Showing posts from April, 2016

Entering the Tardis: Genealogy Block Party!

Elizabeth O'Neal at "Little Bytes of Life" has started something that should have a great future:  The Genealogy Block Party.  She sets up a situation, and bloggers jump in and write about it.  This is my kind of fun, so I'm participating.  (Good thing I discovered it, because the deadline is midnight tonight!)  So here's the situation: **************** You and The Doctor (of  Doctor Who  fame) have just finished saving the Earth from nasty, alien monsters. As your reward,  The Doctor has offered to take you for a ride in his TARDIS to meet one of your ancestors! Who is the ancestor you will meet? What question(s) do you need him/her to answer? Is there a problem you can help your ancestor solve? Will you reveal your true identity to your ancestor? If so, how will your visit impact the future? (Remember what happened to Rose when she went back to meet her father.) Will you bring your ancestor to the future to meet his/her descendants? What will be the o

Facebook Friday: Using Facebook Groups to Further Your Genealogical Projects

Some of us spend too much time on Facebook (I'm raising my hand, here); others say they have no time for it and haven't joined -- they'd rather interact face-to-face than online.  But if you're not using Facebook as a resource for your genealogical research, you're missing a type of social interaction that can be a wellspring of information rather than a vast sinkhole of time. Many types of genealogical groups exist on Facebook.  Some have a general focus, such as "Technology for Genealogy," where you can get advice on which scanner to buy or how to back up your research, or "The Organized Genealogist," where you can discuss how keep on top of things with checklists or what should go into surname binders.  Thomas MacEntee's "Genealogy Do-Over" will give you a whole course on getting and keeping everything in order. Genealogy and Newspapers Other groups will help you with aspects of your research.  "Genealogy and News

Lying in Literature, Politics . . . and Genealogy.

I used to teach a class on memoir, autobiographical writing usually covering a limited part of the author's life.  One foundation of memoir is something called the Autobiographical Pact, which means, in essence, that the author offers to the reader the truth of his or her life, and the reader accepts it as such.  This is what differentiates autobiography from fiction; in fiction, no such pact exists, and both writer and reader accept the writing as not-truth. Sometimes readers will search for truths about the writer's life in fiction, but there's no guarantee that truth will be found, because no prior agreement exists, in the case of fiction. I can demonstrate the Autobiographical Pact in action for you if I bring to mind the arc of publication of James Frey's 2003 book, A Million Little Pieces.  M arketed as a hard-hitting account of one man's descent into drug and alcohol addiction, his rehab experience and eventual recovery, the book had a mixed reception.  But

A Tale of Two Blogs: A Small Reckoning

A little over 5 years ago, I started blogging.  My first blog was "One Woman, Reinvented"; a couple of years away from full retirement, I had taken up photography and wanted to share my work and the skills I was learning.  I loved the writing and met so many interesting people through my new interest and my first blog. A couple of years later, I was actually retired and while still enjoying photography, I had become deeply involved in genealogy.  After considering whether I could maintain two blogs, I decided to focus my attention on a new blog:  "Living in the Past:  A Family History."  At first, I expected the readers to not extend far beyond my family, but over time my readership has grown.  I've found things to share with other genealogists and other bloggers, and the response has been wonderful. I became curious about how the two blogs compared.  Here's a small reckoning as of April 26, 2106: One Woman, Reinvented 2-1/2 years, 175

Visiting an Ancestor

I've never been able to visit an ancestor's grave.  The cemeteries where my grandparents and great-grandparents were buried don't exist any more, and my own folks, as is the custom nowadays, were cremated.  So when I realized that on my trip to New Mexico I would have the opportunity to visit a relative's grave, I knew I had to stop. Joseph B. Ortman Jr. was a first cousin of my father, but one that he never knew, because his own father was estranged from his family.  I've written about Joseph and his family before; his life was not easy.  His mother was committed to a mental hospital and stayed there for 30+ years, until her death.  His father worked on the railroad, so he was often gone, and Joseph was left in the care of two older ladies with whom he and his father boarded.  Joseph had no siblings, and he neither married nor had children, so I wondered when, if ever, someone had visited his grave.  Because he had been in the Navy in WWII, he was entitled to b

On my way --

Off tomorrow on a solo trip -- mostly just fun with a little genealogy thrown in. My first goal is Phoenix, but since I can't drive all the way to Phoenix in one day (I tried it to Las Vegas once and it about killed me), I'll be stopping over in lovely Pasadena for one night.  I've learned there's a "shabu-shabu" restaurant right across the street from the motel and so might give that a try. Then off the next morning to my first genealogy stop:  the National Cemetery in Riverside, California.  This is my first trip to a cemetery to pay respects to a relative, in this case Joseph Bernard Ortmann, my father's cousin (whom my father never met).  Joseph was the son of my grandfather's brother, and by virtue of his having been a Navy WWII veteran, was laid to rest in a National Cemetery.  Because he was a man with no siblings who never married or had children that I have been able to discover, I'm guessing that he hasn't had any visitors in

Long time no genealogy

I've been away for quite a long time.  I've been pondering the why's and wherefore's but haven't been able to come up with anything.  So I think I'll just pick up and forge ahead. Linda Stufflebean over at Empty Branches on the Family Tree recently posted an interesting challenge -- six questions each requiring four answers.  I think I'll play along!  Here are the questions and my answers. What four places did my ancestors live that are geographically the farthest from where I live today? Oberglogau, Silesia (now Poland -- the Langers) Lohr, Germany (the Sieglers) Hannover, Germany (many ancestors) Bremerhaven, Germany (the Langer/Berneburgs) 2. What are the four most unusual given names in my family tree? Cuntz D. Alte (Berneburg) Hibbel (Heissenbuettel) Hebelia (Bellmer) Louis Fate (Earthman) Ficke (Mehrtens) 3. What are the four most common given names in my family tree? Johan/Joan/Johannes  (50) Anna (40) Mary/Maria (42) Wil li