Thursday, January 22, 2015

FGS/RootsTech 2015 - Almost Here!

It's almost here! The FGS/RootsTech conference that is. I'm making my lists and checking them twice. Since I just returned from a week in Salt Lake City for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, I've gained a few new insights. Particularly in the area of food.

First, here's my new discovery: The Blue Iguana (mexican) which is a short walk from the Marriott and Hilton hotels. Not to be confused with The Red Iguana (also outstanding Mexican food). I've been told the two restaurants are somehow related but no one seems to be able to explain how.

An old favorite is The Blue Lemon which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, I've been known to eat all three meals there. It's convenient to the Family History Library and the food choices are pretty healthy.

Speaking of healthy, there is a grocery store called Harmons, within walking distance of most hotels. They have lots of healthy choices there. And will help cut down on your food expenses.

Attire: You're guess is as good as mine for this time of year. You could be looking at balmy temperatures in the 40s to 50s or snowy conditions. I always bring my snow boots and ski jacket, just in case. I hate to mention it, but Salt Lake City has an air pollution this time of year, if inversion conditions exist. The worst I've seen. If you have breathing problems, be prepared. Just in case.

Sessions: Here's where I will be checking my lists over and over. So many choices!

  • I've committed to "Batch Processing of Photos and Their Metadata Using XnView." by Randy Whited. This is one of the paid workshops. Randy did similar workshops last year which were excellent and is building on what we learned last time around.
  • "A Pine Post Four Inches Square: Staking a Claim on Mining Records," with Jen Baldwin. Maybe I can begin to figure out what some of my ancestors were up to with their mining ventures.
  • "She Came From Nowhere ..." A Case Study Approach to Solving A Difficult Genealogical Problem with Michael Lacopo. This guy is a master sleuth and a fabulous story teller. If you haven't been following his blog, Hoosier Daddy, about locating his mother's birth parents, you are missing out. Start from the beginning and read it in order. Seriously. Start from the beginning.

Well, that's as far as I've gotten with planning sessions. How is your planning going?

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 © 2015, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Writing Life Blog Hop June 30, 2014

Image Credit: ID 1223590

Fellow genealogist, Shannon Combs Bennett, asked me to participate in a writing life blog hop. It sounded interesting because it allows the reader to get into the head of various writers so I agreed. You can see who next week’s featured writer is at the end of this post. 

So here goes.

What writing am I working on?

Right now I’m primarily working on blog posts for my personal blog, The Turning of Generations and The In-Depth Genealogist as well as articles for Going In-Depth, the digital magazine published at The In-Depth Genealogist. I also have two articles in the works for publication in other magazines. A future project I plan to begin working on is publishing my grandfather’s World War I letters. Since I want to include historical background, this project will include quite a bit of research.

I am also regularly asked to give presentations on various family history topics. It seems like I get one talk developed and almost immediately begin working on another. The process to develop a talk is similar to writing. The end product is just slightly different since it’s comprised of a Power Point presentation and spoken words instead of written words. You can see my presentation topics on the "Presentations & Workshops" tab of this blog. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Since my interests are eclectic, my writing reflects this.

Why do I write what I do?
There are a number of reasons why I write what I do. First and foremost, I write about topics I enjoy and know something about which for the most part is family history and genealogy. But there are other reasons I write too:

  • I write to learn. The process of writing about a subject causes me to learn more about it. 
  • I write to share what I’ve learned with others. It’s a way of giving back. I’ve learned from reading others writings so it makes sense to help others. Blogging is perfect for this. 
  •  I write to get my research in order. The process of writing up a genealogical research problem or question, shows where the holes are in my research are which I can then work to fill.
  • Finally, I write to preserve the stories and lives of my family and ancestors. It only take a couple of generations before they are lost if they are not written down and shared!
How does my writing process work?
My writing usually begins with some sort of brainstorming session using a mind map or an outline. I use an old fashioned composition book as a combination planner, to do list and writing organizer so my outlines and mind maps usually begin there. Sometimes my “outline” is a list. Other times it’s a full blown outline. It just depends on the project.

Once I begin actually writing, I move over to either Word or Scrivener depending on the project. If the writing project has a major research component, Scrivener is an excellent tool because I can pull documents and notes into the project for quick reference.

Now let's meet next week’s featured author.

William Leverne Smith aka "Dr. Bill"
William Leverne Smith aka "Dr. Bill" is an author, writer, creator of "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories, and an avid reader, as well. His fiction is published in novels, novella, ebooks, and short stories on multiple media platforms. 

Dr. Bill is an active blogger at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories  and non-fiction writer, as well. He has published five family history related books and writes a monthly column as The Heritage Tourist in The In-Depth Genealogist; he was an original contributor to this digi-mag. 

One of his blogs, The Kinnick Project records the daily transcriptions of his mother's diaries, 75 years ago today.

Blog Hop History
This particular blog hop started in April 2014 by Ellen Barone on The Internal Traveler.   If you follow the links backwards you will see a wide variety of writing genres represented.  If you Google “Blog Hop Ellen Barone” you can see a sampling of what I am talking about.  Also, you can read the post Shannon wrote on her blog and the other writers she featured there too!

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Poster - Part 4

This is the fourth and final post in a series about my experiences with rehumidifying and flattening oversize documents and photographs based on Denise Levenick's, "Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidity Old Rolled Photographs and Documents."

The last item I flattened is an old panorama poster circa 1920s-1930s. So like the previous photographs I flattened, it's long but this poster is on heavy paper.

This item is a little longer than the photograph from Part 3. Since my experience with the bathtub didn't work so well, I decided to stick with the "humidifying chamber" and drape the partially unrolled poster over the edges of the rack, like I did with the second picture in Part 3. This was a bit nerve wracking because the poster was just long enough that it might droop into the water at the bottom of the chamber. I decided to try it anyway.

The short version is that after only a short time, I discovered one edge in the water! Panic! I removed the poster and quickly got it between the sheets of blotting paper and weight it down. I prayed the poster wasn't ruined. It didn't look like it was when I pulled it out. As you can see, everything is OK. If you look closely, you can see a slight water line along the right hand side of the poster.

I hope you've enjoyed this series and are encouraged to attempt to unroll some of your oversize documents and pictures. Just take heed of the mistakes and lessons I learned the hard way! As Denise said in her post, "For your first project, select a photo or document that is NOT a priceless heirloom."

Other posts in this series:
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 1
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 2
Relaxing and Rehumidifying Photographs - Part 3

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Relaxing and Rehumidifying Photographs - Part 3

This is the third post in a series about my experiences with rehumidifying and flattening oversize documents and photographs based on Denise Levenick's, "Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidity Old Rolled Photographs and Documents." Also, reader Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana had some excellent observations in the comments section of Part 1 that you might want to read.

I had long narrow items that needed to be unrolled. One is a poster. The other a photograph. Both presented new challenges and provided me with the opportunity to commit errors. Hopefully you will learn from what I did wrong!

First the photograph. It went into the "humidification chamber," like the other items before it. After a bit, I was able to somewhat unroll it.

The next step is where I ran into trouble. The photograph is too long for the chamber. Denise suggested using a bathtub and closing up the room. So I gave it a try.

And this is where I ran into trouble and I only have myself to blame!

First, the document dried out. I just could not get that room to become humid. Period. Remember, I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. You've heard the saying, "But it's a dry heat." Well, heat or not, we live in a very dry climate. As I write this post in June 2014, the humidity outside is 3%. Let me rewrite that - three percent. When I did this little experiment in early spring, the humidity was double: 7%. If I were to do this experiment again. And I probably will. I'll wait until monsoon season so we at least have some humidity to work with from the get go.

Second, I think it would have been better to lay a flat surface on top of the racks. Then lay the picture on the flat surface. Again, my bad.

This was the result:

You see those little cracks along the bottom? I don't know if they were there to begin with but we are trying to avoid those.

So I tried another long photograph. It wasn't quite as long as the first one so, after making sure the ends wouldn't end up in the water, I went back to my original method I used with the documents. It worked beautifully.
After spending time under the blotting paper with weights on top, this photograph came out with no cracks.

Next I attempted to unroll what I'll call an old panorama poster. It was looong. Longer than any of the other items. And boy did I screw up!

Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 1
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 2
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Poster - Part 4

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 2

Denise Levenick wrote some excellent instructions for rehumidifying old photos and documents that have been rolled up so that they will lay flat. If you haven't read her post, "Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidity Old Rolled Photographs and Documents," you should. Also, Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana had some excellent observations in the comments section of Part 1. I'll wait while you catch up and then we'll talk about my second experience with flattening an oversize document that spent many decades rolled up.

This is my great grandfather's college diploma from 1891 so there's no telling how long it spent in this condition. I'm pretty sure it's been like this since long before I was born. Because of this and it’s large size I was faced with a bigger challenge than with the last document.

There was no way I could unroll it inside the large plastic bin I was using. So I improvised which made me very nervous.  After it had begun to rehumidify, I unrolled the diploma just enough for it to hang over the edges of the rack it was sitting on. I was careful to be sure it didn’t touch the sides of the plastic bin. and that it wouldn’t droop low enough to dip into the water at the bottom of the bin.

Since I was nervous about the whole set up, I didn’t leave the diploma like that for very long at all. In the end, I definitely should have left it longer. This is what the diploma looks like right out of the rehumidification chamber.

This is what it looked like after a couple of weeks under the blotting paper.  Not bad but I can’t help but think the ends would have ended up flatter if I had just given it more time to rehumidify.

Next up are the long photographs and a poster. The results were mixed in part because of operator error (me) so you will definitely want to read the post. I hope you learn from my mistake!

Other posts in this series:
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 1
Relaxing and Rehumidifying Photographs - Part 3
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Poster - Part 4 

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, June 23, 2014

Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 1

Back in July 2013, Denise Levenick, over at her blog, The Family Curator, wrote about flattening photos and documents that had been rolled up.

Since I have quite a few of those myself, I decided to give her instructions a try. You really should read her post. She does an excellent job of explaining the background and providing instructions. Head over and read it, then come back. I'll be waiting.

OK so now that you have a better understanding of what Denise did, here are my results.

First, I selected a smaller document that spent several decades being rolled up so it wasn't about to flatten out on its own.

Into the "humidification chamber" it went.

After about 8 hours, I was able to unroll it. I was surprised at how much the humidity changes the feel and flexibility of the paper.

After about another 10 hours I pulled the document from the chamber and placed it on the blotting paper.

Another layer of blogging paper was placed over the document. Then a bunch of the biggest, heaviest books I own were placed on top. I left town for a couple of weeks and forgot all about it.

Here's what it looked like upon my return. Pretty slick eh?

Note: The 8 hours and 10 hours is just how long I happened to leave the document in the humidification chamber. Maybe it could have been done in a shorter amount of time, maybe not. I also wonder how much the humidity in the surrounding environment affects this process. Here in Arizona, our humidity is pretty low. Sometimes it's almost non-existent. Seriously. It was 7% recently outside. Inside the house the humidity approached 20%. So maybe rehumidification takes longer? I don't know.

Next I tried an over sized document that had been rolled up much longer. This one proved to be more of a challenge. Check back tomorrow to see how that went.

Other posts in this series: 

Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Document - Part 2
Relaxing and Rehumidifying Photographs - Part 3
Relaxing and Rehumidifying an Old Poster - Part 4 

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jean Wilcox Hibben Presenting at FHSA Seminar March 15

There's still time to register. Details below.

The Family History Society of Arizona's Seminar being held March 15, 2014, features Jean Wilcox Hibben. A Board-Certified genealogist, Jean is the Director of the Corona California Family History Center and is also an occasional volunteer at the Pacific Region Facility of the National Archives in Riverside County. She was the lead researcher for the PBS television program Genealogy Roadshow. Jean is a national speaker known for her entertaining, as well as informative, presentations and is a frequent writer for various genealogy publications.
Time: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm with registration beginning at 8:00 am.
Date: March 15, 2014
Location: First United Methodist Church 5510 N Central, Phoenix, AZ 85012. Cost: $35.00 for FHSA members, $40 for non-members/walk-ins ($5 applied to $20 annual membership dues if you join). Includes a box lunch plus morning continental breakfast snacks. After March 1, everyone pays $40 (lunch not guaranteed).
Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family over Time and Miles
Deduction v. Induction in Genealogical Research: Applying Logic Theory to Family History
Bringing your Civil War Ancestor Back to Life: Songs & Stories of the War of the Rebellion
Researching German Records When You Live in America and Don't Speak German
For additional information, please visit

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© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum