Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 Road Trip - Brick Wall Comes Tumbling Down!

Today, my Louisiana family brick wall came tumbling down!!  I met up with a "collateral cousin" that our family knew was down in the New Orleans area.  He is from my father's side of my family.  His grandfather and my grandfather were brothers.  I got his whole family line back to the grandfather.

My husband and I met him and is mother this afternoon, spent several hours going over questions/answers we both wanted to know.  He later put me in touch with his cousin who was also doing the family history.  We are going to visit her tomorrow morning!  Wow, when we started this trip I knew I'd get some information from my Chicago area cousins, but little did I know they knew the cousin(s) down in the New Orleans area.

We planned on seeing some sites in New Orleans and gave ourselves about two days.  I think we're going to need more!  Ya-hoo, I'm doing the genealogy happy dance!!

2011 Road Trip - Ohio

Our next stop was visiting our son-in-law's parents in Reynoldsburg, OH.  We had a very relaxing four days.  We were taken to the North Market for lunch then went over to Easton mall for walking around and some shopping.

It rained the day their daughter and two grandsons came over so it was a perfect day to stay indoors.  The next afternoon we went to a "Welcome Home" party for a nephew who was back from Iraq.  We got to meet their other daughter, her two sons and various other brothers, sisters and parents.  We had a wonderful time.

The Wolcotts and the Blacks
Later that same day the four of us took a drive over to the local Barnes & Noble store so I could download some books into my Nook.  Dave and I then took them to their favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner.

The next day was really hard to say good-bye.  We had to get on the road to our next stop in Tennessee.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 Road Trip - Indiana

The drive to Ft Wayne IN took us about 3.5 hours.  We got a late start so didn't get into town until late in the day.  We checked into the Hilton for two nights.  After we got some dinner, we walked over to the Allen County Public Library to take a look around, the library was opened until 9 p.m. 

We made our way to the 2nd floor to the Genealogy Center and went to the Ask Desk.  I mentioned to the woman at the desk this was my first time at the library and would need some help.  The man at the next desk turned around and looked at me, it was the library's Senior Manager for Special Collections and the Genealogy Center, Curt Witcher.  I said, "Curt? You were at FGS Conference in Springfield a few weeks ago!"  He said, "Yes, let me show you around."  OMG!  Curt Witcher gave me a personal tour of the Genealogy Center of the library!!  Wow, don't know if I even heard anything he said, it was such an honor.

The next day I walked over to the library to start my research.  I did remember everything Curt told me the night before.  I concentrated on the record group City Directories for the time period 1917 to about 1929 in Los Angeles.  I was looking  for my father's mother's family the Catanias'.  I know they came up from Louisiana to Chicago, my grandmother was born there in 1905.  The family then went to Muskegan, MI where three more children were born.  I found the family in the 1930 census in Los Angeles, but I don't know when they moved there.  I did find several Catanias' in the directories and copied everything. 

Microfilm reader
I researched the computer databases, microfilm, microfiche and the book stacks for various records and other record groups and locations.  I didn't exactly do the "genealogy happy dance" but I was pleased with what I found.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Onto Chicago!

I have a very good friend Rosa, who I've been in touch with since we were 14 years old.  She's "from the old neighborhood."  We have so much history together.  We use to walk to school together, our brothers use to play/fight together.  My family let me bring her on camping trips with us, so we go way-back.

When ever I've visited the Chicago area I always call up Rosa and ask to visit/stay with her.  The answer is always, "Yeah, come on over!"  When we were planning this trip, Rosa was one of the first people I called.  After we left Lake Zurich last week, we went straight to Rosa's and were there for 5.5 days.  She took me to her aquatic class.  Rosa, Dave and I went to the movies and we hooked up with two other school friends for dinner.  It was like "being home."  It's been so relaxing and fun at the same time.

Chicago "Bean"

On Thursday, Dave and I did some sight seeing. We went to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate "Bean," the Marilyn Monroe exhibit on Michigan Avenue, then walked over to Navy Pier.  The weather was so beautiful, cool, and windy.  Perfect jacket weather.  That same night we met up with two other school friends for dinner.  It was really great to spend the time together.  We did some reminiscing and had some laughs.  Don't know when I'll see them again, but we'll pickup where we left off.

Monroe Exhibit

On Saturday, we met up with an online buddy of Dave's, he's been talking online to this buddy for about four years.  We met his wife, son and daughter, really nice family.  Dave was really happy to finally meet him.  We spent the day with his friend and his wife.  They took us to the Morton Arboretum, had a little snack, walked on some of the trails, look lots of photos, then went to dinner.  Another perfect day. 

On Sunday, we met up with some of my cousins and an uncle I hadn't seen in over 40 years.  We had so much fun!  They finally got to meet Dave, I got to meet some of the cousin's children.  We were all making up for lost time.  I also got to close up some genealogy gaps in my research, always a good thing!  We swapped cell phone numbers, email addresses and took group pictures.  They even hooked me up with a collateral cousin down in New Orleans, LA where my "brick wall" family lives!  What a great visit.

Today, we had to say good-bye to Rosa and Chicago.  We made our way to Ft Wayne, IN and the Allen County Public Library to do some  research tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, maybe I'll be doing the genealogy "happy dance" tomorrow night.

Visiting Collaterial Cousins

Dave (my hubby) and I had a wonderful two day visit with my collateral cousin Leroy in Lake Zurich, IL.  The weather couldn't be better, I mean I couldn't have ordered the beautiful weather we had.  My grandmother and Leroy's grandmother were sisters, so our great-grandparents is our connection.

Leroy and his lovely wife, Ellen invited other family members over for a BBQ.  It was the first time they met Dave.  It was so great, very relaxing, cool weather, couldn't have been better.  The next day Leroy and Ellen drove Dave and I up to Lake Geneva, WI to have lunch with one of their daughters and grand-kids.  It was so good to see her again.  We hadn't seen them since her 6 year old twins were infants.

Our visit was short, only two days but it was memorable in so many ways.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FGS Conference - Friday & Saturday

We are back on the road again and are currently visiting genealogy related "cousins" in Lake Zurich, IL.  I'll try and cover as much as I can remember of last Friday & Saturday sessions.

I also volunteered as Room Monitor for several sessions throughout the four days.
Sessions I attended were:
Demystifying Eastern European Research
Using Records in the National Archives: A Researcher's View
Dealing with Digital Artifacts
Digital Scrapbooking
Developing Effective Research Strategies
Michigan Roots: Genealogy Research in the Wolverine State
Twitter - It's Not Just "What I Had For Breakfast" Anymore

On Saturday night my husband and I were invited to join Dick Eastman and other genealogists' to a wonderful buffet dinner on the 29th floor of the Hilton.  No PowerPoint slides, no Room Monitors, no speeches, just fun, food and drinks.  What a wonderful way to close out this year's FGS Conference.  Maybe I'll see them all next year!

Friday, September 9, 2011

FGS Conference - Thursday

The Mayor of Springfield welcomed FGS Conference attendees to Springfield.  The Keynote speech was given by the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero.  The conference statistics were shared.  2,000 attendees from 48 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) and five countries.

The Conference is held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, right next door to our hotel (boy, how convenient is that!)

The Exhibit Hall opened at 10 AM sharp.  We had an hour to shop and drop our door prize tickets into vendors door prize boxes before heading off to sessions at 11 AM.  What a scramble!  Had to go back to several vendors later in the day.

I snagged a ticket for the Illinois State Genealogical Society Luncheon.  Great food and speaker at lunch time.  The afternoon had me pulling Room Monitor duty for one of the sessions.  Not a bad gig.

The Exhibit Hall was open until 8 PM.  FamilySearch handed out large cookies and bottled water.  As she walked from booth to booth calling out door prize winners, Patricia Oxley, Exhibits Chair, had a line of potential winners following her all around the exhibit hall.  Really funny to watch.  Great fun!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

FGS Conference - Wednesday

I'm Ventura County Genealogical Society's FGS delegate.  3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6th is when onsite registration opened. This is where pre-registered folks picked up their tote bag filled with things and receive an envelope with tickets, nametag, etc.  In that tote bag was the full syllabus on a flash drive.

Wednesday, I attended the Focus on Societies sessions at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield, IL.  Each session was one hour with half-hour between sessions.

The Plenary Session speaker was David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA.  His speech was How Will Our Society Survive?  Do We Alter, Mutate, Modify, Shift or Switch?  Wish I could take his PowerPoint slides back to my society, it was powerful!

I attended the following sessions:
Delegate 101
21st Century  Marketing Techniques for Genealogist/Genealogical Societies

FGS Luncheon, speaker: Ransom H. Love. 
Speech: Community Connection: Why Record Custodians Need to Be Working on a Global Basis

I volunteered to be the Room Monitor to this session:
Publicity for Society Events: Simply Supercharged
Brainstorming Session: Social Media
Brainstorming Session: Marketing Your Society

All sessions I chose were informative and awesome.  I met other bloggers and society delegates from across the country.  Wow, what a day.  Can't wait until the Exhibit Hall opens today!

Monday, September 5, 2011

FGS Conference Road Trip - Day 7

Since the Gateway ARCH in St Louis wasn't a whole day event, we packed up the car and drove about 1 1/2 hours to Springfield, IL our final destination this leg of our trip. When I booked our hotel several months ago I had no idea we'd be four days early.  My conference wasn't starting until Wednesday, Sept 7th and I had us checking in on Tuesday, Sept 6th.  But today was Friday, Sept. 2nd, I was concerned that with the Labor Day holiday the hotels would fill up and we'd be stuck trying to find something close.  When we got into town about 2:00 p.m. that day we were able to check-in right away.  Whew, you just never know.  So we have our room for the next nine days until we check-out Sunday, Sept. 11th.

We don't usually stay in a downtown hotel so my husband was really surprised that since we were here through the weekend the whole downtown "rolled up their sidewalk" so early.  Not much to do and the restaurants were far and in between.  What was open on Saturday was the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum which we wanted to see.  Since most of the historical sites in the downtown area were in walking distance to each other, we got some much needed exercised.

In the other Presidential Museums we visited, we had to turn off the flash on our cameras but could still take our own photos.  Not at the Lincoln Museum.  Any kind of photography was prohibited except in a few areas.  So we don't have the usual blitz of photos.  I did buy some very nice post cards but those will have to only be in the scrapbook I'll someday put together.
Museum Gallery

The Museum was interactive and awesome!  So very different from the other four we've been to in the last month (Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower & Truman).  I love history and love reading about it.  Here, I was able to see the real documents that changed our HISTORY.  This trip was so worth the 2100 miles we've done in six days.

FGS Conference Road Trip - Day 6

We woke up early, got dressed, had a nice breakfast in the hotel.  Walked over to the Gateway ARCH.  It was sunny, warming up to be about 100 degrees.  I was watching my husband enjoying being here.  In 1989, we took a family road trip to Chicago with our two girls.  We drove right by the ARCH and said one day we'll have to stop.  Today was that day.

The sheer size of this monument is so awesome.  We've watch documentaries of how and why the ARCH was built but being at its base and looking straight up and then following the seamless structure to the other side of the park was just amazing to us.

We bought our tickets for the four minute ride up in a five passenger pod.  The only window was on the tiny door and all you could see was where they welded the sections together.  Luckily there was only another couple in our pod.  We got to know a little about them on the way up.  We exchanged cameras so we could have a photo of us on our own camera, we did the same for them. 

Curved floor & ceiling
After climbing out of the pod and up the stairs to the ARCH floor, I was a little dizzy.  Had to hold onto one of the walls.  It was almost like being in a carnival fun house, until you get used to the floor and ceiling being curved.   Hubby started snapping pictures like crazy. 

It isn't often you get the view we got that day.  On one side we looked out the windows and watched the Mississippi River.  On the other side we saw the city of St Louis and an extra bonus of the shadow of the ARCH overlay.  What a site!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

FGS Conference Road Trip - Day 5

Harry S. Truman Museum

What a great day we had today.  We only drove about 1 1/2 hours to visit the Harry S. Truman Museum in Independence, MO.  No rain insight but the temputure hovered around 100 degrees.  Almost sorry we didn't see the Truman Musuem before we saw the Eisenhower one.  Both were great, full of history and probably because of the time of year we visited, not crowed at all.  The staff was friendly and very helpful.

What really struck us were all the authenic documents and artifacts that were on display.  We were able to view and see the real thing right there in Missouri.  When a President leaves office, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) establishes a Presidential project until a new Presidential library is built and transferred to the Government.  These are not traditional libraries, but rather repositories for preserving and making accessible the papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents.

We spent about 3 hours touring the museum.  After we had some lunch we drove straight through to St. Louis.  Called a hotel in advance to secure a room for the night, so glad we did.  We'll visit the St. Louis Arch in the morning.