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15-Minute Family History: What's in a Name?

Posted by Renee Thursday, October 29, 2009 1 comments

This has been a pivotal week for our family (and our family history) - my oldest daughter gave birth to her first child, making Scott and I grandparents for the first time, and in the 50-some hours since baby Kyah Renee (the middle name is for me!) arrived, I’ve spent a lot of time holding her and feeling very blessed. These have been blissful, thoughtful moments, and I feel the generations past so very near, looking over my shoulder with great love and affection.

I’ve also had some time to think on less weightier, but nevertheless critical issues – like what I’d like my grandkids to call me. Now, I realize that there’s a better than even chance that at some point, a child, (maybe even this one) may hang an unexpected moniker on me, like Gigi or Mima or Gramma Buttons, but until that time, I don’t want to just be “the nice lady with the long hair who’s always calling us on Skype and sending weird little presents…yeah, Mommy’s mom.” I need a Gramma Name.

We interrupt our blog for this important announcement ~
Voting for Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs is almost over, so please take a moment right now to vote for your favorites. Of course, we hope you’ll vote for Above the Trees – we're listed in Photos/Heirlooms (Category #9). You can vote for just one blog, or as many as forty.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post...
Family names – that is to say, the names that we call one another within our own families – are an important (and often overlooked) piece of family history. Some are passed from generation to generation. Others come about from childish mispronunciations, or have a special story attached to them. Often they reflect ethnicity, heritage, or culture: in our family, for example, my son-in-law is Armenian, and so Kyah, blessed to live in a trilingual home, will call her Armenian grandparents “Papik” and “Tatik.”

Which brings me to this week’s 15-Minute Family History Assignment:
As family historians, we take great pains to accurately record each individual’s name, but do we take time to record their family names? Was your father “Dad” or “Pop?” Did your brother have a nickname? Did you? What did you call your grandparents? My maternal grandparents weren’t only Lester Alfred and Edna Fern – to me, they were and will always be “Poppy” and “Ma.” Take a few minutes to record those special family names, as well as any stories that go with them.

Family Photoloom Bonus:
Nicknames and universal family names (as in, everyone calls him “Buster”) can be recorded in Picture Notes on the individual’s icon picture, or in an Individual Record as part of their name (e.g., Carl “Buster” Bridgmon).

Two-generation family names (parent/child) are easy to record in the Relationship View. Simply drag an individual into the relationship setter and click on any other individual for whom a relationship has been set. Then record the Family Name in the space provided at the top of the screen. For example, when I put my mother in the center of the Relationship Setter and click on her father, I can record that “Lester is a “Pop” to Clella Mae” in the relationship information that appears at the top of the page.

Grandparent and other multi-generational family names can be recorded in Picture Notes, or in an Individual Record.

P.S. I’m staying traditional for now, and going with “Grammi.”

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Wordless Wednesday: Just Call Me "Grammi"

Posted by Renee Wednesday, October 28, 2009 1 comments

Our family history added a whole new generation yesterday. From two very proud first-time grandparents...

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Wordless Wednesday: Georgia Goes to Telegraph School

Posted by Renee Wednesday, October 21, 2009 0 comments

My Great-grandmother, Georgia Bradley Masters
Telegraph School ~ Iowa ~ Circa 1880

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15-Minute Family History: Part 1 - Getting Started

Posted by Renee Friday, October 16, 2009 1 comments

I have a lot of opportunities to talk with folks about their family photos, and one commom lament is, "I don’t have anything. It was all lost in a (fire/flood/tornado)." Or, "My third cousin 'borrowed' them all years ago, and we haven't seen them since." Or simply, "My family didn’t keep any family photos.”

Then we get to talking a little more, and I ask, "You have a picture of yourself, right?"

"Of course I've got pictures of myself."

"What about your parents? Do you have any pictures of them? Or your children?"

"Well, yeah, I've got lots of pictures of them. But I mean family history pictures. I don't have any OLD pictures."

Let's stop right there. Remember, the first word in family history is FAMILY. That includes you, and it includes now! And, as with anything, when you are just starting out, the best approach is start simple, and go from what you know (or what you have) to what you don’t know (or what you don’t have). So let’s start with what you do have:

Start your Pictorial Family History:

  1. Make a list of your immediate family members – parents, children, spouse – and look to your own pictures to find an image of each person on your list. You don’t need to start with a lot of pictures – in the case of family history preservation, one picture is infinitely better than none.

  2. If the images you have chosen are not already digitized, scan them, or have someone to scan them for you.

  3. Add your grandparents and their other children (your aunts and uncles) to your list. Do you have photos of them? Scan those too. Also, make a list of what you don’t have. (We’ll discuss how to deal with that in an upcoming installment.)

  4. Create a file on your computer labeled “Family History Images” (or something like that). Copy all of your family history images into that file. (If you have a lot of images, you may need to create sub files.)

  5. Upload your images onto your free Family Photoloom account, and tag all the individuals. Then go into the “Relationship View” and drag each individual into the relationship setter. You now have a 3-generation chart complete with pictures on your screen, with the potential for literally infinite family lines and relationships.

Each of these steps should take you fifteen minutes or less. Do one a day for a week (with weekends off!) and you will be on your way!

Next week: Protecting Your Precious Family Photos

Free genealogy tutorials and classes for beginners:
Do you have a great idea for our 15-Minute Family History series? Email it to me at renee at photoloom dot com. I’d love to hear about how you are getting your family history done, one bite at a time!

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Wordless Wednesday: Ball-&-Chain

Posted by Renee Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2 comments

Clella Mae Masters (aka "Mom") & Mary Blanche Miller
Maryville, Missouri ~ Circa 1938

Happy 83rd Birthday, Mom!

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Tombstone Tuesday: One foot In...

Posted by Renee Tuesday, October 13, 2009 3 comments

While attending a family reunion in Missouri, we took an excursion to visit a small family cemetery near Webb City. As we strolled among the gravestones, our host, Aunt Esther, reminisced about the various folks interred there. Pointing out one humble plot, Aunt Esther remarked, “That's where your Great-grandma Effie and her leg are buried.” She went on to explain, “Effie lost her leg to gangrene, and she had it buried in her plot. Poor dear – she went around for years telling people she already had one foot in the grave.”

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15-Minute Family History: An Introduction

Posted by Renee Sunday, October 11, 2009 0 comments

About a month ago, I attended the Salt Lake Family History Expo as a “Blogger of Honor” (cue the Baroque trumpets) and had the opportunity to attend a number of exceptional classes, taught by the cream of the family history crop. I returned home to Oregon all fired up and ready to start shooting out one blog entry after another detailing all the great information I gathered. But then…

…September started, and for anyone with kids at home, you know that what that means. Some days, I can’t find half an hour to call my own.

This all led me to an inspiration: At the Family History Expo, I attended a class called 15-Minute Family History, presented by Kim Woodbury & Deborah Lambert, both of FamilySearch. Kim & Deborah focused their combined knowledge on attacking family history one chunk at a time, and offered practical advice for breaking down this overwhelming lifetime project into achievable bite-size tasks.

That’s just what we need!

So, for the next couple of months, I’ll be exploring this idea, and particularly how it relates to photo-history, in a new weekly series, “15-Minute Family History.” (Can’t improve on that title.) Here’s a little incentive to stay tuned: If you use just one 15-minute idea once a week, at the end of the month, you will have completed a whole hour of practically painless family history work. What if you devoted fifteen minutes twice a week? Or every day? Think of the possibilities!

Want to get started right now? (Prepare for a shameless - but extremely relevant - endorsement of Family Photoloom.) In just fifteen minutes, you can open a free Family Photoloom account, upload a five or six pictures, tag the faces, set all the relationships in the relationship setter, and invite your family to share in their family history. Boom! Family history – 15-Minutes.

Next week: Part 1: How to Get the Ball Rolling

Do you have a great idea for our 15-Minute Family History series? Email it to me at renee at photoloom dot com. (Sorry, Spam-bots.) I’d love to hear about how you are getting your family history done, one minute at a time!

Follow me on Twitter @Photoloom

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Geneabloggers all over the globe are celebrating the opening of voting for Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Genealogy Blogs. And truth be told, I am downright gleeful that our blog, Above the Trees, is among the nominees! The field of geneablogs is rich and broad, and the geneablogger community is an amazing group to be a part of - generous with time and talent; willing to help and mentor at the mere notion of a need. It is an humbling honor to be counted among them. Thank you so much to all the loyal readers who nominated us!!

To vote for your favorite geneablogs, use the Voting Ballot at Family Tree Magazine. Of course, we hope you’ll vote for Above the Trees – you can find us listed in Photos/Heirlooms (Category #9), but there are many other great blogs to check out. You can vote for as few as one, or as many as forty.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit a couple of new geneablogs today – you’ll be amazed by what you find! FootnoteMaven put together a complete list of all the nominated blogs, organized by category. (If you visit a blog, be sure to leave a quick encouraging comment – we all love comments!)

And finally, since Above the Trees focuses on "the visual" part of family history, I wanted to share this with you: Vickie over at BeNotForgot created this beautiful Wordle Poster of all the nominated blogs. (Above the Trees can be found in the very top upper left corner.) Simply outstanding!

Good luck to all the nominees and remember to vote!

Renee Huskey

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Book Review: "Digitizing Your Family History"

Posted by Renee Sunday, October 4, 2009 0 comments

Digitizing Your Family History
By Rhonda R. McClure (Family Tree Books, 2004)

In her introductory acknowledgment, author Rhonda McClure invites the reader to “Remember to grasp technology.”

This resonates well. Computers have revolutionized genealogy research, and in this excellent guide, McClure extends the boundaries of this revolution to encompass the larger circle of family history.

Digitizing Your Family History offers an easy, interesting read; McClure weaves relateable personal narrative and relevant technical information, and the reader receives an education and appreciation for the way things used to be (and how far things have come) while getting up to speed on the latest technology.

Beginning with a chapter focusing on the new horizons that digitizing offers to the family historian, this practical how-to reference provides a good introduction to image editing, working with vintage photos, and digitizing audio and video tapes. Chapters are logically sequenced, and well thought out icons in the margins call attention to tips, techniques, and online resources.
Scanning photos, paper documents, slides, and negatives are covered in great detail, and an entire chapter is dedicated to helping the reader choose the scanner or digital camera that is optimal for his needs. Another chapter focuses on the “Imaging Road Warrior,” and provides all the essential information needed for digitally preserving history on the road.

A highly-experienced genealogy researcher, McClure takes pains to emphasize the importance of keeping research journals, and offers practical advice for doing this with the tools at hand. She also addresses the challenges of organizing, printing, and sharing digital family history, and provides insightful tips and advice for meeting those challenges. All in all, Digitizing Your Family History is an excellent choice, particularly for beginning and intermediate “Digital Family Historians.”

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