Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rootstech 2014--Bigger and Better

photo (15)Rootstech 2014 was truly bigger and better than ever in most every way.  The exhibit hall was 50% bigger, the classrooms were bigger, and even, and maybe I should say especially, the CROWDS were bigger!  There was an unprecedented number of adults and youth in attendance this year, but the event was managed well and I was able to see, do and attend everything that I had wanted.
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In the opening,

FamilySearch was excited to announce the coming of an obituary project which will add thousands of obituaries to their already huge collection of free online records.  We were told that most obituaries contain at least seven family members (but often more), so this will be a big help to us in piecing together our families.  

The keynote speakers each morning were fabulous and, while varied in experience and approach, each shared things that inspired and motivated us in a different aspect of our family history.  We heard from Stephanie NielsenAnnelies van den Belt,  Ree DrummondDr. Spencer Wells, Todd Hansen and Judy Russell.   Each speaker was great, but as a friend said, Judy Russell really hit the ball out of the park.  Utilizing her great talents as a “Scotch Irish Story Teller,” she encouraged us to take time to record not only our ancestor’s history, but our own, emphasizing that  information about people can become completely lost in as few as three generations unless it is recorded accurately.

As for the classes, I tried to branch out and and take a greater variety this time and it paid off.  I tend to shy away from some of the more techie type classes (I know, I know—that is somewhat the point of a genealogy “tech” conference!)  So I decided to just be brave and to try and learn some things outside of my comfort zone and I was so glad that I did.  I came away with lists of more things to read, apps to download and programs to try.

The Expo Hall was immense and packed full of vendors selling everythingphoto (6) imaginable related to family history. I took full advantage of the opportunity to visit with those manning the booths about their products and services.  It was a great opportunity to learn more about how various things might help me with my passion for genealogy.

In addition, there were some fun things to do.  Large plush couches ensured that we watched demonstrations in comfort and free popcorn and soft drinks were available to all.  FamilySearch had several fun things to do, such as an area where they took your picture and inserted it in an old picture.  Can you pick my face out in the picture below?  (I am the one holding the baimageby.)

And believe it or not, next year promises to be even bigger and better!  Next year, the Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their National Convention in conjunction with Roostech on February 12-14th in Salt Lake City.

I already have the dates marked on my calendar, do you?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Tula's First Child's Casket"


Ola's casket
“Tula’s first child’s casket,”  was penciled on the back of the faded and well worn picture.  Dirty brown smudges on the once white border, made me wonder how many others had held this picture and felt Tula's loss.  Had they also wondered just as I did,  just who was Tula’s first child?

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Photo Taken by Kurtis Shawcroft
Used by permission
When I initially came across this picture and before I had really become acquainted with Tula,  I felt a sadness just knowing that she had lost a child.  But the feeling deepened once I researched Tula and realized that the sweet little tow headed Ola shown in the pictures shared in an earlier post was in fact, Tula’s first child.  It was Ola who laid within this child sized casket piled deep with beautiful flowers, Tula’s final gift to her sweet little girl.  Once again Tula faced heartbreak as she buried yet one more family member.  Ola was laid to rest in the Alamosa, Colorado Municipal Cemetery on the 25th of November 1902, next to her father Charles, just four years after his death.

According to an anonymous contributor on Findagrave, Ola died of spinal meningitis in Salida, Colorado on 23 November.  Although living in Salida at the time, Tula took Ola “home” to be buried in Alamosa.  By the age of 29, Tula had buried her mother, her father, her husband and her child and I can’t imagine the depth of her grief.  

The picture of Ola's casket was among the scant few pictures in my grandmother's suitcase and so I realized that Tula must have sent this picture to her sister, my great grandmother, Sarah Faucett Ganus, who then lived many miles away in Oklahoma.  Once again, Tula reached out to her sister and I wondered,  did Sarah write her back?  How I wish I had the letters those two may have exchanged.   

And with this finding, yet another question surfaced.  Why was Tula and Ola living in Salida rather than in Alamosa where they were living when Charles died?  I will share more of their story in my next post.    

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It’s a Southern Thing


imageThis past week I was able to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.   Having so many southern lines, there  was no question in my mind when I signed up last June but that I would choose the tract  “Southern Research,” with J. Mark Lowe

I have taken courses from Mark before and I knew that in addition to learning the ins and outs of Southern research, I would also learn about the culture and the mindset of the southern people  from a true southerner, accent and all. This week was no exception.

From Mark we learned terms such as  “seasoning”, bran dance, and fictive kin and my “Amazon Wish List” grew by leaps and bounds, as did my bookmarks for my “go-to” websites.  In addition, Mark taught us the value of “mull and ponder,” a step so many of us researchers overlook in our race to acquire yet more information.

In class Mark compared, overlaid and lined up side by side, topographic, physiographic, soil survey and migration maps, in addition to maps showing historic county boundaries. We learned about the geographic features of the states and how those things impacted our ancestor’s daily lives and ability to travel.  Among other things, we learned about wills, estates and guardianship records as well as some of the traditions of the south.  Mark taught us the value of knowing our ancestor’s religion and how we can track down the histories and records of those itinerant preachers that may have performed and recorded the important events of our ancestor’s lives. Mark covered Federal claims, road lists, long hunters, tax records and a variety of records that are unique to the South.  We even learned the history behind such places as Cheek’s Stand (I wasn’t sure I would sleep that night).  And just when we felt our heads might burst, he gave us homework assignments that provided an opportunity to try out some of our newly acquired knowledge.
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SLIG 2014
Michelle & Mark Lowe

But as is typical, Mark’s class wasn’t all work.  We enjoyed the opportunity to visit, ask questions, discuss and we laughed…..a lot.  Mark helped us to not only know the South, but to feel something of that wonderful Southern hospitality.  He is as warm and genuine as he is knowledgeable.

At the end of the class, Mark teased that I held the record for taking his classes the most and I think it just may be the truth.  I love my Southern kin, and I long to not only fill my brain with a knowledge of their history, but also my heart with an understanding of their lives. And so I have jumped at opportunities to take classes from J. Mark Lowe, and this week, as always, I left feeling warmly rewarded for the effort. 

Follow Mark at http://keepingthestoryalive.blogspot.com/ and http://kytnstories.blogspot.com/


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014