Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday–Joseph and Elizabeth Lucas


My mom, Elizabeth Lucas Shaw with her Dad, Joseph Lucas about 1937.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Loss of the Family Photo Album?


Just last night I was thinking that my kids are growing up without printed photos and albums to look at. I won’t have them to pull off a dusty shelf in the hall closet so I can embarrass my sons when they bring their first girlfriends home.

This actually kept me up for awhile thinking how times have changed and my kids will have to rely on a computer to look back at our family history in photos and not the albums that we have.

Today, much to my surprise, I take a look at Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and he shares his thoughts on this very same subject and points us to an article written by Clay Barbour for the Wisconsin State Journal.

Reading both of their thoughts and suggestions really has me thinking today. As was said, photos are such an important part of our family history. At least for me, seeing a photo of my ancestor really gets me more connected to them even though I never met them.

I cannot bear to deprive our children of having those family photo albums to browse through when they get older. I haven’t told the wife yet, but we need to start printing out at least some of the thousands of digital photos we have and put them in albums. We have a lot of work to do.

Has this crossed anyone else’s mind and are you printing out your digital photos; please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Photo by: Photobunny

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FTU 2011 Virtual Conference–Live Chats


Super busy weekend with the kids sports starting up and globs of stupid homework to get done but I did get a few chances to hang out at the Family Tree University 2011 Virtual Conference.

I did a lot of downloading the sessions so I can view them this upcoming week but I also tried the Live Chats. My time zone, CET (Central European Time) and a busy schedule did not give me much opportunity to the ‘Live’ portion of the Live Chats, although I did try to keep up with two of them today. This is totally me so I hope I don’t offend anyone here, but I could not stay engaged with the ‘in real time’ Live Chats. They are interesting at points but I am a guy so my attention span is very short. And it doesn’t help that I’m trying to view this Chat sitting at my computer with all my research around me and other distractions. So, I was not very good at the ‘real time’ chat sessions. However, I’m sure if I had a question and more experience with them then I would be able to rip right along with everyone else there.

The great thing with this virtual conference is that the chats are recorded and I can go back and play them again. I did just that with the ‘Social Networking: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ – What’s Best?” Chat hosted by Nancy Hendrickson. It was great reading what was said at my own pace. I could actually keep up and comprehend what was going on and I was able to learn a couple great things:

  1. That I need to try Twitter and use social networking for my research. There is just so much to gain from using these resources that I did not realize before this chat. So, look for me on Twitter soon.
  2. I learned about’s new share feature. You can share a document you find with your Facebook account. How cool is that; I will be trying this out in the next week.

That was the only chat the I got completely through. I have a few more to replay so I am off to read one of those, ‘Photo Preservation: Ask the Photo Detective,’ hosted by Maureen A. Taylor. Should be interesting.

I will be posting about the sessions as I view them through the week so stay tuned.

In the mean time, I would love to hear others opinions of the Live Chats and how you keep up with them, leave them in comments.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Photo by: European Parliament

Friday, August 19, 2011

Family Tree University Virtual Conference–I am there, are you?

My sister at the British Archives

Today starts the Family Tree University Virtual Conference. This will be my first ever virtual conference and also my first ever genealogy conference. I’m really looking forward to the sessions and will take up a few blog posts over the next week or so to let everyone know how it went for me. The conference only runs over the weekend but the good thing is that we can download the sessions and watch them at our leisure. So, with such a busy schedule this weekend, I will be doing a lot of downloading and then a lot of watching over the next week.

I’m so excited and can’t wait to let everyone know about this over the next week or so.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hats off to–Free Access to 1940 Census Release.

Shirt Elizabeth 1881 CensusJust read a news release by that the 1940 Census, when released, will be available free on their site until at least the end of 2013. The scheduled release is about mid-April 2012. Here is the whole news release.
I know that is a company and their goal is to make money but my hats off to them for releasing this census for free for the first year and a half it will be available. I’m sure the bottom line here and the underlying reason that is offering this for free is to get more traffic to their site which equals more paid subscribers and more money for them. However, the do not have to offer the census for free, they could very well make everyone pay for the access and they would make a lot of money with it because people will pay. I know I would if that was the best way to gain access; I wouldn’t like it but I would pay. But, they are offering it for free and that is why my hat goes off to them for this. Good move on their part as far as marketing and strategy but it is also a great move for the further of family history research. This will attract more and more to this great (most of the time) past time.
Let all of us know what your thoughts are on the news release by by leaving a comment.
Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.

Monday, August 15, 2011

August Objective Update!

CheckAugust is now half over – where did the month go so fast? I need to provide an update on where we are with the objectives that we set out to complete this month.

First things first – this is the first month that we are trying this new approach to getting things done. Combining these objectives with everything else that needs to get done during the month can seem very overwhelming at times. However, I think we are doing pretty good. We have even used some of the tips/tricks that I talked about in my Genealogy Time Management – Focus post (I would hope that I’m using my own tips/tricks). The main thing that keeps us on track is that I block out time on my calendar to get certain things done. I have time blocked out for homework assignments, family time, and research. I have even added blog posts to my calendar this week because I was neglecting the posts. Enough of the blabbing and on to the update.

  1. We will find and write to the local churches to see about a birth record for William Capen. Yeah! We can mark this complete because my wife completed this. We did not find a birth record (boo!) but we did find a record of his baptism in the church register. We will have to add getting a copy of this to our to-do objectives.
  2. Relook at the past searches I did for Joseph Lucas’ birth record – see where I need to look next. Not doing so good here – haven’t started but the time is on my calendar for this coming week.
  3. Plan the visit to William Capen’s grave and the WWI battlefields which are nearby (this satisfies my military history needs also). Not so good here either but now on my calendar for next week when I am off work for the week (yeah!)
  4. Danzig – do some initial probes as to what records are available for this area and the time period we need to look at. Ditto as the previous two objectives Sad smile

I am going to say that the wife did great because she got something done already. I have to get off my butt and do some of this stuff that I love to do so much. But, that is one of the reasons for this mid-month look at our objectives; keep us on track. I think this ‘look’ has done its job because the lacking objectives are now on my calendar. I just have to stick to the plan as much as possible.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Photo by Matt Carman

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It Has Got to Get Better!!

frustrationI read a post by Cheryl over at 1ancestry2littletime blog last night about how she started her blog on the spur of the moment and really didn’t know what she was doing or where to get help. Well, I think she is doing just fine (better than me) and she offers some great advice for newbie bloggers.

I feel her pain and am in the same boat. I started this blog with some thought as to content and purpose but I did not have posts planned out yet. I just figured I love to write and how hard can it be to write at least one post every week. Oh, how I was wrong. I forgot to think about how time consuming putting meaningful posts together would be.

I also did not think about all the other demands on my time. Like the wife, the kids, work (wish I could quit this), college (2 classes at a time) and the household duties. Things like paying the bills (wish I could quit that, too), mowing the lawn, fixing everything. What about the other hobbies I have that I don’t have time for. Like photography and travel.rothenberg_scene We are living in Germany and one of my passions is history and there is so many historical sites to see all over the place. Oh, and fall sports start in two weeks and all the kids are participating and all in a different activity; Nathan in soccer, Tyler in flag football, and Katie in cheerleading. Oh, I so hope they are all on different days and times, too. That will help my time management woes so very much. I didn’t even mention the family history research also. Oh yeah, I do need to sleep also, right?

So, all of these demands on my time that I didn’t think about when I decided to start this blog. But, I really love writing and family history so blogging is a way to put the two together and also get some much needed writing practice. Plus, I get a great feeling when I can finally hit that publish button after working on a post. However, truth be told, blogging is strictly self-imposed time.

All the other demands on my time have a higher power that I must answer to if they don’t get done; my wife, boss, or professor. And most of those things-to-do have specific deadlines to meet. With the blog, I am only answering to myself so when something needs to slip because I’ve run out of time, it is the first to go.

I’ve written a couple other posts on time management (Genealogy Time Management and Focus) but just can’t seem to pull it all together. Every thing else other than the blogging time is working pretty well. I need to figure this out because I will not fail at this blog.

I am curious how all you other more successful bloggers fit the post writing into your busy schedules. Please leave me suggestions in comments.

Thanks for reading - keep diggin’ up that family.


I would like to thank Cheryl of 1ancestry2littletime for the inspiration for this post.

Photos by me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Objectives!


My last post, Goals and Objectives, I laid out the goals we (wife and I) have set out for the rest of this year. And I said that each month I would list the objectives we want to finish which lead us to the obtainment those goals. So, it is August 1st and our first monthly objectives.

  1. We will find and write to the local churches to see about a birth record for William Capen.
  2. Relook at the past searches I did for Joseph Lucas’ birth record – see where I need to look next.
  3. Plan the visit to William Capen’s grave and the WWI battlefields which are nearby (this satisfies my military history needs also).
  4. Danzig – do some initial probes as to what records are available for this area and the time period we need to look at.

So, not too hefty of a list to get done this month. For each new objectives list I will also update on the previous months objectives. Wish me luck!

Keep diggin’ for that family.