was neat and one more thing that I'd like to share, that I've had to work through but it was a cool realization I had today.  So...there's this ongoing debate, like many other's, in the genealogy/family history world about who's work you can do.  So I sincerely feel, like in all things, but I've experienced the clearest in Family History--that it's super critical to be aware of the spirit and allow it to direct you.  There's been lots of times when I've felt the spirit just prompting me to take "cousin" names to the temple.  I'll debate and then end up feeling good about it.  But in May'ish I had a family that I had found, really close to my line that I just didn't feel like I should reserve.  The direction wasn't so clear that I thought I could never reserve it but something just felt like I should leave it for a little while.  So fast forward to a month or so ago, and I was all caught up on temple names, and really wanted get some more.  Well I didn't have time to do any research amidst the PTA and traveling in my life, so i returned to those names intending to reserve them, only to find they were all reserved. BAH!! I kept calm but the more I looked into it the more frustrated I got.  The person hadn't sources, they hadn't added anything they just took them without verifying, which they all could have used some additional sources.  I tried to stay Christ-like about it, but no question it was a constant struggle.  Then it would come up every time I worked on family history, just that kind of frustrated feeling.  Then I was on the phone with one of my cousins last week some time and she mentioned one of her sisters who had never done family history before who was just recently getting really interested in it. She told me that her sister had found a whole bunch of temple names, and was really enjoying it.  After inquiring about her sister's name I discovered that it was the person who had reserved those names I'd found.  I obviously was failing at the trying to be Christ-like thing because my immediate reaction was frustration because I thought, if she has so many (she was giving them to siblings to do the work), why is she taking mine. Blah, blah blah----I've still been struggling to not be upset about it when finally today it struck me.  I had a prompting not to take them, her sister needed some immediate success to get her going on family history, she needed those names I had found, I didn't need them, I've been able to do temple work without them, but she did!  The Lord knows best, and possessiveness isn't part of his plan.  It was a sweet little affirmation that things are in the Lord's hands and I need to trust that, even if it seems "unfair" or whatever.  I'm so grateful for all that I'm learning.  I woke up this morning with the most incredible feeling, I had forgotten how good it feels to be on the Saviors path, I woke up motivated and ready to start the day, read a "gospel topic essay", watched 3 general conference talks while I exercised and just kicked things off wonderfully.

Day 14--
I really truly can't remember what I did this day.  I don't think I forgot to do it, but for the life of me I just can't remember.  I know I worked on something because I was on the FrontRunner on my way back from a party at Jessica's house in Salt Lake and I remember doing something while I was on it, but can't think of what it was.  Oh I do remember uploading all the documents that I had scanned the day before at BYU, and organizing a few things in my family history files.

Day 15--
Sunday I tried this new site, I had tried it in the past but it had been a long time and I couldn't remember how it worked.  I loved it! It's really cool, you can create "stories", built out of pictures, images of documents, audio, and I'm not sure about video.  You date the things and it puts them on a timeline too, it's pretty sweet.  I'm definitely going to play with it some more in the future.  I also helped one of my friends with some of her family history.

Day 16--
Yesterday I didn't have a lot of time because I was working on some Reflections stuff for PTA.  But I wanted to go to the temple today so I took the time to go in and check a few things on my tree, then went over my reserved names to verify which ones I wanted to print.  Then last night I hopped back onto Ancestry to verify some more records.  I'm kind of stuck on this one family.  We have several census' but some of the dates aren't matching so I need to look at it on my computer to clear some things up.

Day 17--
So my Aunt Ruthie (my Grandpa Lyman's sister) passed away over the weekend.  She was such a sweetie and I always enjoyed visiting with her.  So I'm currently in the car with my dad and two of his sisters, and we're headed to Mesquite for the funeral tomorrow.  I'm excited to see Aunt Maime, my kindred spirit auntie and it's really nice to be with my dad and aunties.  So we've been chatting on the way down and I recorded a bunch of the conversation to preserve for later.  It's been great!  I also talked Eric into coming to the temple with me earlier.  For his lunch break we went and did baptisms and confirmations.  It was the names I'd helped Jan and my mom find, so now they can get to work on the rest of the ordinances.  It was great to go with my hubby to the temple, he performed the ordinances when I was being proxy too, which is always cool.

Day 18--
Yesterday was awesome.  I went to my Aunt Ruthie's funeral, not only did I get more memories out of my dad and his sisters, but I got to see a lot of my extended family 2nd and 3rd cousins, my favorite Great Auntie Mame, and many of her kids. Then after we went to Ruthie's house where we found a few gems that we took some pictures of a family heirloom and a photo I don't believe I've ever seen, which was suprising.  Then on the way home I played with my tree a bit, but mostly my family history yesterday was all of the gathering of info and heirlooms, super neat to get to know that extended family better, I felt like it put me in better touch with my country roots. :)

Day 19
Tonight I started creating an online story using Adobe Spark.  I found the program several weeks ago and got really excited about the prospect of using it for family history projects.  So tonight I started building a story of my grandma Chatterton's life.  Doing her life is kind of cheating because I already have everything gathered and in order since I made her a book, but it's good go to images for trying out a new product.  I'm excited about the way it's coming together.  I feel like it could be a good replacement for Google Stories, that Google discontinued earlier this year.  Super cool!

Day 20
So I didn't have success with an actual upload, but I spent some time reviewing some documents for upload from my Great Aunt Emmiline's work.  I checked around to verify that the document didn't already exsist in FamilySearch or other sites, then cropped it and labeled it.  I even uploaded it twice but it was really late and I was running into problems with the labeling part, so I gave up and went to bed.  To be finished another day.

Day 21
Attended the temple.  I woke up early this morning and was lying in bed wondering if I should get up.  None of the ideas I had, exercise, reading, prepping for classes sounded good, until I thought I could go to the temple and still be back in time to get everything ready for Lily's birthday. So I got up threw myself together and headed over. It really struck me then just how grateful I am to have a temple so nearby.  I did some initiatories for the baptism's that I had done on Tuesday, and it was a sweet experience that made for a wonderful day!

A few days later....
It's super late. I'm only writing briefly because everyone I know is asleep, but I was super excited to announce that I just found 20 new people, researched, with several records attached in about 5 hours.  I have their temple work reserved and ready to go, but what I just have to acknowledge is isn't it amazing that I can accomplish that kind of work in that little of time.  This isn't me just reserving "green temples" that someone else took the time to find, it's me finding new family members based off of records, attaching those records, and verifying that they're not already in the system.  Now several of them do likely have spouses and children that I will have the opportunity to find another day, but for now I am just so inspired by the fact that it has become so easy.  The linking tool between Ancestry and FamilySearch makes a world of difference.  Thank you FamilySearch and Ancestry!!
I'm tagging this with 21-day challenge because part of the reason so much came together was because of all the record hints I attached during the challenge. Yay!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Grandpa Winn

So I come from a split home, but only sort of, because I was only one when both my parents got remarried so I never really felt the affects of the divorce.  It was more just a two family world for me.  In my world it was 2 families, 2 Christmases, 2 birthday’s, no problem!!  Obviously there were some challenges related to the situation but no more than your average kid.  In a lot of ways I feel like it helped me to be more well rounded, and I knew from an early age that people have different beliefs, standards, and traditions, and I’ve never really struggled to accept that.  That said, I was blessed with a whole lot of love given the circumstances.  My step parents were both always good to me and their families were always completely welcoming and loving.  My step-dad literally took me in as his own, and given that I lived with he and my mom for the most part, it made me feel like I had a normal family. 

Now that’s just my background for the purpose of my post which is my Grandpa Winn, a man whom I love more than words could express.  He has always loved me like his own, he’s my step-dad’s (it feels weird to even refer to him as a step-dad honestly) dad.  He is literally one of the sweetest men on earth, I love and adore him.

Anyway, so in honor of his birthday this month, I made him a little present, and I wanted to share.


So true to form, I didn’t think about making him something until last night.  I thought it would be fun to do something with family history, but I couldn’t think of what.  My hubby convinced me to drop it because in his words “I would probably spend the whole night trying to put something together, get stressed, then it wouldn't’ work out because it’s too last minute, and I’d just end up angry”.  I could see his point, so I dropped it.  BUT after church today I just REALLY wanted to do something, so I opened up my Pinterest board “Family History Crafts”, and saw an idea like this.  I whipped this together using Photoshop Elements, and photos I stole from FamilySearch combined with some I had scanned.  I didn’t have any photos of the generations before my grandpa’s, thank you FamilySearch Memories.

Voila….I feel like it came together quite nice for a 30 minute project. I tried to print it and put it in a frame, but of course the printer chose to not work, as hubby had predicted. So I ordered it on Costco and it’ll come in the mail to his house this week. Sweet!  Thank you modern technology!  I’ll have to go to the party empty handed, but at least I can tell him his present is on it’s way.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Zoning for FamilySearch

Alright so I had a super busy weekend.  I taught 3 classes this last Sunday at the BYU Family History Library, and what I hadn’t thought to prepare mentally for was the fact that if you’re teaching in the same room 3 classes in a row, you’ll also be chatting & on your feet not only the whole class hour, but also in between classes too.  So from 3-7:30 pm I was talking straight through.  That said, I was exhausted when I was done last night and my feet were killing me. Note to self, no heels when teaching at RootsTech.  Today I’ve been dragging a bit too, BUT I promised my class some info about Zoning on here today, so here it goes---

Zoning, a new tool from FamilySearch.  It’s in beta mode, so it’s likely to change from what I give here, but for now this is where things are at.  It’s a great alternative to indexing for those peeps who are burnt out from Indexing but are still not quite ready to dig into research, OR for those of us who research and just need a new thing to “mix-it-up”.  *This is also a great addition to my Everyday Family History class. 
I heard about Zoning from my neighbor a few weeks back and was excited to try it out.  The first time you log in, as of now, you have to request access to be a zoner, but I got an email back a couple days later and was able to get started.  The wait time gave me time to read the Getting Started Guide provided by FamilySearch and educate myself on the process. It’s well written, concise and I felt confident zoning once I’d read it. I definitely recommend reading before you get started.
Here are a few screen shots to help you get started:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Zoning Getting Started”.zoning step 1
  3. Read the “Getting Started With Zoning” page.
  4. Scroll down & complete the form at the bottom of the page, to request access to be a zoner.zoning step 2zoning step 3
  5. Scroll back up to mid-page and download the “Complete Users Guide”. zoning step3.5
  6. Familiarize yourself with the Users Guide while you wait for your access,  it has some excellent images of examples of what to zone and what not to, as well as all the “how to’s”.
  7. Once you receive access to be a zoner via email, visit again. *Make sure that you’re logged into your FamilySearch account.
  8. Click on the purple Zone box.zoning step 4
  9. Voila!! Zone away!zoning step 5

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Youth Family History Event -- SUCCESS!!

So I haven’t blogged about it yet, but amidst my chaotic summer/fall transition, I was extended a call to serve in the Family History Center here in town.  In the LDS church, we are offered callings to serve in the church, as the church has lay clergy, and thus part of our membership is service in the church.  So, I was ecstatic, or should have been, but due to my over worked, over scheduled, and stressed out life, I didn’t feel a ton of excitement at the time.  I completely switched into SURVIVAL mode, and I think I’m finally starting to surface again.  Big PTA events are behind us now and we just successfully hosted our first big Youth Family History Event at the center, and I’m starting to feel that super excitement that comes with a new calling, especially one that you already have such a passion for. But I must acknowledge the fact that I had awesome fellow volunteers who made the last couple months rewarding amongst all of the chaos, I’m super blessed to be surrounded by so many fantastic people…
The activity was this morning, and was what I would consider a huge success.  One of the youth in our area who has a newfound love for Family History was my sidekick in making plans, and it came together super slick.

We started with refreshments, Rootbeer Brew, and socializing.  Then we got things rolling by introducing them to Relative Finder, an awesome site that draws your Family Tree from, and compiles a list of historical figures that you are related to as well as information about how you’re related to them.  It also has the ability to create a group so everyone at the event can join that group and see how they’re related to one another.
After my cute youth sidekick taught them Relative Finder we handed out some Scavenger Hunt lists.  They teamed up with a partner and off they went.  It was surprisingly fun and successful! They truly seemed to have a good time, and I was enjoying helping them find the hidden treasures of the center.
FHC Scavenger Hunt
After the Scavenger Hunt we grabbed lunch in the classroom and once again my youth sidekick taught them to use various family history apps of her choosing.  It was a great success, the youth had fun and several were interested in being invited to any future events the center puts together. Yay!!
I had to sneak out during this part because I had a date with the devil (my cute hubby) and BYU Football.  Kicking off our trip to the Boise game as a family.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Thank you MyHeritage--link to FS tool

I was super excited to read the news about this new feature earlier this week, but I wanted to take the time to play with the new tool before I blogged to profess my love.
It is a WONDERFUL feature, I'm so excited to have it available now, thank you MyHeritage for being on board. Now if we could just get Ancestry and FindMyPast on board.  I can honestly say that having this tool will drive my research to MyHeritage first before I go searching on the other sites for records, just for convenience purposes.  The tool works slick, and easy.  The only problem I've stumbled upon so far is that it wasn't available with all the records I've found, but the ones it was available on, it worked like a charm. Thank you for making my busy life just that much more simple!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Preserving & Sharing Family History in Fun, Creative, & Modern Ways -- BYU Family History Library Class

This week's class for BYU

One of my favorite parts about Family History is finding unique ways to display my finds, especially the stories & photos that I happen upon...I feel like I constantly find new fun ways to share my family's history, so this class was designed to help you have that same kind of fun.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kids Family Tree Book

 So I had the coolest experience when I originally created this book about 4 years ago.  I had been really wanting to find a way to get my kids engaged with their family tree, but they were 5 & 3--how . . . . ??

Then came one late night after attending a genealogy conference.  I was struggling to sleep when the words to almost an entire poem just started coming together in my head, totally unsolicited (at least at that moment).  The poem was what I ended up putting together into a book for the kids.

The gathering took some time, getting all the grandparents' input and all the photos together, but I used a program called Mixbook, and everything came together pretty slick.  I ordered it and got it delivered in the mail a short time later.

When it came, I had a picnic with the kids and gave them the book as a present.

They've used it a lot.  Ella has kept it in her church bag and they use it as a quiet book at church---SUCCESS!!

BUT--Here I find myself 3 years later, with a third kid, and of course the book is now where to be found.  Since it's cheap enough, I just decided to update it and order a new one.  A few minutes of finding some pictures and too much time being ticky-tacky later, and--voila-- I ordered it.  It'll be here this weekend. Pretty slick!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Classes brought to you by Yours Truly

June's been a crazy month...So I write to catch up after the craziness.  June is always crazy for me on the mom front.  In fact, I haven't had a chance to do family history the whole month, and I'm missing it terribly, BUT FamilySearch is down today and so I blog.  June is always when we completely over schedule our kids, visit the pool far too many hours, and, this year, get all medical procedures done because we've already hit our out-of-pocket max on our health insurance and it's starting over next month. YIKES!20160625_19110720160620_154747 I write from my lovely Adirondack chair overlooking a beautiful mountainous lake.  Why from the chair, you ask? Because due to said insurance circumstance I had a last-minute knee surgery last week, and to tie it into family history, I inherited some crappy knees! Needless to say it's left me fairly immobile, and so I write. 2016-06-22 15.55.34 Some exciting news that is blog worthy amidst the crazy-busy family schedule though...I was able to attend the Sunday BYU Family History classes a couple times.  I wasn't able to get any pictures because I was too busy exploring the library, meeting new friends, and taking as many classes and notes as I could manage.  It's awesome, featuring conference-quality speakers for a price you can't beat--FREE!  The topics rotate often, so you can go each week and learn new things.  I took an English Research class this last time, and though I've taken IMG_0091many English Research classes in  my day, I learned a bunch of new information.  Plus, networking is fun, meeting other genealogy enthusiasts and many experts.  It's a can't miss if you live near enough to take advantage of it. During my BYU Family History visits I was able to meet and talk to Anne Tanner, who coordinates the classes there at the Library.  While chatting I expressed my interest in teaching some "mom" focused classes and she loved the ideas, so she plopped me onto the schedule and I've got a class for July, August, and September.  I'm ecstatic. I seriously LOVE sharing my passion for this stuff, and I think far too many moms miss out on the excitement of it because they think they don't have time or don't really know where to start, so hopefully I can help a few more ladies (and non-ladies of course--we won't discriminate) outside of my typical social groups. Sunday, July 10thCapture Sunday, August 28thCapture2
Sunday, September 11thCapture3
To see the full quarter’s schedule:
BYU FH Lib Sunday Classes-1
So with that in the bag, I also started feeling super enthusiastic about being a Family History Consultant in my hometown.  I knew I wanted to do it, but with the family's evening demands, I 

wasn't sure how to go about it until it hit me that I could volunteer during the day if I could involve my kiddos.  So I immediately contacted the local family history center and scheduled a meeting. You can imagine how thrilled I was to walk into the building and discover that they had had the same vision and had already created a children's family history room, equipped with toys, family history coloring books, and beautiful painted interactive family tree.  So we put our brains together and the three of us decided to offer a class to the public geared toward moms doing family history with kids. 

Drum roll please...

Mom FH Class landscape flyer OTHER
I’ve been handing out the fliers at all of the kiddos activities, and got the local library to hand them out at their desk, so far the reactions have been a mix of “okay you’re a weirdo” and “that’s AWESOME!”, but mostly the latter.  I’m excited! Anyway, prepping both the BYU classes, and the Mommy & Me classes has kept me pretty busy in my spare time, but I'm thrilled about how things are coming together.  So I'll keep you posted about how they go. Until then, Happy Summer!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Family History on our Family Trip

We love National Parks in our family.  We work them into our travel plans as often as we can and we work on Junior Ranger badges with the kids to help them gain an appreciation and love for them too.  Our brainwashing is slowly working, and we find them using cute lines like “Look, there’s ANOTHER great view!” and “I want to stay here forever,"--proud moments in our family. So, when we planned our most recent Yellowstone trip I had no intention of involving family history in the trip, unless it was a little indexing or app hint matching during the drive to or from the Park.  BUT don’t worry, I found a way…

My hubby stayed back at the cabin one afternoon in order to get the baby a nap, so the 2016-05-30 074older kids and I went off exploring around Old Faithful.  During our exploring, we decided to take a tour of the Old Faithful Inn.  It’s a magnificent historic building and I was thrilled when I found out they do tours, and to my surprise, the kids actually wanted to do it, too. I think their appeal had something to do with the endless sets of stairs you can see rising up to the top of the 75 foot lobby ceiling.  It’s truly awesome. 
The tour started at the huge clock in the lobby…so what isn’t old-faithful-inn-lobby-012016-05-29 079historic about that baby?!! Most of it is original, and although they’ve updated the weight system that powers the clock, the original weights are there. That’s not the important part though.  What's important is this: how many families have photos in front of this grand clock from over the years; and beyond that, from somewhere in this historic park?  The first of it’s kind, Yellowstone was established in 1872 as a National Park.  Not only was it unique, and a must visit, but it’s been around long enough for all of us to have generations before us who have explored the beautiful terrain.

Here are some photos I scanned from my grandpa’s album “Old Yellowstone Photos”. After spending a weekend there I certainly recognize some of those scenes. Mesa Falls (just outside the West Entrance of the Park), the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, wildlife watching, and camping.             Mesa Falls20120224225031_00019A20120224225031_00020A20120224225031_00030A                Clearly they didn’t have the same rules and regulations about approaching the wildlife.

old-faithful-inn-old-house-room-one-bed-01As our tour finished up our tour guide told us a story about a lady who had come to stay at the Inn. She shared her story with the staff.  The woman’s grandparents had come to Yellowstone in the early 1900’s and stayed in the Inn.  While there, they’d taken a photo in front of the clock, and so had her mother, and now she was coming to do the same.  The staff at the Inn helped her take it a step further, though, when the woman produced a photo her grandmother had taken with an “X” marked on the window of the room they’d stayed in.  So they went outside, identified the room, and allowed the woman to check into the exact room her grandparents had stayed in nearly 100 years earlier.  They’ve done a lot to preserve the feel of the original rooms, so that experience had to be just wonderful for that woman.  As the guide was sharing that story, it got my genealogy juices flowing… "an X on a window? I have a photo like that!!"
2016-05-29 077
I found an old postcard years ago when I was assembling my grandmother's life story book.  The photo was of the New House Hotel in Salt Lake City.  There was an “X” on one of the upper windows.  I'd post it, but of course when I went to insert it, it's no where to be found. Argh! When I found the postcard I didn’t think much of it, but as I continued to research I found that this was where their wedding dinner was held. Now during this tour I discovered that it was customary during this time to mark an “X” on the window to indicate which room they'd stayed in. So cool! I'm sure this isn't news to most genealogists, but it was to me.  I would have never even thought to ask.  AWESOME--I just solved a small mystery, just by vacationing with my family. Of course now I have to start a digging mission to find the postcard. Wish me luck.

Now go find your historic Yellowstone photos and see what you can re-create on your next National Park visit . . . .

Monday, May 23, 2016

FREE Live Stream 2016 Jaboree

Thank you ANCESTRY!!
Just wanted to pass this on to any fellow mom genealogists who can't always make it to the conferences, a great opportunity to catch some of the classes while in the swing of Spring Time mAdDNesS with the kiddos!  You can watch live or at your convenience on the Live Stream site until July 5th.

Quoted from the Jamboree 2016 mailer,

"Last week, we announced the schedule for the pay-per-view live streamed sessions from the Genetic Genealogy 2016 Conference. Thank you to genealogists around the world who have already registered for the DNA pay-per-view sessions.  

Now, it's time to release the rest of the news you've been waiting for - the schedule for the FREE live streaming from the 47th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

We are very grateful to our Diamond Sponsor,, which is underwriting the cost of the free Jamboree Live Stream. With their generous support, SCGS is once again able to bring you 14 hours of high-quality family history education free of charge

I've checked out some of the classes and am about to register myself. 

Visit the Jamboree homepage to see class lists, registration info, and more information about the Genetic Genealogy classes.  Or check out the email that has a synopsis of all the information. 

Happy streaming...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Some things only a Genealogist will understand…

I had a huge stack (as you can see) of binders to digitize, but the pages were those sticky IMG_1325 (2)kind where it’s like photograph suicide to remove…the only solution, a book scanner.  So to the BYU Family History Library I headed this weekend.  I couldn’t carry them all in so in enters the double stroller, I knew motherhood was preparing me for more than just mothering.
Sadly, that amazing book scanner I used last time was apparently on trial at the time and has since been removed.  To those of you interested in using it, they said they’ll be purchasing one in the 2017 budget year, so it will return in the future.  BUT--I had a task to do so I decided to check out the other options for book scanners.  They have some amazing flatbed scanners that really do a great job and are quite quick…12 huge binders of photos and 4 hours later I was done.
The great news is that during my time in the library I made some friends.  I love chatting it up with people and helping when I can, so I found myself in conversations with various people.  The girl next to me, Afton, was scanning some adoption paperwork for her younger siblings from Russia.  We got into conversation and I learned that she is a BYU student majoring in Family History. Yes, that IS what I said, majoring in FAMILY HISTORY…..somehow I doubt any other school offers such a major. Can I just say, I missed my lot in life.
She was great to chat with--definitely helped move the project along. The best part was that she introduced me to this new site, provided by none other than the BYU Family History Department.  Thank you BYU, you are continuously providing me with new genealogy toys.
Virtual Pedigree: screen
It’s a FamilySearch partner site, so it uses your FamilySearch tree.  It uses what they call Dynamic Navigation, which basically scrolls around and zooms according to where you move your cursor and what you click on.  It’s easy to navigate and very intuitive.
The idea behind the program is to help you easily find the lines in your family tree that need work, and have some record hints ready to go so you can get right in to the research. It’s great for helping you get started quickly when you’re not really sure where to start, especially for those of us with pioneer ancestors and lots of work that is already done.  Find those cousins that got lost in the shuffle over the years, and hopefully their families.
To use it, scroll to an ancestor several generations back (late 1700s is where I like to start), then click on that ancestor and select “set as root.”  This will populate that person as the central person in the tree, then start populating their descendants and ancestors.  You’ll see colored circles among their descendants and ancestors that indicate different research tips.  You’ll also notice on the right hand side a box entitled “Low Hanging Fruit”.  These are the ones with record hints already found in FamilySearch.  Awesome, right! The number next to it indicates how many Record Hints they currently have.
Okay, now go play, and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 8, 2016

A simple work-around for the loss of Google App Launcher

So I know this isn't exactly part of the topic for my blog, but seeing as technology is a huge part of my life and a huge part of why I love doing genealogy I feel that it is in fact appropriate.

I spent several hours today trying to figure out how to install the Chrome App Launcher on my new computer.  I am an avid user of Google and many of its applications, and I often try to encourage people to use their product because they offer so many amazing and wonderful features. They have tons of great resources even for genealogy, but that's a post for another day.  So when I discovered the Chrome App Launcher a few years ago, I was thrilled because frankly I use Google stuff way more often than I use any Windows apps but I have a PC.  That said, after hours of getting stuck without an option to download the launcher, I finally found this article, Retiring Chrome App Launcher.  Basically Google has decided to discontinue support of the Chrome App Launcher, and remove it, so obviously they no longer have it available for download. Blah!! 

Without going into how incredibly disappointed I am about their decision, I wanted to offer a work-around to others experiencing this problem.  I spent some time trying to figure out another option because of course the Windows Start screen doesn't display the apps with their correct thumbnails, so creating a "group" (I think that's what they're called) on the start menu isn't a good option.

So here's the WORK-AROUND:

Open Chrome, and go to your app library. Visit: chrome://apps/

Right click on each app that you'd like to have available on your desktop and choose "Create Shortcut". Check the "desktop" check-box and click "create".

This will add a shortcut to your desktop for every app you'd like to have available.  Don't worry we
won't leave them there.

Now create a folder and name it whatever you'd like it to show on your Taskbar, I used "Chrome
Apps".  File that file wherever you'd like it to be.  I just used the original location that the apps were actually stored but anywhere will suffice as long as you can find it.

Now RIGHT CLICK on the Taskbar, go to "Toolbars" then select "New Toolbar".

Navigate to the folder you created with your Chrome Apps and select it. VOILA, you now have a little toolbar labeled as Chrome Apps that you can click and it opens up all those shortcuts.

It's not as pretty as the launcher but it works pretty much the same.

I'm sure there are other solutions, but hopefully this will be helpful to someone.