Jun 7, 2015

Home again, home again . .. .

jiggety jig.  I have to confess that I ducked out early today.  There's a point at which you just feel done, and I was there this morning.

So, after some stupid trouble getting out of the parking lot and trying to communicate with someone at the other end of a very bad intercom thing ("Press the button.  Listen for the tones.  When the tones finish, talk.  Then let go of the button" -- this whole thing didn't work very well), I finally escaped the Marriott and started on my way.

I was upset that my computer power cord wasn't working, so I went to Fry's, right by the hotel, to see if I could get an adapter for the power cord that I thought was probably the problem.

Nope.  The tech guy at Fry's tried another power cord and told me the problem is in the socket in the computer, not the power cord.  Bummer.  I'm hoping someone in Santa Cruz can fix it, so I don't have to send the (almost brand new) computer away somewhere.

I headed up I-5, stopped in Buttonwillow (I love the name of that town, but it's really a bleak place) to have lunch and took a serious risk having lunch at was clearly a hole-in-the-wall Indian place.  Surprisingly, though it definitely fit the definition of hole-in-the-wall, the food was excellent -- chicken korma that melted in my mouth and garlic naan that was delicious.  I lucked out on that one.

I was listening to an audiobook all the way down to Burbank and all the way back:  "A God in Ruins," by Kate Atkinson.  This book had a tremendous effect on me, and for the whole last hour I had tears streaming down my cheeks, which is not the best way to be driving on a freeway, especially when you're tired and wish you could be napping!  It's a wonderful story of a man's life, beautifully written and extremely touching.

Eventually, I made it home, and my darling little dog was so happy to see me, it was an excellent welcome back home.  I managed to get my e-book file off of the not-working computer so I can still work on it, and I'll try to get it to a repairman tomorrow.

Jamboree 2015 was great!  I really enjoyed myself.  But it's good to be home.

Jun 6, 2015

SoCal Jamboree, Day 2

I have to be quick because I'm having another power cord problem, this time on my laptop.  Gakkh!  I'm going to be out of power any minute.

I really enjoyed myself today.  I went to a great presentation by Lisa Alzo on finding ancestors with ethnic resources, such as lodges, foreign language newspapers, and so on.  She brought up many possibilities of places to look for information, and I was very happy I went to her presentation.

Later I went to a talk by Paula Stewart Warren on researching poor ancestors.  This was really fascinating, and for those of us who are definitely not tracing our lineage back to Charlemagne it was extremely helpful.  She suggested many different avenues for tracing ancestors who might have received financial help from various agencies, places we might look for records, including, for example, minutes of governing boards of places like orphanages or poor farms.  It was an excellent presentation.  I'm really impressed with the quality of the presentations this year -- there's a wide variety to choose from, and the ones I've attended have been excellent.

This afternoon I returned to the research assistance center, and actually had a client!  It being my first time, I was so nervous that I could hardly type on my laptop.  Her goal was to find information on her great-great grandmother, who was orphaned at an early age and informally adopted by relatives -- something that causes great distress for a genealogist trying to trace her history.  If you don't know who the adoptive parents were, and she didn't, it can be extremely frustrating trying to find the person you're looking for.  I gave her a few ideas of where to look, and in going over some census data she had already had from her g-grandma's adulthood, I noticed that her parents were listed as having been born in Louisiana, something that she had completely missed.  This is a huge point for any genealogist -- don't just read a document once; read it twice, three times, ten times!  I've had it happen more than once, that I went over a document again and found something that I'd completely missed.  So just for that little thing and for the other ideas I gave her, I had a happy client!

Late afternoon, I met up with several bloggers and my friend Jacqui.  I enjoyed meeting and talking with them, and came out of the conversation energized in thinking about the book I'm working on.

So . . . a quiet evening, and then I have a feeling that I'll get going fairly early tomorrow.  There comes a point when you just feel "done," and you want to get back home.  But this has been a great conference.

Jun 5, 2015

SoCal Jamboree, Day 1

Here's the problem with genealogy conferences:  you go to these presentations and you get so much information and so many ideas that you want to run back to your room to try them out, but then you'd be missing more information in another presentation.  My favorite presentation today was on "Methods for Identifying the German Origins of American Immigrants," by Dr. Michael Lecopo. This presentation was so chock full of information, I was typing as fast as I could to capture as much as I could into my iPad.  While I was familiar with some of his resources, others were new to me and look promising.  So I was longing to get back to my room to try them out . . .

The day started a little slowly; the main events didn't really start until the afternoon, so I hung out in my room and worked on my e-book (which I am not yet ready to reveal).  I did go down early in the morning to get coffee and to say hi to Thomas MacEntee and to get from him my beautiful blogger beads -- they are particularly lovely this time!  The beads identify bloggers to one another so that you can say hello and introduce yourself.  I'm looking forward to the bloggers' get-together tomorrow evening.

The afternoon was full of presentations, and at one point I stopped by to be a research assistant -- I'd signed up to help people with beginning research and German research.  The person I had an appointment with didn't show up, but I had a nice time talking with the other researchers.  One in particular I discovered was from Santa Cruz, and I heard all about the Santa Cruz Genealogical Society, which I will definitely be joining when I get back home.  We also shared some genealogical war stories, and he gave me a tip on finding historical records from a state mental institution, but unfortunately that didn't pan out.  No records from the one I need to research.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a session on researching poor ancestors (my tree is full of them), one on institutional records, and another on "immersion genealogy," which is what I think I practice.  But I'll find out tomorrow.

So I finally made it back to my room, and I'm going to keep working on the book.  And relax.  A conference really takes it out of you.

Oh, and my big disappointment of the day -- I believe it was National Donut Day, and there were no donuts that I could find anywhere.  Oh well.

Jun 4, 2015

Getting to Burbank and DNA Day

Yesterday I began the long trek down Interstate 5 to Burbank for the SoCal Genealogical Society Jamboree.  Today is "DNA Day," and tomorrow thousands more people will pour in as the Jamboree begins in earnest.

I have a love/hate relationship with Interstate 5.  It's the fastest way to get to L.A., but it's a straight shot for hours and hours -- if not for changing lanes to go around trucks, you'd hardly need to touch the steering wheel.  It's pretty boring, and sometimes it's hard to keep your eyes open.

But, two things make it bearable:  1)  Andersen's Pea Soup.  The road from the coast comes out just 3 miles south of Andersen's Pea Soup's Santa Nella restaurant, which I love.  I don't think I've ever ordered anything but the "Traveler's Special" -- a bottomless bowl of pea soup, delicious onion cheese rolls, and ice tea.  It was scrumptious.  2)  A good audio book, and boy, did I have a good one -- Kate Atkinson's latest, A God in Ruins.  A wonderfully complex family story that covers four generations of one family and goes back and forth in time with the main character, Teddy Todd, an absolutely wonderful character.  I laughed, I cried (seriously), and I got to L.A. without falling asleep.

So I ordered room service, which turned out not to agree with me, and I tried to get to sleep by about 9:00.  One problem on my mind is that the charger cable I brought for my iPad was not working at all, so I was trying to figure out how and where I would get a new one, as I tossed and turned.  I got very little sleep and was up by 6:30.

This left me with plenty of time to pick up my registration materials and get to the first presentation.  I have two ribbons on my name tag so far -- "New Member," of the SoCal Genealogical Society, and "Volunteer," because I will be volunteering tomorrow and Saturday to help people with their research..  And also to discover that the store in the hotel had an iPad cable!  Cost a fortune, but at least I can charge my iPad.

I went to two presentations this morning, one by Tim Jantzen on programs that can help you with interpreting and understanding your DNA results -- very rich presentation, got lots of sites to look at.  And the second one was with Diahan Southard, a wonderful, funny presenter, on organizing your DNA materials.  That was a very helpful presentation.

I was excited for lunchtime to roll around -- I bought a ticket to only one of the lunches, and I was going to meet up with someone I've only known online -- Jacqi Stevens, who writes the blog, "A Family Tapestry."  We have communicated many times online, but had never met in person.  A very large number of people were coming to the lunch, so to facilitate meeting up with her, I wrote "Jacqi" in big letters on a piece of paper, and held it up, as they do in airports for important people.  It worked!  I found her, and we had a very enjoyable lunch together.

The lunch was also enjoyable because of the presenter -- Christopher Schauble, an L.A. news anchor who was adopted as a baby (by wonderful people) and in 2013 began trying to find his biological parents.  Much of it was on a video series he had produced and shown on the TV station.  It was a pretty amazing and moving story -- when his biological mother, 81 years old and living in a nursing home, says to him "I knew the good Lord wouldn't take me from this earth without knowing whether you were all right," there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

So now, I'm taking a break, hoping to get a little siesta in before going down for the last presentation or two.  So far, I'm having a great time.

Jun 2, 2015

On the way to Jamboree!

So, tomorrow morning I'm leaving for the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree!  I'm very excited, because I enjoyed it greatly last year and am looking forward to going again.  I will be meeting up with some as-yet-unmet friends, and with Geneabloggers, and so on, so it promises to be a very fun and productive four days.

I have a lot to still do, but I hope to be leaving by about 10:30 AM so that I can enjoy my traditional lunch at Anderson's Pea Soup in Buellton.  I love the "Travelers' Special," with pea soup and onion cheese bread.  Yummy.  That will fortify me for the rest of the boring ride down Interstate 5.   They also have nice cheese in a crock that I might get to keep in my room fridge.  I do have audiobooks on my iPod, so that always makes the time go faster.

Thursday is DNA day -- looking forward to that, very much.  Then the Jamboree itself starts on
Friday.  I was delighted to learn today that we're going to hook up with the Global Family Reunion on Saturday; that sounds like great fun.  I'll try to stay all the way through Sunday, but unfortunately I often poop out before the end.

Looking forward to meeting up with fellow Geneabloggers on Saturday night.

I always agonize over what I should bring.  Will I have time to blog?  Should I bring my watercolor stuff and work on something in the evenings?  Will I have time to finish that book I've been dying to read?

I'm working on an e-book, so I think that will be a main focus.  But other than that, I'll take it as it comes and just enjoy myself.

I have a fantasy of presenting next year . . .

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