Monday, February 16, 2015

SLIG 2015 - Part II

Almost three weeks ago my post SLIG 2015 - Part I was posted and since then there have been 132 views as listed on the website. Others may access the post in other venues. Now for Part II, and understanding people. Over the past nineteen months my time has been consumed by the complicated probate estate of my mother who passed away in June 2013. This time period has been emotionally draining and physically exhausting. A major factor in my endurance was the attendance at SLIG 2014 and SLIG 2015. Salt Lake City feels like a second home to me and the Family History Library is one of my favorite places to research. While my plans did not really involve research there, somehow one becomes propelled into a sense of discovery and being lead to serendipity moments in the materials available.

In preparing to fly to Salt Lake City, factors have to be considered due to my ongoing health issues. In 2009 after being diagnosed with CSF Otorrhea or Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid through my ears, the neuro surgeon informed me that this would require two brain surgeries. The operations involved cutting behind both ears and reconstructing part of the ears and cleaning up the areas involved. Like with many surgeries there are no guarantees and there was always the possibility of difficulties following the surgeries. In between the surgeries it was also necessary to have surgery on a facial skin cancer, which delayed the time in between. The first surgery went relatively well, but after the second one there were complications. For some time there was a loss of ability to communicate and processing information. Five years later it is with gratitude that my life is fairly normal, but there are some things that require adjustment to accommodate some changes.

One significant change is my balance and after two falls my need for caution is acute. Following the surgeries in which they used compression boots on my legs my feet became very swollen. There were some burning red areas on my lower legs which still continue as the result of some activities and some foods. Since returning this seems to have lessened. Ever since the surgeries type 2 diabetes and neuropothy in my feet and hands has gotten progressively worse. Hence, there is a need to protect my feet, especially when traveling. The wheel chair service provided by the airlines is critical to ease the pain in my feet. Those providing the service are so gracious and attentive to the needs of the people using the service, they are outstanding. Allowing for pre-boarding helps relieve the stress of being a little slower to move about.

Once in Salt Lake City the use of shuttles, taxis and gracious friends for transportation are wonderful. While at SLIG 2014 someone directed me to the use of UTE taxis and their service is excellent. While some hotels do provide shuttle service, the taxis are quick and reasonably priced. Being able to stay in the SLIG hotel is also a blessing as there is no need for concern about having to leave during inclement weather. The amount of walking is limited and the ability to return to our room for any emergency or rest needed is great. The use of the SLIG shuttle was another bonus this year, but it might have been challenging for some. For me the cost savings was helpful and the schedule was very accommodating.

This year at SLIG there seemed to be more people using canes and some use of scooters. For me my cane is only needed when walking on uneven surfaces, mostly outdoors. In 2014 my cane saved me from falling face first in the light rail car. Afterwards it did make a funny noise until returning home and my husband adjusted it. The use of the cane is at times needed when my hip and feet are bothering me. Sometimes it seems uncomfortable to see others looking at you like you are odd and using devices may feel embarrassing. Eventually the need for safety and health outweigh these feelings. After experiencing the inability to communicate following surgery there was a sense of understanding for others who have mental handicaps. The way brains process information can be challenging. Being able to sit in classes with similar people every day was certainly helpful.

My utmost gratitude goes to the staff that coordinates the SLIG program and various tracks. They are kind and generous in trying to accommodate the needs of those attending. My room partner of the past two years was very supportive and patient, especially when there was a need to slow down. To fellow track participants there is appreciation for the ways you reach out to all participants. At the banquet the last night we observed a group reach out to someone who was standing alone and including that person in their group. We all need to be conscious of those who may be reserved and hesitant to become part of a group. Inviting others to sit with your group is a very gracious way to extend the hospitality of the situation. SLIG is great in and of itself, but it can be even more so when we get to know new people and include those outside of our circles.

These comments pertain to any type of genealogy event, conference, institute, etc. My first national conference in 2005 was FGS in Salt Lake City. It was crazy, hectic and a wonderful experience. For me an institute works better to allow me to participate. Rootstech 2015 was enjoyed from home, as it would have been too much for me this year. We all must make decisions in what we are capable of doing and as we age these capabilities will surely change. With all of the great opportunities for genealogists to grow, develop and learn hopefully there is something that will fit what you need.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SLIG 2015 - Part I

It's been ten days since we returned from SLIG (Salt Lake Genealogical Institute) 2015. The intense week in Salt Lake City, Utah was a little wearing on me. It was worth the extra effort and challenges faced in being able to attend the track on Diving Deeper Into New England Research. On arrival Saturday we took a cab to the Family History Library and worked all afternoon on research. It was amazing how much information was found within the collection of books, mostly for New England towns. We did one break in the lunch room and then went to dinner at JBs after leaving the library. Then we decided to walk back to the Hilton Hotel where we were staying. Even though it was four blocks (about a mile) it was not a good decision for me. With neuropathy in my feet it was a bit too far.

The following day we had a leisurely morning in our room, me letting my feet try to recover. We went next door for lunch at Olive Garden and had a very nice meal. Then we took a cab to Harmon’s to do some grocery shopping. The goal of the week was to eat meals in our room and only eat one meal a day out. It is so fun to shop at Harmon’s and we brought back some great food. We used another cab and then had the hotel staff assist us to our room. The plan worked very well until our refrigerator would not cool anything. The maintenance man came and adjusted it, but the next morning all of our food was frozen, including an entire gallon of milk. Eventually it was regulated and worked fine, but we lost a lot of food in the process.

That night we had the meet and greet, with some very yummy appetizers. It was fun to see many of our Oregon friends and other acquaintances from previous genealogy events. We received our notebooks, nametags and gift cards for using at Starbucks. We were allowed $6 a morning for drinks, baked goods, fruit, etc. After the first day they added more staff and the lines were much shorter. It worked well for me and we were able to try some things we would not normally eat.

On Monday we were off to classes. My room partner's classes began at 8am and mine at 9am, so we enjoyed our own time for getting ready. It is wonderful to stay in the conference hotel because if the weather turns bad one could just stay there the entire time. Gratefully we had wonderful weather and often walked outdoors without coats. The first day for Diving Deeper Into New England we had four classes by D. Joshua Taylor, the track coordinator.
The classes were:
New England Is It All Done?
New England Catch-up, Part I: Sources and Publications
New England Catch-up, Part II: History
Connecting the Oceans: English Origins of New England's Colonists

His syllabus material is very good, so there was only limited note taking. He answered questions during the classes which was very helpful. There was a lunch break after the second class and I took the opportunity to rest and snack in our room. We had dinner at Olive Garden with a new acquaintance.
In the evening we heard Elizabeth Shown Mills present, What's the Evidence? Following her talk there was a preview of the Genealogy Roadshow with a follow-up Q and A. Even though we were all very tired our time at these two presentations was well spent.

On Tuesday we had three classes:
Massachusetts: From Colony to Commonwealth by D. Joshua Taylor
Migrations within New England by Diane Florence Gravel
New Hampshire Research: When the Trail Turns Cold by Diane Florence Gravel

This day my friend from SLC met me at Olive Garden for lunch. We had a nice visit and a great lunch.
After the third class we had consultations at the library. My consultation with D. Joshua Taylor was very helpful in focusing better on my four projects. This was also the first day of the shuttle bus to the library. That service made it so one could access the library without the long walk and was critical for me. This day’s research was more of the books, some time on the computer reviewing the catalog and then some time on microfilms. When we needed a break we went to the lunch room and purchased things from the vending machines. We stayed there researching until evening and then returned to the hotel in the shuttle.

On Wednesday we had four classes:
The Ins and Outs of Connecticut Research by D. Joshua Taylor
New England's Courts: 1600s to 1800s by Cathi Demarais
Lunch break was in our room this day
New England's Universities and Private Archives by D. Joshua Taylor
Rhode Island From Planation to State by D. Joshua Taylor

After class this day my friend from SLC picked me up and we went to her home north of SLC. It was fun seeing her family and going to dinner. They graciously put me up for the night.

On Thursday we had a nice drive back into town, arriving just in time for me to prepare for going to classes. This day we had three classes, but two of the three teachers were sick. There were changes made to the schedule.
The classes were:
Vermont: New England's Last Frontier by Cathi Demarais
Neither Online Nor on Film: New England Sources You Are Missing by D. Joshua Taylor
Case Study: Hazen P. Day's Neighbors Bring Him Home to Vermont by Cathi Demarais
Then we were off to the library for more research time. That evening we had dinner at the Lion House with some of our Oregon friends. This time we walked, crossing Temple Square and going through the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It was a challenge for me, but it was worth the effort. After dinner the others went to the library, but I called for a cab as I was too tired to work anymore. There comes a time in researching when one must determine if there is need for a break!

On Friday we had one class and a Q and A session before receiving our certificates. The class was:
New England’s Town Records: Advanced Strategies for Success by Diane Florence Gravel

It was great that all of the instructors were able to attend that day. Sickness seemed rampant among the attendees and many had to miss sessions. We had a nice lunch at Spencer’s restaurant, which is in the hotel. My friend from SLC joined us and it was great to see her again. Then we were off to the library for a bit more research. For this day the focus was on microfilm and scans were made to my flash drive, but some do not appear to have been saved. My plan is to order the films for our local center as the deed records were very old and difficult to read. There were many types of records within the films which were discussed in our classes during the week.

In the evening was the completion banquet. We had a great group at our table, many of the Oregon group. There were about a dozen from Oregon in SLC, some attending SLIG and others just researching.
Part II will be my next blog post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Putting Order to a Genealogical Collection

The past week my energy was focused on a client project that had been sitting in my office for six months. While it waited there was another large client project that needed to be completed. Both clients have been very patient and the projects required intense focus on locating documentation for the material provided. It is interesting that every project is so unique. People may collect information over a long period of time and come to a point where they are not sure how to put it all together.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Ends and 2015 Begins

This has been an incredible year for our family. It started out right with attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, which I am repeating this year. Most of my mother's estate has been taken care of except for the sale of her home and some cemetery issues. My genealogy work continues to evolve and there was some work for other people. There were twenty four classes taught, for a total of 167classes taught in twelve years or 83 in the last three years. For this blog there were 277 posts written and this makes 278. For the last few months my posts have been less frequent and over the holidays there was some down time from computer work altogether.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cleaning Up Your Genealogy Files

The ongoing process of cleaning up genealogy files will be never ending. No matter what you do today there will always be changes to the formats used and information requirements involved. Thomas MacEntee is currently embarking on a program called a Genealogy Do-Over. This is something I have done for several of my family lines from time to time. Creating clean files, especially within online genealogy family trees, is critical to our ongoing research. Using a systematic format of recording information is the basis of researching.

Today I discovered that someone has extended my Tidd family back several generations. The changes are recent and yet there are no sources or notes to indicate how the information was accumulated. In hopes of starting a dialogue about this family information an email was sent to the contributor. The chance of a response is about 50/50. Within five hours there was a response and it was very interesting. The responder noted that they are only related by marriage, but "simply put all the pieces of the puzzle together that were already there." The person is "an unofficial full time volunteer who tries to fix things when I can." They, "put much effort into this, and it is refreshing to receive thanks instead of hate mail for their efforts."

While some of the new information included birthdates in the 1500s, it is probable that the information either came from parish registers, probate records or other community records. Some of these records were microfilmed years ago, but recently were digitized and provided online to researchers. There were records from Norfolk, England for the family that were recently noticed on These more recent ones are from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England also from Now it is important to go back and compare the information from both locations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calendars and Journals

Yesterday I finished reading the last of my mother's calendars and journals. Thirty-two years of her life are documented in her own handwriting, from the ages of 46 to 78. The journals cover from 1980-1983 and 2000-2013, while the calendars fill in for the years 1986-1999 and 2006-2011. The main difference is the calendars are in small squares with more detailed information, while the journals share more of her feelings about the events in her life. Sometimes she would go on for pages about some days, while other days she would not write anything.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Preserving Right to Access Public Records

I recently received this important notice about preserving access to genealogical records and felt it was very important to share with all of you. The message is copied here below:
Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights