Family History Research

Talented Tuesday – Presentation Time

Well in just over a week I will be giving my first genealogy presentation in years and years. This is also the first one since I started my Generations business last summer. Let’s be honest, I love to research, read and write. Plus I’m really good at that. Public speaking has not been a favorite pastime for me ever. I’m sure once I make it through this first presentation I will probably think about creating another one. At least that’s what Thomas MacEntee told me when I told him I was doing this months ago and was nervous about it. He said I may really enjoy presenting. We’ll see. I trust Thomas and know he would not steer me in the wrong direction.

I will be presenting April 9th at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Genealogy Day. I’m the first presenter. My presentation is “Visualizing Your Genealogical Data” and showing people how to use Excel, OneNote, Maps, and Blogging to view your data differently to break down brick walls and further research.

Here’s hoping it all goes smoothly!

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Sentimental Sunday – A Saturday Morning with my Son

In an effort to spend more one on one time with my son and expose him more to the family history and the thrill of the discovery, we went cemetery hopping again yesterday morning. The day began with the usual nine year old, “I don’t want to go…….” routine. I insisted he go anyway and that it would be fun. Once on the road for our roughly 20 minute drive to Mt. Carmel and Queen of Heaven in Hillside, the conversation turned to music then to what we would do on our outing. My son quickly forgot he didn’t want to go.

We arrived at Queen of Heaven and used the kiosk to look up some names. My son loves using the kiosk. Then we spoke to a man working in the office and were given section maps! I wish all the Catholic cemeteries in Chicago gave you section maps. He marked the map with a nice red X where our grave should be for the sections with which we needed assistance. This made looking for the graves so much easier. Next time we go to St. Adalbert’s, I will make the suggestion they give out section maps.

In addition to the new graves I wanted to visit, I took him by a few family graves he had only seen in photos. His interest intensified as he learned more about the people in our family.

My son was in charge of the camera again because I want him to learn to take good photos of the graves. Complete photos of the graves, not cutting parts off. Overall he did fairly well yesterday with the stones in the ground. The directions, “I want to see grass on all sides so I can crop the photo later,” seemed to help. He still needs to work on his monument photos because his skill at fitting the entire monument in needs additional practice.

After our visit to both cemeteries we stopped at Panera for a snack and to talk about who we found, what he thought was interesting, and what we could do for the next trip up there.  It was a great morning spent together and I think we are both learning a lot. He is learning more about research and photography and I’m learning to be a better teacher. I treasure these moments we have together because it seems like just “yesterday” he was born and “tomorrow” he will be going off to college.

These photos are of a Mary Fratto who died as a child. I am not sure if she belongs in my family but I wrote her information down and we photographed her grave just in case. I cropped her photo from a larger grave photo but my son took the other photos. He is getting better!


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Follow Friday – Consider this and that

I read a very thought provoking post this week on Personal Past Meditations called Geneanthropology. The post discusses the need to be an anthropologist when doing genealogy and looking into the culture of the people at which we are looking. He describes a painting that contains ghost children. For that time period, it was common to paint deceased children into family portraits as a way to remember them.

If you examine some of our cultural beliefs today, do you see any comparisons? I can say from personal experience going through IVF and miscarrying twins and a singleton early on, therefore not having a body to bury, I needed a way to remember them. I have a Willow Tree Angel called the Angel of Remembrance. She holds three green thin fern-like branches in her hands. She sits in my living room as a reminder to me about the difficult time we endured, the babies we lost, and the goodness that came after that time.

What ways have you seen your cultural group handle death?

Next on my list, if you have not seen it is over at Geneabloggers. Posted yesterday for Open Thread Thursday is Tweeting and Blogging at Genealogy Conferences. Thomas MacEntee posts some great questions to consider. Have you given your two cents yet? Stop over there and speak up if you have time today. There are already lots of great responses to read and consider.

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Madness Monday – Off to the Races!

My post this morning is not about my ancestors, but my current history. Today is the first day of school for my three boys. YEAH!! We will take the back to school day photo in front of the house next to the door so we can see how tall they have grown since last year. Send them on their way for the half day of school. Go up to school a little later to meet the teachers and see the kids “round up” behind the school for the annual back to school welcome. It is a great day and the weather is perfect. This afternoon maybe we will all hit a movie and say our final good byes to summer because tomorrow is a full day of school.

And while my boys are “off to the races” with school, I will be working on my current history and catching up on my scrapbooking, continuing to track down the ghosts of my past, and start the ProGen 10 Study Group. Our first online chat is next Thursday evening and I get to meet the others in my group.

Don’t forget to stay up to date with your current family history while chasing the past. I think it is going to be a great year!

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