Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writer's Blog Tour


Judi Scott invited me to participate in this Writer's Blog Tour.
Judi and I enjoyed working together over the past five years as part of a team of editors for the Bulletin, a quarterly publication of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. We also traveled to several genealogy events and conferences where we were presenters of classes or attended classes.

It is a joy to share the love of genealogy with others who also enjoy the work of discovering families and making connections that link generations together. The purpose of the tour is to spotlight the blogs of writers. Each  blog writer is supposed to answer the same four questions and then to introduce two other bloggers. We each blog for different reasons and find personal gratification in doing so.

1. What am I working on?

After my mother passed away a year ago my blog writing has been more limited. There are always projects for others in researching their family history. This year one group wanted to find the connecting link to their supposed Mayflower connection. While progress was made, finding the clues that will prove the links are elusive. There is a long list of records that need to be reviewed. Another project is for a well-known genealogist's family in examining what became of his research work. The purpose of my blog is to showcase families whom I researched, both for clients and my own family.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work seems to be more casual than what other genealogy bloggers write. While documenting is essential, sometimes just the story is presented until someone contacts me with an interest in a particular family. At times my writing focuses on topics of interest to genealogists and serendipity moments experienced in doing research. By pointing out the uniqueness of discoveries there is hope that others will capture these moments in their research.

3. Why do I write what I do?

My writing is what flows from my head, often late at night. There is a spirit of direction that flows when a topic is brought forward. The writing is done to capture information that is known and someday could be lost from our memories. Five years ago after having two very serious brain surgeries it became apparent how quickly this can happen. For a few days after the last surgery my ability to think and process thought was compromised. It is very frustrating to hear what is going on around you and not be able to communicate.

4. How does my writing process work?

Usually a topic will come to mind when resting in bed at the end of the day. My best time to write is when the house is quiet and there are no interruptions. The writing is a free flow of thought. It is putting on paper what flows into my head. Once that is finished then it is re-read several times. It is run through spell check and then re-read again. Proof reading is one thing that seems to come naturally to me. Not that it is perfect, but it is my best effort. Getting comments on what would enhance my writing has been wonderful.

Now I want to introduce two writers to you.
The first is a long time friend, JoAnne Bennett, of almost forty years. It has been great to be a part of her discoveries about her life along the way. Lately she developed amazing talent as a genealogist.
After being placed for adoption at birth, her adoption journey has been winding and full of twists and turns, but JoAnne Bennett reflects on her many blessings — raising three wonderful daughters alongside her loving husband of 39 years. Her passions are writing and making a difference in young people’s lives. Helping children see that they have voices that truly matter is her heart-felt desire. She believes that loving out loud and treating one another with kindness and respect is a way of positively changing the world. JoAnne’s most recent credits include a contribution to the book, Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, An Anthology, a story in a book titled, One for the Road and a publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School.

The second? Still having a hard time finding another participant.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Respecting Personal Boundaries in Genealogy and Life

How many times have you had someone you don't know call on the telephone or knock on the door, expecting you to allow an intrusion into your life? Maybe as we age we become more sensitive to such people who assume that we are open to discussing with them our lives and the lives of our families. When doing genealogy and family history research these same personal boundaries are subject to intrusive questions from complete strangers.

With do not call lists and no solicitation signs on the outside or our home, people continue to press on with making contact. Recently someone called wanting a donation from a college. The first mistake was to begin with personal questions about my day. It was not a time for casual conversation as there were other things going on in my life at that moment. Realizing they are just doing a job they were hired to do makes me want to be polite, but the more this happens the less patience there is for such calls.

Requesting my opinion from an unknown institution is also rather intrusive. Having been involved in civic service and politics makes me want to participate, until realizing that some of the questions really are no one else's business. Then there are phone calls for our children who are no longer living in our home. When they are told this information they almost always just move on and want the opinion of the person who answered the phone.

Now for the strangers who knock on our door, especially late at night, one fears for personal safety. Then they expect that you might invite them into your home so they can demonstrate whatever product they are pedaling. If we want to purchase something we will initiate the contact. One can certainly not be too protective in the preserving the safety of our family.

Even mail that is unsolicited is intrusive. Most of it goes directly into the trash. Since my mother's death a year ago some of her mail was redirected to our home address. Obviously her information has sold in mailing lists as now solicitations for her are being sent here. In the process of managing her estate she had hundreds of solicitations for contributions. It soon became apparent that the quickest way to stop them was by email, where the records of the requests are easy to track.

Now how does the respecting of personal boundaries apply to genealogy and family history work? First of all we need to be very cautious how we approach others we have had no previous contact with. In emails we need to be very clear in the subject line and then in the content of an email. Even in letters sent through the post office, a clear explanation of the possible family connection is important.

We need to be patient with those we contact and share information with. The first contact is the most important as it establishes a repoir with the other party. Elderly people are the most cautious when first approached and contact with a younger family member may open the door to a visit. We also need to be very courteous about recording conversations and taking pictures. It may be the only chance we will have with an individual and it usually takes a little time to build a level of trust.

Respecting the personal boundaries of others is one of the most important lessons to be learned by researchers. We want the door to continue to be open, not just to us, but others as well. Genealogy and life are not open doors to what we share with others. Our sharing needs to be deliberate and guarded for protection of our and other's personal information. While helping others to locate long lost family members, the importance of how we use what we can locate on the Internet cannot be stressed enough. Please help move along the work of discovering the histories of families by respecting how others want to share their information.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Genealogy Fest - Genealogical Council of Oregon Conference

My bags are half packed in anticipation of leaving in about three hours to drive to Eugene, Oregon, the location of the 2014 Summer Genealogy Fest sponsored by both the Genealogical Council of Oregon and the Oregon APG group. These bi-annual conferences are a wonderful opportunity for genealogists on the west coast to connect and share in some wonderful learning opportunities.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Turning Sixty - Let's Celebrate

Turning sixty is a monumental event. One reward is the eligibility to receive the senior discount. Yes, some places do start this reward before and a few after, but overall this is the age of getting a price break for enduring to the end. Several of my friends are also achieving this landmark birthdate this year as well. We join together in honoring and sometimes consoling each other on our life's journey.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sharing Life's Simple Pleasures

Sharing life's simple pleasures entails spending time with family members doing things that build on our memories together. One of my new goals since completing the recipe collections is to spend more time cooking, especially with my grandchildren.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recipe Boxes and the Stories They Tell - Part II

Today is the one year anniversary of our mother's passing. To honor her, this is a continuation of part one which was posted earlier this week. First is the list of her recipes and then four of her favorite recipes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recipe Boxes and the Stories They Tell

In going through my mother's things my latest adventure was delving into her recipe box. The contents surprised me as there are recipes from many of her friends, but the biggest surprise was that she had incorporated her collection into my sister's recipe box from our junior high school days. The collection of my sister is very similar to my collection created as a project with the same teacher from 1966-1968.